Recent Events
08 July 2020

From bribery and corruption to ESG and reputational risks, corporate compliance plays an important role in shaping a business and help it remain safe in an ever-changing business environment. Third parties work at various levels of almost all organisations. To manage third party risks is a key challenge as well as an opportunity for business growth – but only if managed using targeted compliance policies.

Organisations hoping to achieve risk-free business operations need to regularly review policies and procedures to keep organisations up to date with regulations, technology, and industry best practices to manage third party risks. A strategically set up third party policy framework not only helps communicate the expectations of an organisation, but also allows it to manage risk at all level while engaging with the third parties.

Keeping this in mind, this webinar aims to shed light on the importance of setting up a strategic third-party policy framework while discussing the benefits it can result in for organisations trying to achieve operational success.

30 June 2020
As the world emerges from the isolation imposed by the COVID-19, it is faced with increasing social and economic challenges. However, these challenges also present unique opportunities to evaluate the status quo and re-imagine new realities. For organisations, this means assessing progress, business operations, and sustainability, all the while avoiding short-termism. 

In a conversation with leading Gulf business representatives, this panel explored the following:
  • What has changed for businesses since the start of the pandemic?
  • How will companies be working through the new expectations and needs in terms of human resource management (such as increased work from home and increased utilisation of digital tools)?
  • How would sustainability strategies change in the post COVID-19 era?


In this webinar, we learned that:
  • The fast-changing environment is making it hard to predict where we will be in the next few months, and businesses must be innovative in preparing their work plans and outlooks.
  • The pandemic has highlighted the value of trust in the workplace and the need for open communication. Workplace trends can and must change, and management styles need to change along with these.
  • The focus on cash is making businesses and governments think of what we can achieve and afford, which might make our response in the region more resilient in the long run.
  • When we think about sustainability programmes, there is increasing pressure to re-focus initiatives based on pressing social needs. Companies should also use their brand value to promote social support and sustainability, and consider how company values drive empathy and community orientation.
  • Work trends and outlooks must be flexible and agile, but keep in mind that – putting even more pressure on the need of businesses to be more flexible and agile, but also keeping an eye on the long-term outlook. Reshaping and refocusing business plans will be essential, whilst continuing to be efficient.
25 June 2020

A Harvard Business Review survey noted that nearly 90% of family firms have seen negative impact to their businesses as a result of COVID-19. As Gulf economies undergo financial and economic challenges brought on by the current global pandemic, family businesses can approach the situation on strong footing by proactively reacting to these changes.

Although the landscape is rapidly shifting, family firms have the opportunity to mitigate the adverse impacts on their businesses, through addressing these complexities from a long-term perspective. Business boards also have a vital role in providing strategic guidance through spearheading corporate governance best practices to secure the overall sustainability of the organisation.

This webinar will discuss the impact the global pandemic has had on family firms and explore valuable strategies to keep abreast with imminent hurdles. In conversation with family business members, this panel will use real life examples to demonstrate how family businesses have altered their larger operational activities. The webinar will also explore how a robust governance framework and strategic direction from the board is valuable, especially during times of crisis.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Outlining the impact of the global pandemic on family businesses
  • Highlight the value of longterm outlooks instead of short-term approaches
  • Breaking down the benefit of a governance framework


What we learnt: 
  • The definition of governance has evolved in the region over the past decade. In the region’s early stages, family businesses would often host informal family council sessions – which should not be discounted for being anything less than a natural form of governance as well.
  • There are some benefits that family firms are predisposed to – for instance, when the business needs to be reactive, being more agile (an attribute of many family firms) allows a family firm the ability to be  respond quicker.
  • Governance requires leadership and ownership by numerous stakeholders and not necessarily one individual member or function of the family business.
  • Family businesses should be cautious not to implement blanket governance policies to their organisations as the mechanisms cannot be used as a “one-size-fits-all”, but rather tailored depending on the unique circumstances and fabric of the family business itself.
  • Family firms should be mindful that there are overarching macro-trends influencing their firms that should be reflected in and shape their governance structures accordingly.
  • Even family firms that have a governance structure in place often do not maximise the benefits and advantages they can gain from it. Especially during a crisis, it is vital to think about whether the business is using its set governance mechanisms to their full extent by addressing and engaging its board and other key stakeholders.
  • In time of crisis, Board of Directors are the core engines for family businesses in making sure that there is a clear and direct communication channel between the board and  management. For a long-term outlook, family businesses across the Gulf Region need to leverage the expertise, direction, and resources available to them by the Board.
22 June 2020
Creating and fostering an ethical corporate culture are essential to the overall viability and sustainability of an organisation. Not only does an ethical corporate culture attract a greater customer base, but it also increases employee retention and attracts investments.

The challenge, however, is in embedding ethical behaviours across entire departments and supply chains. As organisations cultures pass down from long-serving to new employees, the process of embedding codes, policies and procedures across the organisation becomes extremely difficult. Thus, organisational culture is influenced not just by written regulations, rules and policies, but also by unwritten codes of ‘how we really do things around here.’

Leveraging expertise and knowledge from a global network of consultants, GoodCorporation, this webinar explored regional challenges and opportunities of embedding an ethical corporate culture.

The following topics were discussed in detail:
  • Assessing business ethics and the role of GoodCorporation
  • Brief history of ‘culture’ as a business issue
  • What happens when culture goes wrong
  • What an ‘ethical' company culture looks like
  • Challenges in maintaining a good company culture in the age of remote working
  • Overcoming the challenges maintaining and enhancing a culture of cohesion and inclusivity within a more fragmented and uncertain working environment 






Click here to access the presentation used throughout the webinar session. 

What we've learnt:
  • The challenge to setting up an ethical corporate culture is translating a document that sits in the head office, to the day to day business operations both internally and externally with subsidiaries and companies in the supply chain.
  • Decision makers in business naturally default to short-termism where yielding higher profits in the short-term outweigh their considerations for long-term business success. To achieve an ethical corporate culture, there is a need to shift this mentality and focus more on the long-term benefits of ethical business conduct. Research has shown that ethical companies outperform their counterparts who do not abide by ethical business practices. 
  • Ethics goes beyond the law and doing what is legal – it is about doing what is right. Sometimes, actions that are within the bounds of the law can still be considered wrong.
  • Ethical training is an important component to fostering an ethical culture in the workplace. These trainings should feature real life examples and need to be marketed properly – in line with global marketing trends
  • “Speak-up” initiatives should not about who is making mistakes and acting unethically, it is primarily about how can organisations make things better and prevent wrong-doing.
  • Stressing the value of ethics, particularly in times of crisis, is extremely important as employees might make the wrong decisions when under pressure.
  • Some of the key features of a good ethical culture include:
    • Ethical tone at the top
    • Fair treatment of employees, suppliers, and customers
    • Trust in management
    • Employees supported to do the right thing
    • Confidence in raising concerns
    • Health & safety taken seriously
    • Environment and local communities treated respectfully
17 June 2020
Much has been said about the necessity of supporting women in the workplace and the business and moral cases for the same. Such a change, however, can only come about with the support of senior management and leaders within the company. The tone from the top is essential to ensure women feel included and appreciated at work, and for employees to make gender equality a top priority at all levels of the company. This is all the more important now with the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce, and with women often pulling “double shifts” to balance domestic work and employment simultaneously. So what can senior management do to support women in their workforces, and how can these changes be carried over into a post-COVID-19 world?

This webinar aimed to:
  • Explain the necessity for increased women in leadership positions,
  • How senior management can be held accountable for D&I messaging and outcomes, particularly in light of COVID-19, and
  • How companies can establish goals and targets to track and measure D&I results across all levels and departments.



