“Sharjah FDI Forum” Analyzes Dimensions of Corporate Social Responsibility during its Fourth Edition

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  • Are the interests of local and international companies mutually exclusive to social responsibility?
  • The UAE is a leading country globally in CSR organization and codification

What is the definition of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? Does it mean conducting charitable and humanitarian activities? Alternatively, is it about launching organised development initiatives that is conducive to the growth process? On an ethical tangent, are the interests of local and international companies mutually exclusive to social responsibility?

Answers to those questions and much more will be addressed at the fourth edition of Sharjah FDI Forum, which kick-starts on December 10, 2018, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah.

Organised under the theme ‘Shaping the Future of Economies’, the forum will be addressing key Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices across two separate panel sessions; one titled “The Future of Chambers of Commerce”, scheduled to take place on the first day of the forum; the second titled “Sustainability beyond CSR” scheduled to take place on the second day of the forum.

Global trends designed at linking responsibility to sustainable development goals:

In view of the unprecedented awareness on the critical role of CSR, the future of many companies depends largely on the extent of commitment to the implementation of CSR.

The concept of CSR has gained momentum in our region and 306 corporates signed off on the UE Global Compact. Even though this number represents only 4% of the overall number of corporates that signed the compact, it is still a remarkable improvement compared to 2003 when only three companies signed.

Emiratis leading full-fledged developments:

Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO, Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah,) said: “When it comes to CSR, the UAE ranks as one of the top philanthropic nations according to the ‘CAF World Giving Index.’ The country transformed CSR from charitable contributions to a full-fledged development initiatives on a national level, including the ‘National Strategy for the Year of Giving 2017,’ under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy.”

He continued: “The strategy aims to reach a comprehensive and sustainable national development mechanism through partnership between private and public institutions and plant the seed of CSR culture in the UAE. Currently, 400,000 companies are taking part in this national plan.”

Additionally, the UAE government launched a national CSR index, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economy, to monitor corporates’ CSR commitment. Furthermore, the 2015 corporate regulation came into force which allows public shareholding companies to contribute through CSR what is equivalent to 2% of their net profit.

Many initiatives in the UAE were launched to regulate CSR. In February, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, issued a resolution that aims to place an organisational framework for national social responsibility and the mechanisms of documenting, managing and organising them. The framework includes the roles and responsibilities of concerned authorities as well as lays down incentives for companies who practices social responsibility.

CSR as a Solution:

According to global researches, the concept of social responsibility is the result of many challenges faced by companies, including rapid technological advances which compelled companies to develop their products as well as their employees’ skills. In view of the transition from manufacturing to knowledge-based economy, there is an increasing human capital interest.

In addition to challenges, governments from around the world are applying pressure on companies through issuing legislations and regulations to protect consumers, workers, and the environment. To maintain market presence and improve competitive advantages, the business community is bound to improve their efforts and build closer strategic relations with consumers, employees, business partners, environment-protection advocates, local communities and investors.

Organised in 2015, the Sharjah Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Forum is one of the world-leading economic and financial forums, and the largest FDI and investment forum of its kind across MENA.

The Fourth edition, organised by the Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), under the support of the Ministry of Economy, will take place on 10 – 11 December 2018, at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah with the theme “Shaping the Future of Economies.”

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