CSR reporting and networking event
Dubai Chamber’s initiative to facilitate
increased corporate accountability
With Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities taking off in the Middle East in a big way, it is time for UAE-based local companies to familiarize themselves with CSR reporting and the inherent value this process can add to an organization’s performance. It is with this objective in mind that the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Centre for Responsible Business is partnering with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to host a one-day networking event on the value of sustainability reporting, on January 30.
Being held at the Dubai Chamber premises, the day-long event will be addressed by Ralph Thurm, Associate Director Business Engagement & Development of GRI and HE Eng Hamad Buamim, Director General of Dubai Chamber. The seminar will be sponsored by leading regional companies, such as NBAD, Nakheel and Aramex, and attended by a number of the Chamber’s members, as well as others active in the local and regional CSR community: NGOs, public agencies, auditors, investors, and communication, risk and HR professionals.
Commenting on the event Eng Hamad Buamim, Director General of Dubai Chamber said, “It’s our foremost priority at Dubai Chamber to provide the best services to our members and stakeholders. I take pride in the fact that we are at the forefront of driving CSR reporting out of its infancy by launching this internationally-recognizable event, and by offering our resources to guide and support local companies undertaking the CSR reporting journey. This event is designed to benefit a wider home audience who will get a chance to discuss key drivers, issues and challenges related to CSR reporting in the UAE and Gulf region.”
Ralph Thurm, Associate Director Business Engagement & Development of GRI, added, “The GRI is delighted to partner with the Dubai Chamber Centre for Responsible Business to make this event happen. Although CSR, as a managerial approach, is further evolving in the UAE, CSR reporting remains a new and relatively unexplored concept. However, as companies increasingly recognize the tangible benefits CSR offers them we are seeing a rise in local good practices and with this, an interest in finding out more about other CSR management tools, such as sustainability reporting. Aramex were the first Arab based organization to launch a sustainability report in line with the international GRI reporting guidelines, and we are sure that in the coming years, as the benefits of sustainability reporting become apparent, many more local companies will follow in their wake.
“I hope this event helps managers to build the internal business case to begin the CSR reporting process and to guide them through the labyrinth of tools and standards. The GRI exists to help guide companies through CSR reporting and by collaborating in this event I hope that we can share the lessons learnt from the region and look to include the voice of the Middle East in our ongoing guideline development for sustainability reporting,” said Mr. Thurm
Hosted by the non-profit making organization, the Centre for Responsible Business, in conjunction with the Global Reporting Initiative the networking event is focused on raising awareness of sustainability reporting as an internal management tool that assists organizations in enhancing their overall performance. The event thus looks to help participants build the business case for CSR reporting, and assist in its practical application of the process within their company. It will also provide ample opportunity for companies to hear from the international expert in this field, and to network, learn from and share local and regional experiences.
As the de facto global standard for CSR reporting, the GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines have now been used by over 1,000 companies worldwide. Companies use the Guidelines to identify key CSR issues and to communicate their performance and intentions publicly to a wide group of stakeholders, including consumers, employees, shareholders and investors. Some regional companies have expressed an interest in using the GRI
Guidelines to help them through the reporting process.
The Global Reporting Initiative was formed by the Coalition of Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 1997 and institutionalized as a Foundation during the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). It was established out of a belief that companies should clearly communicate how they address both positive and negative affects of their operations on society and require guidelines to assist them in this process.
Today, the GRI is a network of 30,000 individuals from business, civil society, labor, and professional institutions from around the globe that organize and
create the content of reporting frameworks to facilitate sustainability or CSR reporting. Last year, the first CSR report based on the latest GRI G3 framework in the Middle East was published. Across the world, more than 1,000 organizations in over 70 countries declare using the GRI Guidelines to facilitate their sustainability reporting process.
Dubai Chamber established the Center for Responsible Business (formerly known as the Dubai Ethics Resource Centre), in 2004 to foster corporate integrity, and assist organizations in applying responsible
business practices that enhance performance and competitive edge. The Centre does this through the provision of research, training, assessments, certification, programs, events and advisory services that cover all aspects of CSR. A team of reporting experts, including former GRI employees, can assist local organizations in developing a CSR report from stakeholder engagement through to drafting the final document.
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