In this webinar, we learnt:
  • What the current leadership tone is across the Gulf Region’s Private Sector, and how companies can strategically implement D&I initiatives in the context of the Gulf 
  • How the tone from the top in companies make progress in terms of organisational D&I initiatives – particularly in terms of cascading D&I ideas and mandates from top leadership to middle management and below
  • What some of the common challenges are pertaining to the inclusion of women in top management across Gulf businesses, and how the region fares in relation to other countries
  • Plotting an effective path to transform a culture shift in organisations while including multiple internal stakeholders to create an inclusive environment in practice
  • How the business case for increased diversity – particularly relating to improved organisational revenues and innovation – can be leveraged to improve D&I policies
15 June 2020
A large majority of family firms across the region are currently in their second generation, and will undergo a generational transfer in management and leadership over the next 5 to 10 years.
Given the significant economic and social contribution family businesses make towards Gulf economies, it is imperative that this transition occurs seamlessly.

However, there are a number of threats that can pose a risk to family business continuity, and ensuring the sustainability of a family business is a delicate affair of managing family, business and ownership affairs harmoniously to avoid the risk of conflict.

Without a necessary corporate and family governance system in place, in a family business, family and business affairs are not mutually exclusive and as such, conflict in the family can potentially spill into the business and vice versa, causing long term impact on business sustainability and family harmony.

A family governance framework that defines a common system of values and objectives is required, as well as a structure for resolving conflicts. 

Led by Amin Nasser, Middle East Family Business Senior Advisor, PwC, this webinar deconstructed the elements and dynamics across family firms in the Gulf Region and explore strategies & tools for conflict management.
 
This webinar:
  • Discussed why conflicts occur in family businesses
  • Explored the core issues likely to cause tension in a family business
  • Deconstructed the impact of conflict on family wealth
  • Outlined the strategies to navigate and minimising conflict in family firms

 

What we learnt:

  • Family businesses face many challenges that other businesses might not ever have to face due to the intertwined elements that include the family and the business. In addition to economic instabilities & global pandemics, family firms struggle with balancing family needs with business needs and thus are posed to threats that affect family relationships as well as ownership and management succession; all of which threaten their survival.
  • To avoid conflicts, family businesses should create clarity and certainty around all of the elements, establishing rules, conflict management protocols while formalising the relationship among family members. Family stability and success will reflect positively onto the business.
  • Many family feuds regionally are often diffused, or at the very least delayed, due to a strong culture of respect for elder generations. However, these same families often come into conflict when the patriarch or old leadership generation passes, and the next gen come into the fold.
  • Disagreement and conflict exist in all families and is not reflective of poor business management or performance. Disputes primarily take place due to shareholder expectations (both family and non-family members) not being met to their full extent. This is often exasperated by a lack of clear and effective communication with stakeholders. Without transparency, shareholders are likely to raise questions about dividend cuts – especially during times of decreased profitability.
  • It is vital to understand the dynamics of family members within the family business. This is commonly demonstrated by the 3 Circle Model: Family, Ownership and Business/Management. By using corporate governance mechanisms and systems to formalise the relationships and interaction among the various systems, conflicts can be mitigated. Similarly, other formal procedures in dealing with family, such as judicial committees, family/shareholder councils, or confiding in trusted advisors, conflict can also minimise the occurrence of disputes. It is also important to engage passive shareholders who can provide additional support to the family.
  • It is imperative for families to commit to consistent fairness – regardless of family member or non-family member and think about it as the most crucial ingredient for conflict management.
11 June 2020
The size non-profit organisations and the scale of their activities has grown  exponentially across the Gulf Region.This in turn has raised questions regarding the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of the sector, as well as the recognition of the potential of the sector in terms of partnering with the public and private sectors to deliver greater results and benefits to society.

Despite efforts to support the sector, there is still room for improvement, particularly in Saudi Arabia, where they have set ambitious targets for the growth of the sector and its contribution to the GDP in the Saudi Vision 2030.

Facilitated by Rana Zumai, Executive Manager for Corporate Communications, Nesma Holding, this webinar discussed factors leading to the success of the sector, contributing to its efforts in socio-economic development, as well as the challenges the sector faces, impeding its fulfilment of the Saudi Vision 2030.



What we learnt:
  • Partnership with the non-profit sector is critical to the successful implementation of sustainability strategies.
  • The global pandemic revealed that businesses that embedded sustainability to their core strategy outperformed businesses that took a bolt-on approach.
  • Foundations need to provide support to the non-profit sector through financial and non-financial contributions.
  • The private sector can learn from the experiences, successes and failures of the non-profit sector when it comes to building sustainability strategies.
02 June 2020

The global pandemic has altered the economic paradigm in which businesses operate, possibly permanently. For the Gulf Region, this has been compounded by the oil market crash, and as realities play out in full, businesses need to restack risks and revise strategies. Leveraging expertise from London-based independent research firm, Arabia Monitor, this webinar will assess the implications of economic and social policies being rolled out across the region, and weigh their impact on business and investment.

The webinar explored the following:

  • True prospects for growth over the next couple of years;
  • The impact on the various regional Visions, and draw implications for investment strategy;
  • Alternative FDI and trade routes in the midst of a murky regional outlook; and
  • The dramatically altered risk frontier for regional business.

 

01 June 2020
The term “sustainability” often conjures ideas about environmental protection and social responsibility in the business realm. Companies are urged to have “sustainable” processes and production goals. However, what does sustainability mean from a corporate governance perspective – particularly for small businesses? What does it mean for an MSME to have sustainable business practices, a sustainable business plan, or sustainable income? Most importantly – what does it mean for MSMEs to contribute to a sustainable economy?

This webinar aimed to:
  • Place the multi-layered concept of sustainability for MSMEs from a governance perspective,
  • How MSMEs can rework their internal governance processes to become truly sustainable businesses, and
  • Give viewers a chance to ask the webinar facilitators about how they can adapt or implement measures suitable for individual business needs to become sustainable.


In this webinar, we learnt:
  • Why sustainability is a core pillar of governance, and why it is so essential for small businesses who may not be paying attention to this principle
  • The difference between corporate governance structures and corporate governance functions – and how they overlap
  • The difference between sustainability as an environmental concern for businesses and sustainable business activities as related to ESG functions
  • Sustainability-as-ESG and its role in due diligence reporting for businesses, particularly in terms of investor perception for MSMEs
  • Investor trends and how sustainability plays a role in the disbursement of funds 
  • How resilience plays into sustainability for businesses: the roles of data, transparency, and engagement
  • The initial steps a business should take to implement a sustainability mandate
20 May 2020

In the wake of the public health pandemic of COVID-19, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are ever more important. Despite 2019 bringing a close to the first phase of the 2030 agenda, many businesses have fallen behind in taking stock of the underlying targets of the SDGs. Organisations need to move away from an air-brush approach to the SDGs, by unpacking the targets within the goals to formulate their strategy.

The current pandemic should propel, rather than deter commitment and progress on the SDGs. Businesses have an opportunity to identify their strengths, prioritise the SDGs, develop organisation-specific definitions to the targets; all under clearly articulated ambitions and supporting metrics.

This webinar presented a methodological approach towards seamlessly integrating SDG targets into wider business strategy, through developing a data-driven approach for organisations committed to making an impact.



