Corporate Social Responsibility Practices Play Integral Role in Business: Sweden’s Ambassador for CSR
Arabia CSR Network, the Middle East region’s leading training service provider and think tank, recently organized a roundtable discussion held at The Sustainable City in Dubai, in honor of the visit of Swedish Ambassador for CSR H.E. Diana Madunic, to the UAE. Sweden’s global leadership and international best practices in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability were widely discussed during the forum. Madunic has been Sweden’s CSR Ambassador since 2015 and has served as Head of Unit and EU and Foreign Policy Adviser at the Prime Minister’s Office of Sweden between 2008 and 2014.
Sweden is one of the few notable countries which has an official ambassador for CSR, especially designated to handle CSR issues and play the role as the link between the government and Swedish companies to encourage them to act on pertinent CSR concerns, particularly on implementing programs in alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sweden is also the first country which has required sustainability reports from government-owned enterprises.
Habiba Al Mar’ashi, President & CEO, Arabia CSR Network, said: “Arabia CSR Network is a proud partner of the Swedish community and have enjoyed a fruitful relationship with them for years. We are delighted to have close colleagues and members of the Network join us in welcoming the new ambassador and enjoy a morning of cutting-edge discussions with the sector’s pioneers in the region.
Sweden is one of the world’s most proactive in incorporating CSR and sustainability in business practices, thus it is a privilege once again for us to host Sweden’s present Ambassador for CSR to share with us the country’s knowledge and experiences in propagating ethical and sustainable business practices and we can only look forward to continuing this positive partnership.
The event, held in cooperation with the Swedish Business Council and Embassy of Sweden in the UAE, provided a platform for discussion on the latest innovation in CSR in the region as well as Sweden’s extensive efforts and experiences at integrating CSR in its industrial policies, which CSR and sustainability leaders in the UAE can learn from. A global leader, the Swedish government has established an ambitious CSR policy which focuses on ensuring that companies incorporate environmental sustainability, decent working conditions, anti-corruption, gender equality, diversity and business ethics to create a more sustainable business model.
The Sustainable City, which hosted the event, gave a tour of the 5 million square feet of sustainable residential development. It is a net zero energy city, primed to scale up sustainability in the built environment sector in the Middle East. It showcases the best possibilities in green living including being powered by 10 MWP from solar energy; the use of recycled water, the city is car free apart from the use of electric vehicles in restricted areas and the propagation of biodiversity across the city including at least 10,000 trees.
Her Excellency commented that the UAE and Sweden enjoy a positive bilateral relationship and several economic cooperation initiatives that highlight our common objectives. It is a privilege to share the efforts of the Swedish Government in ensuring CSR and sustainability bring about sustainable change in business. I look forward to exploring in every possible way the opportunity to improve CSR efforts in the country and the region, guided by international standards. The Swedish Government is keen to strengthen the conditions for CSR amongst the Swedish companies in different parts of the world and extend its cooperation with every country to ensure this goal successfully brings benefit to many.
Arabia CSR Network
Formed in 2004, the Arabia CSR Network (ACSRN) is the first multi-stakeholder platform that engages small and large businesses and government institutions to strengthen their commitment to sustainable development across the Arab world.
The Arabia CSR network also aims to bring into greater focus the local and regional efforts undertaken at the corporate and civil society levels to further the case of CSR in the Middle East. Working under the slogan “Building Partnerships for a Sustainable Future“. The Arabia CSR Network’s aim is to facilitate exchange of ideas and to forge lasting partnerships across sectors for an improved society based on UNGC’s ten principles for human rights, labor rights, the environment and anti-corruption.