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Arabia CSR Network, Embassy of Sweden and Swedish Trade Council work towards corporate responsibility in UAE

A day-long seminar was held by the Arabia CSR Network on Sunday, 23rd October 2011 in Dubai, in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden and the Swedish Trade Council, and with the support of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers.

The event, titled 'CSR: Building Bridges for a Sustainable Future', focused on comparative learning within CSR where expertise and business cases were shared from both the UAE and Sweden. 

Speaking at the event was the Swedish Minister for Trade, Dr. Ewa Björling who gave her views on Sweden's initiatives within this area. Sweden was the first country to demand sustainability reports from state-owned companies and is regularly listed amongst the forerunners within the CSR field. 

Today, the United Arab Emirates is Sweden's second largest trading partner in the Middle East. More than 150 Swedish companies are represented there. Dr. Björling spoke at length about how she would like to see Swedish businesses in the UAE to take on a more responsible role towards ensuring sustainable development, especially in aspects such as human rights, gender equity and environmental preservation. 

Also present during the day was Mrs. Habiba Al Marashi, President and Founder of the Arabia CSR Network, an organization focusing on fostering an understanding about corporate social responsibility and promoting sustainable development in the Arab countries. Mrs. Al Marashi spoke about different CSR practices in the region and how companies could get involved with the Arabia CSR Network and its services. Mrs. Al Marashi praised the Embassy of Sweden and Swedish Trade Council for seeking partnerships that would contribute to the region's sustainable development. She strongly urged other business councils to network and collaborate for corporate responsibility in the entire country. 

One of the highlights of the day were the presentations by ABB UAE, the Jumeirah Emirates Towers and Dubai Customs on how they have been able to integrate sustainability for creating organizational value while also contributing to various social issues and environmental challenges. These companies have been recipients of the Arabia CSR Awards in the past. Their presentations served as excellent examples for other participants present at the seminar. 

Dr. Gracia Ugut, Associate Dean at the Asian Institute of Management, a leading expert within corporate social responsibility in the Middle East also presented during the seminar where she gave a quick primer on what were the essentials of an effective strategy for sustainability within any organization. Her presentation received a number of questions from participants that wanted to learn more about improving CSR and sustainability within their respective companies. 

The Seminar's key objective was to showcase the role of Swedish businesses in CSR and also provide networking opportunities amongst local businesses and Swedish companies so that they could learn more about each other's sustainable business strategies and CSR initiatives. The informative seminar was appreciated by all participants and speakers.

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