What we learnt: 
  • The gap in the progress made on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is going to be exasperated by the global health pandemic of COVID-19. In its inverse, the pandemic will also maximise the necessity for the SDGs.
  • It is imperative that the private sector ramps up the speed of their contribution towards the progress of the SDGs to achieve the targets by 2030.
  • In terms of their contribution and reporting on SDG progress, companies usually fall into one of three categories:
    1. Companies that have aligned their values and core operations to the SDGs.
    2. Companies that have strategic partnerships and alliances that allow them to contribute towards the SDGs.
    3. Companies that take an airbrush approach to the SDGs through basic reporting on their annual report, without necessarily looking at the breakdown of the SDGs.
  • It is vital for an organisation to identify their SDG goal and indicator alignment, in order to be strategic about what is to be measured, who should be measuring it and how it will be tracked. This is especially pertinent if an organisation aligns with multiple goals and indicators.
  • The three most important elements for the private sector to take heed of when aligning with the SDGs are:
    1. Leadership: Making sure there is management buy-in and that the language for progressing the goals comes from top-down.
    2. Collaboration: Partnerships should be made strategically so that it aligns with or progresses the businesses’ identified SDG indicators.
    3. Transparency: Public disclosure should be discussed and revaluated annually so that the level of reporting is always being elevated.
  • Departmental silos are an impediment to the successful alignment of the SDGs across business operations. It is only through the involvement of all departments and functions in an organisation that real collaboration takes place. Specific “language” needs to be used with each department of an organisation. For instance, sustainability experts should work closely with financial and investment officers to think about how to raise capital through the lenses of the SDGS.  
  • There is immense value in an organisation reporting effectively, including being accountable and transparent to their stakeholders. Reporting on SDG progress also allows the United Nations to have a better picture on how much contribution the private sector is making.
  • For over half of the SDGs’ indicators, data is not regularly collected by most of the countries that signed onto its progress. One of the key reasons for this is a lack of an established methodology to measure them. By noting how an organisation can track their impact on the progress of the goals, the private sector can contribute towards this data vacuum.
18 May 2020
Business leaders have their work cut out for them in every sense of the phrase. With the responsibility to drive revenues, ensure shareholder and stakeholder value, and grow and retain employees, business leaders face insurmountable hurdles.

In times of crisis, these hurdles and the need to address them are intensified. As the global pandemic unveils its devastating impact on our socio-economic realities, leaders find themselves caught between the need to act swiftly, but also to make calculated decisions that ensure the sustainability of their business. Striking a balance between the two is a challenge.

In conversation with Patrick Chalhoub, CEO of Chalhoub Group, and Dr Dena Assaf, the UN Resident Coordinator for the UAE, this webinar focused the challenges that lay ahead of businesses in these troubling times and the necessary actions that businesses must take to maintain stakeholder trust, while also ensuring the sustainability of the business.

More specifically, the webinar touched upon:
  • Attributes for successful leadership in times of crisis
  • Outlining stakeholder needs
  • Global expectations from businesses in times of crisis
  • Business sustainability beyond COVID19


What we learnt:
  • In light of the unprecedented challenges we face today, organisational leaders ought to be authentic, transparent, connected with their teams, service providers, communities and government players. All of which will aid leaders to be more compassionate, resilient, and innovative.
  • Some of the key steps that Chalhoub Group took to protect its business and employees include:
    • Implementing work from home policies and providing support to employees affected by the pandemic
    • Providing e-learning for employees to continue to train them with new skills, as the company moved to e-commerce
    • Collaborating with competitors that are facing similar challenges
  • In terms of leadership, Patrick Chalhoub stressed the importance of the following:
    • Honesty
    • Clear and transparent communication
    • Need to ask questions when answers are not available
    • Accepting and learning from mistakes
17 May 2020
The threat of the COVID pandemic across the globe has brought unprecedented circumstances upon investors and MSMEs on many fronts including investment opportunities available as well as business approach. As a result, many MSMEs particularly those involved in trading and export activities have been brought to a virtual standstill. How can MSMEs sustain businesses during these challenging times? 

•    The current state of investment sector in the UAE and the Gulf
•    Investment opportunities amidst the pandemic
•    How MSMEs can attract investor appetite 
•    The importance of corporate governance in investing and being invested on among MSMEs 
•    The investment outlook and what MSMEs should prepare for



In this webinar, we learnt:
  • What the current investment scenario looks like in relation to COVID-19 and associated policy outcomes in individual Gulf countries
  • Government support announced in Gulf countries pertaining to MSME support, particularly in terms of fiscal and monetary policies
  • A comparison of the pre-COVID and post-COVID investment field in the UAE, with predicted risks and long-term impacts
  • What current investment opportunities are available for investors and financiers, despite the impact of COVID-19
  • The likely investment conclusions: that growth and incomes will remain scarce, and debt levels will remain high 
  • How MSMEs can innovate and adapt to attract investment during the COVID-19 crisis, and what the current sources of capital are for small businesses
  • The importance of corporate governance in attracting investors and retaining capital for MSMEs

 
13 May 2020
Family businesses are a cornerstone of the Gulf Region’s economy. With a fast-approaching shift in leadership, it is imperative that family firms address contrasting  generational approaches to the governance, management and strategy of the business. Senior generations of family businesses often carry different priorities as compared to younger generations. Having the dual roles of being both members of the family and active members of the firm can prove to be challenging and create tension as well. If left unaddressed, this can quickly become a source of conflict and potentially bring instability to both the family and the business. By setting clear paths on how to balance expectations, goals and demands, such conflicts can be averted. 

A survey conducted by PwC on the successors of family businesses identified three common gaps that they often face: the generation gap, the credibility gap and the communication gap between the younger and senior generations of the family. Whilst the next generation of leadership often seeks innovation and change within the business to keep up with global advances; senior leadership often desires to hold onto the stability they have established. This webinar explored how channels of open communication and building a new, shared future vision embedded with family values, will allow generational expectations to be managed and secure the sustainability of the family firm.  
 
The follow topics will be discussed: 
-    Understanding generational expectations & goals 
-    Managing role conflict of family members involved with the firm
-    Creating channels for open communication 
-    Strategies on how to build a new shared future vision 

05 May 2020
As the landscape of giving evolves across the Gulf Region, the lineation between the functions of the various giving vehicles utilised by individuals and organisations become increasingly apparent. Donations, sponsorships, grants and partnerships all serve social purposes, but the scalability of the impact of each vary.
 
With growing demands from the philanthropic and development sectors, comes a strain in supply from governments and intergovernmental organisations. At this juncture, there is substantial potential and opportunity for the private sector to create value in their communities by helping close the investment gap.
 
By understanding strategies for corporate giving, it can be ensured that funds committed by the private sector are being utilised to their optimum impact. This webinar broadly discussed how to ensure funding and grant making is done effectively and responsibly.
 
The following topics were discussed:
  • Identifying the differences between corporate sponsorship & grant making
  • Defining the scope and clarifying the objective of a grant
  • Understanding the returns of social investing
  • How to partner for success and growth



What we learned: 
  • With growing demands from the philanthropic and development sectors comes a strain in supply from governments and intergovernmental organisations. At this juncture, there is substantial potential and opportunity for the private sector to step in and to create value in their communities by helping close the investment gap. During the webinar the attendees were polled to gain a perspective on their positions, and it was shown that a majority of them (50%) were indeed from corporate offices with giving programmes.
  • Corporate giving regionally, is generally carried out either through sponsorships or via grant-making. Grants offer larger agency on how resources are used. Corporates are also well-positioned to offer pro-bono non-financial support alongside a grant, through capacity building in areas where a non-profit may need extra support.
    • Of those live polled during the webinar, 67% noted that they did provide pro-bono or in-kind support to their grantees.
  • It is vital to select grantees that have deeper expertise and knowledge of the communities in which the interventions will be carried out. As such, targets from grants should be co-designed with the grantee to ensure they are both realistic and measurable.
    • Of the attendees who were live polled during the webinar, 90% noted that they had been disappointed with the quality or quantity of the proposals they had received.
  • Non-profit organisations or grantees tend to be stretched for resources. In order to maximise impact and not exhaust limited resources, it is important to clarify an organisation’s goals and only request documentation and reporting on areas that will aid with impact measurement.
  • Where possible, non-profits should be offered steady funding through multiple year or flexible grants as short-term grants tend not to yield high impact results. This would also allow non-profits to shift their focus from fund-raising and onto programme development & delivery. Social returns and the means to achieve and measure them differ vastly from shareholder earnings.
    • Of those live polled during the webinar, 67% noted that they do offer multi-year funding to their grantees.
  • A responsible grant maker should not view due diligence as a simple compliance tick box, but rather a learning exercise that will clarify the scope of a grant and highlight gaps or areas for improvement. Other valuable M&E practices include site-visits, encouraging non-profits to flag risks and sharing an evaluable rubric.
  • The long-term sustainability of activities of a non-profit is important; it is vital to evaluate whether a grantee can continue to thrive if funding from the organisation stops. This can be done through supporting capacity building, reinvesting or providing supplementary grants, and being transparent about investing intentions.
    • Of those polled live during the webinar, 50% noted that they commission and publish evaluations, whilst 50% did not.
04 May 2020
Throughout a business’ lifecycle, they can face a range of concerns that can threaten its reputation and ability to operate, as we’ve seen with COVID-19. However, these challenges can be eased with effective corporate governance and forward planning. 

