At the first annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) conference in the UAE on 12 June, Mohammad Ahmad Bin Abdul Azis Al Shehhi, Undersecretary for Economic Affairs in the Ministry of the Economy, made the announcement that by the end of 2017 it will be mandatory for large corporations in the UAE to declare their CSR initiatives (arabianbusiness website posted). The conference was in conjunction with Zayed Humanitarian Work Day at InterContinental Dubai Festival City.
This groundbreaking announcement forms part of the National Strategy’s 11 CSR initiatives, which were designed to encourage the creation of a stimulating and supportive CSR environment in a corporate setting. There will be a minimum percentage which all private companies must allocate annually to CSR. A target has been set of half a billion dirham for private sector CSR initiatives this year. As from next month, companies will be required to register and declare their audited CSR accounts to the Ministry of the Economy. A National CSR Index has also been set up, ranking companies based on the percentage of contributions and projects in this field. Assessment will be in April 2018. The CSR Annual Report and the new Index results will be announced on Zayed Humanitarian Work Day next year. Features of the innovative programme include monetary incentives for outstanding companies in the CSR field, responsible procurement and work committees. CSR ‘labels’ and ‘passports’ will be awarded to the five companies with the most innovative approach to CSR, and there will be a coordinating forum.
There has been an enthusiastic reception to this latest CSR initiative from governmental and corporate sources alike. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of the Economy, described it as an important milestone, saying it would provide considerable support to the organisation of charitable works. He stated that this form of cooperation between various governmental and private organisations was ‘an essential and effective driving force for transforming the ‘Year of Giving’ concepts to practical programmes and initiatives.’