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Dubai Chamber shares Corporate Social Responsibility best practices with Middlesex University Students

As part of its pioneering role as a leader in corporate social responsibility in Dubai and to educate the young generation with the concept, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented a lecture entitled, “Towards Sustainability - From Global Issues to Organisations and You” to a large gathering of students of the Middlesex University Dubai at their premises in Knowledge Village recently.

The informative lecture, presented by Annelies Hodge, Corporate Social Responsibility manager at Dubai Chamber, provided students and faculty with a detailed examination of key sustainability issues and what organisations can do be to be more sustainable in the corporate world. 

In her presentation, Ms Hodge gave many examples of the Dubai Chamber's CSR and sustainability initiatives like the maintenance of the LEED-certified existing green building, its renovation as well as the Chamber's efforts in promoting the concept with external partners wanting to adopt the concept. 

The lecture also provided several simple ways in which the students and staff can contribute to a better more sustainable world, and even brought in some sample energy efficient light bulbs and low flow faucet aerators for the students. 

Dr. Cody Morris Paris, Senior Lecturer of Social Science, commented, “Dubai Chamber's efforts are much appreciated as their presentation on sustainability was tangible, real and personal. The students were able to see on multiple levels how sustainability is impacting the world, and what individuals and organisations can do to maintain and preserve the future of our shared quality of life.” 

Ms Hodge reflected on the lecture: “Hopefully students enjoyed this look into the problems with our modern lifestyles that have made sustainability such an urgent need and how organisations like Dubai Chamber are working to become more sustainable. The youngsters were showed that sustainability is not rocket science, there are plenty of simple things they can do to make a difference each and every day. It may seem like a burden at first but it is actually a great 'win-win' opportunity to help build meaningful, happy, healthy, prosperous and secure lives for us and our children,” she said.

The lecture was well attended by many students and faculty including undergraduate students in the Social Science, Business, and Finance programmes and the MBA programme. Sustainability and CSR are topics that cut across disciplinary boundaries. Dr. Rajesh Mohnot, Senior Lecturer in Accounting & Finance, commented, “The guest lecture on CSR was very informative indeed. Students learnt about many aspects of sustainability which probably they overlook in their routine life. Dubai Chamber has addressed this issue effectively to make sure that students realise their responsibility towards the society. CSR is no more a mere buzz word!” 

MDX students visit Dubai Chamber's GREEN BUILDING 
A group of Business third year students visited one of the Arab world most environmentally friendly buildings on Sunday March 11th, 2012 arranged by Susan Soliman, Business Studies and Management Lecturer. Mrs. Annelies Hodge, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager and Eman Al Madani, Corporate Social Responsibility Executive offered the students a tour to the spectacular high facade Dubai Chamber of Commerce Building, which was established in 1965 and renovated in 1997 to improve its sustainability performance. In the following 10 years, they were able to reduce water and energy consumption by 77% and 47% respectively. Recently, they also became the 1st LEED Certified building Existing Building in the Arab world and one of only four in North America. Dimple Kalwani, BA student commented that “very simple ideas such as the Fountain running on condensate, captured from the air conditioning systems and Lighting Intelligence, Co2 meters.....etc translates CSR concept into tangible results that benefits the individual, the organization as well as the society as a whole” . 
Students received a warm welcome in the board meeting room where Mrs. Annelies Hodge, CSR Manager shared valuable insights about barriers/challenges and opportunities of organizational change towards sustainability with respect to CCR, followed by a discussion with students. 
Dubai Chamber of Commerce Building provides real and tangible evidence that existing buildings could improve its sustainability performance and not consume vast amounts of water and energy while producing significant waste. They fulfill their mission to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai by engaging with them to make better contribution to the environment through sustainable businesses.

More about Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry

This concrete example highlighted how Dubai Chamber is working to become more sustainable and responsible by focusing on 4 main areas: workplace, marketplace, community and environment. In terms of the workplace, Dubai Chamber has a diverse workforce and provides one of the healthiest, safest and eco-friendly offices in the region for its staff many of whom are CSR champions dedicated to helping the Chamber reduce waste, increase safety etc. CSR is seen as an important contributor to employee satisfaction which has risen more than 20% in the past few years.In terms of the marketplace, Dubai Chamber provides one of the leading centres of expertise in the region on sustainability, the Centre for Responsible Business (CRB), which offers a variety of educational, professional training, and consulting services to Dubai Chamber's members. Dubai Chamber also hosts the prestigious Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award which evaluates organisations on CSR as part of their business excellence. Further, Dubai Chamber works closely with its supply chain to source responsible products such as recycled paper and eco-friendly cleaning agents.

Regarding the community, Dubai Chamber's greatest contribution is the University of Dubai which it launched in 1997 to develop hundreds of skilled employees and entrepreneurs. Many staff also get engaged in community initiatives, with around 40% of staff giving 236 hours volunteering for charity initiatives and raising over USD$20,000 in 2011. Dubai Chamber also provides a yearly award for the contractors who work hard to keep our building healthy, secure, safe and eco-friendly and supports many community campaigns throughout the year like Earth Hour and World Health & Safety at Work Day. Last but not least, in the area of environment, Dubai Chamber began greening its head office back in 1997. Between 1998 and 2008 it reduced energy and water consumption by 47% and 77% respectively saving USD$1.93 million with no major investments. It is also proudly the first LEED certified Existing Building in the Arab World and has recently renovated its building to the highest green building standards managed in line with ISO14001. On top of this, it encourages numerous environmental initiatives such as Car Free day.

Dubai Chamber aims to lead by example and show how responsible organisations reduce costs by enhancing efficiency and using resources wisely. Its example demonstrates that organisations who actively serve their staff, customers and communities, increases loyalty, sales and performance. They are also celebrated as positive contributors to the development of the UAE, leading to even more success. 

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