If you work or own an MSME, join this webinar to learn all about how corporate governance and strategic communications can help a firm navigate a crisis, reduce business complications, minimise its impact and develop a reputation on which to build future success!

This webinar will aim to:
  • Explain the basics of corporate governance and crisis management
  • Distinguish between a crisis and an issue – how are they handled differently?
  • Define what reputation means and why it matters 
  • Align the importance of effective internal and external communications 
  • Present examples of good & bad crisis management
  • Demonstrate how to implement effective corporate governance principles and communications strategies to build and protect brand reputation

In this webinar, we learnt:
  • How a brand and its reputation go hand in hand when it comes to business perception and income
  • The difference between an issue and a crisis for businesses – and how they should handle either one
  • The relationship between communication, crisis management, and corporate governance for multiple stakeholder groups 
  • How businesses can take charge of their communications: by owning a story and its narrative, maintaining stakeholder trust, and balancing between a story’s short-term appeal and a business’ long-term reputation
  • The five Cs of crisis communication: competence, credibility, commitment, caring, and capability
  • How crisis management and communications play into a business’ extant corporate governance structures to manage a crisis from start to recovery

 
30 April 2020
During uncertain and challenging times, identifying and pre-empting arising risks across a business in near real time is essential and becomes everybody’s business. In such times, the way and frequency at which information is reported and aggregated across departments, teams and functions is paramount. In small businesses, when there is much to be done with a small team, risk management should be a top priority for business owners and should be a disciplined from day one, even before times become challenging. But how can MSMEs handle risk management exercises the right way, and how does the business plan play a role in the strategy and disciplined execution required for effective risk mitigation from day one?

This webinar aimed to:
  • Identify common risks that MSMEs can face at various stages of their operation, and some of the key pitfalls that many MSMEs are exposed to in the early stages of their operation
  • Offer guidance as to the creation of a business plan that can help mitigate and address risks to a business, and
  • Give viewers a chance to ask the webinar facilitator about strategic ways in which they can strengthen their business’ risk management measures.


In this webinar, we learnt:
  • What risk management is, what corporate governance is, and how they complement each other strategically – particularly when it comes to stakeholder management , competitive advantage, and access to capital
  • The different kinds of risk that a business can expect to face: market risks, idiosyncratic risks, operating risks, and funding risks
  • The building blocks of a holistic risk management framework, and what each block impacts across a business’ processes
  • The “three lines of defense” approach to risk governance: business units, risk management, and internal/external audits
  • Case studies detailing failures in risk management and their outcomes, as well as how risk management looks like in a digital world
  • What risk management looks like for MSMEs, and the best practices in risk management most relevant to MSMEs 
27 April 2020
As family businesses grow, the importance of applying corporate governance best practices has become imperative – in fact, their growth largely depends on it. Research by the OECD notes that family firms that integrate corporate governance measures outperform their rivals; achieving both superior returns and higher profitability. In addition, these measures provide constructive solutions to family ownership challenges, especially when it comes to succeeding generations.

Nevertheless, family businesses have room to improve in the implementation of effective corporate governance standards. Although family firms across the Gulf Region account for a significant margin of private sector companies and thus, are a substantial value addition to economic growth, only 30% survive into the second generation and a mere 12% continue to be profitable into the third generation.

With approximately $1 trillion USD worth of family business assets being transferred to the next generation in the Middle East in the next 10 years, the urgency of succession planning has increased with the new generational cohort of family members imminently approaching. This webinar broadly discussed building resilience, success and long-term sustainability in family firms across the Gulf Region, through proactive and effective succession planning.

The follow topics were discussed:
  • Exit strategies as a key component of succession planning
  • Building a holistic roadmap: Technical & intangible tools
  • Empowering the next generational cohort
  • Succession as a private matter: The impact familial relations have on business
  • Understanding and building expectations for the future of the business



What we've learnt: 
  • A successful partnership in family business can be attributed to:
    • Reaching an equilibrium between individual parties involved
    • Building a strong foundational relationship between individuals based on love, respect and trust
    • Adequate and timely communication – including internal, external, horizontal and vertical communication
  • Research has shown that successful family businesses have 3 elements in common (The ‘3S’):
    • Strength: This is based on the bond development amongst family members and the culture of privacy they nurture.
    • Security: This is dependent on how comprehensive and scalable governance systems and processes are. This element is vital for both the success of the family and of the business.
    • Sustainability: This element is based on how willing and able the senior generation is to transfer their wealth, and in turn, how willing the next generation is in taking over the business.
  • Family businesses comprise of three fundamental layers: the family, the business and the finances. Each of these layers are complex and have several sub-elements, both tangible and intangible, that need to be acknowledged.
  • The family business, with all its layers, is in perpetual motion and is thus ever-changing. It is imperative to find and strike a balance among the different elements in order to address what is in the best interest of the family business.
  • Succession planning is a process and is dissimilar from inheritance planning. With succession planning, the next generation also inherits the leadership, management and vision it takes to run the family business. 
  • It is important to establish a family charter or a ‘partnership agreement’, outlining the roles and duties of each member - this charter is binding amongst its signatories. Additionally, this will house legacy data and information that will be used to guide conflicts and hurdles future generations may face in dealing with the business. Establishing this charter requires teamwork, leadership and communication.
22 April 2020
Increasing numbers of women are turning to entrepreneurship, starting businesses, and achieving new heights of business success! But the entrepreneurial road is a challenging one, and more so for women, who face gender-specific challenges. There is much that can be done to support women entrepreneurs – and all of us can make a difference. As the first step toward change begins with education, the Pearl Initiative is proud to present a webinar dedicated to women in entrepreneurship and supporting women who are looking to set up their own businesses.

 This webinar aimed to:
  • Explore the MSME landscape in the Gulf region and the journey to start a business,
  • Discuss the business case to support women entrepreneurs, and
  • Discuss supportive policies and activities which help support women entrepreneurs, both present and future.     


In this webinar, we learnt:
  • The reality of setting up businesses in the Middle East, both in general and for women entrepreneurs.
  • The perspectives on successes and failures for MSMEs from the points of view of an MSME founder and an MSME investor.
  • The realities of the “pink economy”, i.e. the shifts in the economy related to women’s expenditure and investment, and how this impacts wider business shifts and trends.
  • Advice for MSMEs in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis in terms of mental and physical health, smart investment and expenditure, and changing the business strategy to enter “survival mode”.
  • Resources and solutions for entrepreneurs which can help them weather the crisis, particularly in terms of tech solutions, marketing, subscriptions, events, and more.
  • Whether MSMEs should be seeking investments at all during the COVID-19 crisis – and if not, what the alternative plan should be.
19 April 2020
Contemporary discussions around supporting MSMEs and educating them on market risks come from analyses of success stories in the small business realm. What is missing from these conversations is an analysis of why more MSMEs fail than succeed, and what lessons can be imparted from failure to create a culture of strategic planning and prudence for MSMEs to prosper.

