Survey: corporate social responsibility top priority for MENA businesses
More than 95 per cent of Mena respondents in a survey said they wanted to do more community service work, according to a survey conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s number one job site.
Respondents across the Mena region are eager to dedicate themselves to CSR work, with 73 per cent preferring to give time and effort towards charitable causes rather than merely donating money (mostly because 62.2 per cent cannot afford to contribute financially, while a fifth believe that donated money will not be used correctly).
Seven out of 10 (67.4 per cent) respondents frequently participate in charity or community service work, with 95.3 per cent saying they would like to do more, according to the poll A ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Is Your Company Making an Impact?’ poll.
While the number one reason holding would-be volunteers back is not knowing where to start (according to 40.9 per cent), 15.1 per cent state that they are held back because their company doesn’t engage in CSR activities.
To the majority of respondents (76.8 per cent), working for a socially-responsible company is very important to them, with 89.8 per cent stating that they believe the corporate sector has a moral responsibility to do CSR work. In fact nine out of 10 (88 per cent) would favor products and services from a socially responsible company.
The majority (66.9 per cent) of respondents claim that their companies ‘very regularly’ (43.9 per cent) or ‘sometimes’ (23 per cent) engage in CSR activities, and the majority also claims that their companies actively motivate employees to participate in CSR activities (74.7 per cent).
The most common types of CSR activities that companies in the Mena are involved in according to respondents are feeding, housing or clothing the poor (25 per cent) and working with orphans and underprivileged children (13.2 per cent). 14.4 per cent of respondents state that their company participates in the above and more, such as aiding refugees, providing education and scholarships, sponsoring people with disabilities, medical research and aid, and environmental causes.
What respondents would like their company to be involved in is helping the poor or those with special needs (51.2 per cent), providing free education and scholarships (20.4 per cent) and saving or protecting the environment (11.2 per cent).
When asked why they believe companies engage in CSR work, the respondents said that the main reasons are: promoting corporate image (17 per cent), ethical motivation of the company’s top management (15.1 per cent), or improving relationships with the community (13.1 per cent).
Respondents also believe that the biggest obstacles stopping companies from integrating CSR activities into the corporate strategy are lack of know-how and institution assistance (29.9 per cent), no support from top management (11.2 per cent), and lack of specific legislation on CSR (10 per cent). A fifth (22.1 per cent) claim all of the above, in addition to other obstacles.
Meanwhile, the three main benefits of adopting a CSR strategy are considered to be enhanced corporate reputation (28.5 per cent), improved relationships with the community and stakeholders (10.4 per cent), and strengthened employee commitment (9.9 per cent).
According to 64.7 per cent of respondents, companies that engage in CSR do make an impact. In fact, an overwhelming 94.3 per cent of respondents feel that corporate CSR strategies can directly contribute to business success.
“There is clearly the need for more companies to consider developing CSR programs, or to enhance their existing ones. Not only is there a desire from employees to participate in more activities that will benefit the community, but respondents have shown that they feel more warmly towards companies that engage in CSR, giving companies the potential to benefit in return for their community work,” said Suhail Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com.
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