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Part of the Oman Manufacturing Group (OMG) series of seminars, the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) organised yesterday a forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The event, held at Grand Hyatt Muscat, was presided over by Shaikh Mohammed bin Said al Kalbani, Minister of Social Development.
The seminar was held to highlight the importance of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives which have been trending all over the Sultanate. It aimed to remarkably signify the holistic view on the critical role played by corporates in serving the society, environment, employees and stakeholders. The event also shed light on the significance of adopting Corporate Social Responsibility strategies and policies in various organisations.
This outstanding event presented fundamental learning experience, opportunity to highlight practical insights and discuss CSR policies and strategies with top experts and professionals. The event served as a platform to gather CSR experts and exchange their ideas and experience in the practical implementation of CSR programmes and how they lead to a success of any organisation in one way or another.
Through Oman Manufacturing Group (OMG) series of seminars starting in 2007, the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) strives to promote the industry and other related sectors in the Sultanate.
All these seminars are based on constructive discussions and dialogues between a group of decision makers, businessmen from both the government and private sector. Various issues related to industry are highlighted in the meetings s well as discussing the bilateral relations which help achieving a remarkable value for all bodies.
Commenting on organising the Oman Manufacturing Group series of seminars, the Social Development Minister said that: “Such insightful events reflect the significance of having a mutual co-operation between the public and private bodies to build an integrated society. Various establishments in the Sultanate made great efforts to implement the Corporate Social Responsibility. The social and voluntary associations are considered an important partner to activate the social responsibility”.
Among the high-profile speakers participating at the seminar was Annelies Hodge, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Manager at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She has 14 years of professional experience in CSR, consulting, business development, organisational change, marketing and stakeholder engagement.
Speaking on the occasion, Annelies Hodge pointed out: "CSR, when implemented strategically, truly is a ‘win-win’ strategy which complements and benefits both organisations and society alike. In terms of workplace initiatives for example, organisations that help society by providing healthy and fulfilling jobs also build a more loyal and productive workforce. It is the same for environmental initiatives, organisations that help society by consuming less resources and releasing less dangerous substances into the environment which endanger the health of others also save money while ensuring their ongoing license to operate."
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility refers to those set of CSR activities that benefit social and environmental causes as well as the businesses. Annelies Hodge also commented on CSR activities if can only be undertaken by high-profile organisations, saying that: "We may hear more about the CSR activities of high-profile organisations because they are under the spotlight more and often have well-established PR functions and resources to actively manage their CSR initiatives."
Other speakers at the seminar comprised Al Mutasim bin Said al Sariri, Corporate Communication and CSR Manager at Oman Oil Company, Abdullah bin Mubarak al Shekaili, National Fund Supervisor at Oman LNG and Qasim bin Mohammed al Balushi, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Oman India Fertilizer Company (OMIFCO) based in Sur.
Al Sariri worked in various roles to serve the community in areas related to social investment, communications and social marketing. He is a founding member of a number of NGOs and civil society organisations in the Sultanate including Oman Road Safety Association and Oman Youth Road Safety Ambassadors. He is also an active speaker in Youth Engagement and CSR.
"The research of Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business on CSR in SMEs shows that CSR can and is undertaken by large and small organisations alike.
All companies are doing something regardless of their size or profile. The main difference is that smaller companies often do not have a name like ‘CSR’ for it or special resources dedicated to measuring, improving and communicating their CSR performance, it is just the way they do business but it is generally an ad-hoc rather than a strategic approach and hence the benefits are often limited," Annelies Hodge added.
She also stressed that to realise the full ‘win-win’ benefits of CSR regardless of their size or profile; companies should move beyond ad-hoc initiatives and take a more strategic approach to CSR which embeds it in the ‘way they do business’ across their organisation. "Fortunately, we are seeing this happening more and more in the Middle East and worldwide as awareness about CSR and its benefits grow," she remarked.