This webinar aimed to:
  • Explain the concept of survivorship bias and contextualise it in the business world,
  • Discuss case studies or stories of failures within MSMEs, or the most common reasons MSMEs fail, and
  • Derive strategic lessons from past failures to help MSMEs, both established and new, to create a roadmap that can prevent similar failures and pitfalls.


In this webinar, we learnt:
  • The reason why MSMEs tend to fail more than they succeed, and why
  • What the 5 essential elements of a functional and successful MSME are – ideas, a strong team, a robust business model, smooth funding access, and good timing
  • The role that good timing plays in MSME success, and how MSMEs can take advantage of this during the COVID-19 pandemic by turning a crisis into an opportunity
  • Example of now-successful businesses which were launched in a crisis, and what they did right
  • A case study on the webinar facilitator’s own MSME failures – what the business idea was, why the idea failed, and the lessons learned from the failure
  • A case study on the webinar facilitator’s MSME success story – ow she applied the lessons from her own failures, what she did right, how she structured the business, and where it stands today
  • The 11 lessons that the webinar facilitator learned from failure
15 April 2020
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in September 2015 by all UN Member States (also known as Global Agenda 2030), with a view to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Both governments and businesses across the Gulf Region have taken important steps to align their activities with the SDGs.

The integration of 17 Goals and its 169 Targets presents an exciting opportunity to drive sustainability into the core of the business. However, successful implementation of SDGs across businesses remains largely dependent on the degree to which sustainability departments would be able to illustrate clearly the business value that the SDGs could create.

This webinar discussed the various means in which organisations, at large, can align their operations with the SDGs. It presented a case study of Consolidated Contractors Company's (CCC) sustainability strategy (as a construction company) and how their strategy aligns with the SDGs.






What we learnt:
  • The starting point of any successful sustainability strategy is the implementation of strong corporate governance frameworks.
  • Companies can use the SDGs as a comprehensive framework for shaping their strategies, goals, activities, directions and reporting.
  • The steps needed to integrate the SDGs into any business strategy include:
    • Understanding the SDG framework
    • Identifying the company’s priorities, which includes identifying the company’s value chain and areas of impact.
    • Identifying the company’s sustainability goals and setting key performance indicators.
    • Aligning the company’s sustainability goals with the SDGs and cascading them across all functions of the company.
    • Reporting on progress.
  • It is recommended that these steps are reviewed and evaluated annually.
  • Aligning an organisations business strategy with the SDGs is the responsibility of all departments across the company and not solely that of the sustainability department.
* Please note that this webinar was delivered in Arabic.
14 April 2020
A common lament in small business circles is that finding sources are too few and far in between. With economic conditions playing as harrowing a role as a lack of funding in MSME management, it is important to understand how small businesses should approach funding – and how they can get access to financing strategically.

This webinar aimed to:
  • Explain the current finance scenario for Gulf region MSMEs,
  • Explore how corporate governance principles and procedures can help build financial confidence in a small business, and 
  • Teach MSMEs how they can be strategic about looking for and accessing financing using good governance practices.


In this webinar, we learnt:
  • The reasoning behind why COVID-19 had such a tremendous impact on the global economy, and on MSMEs in particular.
  • The measures that both financiers and businesses are taking to cope with the economic upheaval.
  • The role that liquidity plays in keeping MSMEs afloat, particularly with rents, salaries, utilities, and service providers.
  • Why networking is more essential than ever during COVID-19, and why existing relationships should be leveraged to support an MSME.
  • How pre-COVID business models are being reinvented and re-evaluated both as a pragmatic and an adaptive measure each.
  • Plotting where an MSME stands during the COVID-19 crisis – is it growing, is it temporarily challenged, or is its business model unstable – and plotting the appropriate sources of viable income accordingly.
12 April 2020
Diversity in business leadership and organisational settings is a commonly praised endeavour, one that many businesses have publicly acknowledged, praised, and implemented to varying degrees. However, when analysing the direct opinions and experiences of women in the workforce, it is found that there is still a long way to go for businesses to support women employees, their careers, and their ambitions. Additionally, it is also revealed that there are many policies and procedures that can be implemented by businesses to facilitate women’s career successes – but these are missing or not employed correctly.

Based on the findings of research undertaken in 2018 by the Pearl Initiative and NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, this webinar workshop served to discuss the ways in which businesses can and should support women employees for holistic business success. It examined the factors that hinder and facilitate women’s career success, as reported in our 2019 survey by regional residents, and built strategic solutions to create a supportive environment for women in the regional workforce.

Topics discussed included:
  • The factors that impact women’s workforce participation,
  • The obstacles to women’s economic engagement, and 
  • Concrete solutions that would support women at all career stages at individual and company levels.


In this webinar, we learnt:
  • Why diversity and inclusion (D&I) matters, what the present metrics are, what specific difficulties are, and what the D&I scenario is across the Gulf Region
  • About the landscape of gender diversity in the global corporate realm, as well as an explanation of the business case for increased diversity in businesses.
  • About core topics pertaining to gender diversity, such as tokenism, glass walls, leaky pipelines, and broken rungs which explain situations that women come across in the course of their careers, which impacts their progression.
  • The state of gender diversity across the Gulf Region, as uncovered in the 2019 research undertaken by PI and NAMA, and its various research outcomes and findings.
  • About the factors hindering women’s workplace engagement, the factors women reported as beneficial for their career support, and the policies and procedures that women were looking for in a supportive company and work culture.
  • About prominent regional companies with positive diversity policies in the form of case studies.
08 April 2020
It has been predicted that the Gulf’s MSME sector will be valued at US$ 920 billion by 2023. At the same time, the region’s economic players are quickly moving to implement digitalisation techniques across multiple business functions. Whether to boost efficiencies or revenues, digitalisation will soon become a mainstay of the economy. So what are MSMEs doing about it, and what can they do to adopt digitalisation trends before they are left in the dust?

This webinar aimed to:
  • Explain the concept of digitalisation and its value for small businesses,
  • Align digitalisation with corporate governance adoption within small businesses, and 
  • Explain to MSMEs the potential of adopting digital solutions for streamlined and robust business practices.


On this webinar, we learnt:
  • An introduction to the concept of digitalization, and what “going” digital meant. Combining real-life examples with theory.
  • The role that digital services play in the contemporary world. 
  • Why businesses should strongly consider digitalizing, particularly MSMEs. i.e. saving costs/ valuable time, speeding up processes using automation and enhanced security etc.
  • Where businesses should start to consider implementing digital solutions, and the steps they should take to ensure the accurate and timely adoption of digital solutions.
  • The alignment of digital strategies and solutions with corporate governance structures, noting that digitalization supports corporate governance, particularly when it comes to security / privacy, transparency, accountability, and stakeholder management – not a destination but a journey.
07 April 2020

Islamic endowments and trusts (awqaf) are increasing exponentially across the Gulf Region and continue to play a significant role in the sustainable development of regional societies— both human and economic. It is estimated by the World Bank that globally, the value of assets held in and deployed through waqf structures range from USD 100 billion to USD 1 trillion.

While the institution of waqf offers a powerful mechanism to generate sustainable resources, financial sustainability has become one of the greatest challenges faced by waqf institutions regionally. Waqf institutions have the capacity to play a far greater role in the progression of social and economic development with education, health care, social welfare and other community-based programs. In order to make such contributions, there is a need to pay attention to the development of existing waqf assets to revitalise their purpose and capability to deliver these essential services both in the present and the future.

The proper management, governance, and deployment of  waqf assets is imperative to achieving sustainable development by ensuring that the income generation of these awqaf are maximised and reach their full potential while ensuring their sustainability.

