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Qatari firms shifting to long-term CSR plans

Qatari businesses shifting towards longer-term CSR collaborations, say experts. As the third edition of CSR Qatar 2015 prepares to get under way in Doha in less than two weeks’ time, key speakers at the country’s flagship conference for CSR and sustainability shared their views on the trends underpinning the changing CSR landscape in Qatar.

Held under the patronage of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, CSR Qatar 2015 will take place from November 23 to 25, under the theme “Transforming CSR to Support a Socially Responsible and Sustainable Economy in Qatar”.

Commenting on the shift in businesses’ approach to Corporate Social Responsibility, Rob Sherwin, General Manager - Corporate Affairs and Deputy Country Chairman, Shell, who will be speaking at the opening panel discussion of the conference, said, “Companies in Qatar and the GCC region are increasingly making two shifts in their approach to Corporate Social Responsibility: firstly — moving away from ad hoc philanthropy and sponsorships towards longer-term partnerships where the company is contributing and transferring capabilities and expertise in addition to just money and secondly — reframing CSR not just as the way the company spends / gives away its money, but also how it makes its money, ie, ethical business, good employer, environmentally responsible etc.”

Saleh Ali Al Mohannadi, Secretary-General of Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS), stressed the need for more closely aligned public-private partnerships. “Under Qatar Vision 2030, there is an inherent link between the four pillars (economic, social, human, and environmental development). All of these pillars are obviously interrelated in that they require strong public-private partnerships,” he said.

Identifying education, youth development, and capacity building in science and technology as the key areas for Qatari corporates to invest back into the country, Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan, Qatar Shell Professorial Chair of Sustainable Development and Professor for Food and Water Security at the Centre for Sustainable Development, Qatar University, said it is imperative for any nation to develop a vibrant science structure and ensure that economic growth is achieved in consonance with environmental demands.

“Technology and science shape tomorrow’s world and improving the quality of education is fundamental to heightening interest in, and facilitating a culture of, science and technology in the country. Enhancement of the educational system leads to the development of a scientific infrastructure, which over time will evolve into a platform for producing cutting-edge technology and innovations which positively impact the society and bring lasting prosperity and progress to the nation,” Dr Khan said.

Dr Khan will be speaking on the second day of the conference on the topic “Developing the Future Workforce”, while Saleh Ali Al Mohannadi will participate in a panel discussion entitled “Shared Value Approach: Optimising NGO Relationships by Creating Measureable, Impactful Projects”, to be held on the same day.

They are among a stellar line-up of speakers at the conference that also includes Ewa Polano, Swedish Ambassador to Qatar, Naim Yazbeck, General Manager, Microsoft Qatar, Ricardo Viana Vargas, Director of the Infrastructure and Project Management Group, United Nations Office for Project Services – Denmark, Joe Y Battikh, Head of Sustainability, Corporate Responsibility and Government & Industry Relations, Ericsson, Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen, Director of HITC and Chairman of Kulluna, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Nael Attiyat, Country Manager – Qatar, DHL Dr Mohammad Saif Al Kuwari, Board Member, National Human Rights Committee and Yousef bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, CEO, Qatar Charity.

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