Middle East: The Edge Qatar business magazine
Cover story on downstream hydrocarbons (page 47)
Daan Elffers founder of EMG CSR featured in The Edge Qatar Business magazine The Edge on Sustainbility
“On a reputation scale, organizations with strong CSR can do much better, too – and let’s face it, no organization, or government come to that, can say they don’t care about their reputation.” Elffers adds.
“Qatar: The Future is Downstream”
Is Doha’s investment in downstream hydrocarbon processes, manufacturing and exports crucial to its economic ambitions?
With hydrocarbon extraction flattening in Qatar, the nation must rely on the downstream sector if energy sector growth is to be sustained. However, while competition against the United States and other energy-rich countries is mounting, for Qatar, downstream is about more than winning a global market share battle, writes Jamie Stewart.
The responsibilities of big business
Hydrocarbon firms, perhaps more so than any other, bear a responsibility to act in a socially responsible manner – because the extraction and processing of hydrocarbons and the generation of energy are inherently antisocial actions. They release carbon into the atmosphere and contribute heavily to anthropogenic global warming; energy involves heavy industry, it can be noisy, dangerous and polluting.
Daan Elffers is founder of consultancy EMG, specialists in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability issues. At the end of November 2013, Elffers chaired CSR Qatar in Doha, which tackled one of the big questions: how to put a value on CSR?
The diverse field of CSR brings together environmental matters, health and safety issues, community involvement, and so on. Elffers says demand for better performance in CSR is growing in all sectors, including energy.
A number of Qatar’s downstream companies are actively involved in the CSR sphere in one form or another. Qatar Fuel Additives Company was the first industrial operator to gain an environmental permit from the government allowing it to operate providing adequate environmental care measures were taken. Qatar Vinyl Company states it continually monitors air quality, groundwater, sea water and sea bed sediments in the vicinity of its plant, as does the Qatar Fertilizer Company; while Qatar Petrochemical Company has worked with local universities on environmental research initiatives.
But still, much more can be done, ‘The key question is, how quickly will companies react to meet that growing demand?” Elffers says, “On a general policy level, the [Qatar] National Vision 2030 is forward thinking and addresses CSR aspects, which means there are plenty of elements in place which could really help the country to play a leading role in the CSR field.
“On a reputation scale, organizations with strong CSR do much better, too – and let’s face it, no organization, or government come to that, can say they don’t care about their reputation.” Elffers adds.