Led by David Russell QC, this webinar highlighted how to maximise social investment through awqaf, and underline international best practices in establishing, managing, sustaining and investing in awqaf.




















What we learnt:
 
  • There is a body of law and principles which is applicable to the mangment of waqf. Although the British concept of a trust was derived and devleoped from the idea of awqaf, they differ in various ways. An awqaf does not function as an individual entity as a company does, nor is it a contract or an agency.
  • Challenges arise when addressing the extent to which one can make a charitable gift to one’s family or to what extent the gift is limited to third parties. There are new laws in waqf management in the UAE that address this issue. However, in countries that are non-trust jurisdicitions, this challenge is amplified as the terms of a waqf is at risk of being breached as there are no laws to protect it.
  • A waqf is treated as irrecovable and remains in detention and is seperated from the asset owner. It is treated as a gift for charitable purposes. A mutawalli (or wealth manager) would be expected to preserve the property by protecting the terms of agreement, including what to do with any additional income derived from the property.
  • Whilst traditionally, the wealth is seen as exclusively for charitable purposes, some Islamic laws believe that family support counts as the same. This is indeed how it is viewed as per UAE and Bahrani law, and is gradually becoming more formalised elsewhere as well. KSA is increasingly investing in the regulatory frameworks of awqaf as well.
  • One might prefer to use awqaf structures instead of a foundation or family business, as the latter tends to be complicated to set up. Additionally, proper planning in accordance to inheritence laws would have to be looked over, as any kin may be left with fragmented power and shareholdes have to be taken into consideration as well. Corporate structures are also inherently inflexible in comparision to a waqf and do not always guarantee a stable platform for next generation leadership.
07 April 2020
TOC is an essential tool that connects:
  • The change the organisation aims to bring 
  • Why and how it plans to do this, and
  • What will change as a result of its work
Hosted in collaboration with the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) and Hogan Lovells, this webinar equipped viewers to consider how their foundation/social purpose organisation can best strengthen its programes, understand and measure results, and identify opportunities for learning and improvement.



What we learnt:
  • Although a Theory of Change is implemented at the charity / social entreprise level of the capital value chain, it is vital for asset owners to understand the process in order to invest better.
  • A Theory of Change is dynamic in nature and needs to adapt as an organisation encounters change. It aids in clarifying your intended impact and helps understand the causal linkages between all actors.
  • The Internatioal Initiative for Impact Evaluation (IIIE) defines five steps to develop a theory of change (TOC). An organisation should outline their intended impact and then work backwards to the point that they are currently operating in.
  • The five steps to mapping a TOC is as follows:
    • The organisation should map out their intended impact,
    • The activities it needs to conduct to achieve this impact,
    • What assumptions are they making,
    • The time frame it has to achieve this and,
    • What resources it will need to conduct them.
  • An orgnaisation should also question what evidence is required to prove that impact has indeed occured, and how much of that impact can be attributed to their activites. The goals and outcomes should also be aligned with actors across the impact value chain.
  • In measuring impact, it is important to think about what type of intervention the organisation hopes to carry out, and what the target outcome of that intervnntion will be. It is necessary to outline who the organisations’ impact stakeholders are and whether the scope of the intervention is wide enough to reach and influence a sizeable margin of these recepients. It is also vital to think about how much of that impact the organisation’s activites actually contributed to and what would have take place regardless. An aspect that is often overlooked is the deminson of risk – it is imperative to weight out all the ways in which an organisations activities could potentailly fail as well.
02 April 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global health crisis. The disruption caused by the pandemic is testing all segments of the global economy, which finds itself in the cusp of a paradigm shift. In light of this global crisis and as the world witnesses its largest remote working experiment, businesses need to act promptly and look inwards at how their governance and risk mechanisms can respond to the multitude of changes in the short-term and a reshaped future.  

This webinar aimed to help businesses understand the current situation and how it may unfold, and take steps to mitigate the risks on their workforces, customers, and supply chains. Held in collaboration with Globesight, the webinar layed out practical options throughout the discussion, and attendees were taken through a checklist of critical responses along the value chain.

25 March 2020

The healthcare sector across the Gulf Region is expanding rapidly to meet the evolving needs of a growing population, a demand for high-quality healthcare treatment, and the region’s ambition to become a medical tourism hub.

This sector is characterised by an ever-growing demand for a one-stop service provision (Using an integrated model), the continuous development of biotech drugs, and increased average life cycles. This will lead to future economic growth and job creation at the sector level and could have ripple effects across other industries as well. As a result, sector-inhabiting entities have adopted a series of long-term initiatives to guide the sustainable growth of this industry and enable its transparency for stakeholder confidence.

Within the healthcare sector, governance takes two distinct, yet interlinked forms - Corporate and Clinical. Clinical governance - or rather “governance in the workplace” - is about improving the quality and security of healthcare provision by and with the help of medical professionals for actual healthcare processes. Corporate governance, on the other hand, focuses on the management of the healthcare organisation and the maintenance of contacts with relevant stakeholders by the management. Corporate governance combined with clinical governance are the pillars of the governance policy in healthcare institutions and enable their transparency and accountability.

This webinar aims to contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of the Gulf Region’s healthcare sector by raising standards of corporate and clinical governance.

02 March 2020
Global challenges are in dire need of sustainable solutions that businesses and foundations alike can deliver. With large potential for innovation, there has been a demonstratable level of support from Gulf organisations to actively gear their activities towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Not only are businesses striving to contribute to the attainment of the SDGS, but civil society organisations, charities and foundations are also taking important steps to align their activities with the SDGs. However, there is still room for improvement when it comes to establishing partnerships to ensure the fulfilment of the goals.

This webinar will broadly discuss the various means in which foundations and philanthropic organisations, at large can align their operations with the SDGs. It will also highlight key trends from a survey conducted in 2018 on how philanthropic organisations in the Arab region are faring on the SDGs as compared to global trends.
The following topics will be discussed:
  • An overview of the SDGs
  • The application of SDGS amongst businesses
  • The application of SDGS amongst foundations
  • Challenges and opportunities of SDG alignment for foundations
Click here to watch the full webinar. 
19 February 2020
The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event with Middlesex University Dubai and HSBC on 19th February 2020. This event is under the Business Pledge sessions which are held throughout the year as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiatives.

The objective of the Business Pledge is to invite senior business leaders from the Private Sector to make a public commitment towards promoting responsible and sustainable business in line with good corporate governance practices across the Gulf Region.

This session was delivered by Mr. Amit Kapur who is the Head of Legal Structuring at HSBC. The session revolved around the topic of ‘Promoting Integrity’. 
 
18 February 2020

The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event with the American University of Sharjah and Du on 18th February 2020. This event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiatives.

The Business Pledge is designed to connect students with business leaders, providing them with the opportunity to learn more about the practical aspects surrounding the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

This session was delivered by Ms. Aisha Rawert, Director - Organization Capabilities & Performance Management, Du on the topic of ‘A more inclusive workplace’.

17 February 2020
The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge to call upon senior business leaders across the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when carrying out business and interacting with society. 

 
12 February 2020
In contemporary society, the pressures for businesses to operate sustainably have become common discourse. However, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Private Sector are often “bolted-on” as a peripheral element of a business’ core operations. Despite best intentions, this strategy can be short-sighted and limited in its scope.

Through the establishment of Creating Shared Value (CSV), businesses can address and mitigate societal issues, while generating improved performance and impacting bottom-line financials. By pivoting the focus onto Shared Value policies and procedures, organisations can better understand markets & business management, and maximise positive community impact, all without compromising the interests of their shareholders.

To increase the understanding of how the private sector can sustainably and strategically drive impact in partnership with the social sector, we ran a workshop on ‘Creating Shared Value’ (CSV). The CSV framework was launched by Prof. Michael Porter at the World Economic Forum in Davos 2011, and publicised in a January Harvard Business Review article that same year.

