Corporate Accountability in the GCC was the central theme of the recent forum on ‘business integrity and value creation beyond 2015’, organized by the Pearl Initiative and the UN Global Compact. The event took place at the Dubai World Trade Centre under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Badr Jafar, Founder of the Pearl Initiative, welcomed those present, and expressed the view that accountable and well-governed companies are the building blocks of any sustainable economy. ‘These are the real drivers of social and economic sustainability,’ he said. Jafar explained that as companies grow, more jobs are created and economic activity is stimulated. New opportunities are provided for entrepreneurs, and this leads to new professionals and business owners gaining skills required to access new markets, also creating a nucleus for foreign investment. The process applied not only to large businesses but also to small companies. Even start-up initiatives can benefit enormously, Jafar said: ‘Small enterprises can arguably benefit the most from embracing the principles of corporate accountability, by increasing their appeal to prospective investors, employees, partners and customers which in turn can help them to grow faster and more steadily than they otherwise could.’
A welcome was also extended by Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, after which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote address via video on the role of the private sector in advancing global priority issues.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State, delivered a keynote address on corporate accountability, sustainable development and job creation. She made it clear that driving social and economic sustainability is not a governmental task alone; there needed to be a partnership between the private sector and civil society.
‘Collaboration, such as between the Pearl Initiative and the UN Global Compact, is highly significant; it can bring together governments and business to forge fundamental changes across the social spectrum in a way that advances human achievement,’ she stated.
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, President and Chairperson of the Foundation for the UN Global Compact, then spoke on corporate leadership and integrity.
The challenges and opportunities addressed at the forum once more confirmed EMG’s view that the effective governance offered by following the newly-formed Islamic Reporting Initiative (www.islamicreporting.org) will be most effective in accelerating advances in corporate social responsibility and accountability in the GCC, as it is much more compatible to a local context than mainstream international frameworks.
As EMG founder Daan Elffers has stated, ‘The GCC has exceptional potential to be a global leader in corporate and social responsibility, and an inspiration to other nations to achieve sustainable economic growth while creating stable, inclusive societies in a thriving environment.’