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UAE Companies Leading the Way in Implementing Integrity-Related Policies
The Pearl Initiative, the not-for-profit organisation that seeks tocreate a corporate culture of accountability and transparency in the Arab world,today takes the first step in providing actionable insight to companies andGovernments across the GCC and Middle East.
In response to a lack of credible insightful research into howbusinesses are operating in the region, the Pearl Initiative launches the firstreport in its series on Corporate Good Practices. This truly independent reportfocuses on the implementation of integrity-related policies as well as effortstowards integrated reporting. The report aims to demonstrate that highstandards of accountability and transparency can enable long term direct valuecreation. Added to this is the opportunity to share experiences and providepractical lessons from GCC based companies that are ahead of the curve inimplementing good practices.
The initial research for the report was undertaken by a team of MBAstudents drawn from the American University of Sharjah, UAE and the JudgeBusiness School at the University of Cambridge, UK, The student team carried out extensive desk research, conceptual theme developmentand face-to-face and telephone interviews with executives of a long list ofcompanies deemed to have good practices. A further4 months of research and interviews led to the inclusion of eight good practicecase studies from across the GCC including those at Abraaj Capital, Agility, AluminiumBahrain, Aramex, Gulftainer, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Savola and TDIC
The good practice examples illustrateefforts made by a selection of companies that appear to be working and aretherefore worth sharing, with the wider business community. The case studiesincluded in this first Report are just the first step in building up acomprehensive knowledge base of good practices in operation right around theregion.
The research indicated a number of success factors that othercompanies would be well advised to adopt. Regarding the implementation ofintegrity-related practices, common themes include; visionary leadership,stakeholder viewpoints, local and cultural context, accessibility. On the issueof integrated reporting; understanding stakeholder priorities, qualitative andquantitative data generation, and credibility are key to effectiveimplementation.
Imelda Dunlop, Executive Director, Pearl Initiative, commented onthe report launch:
"Both the public and private sectors will benefit from the launch ofthis report, the first of its kind in the GCC. We have produced a trulyindependent report that will influence the thinking and the behaviour of thewider business community across the GCC. We produced this as a response to thelack of credible insightful data available on corporate practices in GCCcompanies.
"The Pearl Initiative seeks to catalyze joint action from theprivate and public sectors to create an environment where there are genuineincentives for raising the standard of corporate practices. We believe thatimplementing better standards of accountability and transparency will raise thelevel of talent in an organisation, improve standing within the businesscommunity and ultimately make a company a more attractive investmentproposition."
Badr Jafar, Co-Founder of the Pearl Initiative,commented:
"In order forthe Pearl Initiative to make a difference to the public and private sectorcompanies operating across the UAE we must show clear business benefits forintroducing integrated reporting, integrity-related policies, higher standardsof corporate accountability and transparency. All of the companies that havebeen independently researched within this report are well known and leadingcompanies within their respective markets and the region. We hope that othercompanies will follow their example and join on this journey towards more responsiblebusiness practices."
Within thereport, "Implementation of Integrity-Related policies" covers theimplementation and embedding of ethics and integrity-related policies in areasof ethical labour practices, anti-bribery and corruption, human rights, supplychain and responsible investing. "Integrated Reporting" demonstrates the shifttowards bringing financial, sustainability and governance reporting all intoone document or process for the benefit of stakeholders.
Sara Bahman, a co-author of the Report and AUS MBAgraduate, added:
"Mostcompanies seek to build their reputation on trust and integrity, but unlessbacked up by action, these are just words. In an increasingly competitivebusiness environment, where access to information is easier than ever andstakeholders expect so much more of companies, the business case is clear.Greater integrity and more comprehensive alignment of business strategies andobjectives will lead to higher corporate performance."
Dr PeterHeath, Chancellor of the American University of Sharjah, commented:
"It is vitalthat we develop further research-based analysis and insight on corporatepractices within the GCC. This work demonstrates the added-value of universityand private sector collaboration; and the direct involvement of students in theresearch is very advantageous for their overall skills development."