CSR Middle East, CSR dedicated platform with 3.515 corporate members in the Middle East.

CSR becomes the hot agenda for the Middle East Business

Stakeholders have been always an important factor, customer, employee, environment and community become the main decision maker at business management all over the world. However oil dependant markets were a bit slower than the global business in that improvement. In the recent years, Middle East business have a big change in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability issues.

 

Increasing awareness and activities on CSR in the other parts of the world push Middle East business to start moving in the same track. On the other hand, global brands also introduced new CSR activities in the Middle East region and regional brands followed them. Especially the oil companies were the first introducing CSR in the region, local and global banks followed them with their CSR initiatives.

 

As seen in many disciplines, UAE has been the door and promising point for CSR with the government support. After than, we have seen the initiatives and CSR reports from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Jordan. At the beginning, CSR issues held by the PR department at the companies and at the later stage most of the companies hired specific staff to manage their CSR initiatives.

 

The increasing CSR awareness faces with the challenges as the lack of awareness in business community, lack of trained talents in CSR field and lack of Arabic materials. However every day we hear new CSR seminars, forums, trainings and meetings at different parts of the region like Dhahran, Dubai, Kuwait, Makkah, Qatar, etc. Regional Chamber of Commerces also introduced CSR initiatives to encourage regional companies to start CSR in their companies. We also have seen professional CSR reports from couple companies in 2010.

 

From Egypt to Oman, from private equity companies to the logistics companies, CSR becomes an essential part of regional business activity. In 2005, it was too difficult to see new updates related to CSR at the regional media, however today it has been a very normal activity to read CSR news and updates from many regional businesses.

 

This way will improve regional business and will help them to be sustainable. We expect the new change in the Middle East on the CSR.

 

Dr. Fatih Mehmet GUL is the Founding Director of CSR Middle East and Country Manager for Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives in Turkey. Dr. Gul is on the prestigious list of "2011 TOP 100 THOUGHT LEADERS in Europe and the Middle East". Follow Dr. Fatih Mehmet GUL on twitter @drfameg

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Comment by IRENE DASKALAKIS on February 15, 2012 at 1:15pm

Dr. Gul, Congrats on the article, as this is certainly the case. However, I would like to note that businesses in the region need to start looking at the environment as a critical area that can make the "business case for Sustainability". Assessing the environmental impact of products and operations can significantly detect areas that emit the most and/or create waste. Bringing attention to theses areas can significantly reduce operational costs and make a significant contribution to the environment, with proven, measurable results. For example, I anticipate the rise of "Green products" (assessment of the ecological footprint of the life cycle of a product/service/function), to be the next hot topic in the CSR agenda of companies in the region.

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