The Arabia CSR Forum & Awards 2011, organized under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO, Emirates Group, Chairman, Dubai Airports, was held in the Grand Hyatt in Dubai on the 26th of October 2011. The Awards, since 2008, have honored companies across the Arab world who are committed to making a difference by embedding principles of Corporate Social Responsibility into their strategies and Sustainability in their respective spheres of influence. The fourth cycle of the Awards saw the participation of 42 organizations from 10 Arab countries, making them trailblazers in the field of CSR.
Supported by the United Nations Global Compact and considered as the most significant award scheme for CSR best practices in the region, the Arabia CSR Awards has witnessed tremendous response from all sectors of corporate organizations across the entire Arab World. The first three cycles of the Awards saw more than 250 entries from the GCC, Levant and Northern Africa.
Winners of the Arabia CSR Awards 2011 were:
Winner: Al Futtaim Carillion (UAE)
1st Runner Up: ABB UAE (UAE)
2nd Runner Up: Dubai Aluminium Company Limited (DUBAL) (UAE)
Winner: Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (Bahrain)
1st Runner Up: Vodafone Qatar (Qatar)
2nd Runner Up: Canon Middle East (UAE)
Winner: Bank Sarasin-Alpen (ME) Ltd (UAE)
1st Runner Up: Tiger Profiles & Insulation LLC (UAE)
Public Sector category
Winner: Dubai Customs (UAE)
1st Runner Up: Health Authority – Abu Dhabi and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (TIE) (UAE)
2nd Runner Up: Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (UAE)
Winner: Tristar Transport LLC (UAE)
Winner: Bee’ah (UAE)
As the Awards mature over the years, two more Special Recognition were introduced to honor companies that deserved mention for their excellence in CSR strategies.
Best Civil Society Organization
Winner: Bahrain Women Association - For Human Development (Bahrain)
A Special Mention Award was also presented to Zain KSA.
The Day of the Awards
Held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Dubai, the Arabia CSR Network made it a point to add value to each member attending the Arabia CSR Awards with the organization of a Forum in the morning and Awarding Luncheon in the afternoon, as was the norm last year. The morning Forum witnessed the likes of international CSR stalwarts including Mr. Wolfgang Engshuber, Chairperson of UN Principles for Responsible Business; Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist and Head of External Relations, Dubai International Financial Centre Authority and Dr. Elissar Sarrouh, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative UAE and many more.
The Forum, which was based on the theme “A Sustainability Spring in Arabia,” consisted of a morning plenary followed by three plenary sessions based on the three different aspects of sustainability, namely “Base of Pyramid Strategies for Business in the Arab World,” “The Economic Impact of Climate Change in the Arab World” and “CSR in the Arab World: Leading Up to the Uprisings of 2011.”
The event was commenced by the President of the Arabia CSR Network, Mrs. Habiba Al Marashi, providing her welcoming address to the gathering. She said, “Today, we come together to celebrate and honor those companies, both Arab and international, who are leaders in responsible business, for all things and people under their care. Companies that have shown passion for safeguarding the environment, vision in taking care of their employees and compassion in engaging their local communities, while conducting successful and profitable businesses.”
“The 2011 cycle began overwhelmingly with over 110 registrations from across the Arab world. However, as the region was fraught with political and social unrest in the last few months, a total of 42 organizations only made it to the judging table. It was daunting, to say the least, to ask companies to submit their Corporate Social Responsibility strategies at a time when a number of them were based in countries that were undergoing a crisis. We went ahead with the awards, convinced that there is no more pressing time than now to start taking CSR seriously.”
Mr. Wolfgang Engshuber, Chairperson of UN Principles for Responsible Business said, “I am very impressed by the CSR work being done by companies in the region. The PRI is a platform created to engage with institutional investors. It has 1000 signatories representing more than USD 30 trillion.”
The champion from the Arab world, Dr. Nasser Saidi, was of the opinion that, “The current scenario in the Arab world makes Corporate Responsibility much more relevant and important. In most parts of the Arab world, however, CSR and sustainability is either just lip service or it is in its infancy. This attitude needs to be changed. ”
The Jury for the Arabia CSR Awards 2011 consisted of:
Mr Matthias Stausberg, Spokesperson, UN Global Compact New York (Head of Jury, Arabia CSR Awards 2011).
Dr Grace Ugut: Dean, Asian Insititute of Management, Philippines.
Mr. Ralph Thurm, Director Sustainability Strategies.
Dr. Ashraf Gamal, Executive Director, Egyptian Institute of Directors.
The Arabia CSR Awards were strongly supported by their media partners 7Days and Gulf News.