CSR UAE Fund, the federal authority that governs corporate social responsibility and sustainability in the UAE, today concluded its activities for UAE Innovation Month 2021 – the CSR Survey and a discussion with MBA students at the British University in Dubai (BUiD).
Listening to Businesses
Targeting small and medium enterprises as well as multinational companies, NGO’s and academics, the CSR Survey served as a listening exercise to obtain a better understanding of their views, recommendations, and feedback on CSR the UAE.
CSR UAE Fund seeks to extract key findings and insights from the responses to the CSR Survey, which will shape the recommendations and roadmap for CSR, sustainability and social impact in the country.
Speaking on the purpose of the CSR Survey, Nuha Al Harmoudi, Director of CSR UAE Fund, said: “Since the establishment of CSR UAE Fund, formed through a Ministerial Decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, its mandate has been clear – to encourage the business sector to actively engage in socially responsible practices that lead to a positive economic, social, and environmental impact, positioning the UAE as a global leader in corporate social responsibility. This year, we thought about how to innovate in a field that is critical to the future.”
She added: “Innovation is developing creative solutions to challenges, and listening is the basis of understanding them. Hence our decision to start with exploring the views of companies and organizations on CSR, sustainability and social impact in the UAE.”
Engaging with Academica & Future CSR Leaders
The listening exercise extended to a discussion with MBA students with a specialization in sustainability at BUiD introduced by Professor Abdullah Mohammed Alshamsi, Vice Chancellor of BUiD, and Dr Bader Yousef Obeidat, Associated Professor at Faculty of Business and Law at BUiD.
During the session, she presented the success of Year of Giving where AED1.6 billion was raised through CSR programs and the UAE Food Bank was launched. During that year, the UAE’s ranked ninth in the CAF World Giving Index 2017.
Building on the nation’s efforts and the success of the Year of Giving, the CSR UAE Fund was established in late 2018 to continue building a dedicated approach to CSR for sustainability and social impact in the country.
After learning about the students’ definitions and their examples of corporate social responsibility, Al Harmoudi shared case studies from the Fund, which included partnering with Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Ministry of Community Development and Ministry of Culture and Youth in 2020 to launch projects and campaigns in line with the countries’ priorities. Furthermore, Al Harmoudi briefed students on the COVID-19 Impact Framework, a comprehensive guide by leading sustainability experts to help businesses adapt their CSR strategies and activities for the future.
Referencing ‘social responsibility’ as the key words in corporate social responsibility, she noted that sustainability cannot be achieved through working in silos. The UN’s SDGs are global in nature, and the UAE is a key contributor. Likewise, the UAE’s CSR activities cannot be completed by one entity on its own, and the country’s ranking cannot be boosted by CSR UAE Fund alone – hence the need for collaborations towards the common goal.
Al Harmoudi elaborated on the latest partnership with Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, the Ministries as well as various business entities to join efforts in aligning contributions towards the country’s national priorities. This resulted in more than AED1.3 million in monetary contributions and over 180,000 in-kind donations to more than 395,000 beneficiaries.
She expressed pride in being part of a government that listens to its people, and approaches its global role and contributions to the rest of the world responsibly.
In closing, Al Harmoudi questioned the students as future CSR leaders on the types of educational initiatives they would like to see. This garnered some innovative responses, such as incorporating CSR activities within schools.
Building on the approach to listening during UAE Innovation Month, CSR UAE Fund will continue the dialogue with businesses, academics and future leaders to help shape the future of CSR in the UAE.
If you would like to be a part of the conversation on the future of CSR in UAE, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will invite you to future talks.