CSV can be a powerful tool in prompting businesses to approach social and environmental issues differently. By leveraging the resources and innovation of the Private Sector, organisations can create new solutions to some of society’s most pressing issues by embedding sustainability into the core of their operations. Value creation can be maximised by identifying and strengthening the unmet needs of the community the business operates in, by embedding Shared Value into the core of the business and by recognising its role in the bottom-line of the organisation.

This workshop convened Executive Managers and Heads of Sustainability and Social Investment Departments across the Gulf Region, and outlined the necessary strategies, methods and structures needed to support the creation of Shared Value.
29 January 2020
Diversity in business leadership and organisational settings is a commonly praised endeavour, one that many businesses have publicly acknowledged, praised, and implemented to varying degrees. However, when analysing the direct opinions and experiences of women in the workforce, it is found that there is still a long way to go for businesses to support women employees, their careers, and their ambitions. Additionally, it is also revealed that there are many policies and procedures that can be implemented by businesses to facilitate women’s career successes – but these are missing or not employed correctly.

Based on the findings of research undertaken in 2018 by the Pearl Initiative and NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, this workshop serves to discuss the ways in which businesses can and should support women employees for holistic business success. It will examine the factors that hinder and facilitate women’s career success, as reported in our 2019 survey by regional residents, and will build strategic solutions to create a supportive environment for women in the regional workforce.

Topics discussed will include:
  • The factors that impact women’s workforce participation,
  • The obstacles to women’s economic engagement, and 
  • Concrete solutions that would support women at all career stages at individual and company levels.
22 January 2020
Diversity in business leadership and organisational settings is a commonly praised endeavour, one that many businesses have publicly acknowledged, praised, and implemented to varying degrees. However, when analysing the direct opinions and experiences of women in the workforce, it is found that there is still a long way to go for businesses to support women employees, their careers, and their ambitions. Additionally, it is also revealed that there are many policies and procedures that can be implemented by businesses to facilitate women’s career successes – but these are missing or not employed correctly.

Based on the findings of research undertaken in 2018 by the Pearl Initiative and NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, this workshop serves to discuss the ways in which businesses can and should support women employees for holistic business success. It will examine the factors that hinder and facilitate women’s career success, as reported in our 2019 survey by regional residents, and will build strategic solutions to create a supportive environment for women in the regional workforce.

Topics discussed will include:
  • The factors that impact women’s workforce participation,
  • The obstacles to women’s economic engagement, and 
  • Concrete solutions that would support women at all career stages at individual and company levels.
22 January 2020

The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event with Murdoch University Dubai and HSBC on 22nd January 2020. This event is under the Business Pledge sessions which are held throughout the year as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiatives.

20 January 2020
Organisations across the philanthropic sector today operate with a variety of different challenges, including limited resources, lack of funding and difficulty in the retention of engaged stakeholders. In addressing these issues, it is imperative that non-profits and philanthropic organisations alike invest in implementing an effective communication plan at the core of their strategy.

In order to maximise the impact and scope of their activities and build strong relationships with stakeholders, this webinar broadly discussed essential communication topics, including:
  • Stakeholder management
  • Reporting
  • Setting missionfocused objectives
  • Community engagement
Delivered by Mariam Farag, Head of Corporate Sustainability & Social Impact, MBC Group, the webinar was tailored to dedicated professionals working across the regional philanthropic sector, providing them with practical insights and guides in effective communication practices. 

Click here to watch the full webinar. 
16 January 2020

The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event with UK College of Business and Computing and UPS on the 16th January 2020. This event is under the Business Pledge sessions which are held throughout the year as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiatives.

Students of UKCBC had the opportunity to learn about Setting Targets for Sustainable and Responsible Growth which was delivered which was delivered by Mr. Peter Harris, International Sustainability Director from UPS.

19 December 2019
In today’s ever-changing market, global economies are rapidly evolving and disrupting traditional business models. Technological advancements are impacting disciplines, economies and industries across the board.

As such, family firms, which comprise of over 80 percent of privately-owned businesses in the Middle East, need to address these disruptive forces and equip themselves with effective contingency plans, as a simply reactive approach may prove to be ineffective and potentially detrimental to the business.

Held in collaboration with Tharawat Family Business Forum, this roundtable highlighted the role of the board in driving sustainable business practices across family firms. Specifically, it addressed internal and external factors affecting family business board decisions, the macro trends changing the business landscape and how family business boards will have to adjust their board structures and decision making to grow in the future.
15 December 2019

Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) is the leading exploration and production company in the Sultanate of Oman. They deliver the majority of the country’s crude oil production and natural gas supply, but above all they focus on delivering excellence, growth and sustainable value creation within their industry

Students at the Sultan Qaboos University had the opportunity to meet with the Managing Director of PDO and learn the importance and value of setting sustainable targets towards creating a greater impact.

The Business Pledge is designed to connect students with business leaders, providing them with the opportunity to learn more about the practical aspects surrounding the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

10 December 2019
There has been demonstrable progress in women’s regional workforce engagement and success, with women taking the lead in many key economic sectors. However, women continue to be underrepresented despite this progress, and it is evident that organisations and their stakeholders must take charge to facilitate meaningful change and support women at work.

Led by by PwC Middle East D&I Leader Norma Taki, industry leaders and regional experts united for a workshop on the concerns that affect women in the workforce across the Gulf Region, and the solutions that can be implemented to support women’s career and economic advancement. 

Topics that were discussed included: 
  • The latest findings on women’s experiences in the regional workforce, 
  • Contemporary factors that impact women at work, and 
  • The strategic solutions that can be implemented by organisations to support women at all career stages.
09 December 2019
The objective of the Business Pledge is to invite senior business leaders from the Private Sector to make a public commitment towards promoting responsible and sustainable business in line with good corporate governance practices across the Gulf Region.

The topic on Promoting Integrity within BFC was delivered by Ms. Layla Alsahlawi who holds the Senior Manager role for Compliance and Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO). Expected to keep high standards of integrity and fair dealings, promoting integrity is a key pillar at BFC; as reiterated throughout the session. 
 
09 December 2019

Students of Ahlia University had the opportunity to visit KPMG Fakhro on the 9th of December 2019 as part of Pearl Initiative’s student engagement programme.

The objective of the Business Pledge is to invite senior business leaders from the Private Sector to make a public commitment towards promoting responsible and sustainable business in line with good corporate governance practices across the Gulf Region.

05 December 2019
In observing an uptick in implementing good corporate governance strategies within organisations worldwide, early this year, the State of Kuwait launched a nation-wide strategy to promote transparency, integrity and competitiveness of business organisations, highlighting national efforts and measures to improve the status of Kuwait on the international stage.

In cognisance of this development, the Pearl Initiative would like to convene business leaders and decision makers in a strategic dialogue to shed light on the importance of businesses introducing integrity frameworks.

The discussion will revolve around effective business operations, including:
  • Instilling accountability at all levels of the organisation,
  • Maintaining appropriate transparency practices internally and externally, and
  • Generating evidence of the effectiveness of systems of good practices
 
The session will feature a panel discussion with subject matter experts who will share their experiences. Contemporary case studies will also be featured, covering examples of both successes and challenges in implementing integrity policies within regional organisations, as well as tips and tools to help businesses navigate around potential integrity pitfalls.
 
The aim is for participants to leave with valuable insights and implementable and actionable ideas on how to implement ethical practices, along with an awareness of the need to continually improve and update corporate integrity policies in their business and the business case for doing so.
28 November 2019

As the landscape of giving evolves in the region, there has been a transition from the traditional donations made by individual philanthropic donors, towards greater institutionalisation. While private personal giving continues to be an important source of financing for grantees and beneficiaries in the region, these actors are now giving through an increasingly diverse range of family foundations and social investment initiatives, including established foundations or new philanthropic ventures as well as corporate vehicles.

