The 2015 CSR Summit in Dubai brought together CSR leaders from around the world to share ideas on regional and international best practice. The Summit was opened with a keynote address from H.E. Khaled Al Kamda, Director General of the Community Development Authority in Dubai and focused on “the art of giving”.
EMG’s founder and CEO, Daan Elffers, alongside Zeljka Davis and Katarina McCartney conducted a certified executive workshop on measuring the impact of CSR and delivered an interactive session highlighting the importance of planning and implementation to ensure meaningful, inclusive and valuable CSR reports. The workshop was endorsed by the George Washington University, USA.
Elffers chaired a session on the opportunities of NGO partnerships. The panel discussions around public-private partnerships created an interesting debate, prompting one delegate to ask the panel on their thoughts around how partnerships are likely to flourish in times of financial constraint. The panel unanimously agreed that the key opportunities to work together relied on the sharing of expertise and skills to achieve positive social impact.
The workshops identified a desire by delegates to be confident in creating relevant CSR reports, to improve cohesion between a range of existing programs and to bring them in line with their organization’s overall corporate strategy. Reporting is seen as a key tool in the formalizing of CSR projects and there is increasing uptake by organizations across the region.
EMG senior consultant Kat McCartney moderated the panel discussion on youth engagement and workforce development in the context of CSR, and in particular, how integrated CSR programs focusing on education and skills can work towards these areas of focus.
The panel discussions provided great examples of cases in the region, with discussions centered on the importance of regional contexts of social need and opportunity, and other key areas on the importance of cross-sector partnerships, stakeholder relations, reliability measures, and the development of long-term projects not bound by time constraints.
Etisalat’s Advisor to the CEO, Ali Al Ahmed, heighted the value of integrated CSR, where social good is ingrained in the business strategy and where valued contributions have come to those who have come to the UAE and now call it home.
Intel Corporation’s slot was a particular highlight. Here, delegates were able to hear stories from beneficiaries of the organization’s CSR programs, with reference to the youth enterprise and entrepreneurship programs. They each spoke highly of their newly acquired expertise and career progression, as well as the challenges they overcame.
The CSR Summit was a great opportunity to engage with the regional community, to share ideas, expertise and support for the development of new partnerships. The Islamic Reporting Initiative (IRI) was received as a valuable opportunity in providing the knowledge, framework and means to effectively measure the programs relevant to the locality. The tool, which is anticipated to be developed through contributions by regional and industry-wide organizations, will create a new standard for CSR reporting, and is currently looking for partners local to the region.
As part of EMG’s own CSR program, EMG Founder Daan Elffers also took the opportunity to give a lecture on CSR and Sustainable Development at the Canadian University Dubai (CUD). To read the article published on the website of the CUD: http://www.cud.ac.ae/news/students-learn-about-business-benefits-corporate-social-responsibility.