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Impact of CSR initiatives in regional context

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Impact of CSR initiatives: Saudi women owned 12% of firms in the country (source: World Bank)

There are undoubtedly different ways of measuring the desired social impact of CSR initiatives, as was evident from the methods used by organizations in the research. In general, however, there is a tendency to utilize a balanced score card with specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

The importance of measuring the long-term impact resurfaced throughout the research. The logic of measuring longer-term impact is that it is not sufficient merely to know the number of participants in a program; what happens to the beneficiaries after the program has been completed is also highly relevant information.

Participation of women in the labor force in particular in KSA has nearly tripled

It was suggested that it would be beneficial to calculate the percentage of participants finishing the different programs, how many participants were successful in finding employment after the programs, and the extent of their development after periods of six months, one year, two years and five years. To create a business case for CSR, the economic impact of each program must also be measured.

The relatively high number of expatriates in the Middle East  workforce contrasts with the number of unemployed local young men and women. The region would benefit in many long-lasting ways from achieving a sustainable workforce.

The World Bank’s “Middle East and North Africa Gender Overview” indicated that Saudi women already owned 12% of firms in the country, including 16% of large manufacturing firms, which again is an indication of the huge potential for expansion as the foundations are already in place. This is one of the reasons why in the last few years the participation of women in the labor force in particular in KSA has nearly tripled, as shown by the Ministry of Economy and Planning, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the Millennium Development Goals.

The nationalization of the workforce, including men, women, youth, and persons with disabilities, is a high profile, active project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At present, there is a relatively high number of expatriates compared with the number of unemployed Saudi men and women. The government is therefore putting a number of structures and policies in place to ensure that in the next few years the country will have developed a stronger, more capable, all-inclusive national workforce, thereby forging the way for a more prosperous and sustainable society which will be of benefit to the country for many generations to come.

In 2015 EMG has conducted informal research in regards to the employment of the national workforce. Typically organizations in Saudi Arabia are providing their employees with admirable non-financial benefits; they also support various philanthropic causes and many organizations focus consistently on workforce nationalization, whilst international organizations remain sensitive to local and regional contexts.

Intel, for example, has initiated a praiseworthy science fair to raise the interest of young people in mathematics and other sciences needed for them to study engineering.
Bupa Arabia has developed an impressive and inclusive policy towards female employees. Savola has numerous strong initiatives for both their employees and other stakeholders, while Jotun bases its business on a set of values that are rigorously adhered to. Many more organizations within the research could also be mentioned here.

In some organizations, workforce nationalization has already proved extremely successful, both for women and men. For example, in the Petro Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Company, 80% of the workforce is Saudi, and at Bupa Arabia many senior managers in the organization are women, one being a board member.
Among many well-functioning organizations in this field, it is worth highlighting Hilton Worldwide, which focuses on how local knowledge and local language can be assets within the service sector. The all-encompassing CSR policies of companies like Sabic, Jotun, Hilton, and Nestlé are also notable, as the percentages of Saudis in their organizations are high.

Click here for How corporates pursue sustainability

Article: Impact of CSR initiatives, Saudi women already owned 12% of firms in the country, including 16% of large manufacturing firms

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