Yet it still remains that many of these self-sufficient “private foundations” that do not generally seek funding from the general public, companies or government carry out their work in confidence. While discretion is a traditional characteristic of giving in the Gulf Region, the public has higher expectations for organisations and individuals whose missions are to do good. People want to learn more about their activities, missions, goals, impact, and the outcomes produced.

Transparency, however, is not just about releasing information for public consumption. It can be a real tool for donors, corporate or individual, to increase their impact through more accurate self-assessments and public engagement.

As more grant-making organisations publish information on their activities and where funds are flowing, it minimises the duplication of efforts while also identifying  geographic and thematic gaps in funding.

Not only will this promote greater impact and effectiveness of giving but will also reinforce trust between donors and their stakeholder communities.

Transparency is not a one-size-fits-all equation. What is comfortable for one organisation may not be comfortable, realistic, or appropriate for another. The best transparency policies will be those guided by an organisation’s mission, catered to its supporters and potential supporters, and considerate of the organisation’s strategy and needs.

The roundtable discussion convened high-level corporate and family business leaders across the Gulf Region to challenge current understandings of transparency highlighting the value, opportunities and challenges of implementing higher standards of transparency in giving.

Please click here to view the sessions.

26 November 2019

The Pearl Initative hosted a webinar broadly discussing the various elements of family business governance and delve more deeply into the role family business boards play in strengthening family business resilience.

The following topics were discussed:

  • Family governance and its benefits
  • Deciding who should participate in the business and in what role
  • Using charters, ground rules and constitutions
  • Establishing effective decision-making plans
  • Commonly adopted board structures for family businesses
  • Advisory vs fiduciary board
  • Evolution of board structure
  • Role of the next generation in family business boards
  • Role of technology in the boardroom

The conversation between Farida El Agamy, General Manager of Tharawat Family Business Forum and Yasmine Omari, Executive Director of Pearl Initiative, shed light key trends and challenges in governing modern and traditional family businesses. Discussions on the benefits of governance, the evolution of the board structure and the role of the next generation in family firms were touched upon during the webinar.


Click here to watch the full webinar. 

18 November 2019

The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event with the American University of Sharjah and Petrofac on 18th November 2019. This event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiatives.

The Business Pledge is designed to connect students with business leaders, providing them with the opportunity to learn more about the practical aspects surrounding the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

05 November 2019
The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event with American University of the Emirates and Novo Nordisk on 5th
November 2019. This event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement
initiatives.
31 October 2019

Over the years, foundations and non-profit organisations in the Gulf Region have increased both in size and scope. The desire to generate scalable impact through philanthropy has also grown and questions about efficiency, strategy and transparency in the sector have been raised and discussed across various regional and international platforms.

The key to achieving this access is sound governance mechanisms that promote greater efficiency and accountability in the sector. Pearl Initiative’s research on the sector shows that donors and non-profit organisations believe that improving governance practices is a priority for the Gulf Region’s philanthropic sector.

This roundtable convened leading representatives from the sector in Saudi Arabia to launch the “Governance in Philanthropy Fundamentals” guide and toolkits, developed in collaboration with King Khalid Foundation. The publication is delivered as part of the Pearl Initiative’s Governance in Philanthropy programme, which aims to promote the implementation of governance best practices in philanthropy.
22 October 2019

Accountability is an integral part of any corporate compliance system; organisations that choose to ignore or fail to recognise the importance of accountability in their organisation, run the risk of severely damaging their commitment to ethics and integrity. 

In contemporary business settings, managerial engagement with the development and implementation of integrity policies in organisations is essential for their success. By ensuring the implementation of business integrity policies within their departments, managers play a pivotal role in shaping the ethical culture of an organisation. This in turn reflects positively on the overall standards for corporate governance adopted by the organisation. 

The objective of this event is to understand how managers can promote and purport the implementation of ethical practices while also ensuring their application in daily business proceedings.

21 October 2019

This session was delivered by Mr. Samir Thabet, Sustainability Coordination Manager, CCC, on the topic of ‘Setting Targets for Sustainable and Responsible Growth’, which shed light on the sustainability policy and the core sustainability value of CCC, which is to commit to the betterment of the environment.

16 October 2019

In contemporary discourse, funding within the philanthropic sector in the Gulf Region gravitates towards causes that are well publicised in current affairs; this often means that funding is concentrated to certain causes and that other areas that require funding are overlooked.

By building an ecosystem that promotes transparency and traceability, data around causes and areas that are underfunded become readily available. However, it is up to the donor community to utilise this valuable data to drive their grant-making decision making process.

Strategic philanthropy, which is informed by facts, rigorous evaluation and heightened accountability, can help donors set clear goals, outcomes and performance indicators ensuring the success of their philanthropic endeavours.   

By shifting to a more strategic model for philanthropy, one that promotes transparency and traceability, the odds of success in achieving scalable impact are increased. Further, these odds are multiplied when appropriate reporting, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are in place as a measure of the outcomes of philanthropic activities.

Held in collaboration with Nafisa Shams, a Community Jameel initiative, this roundtable provided an open platform to gain insights on the tangible steps that can be taken to shift focus onto strategic philanthropy across the region. The roundtable aimed to establish collaborative efforts and collective impact to achieve scalable results in the Gulf Region, by promoting meaningful social impact through reporting, traceability and knowledge sharing.

16 October 2019
Students are a rapidly growing sector of the entrepreneurial and MSME community across the Gulf Region, and are invested in developing their ideas into active businesses. However, students require assistance with developing these business ideas and need guidance on how their businesses can be strengthened for long-term success.

This lecture, designed for students, will provide a high-level introduction to corporate governance, its pillars and applications, how MSMEs can use governance practices to achieve business success, and what students can do to implement and reinforce good governance in MSMEs that they may go on to build.

Please note that this is a closed session targeted for students. 
 
14 October 2019
The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between Skyline University and Dana Gas on 14 October 2019.
This event was a Business Pledge session, held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative.
The Business Pledge is designed to connect students with business leaders, providing them the opportunity to learn more about the practical aspects surrounding the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.
This session was delivered by Mr. Bruce Basaraba, Head of HSSE, Dana Gas, on the topic of ‘Collaborations & Partnerships ’.
 
08 October 2019
A strong and historic philanthropic culture coexists alongside a complex legislative and regulatory framework guiding charitable activities across the Gulf Region.

In recent years, new laws and regulations have been passed to revamp the philanthropic legal landscape across the Gulf Region as well as to support with the institutionalisation of philanthropic endeavours.

In the UAE, individuals and organisations are looking for solutions in terms of philanthropic legal structures while making financial, technical and strategic considerations.

Delivered by a panel of experts, this roundtable convened Heads of Family Businesses and Family Offices and Directors managing philanthropic capital to raise awareness on the various structures and mechanisms that are available in order to institutionalise giving within the UAE.

This roundtable shed light on the legal ramifications for business donors as they embark on their journey towards institutionalised giving.
07 October 2019
Regional micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) form the backbone of national economies, and in their lifecycles, face a range of business concerns that can be addressed by the implementation of corporate governance.

Attend our workshop to discover how you can implement customised governance solutions to support your MSME. Learn what governance means for small businesses and what can be done to facilitate business success using its principles and policies.

Led by a corporate governance expert from Governance Gurus, and held in collaboration with the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), this workshop will demonstrate how corporate governance can improve access to capital, create enhanced monitoring, attract the right talent, and successfully navigate business concerns for MSMEs.
30 September 2019
The issue of increased women’s participation in all sectors of the economy has been one of heightened interest across the Gulf Region. However, concerns surrounding women’s entry into, and exit from, the workforce continue to persist. Addressing the structural and social challenges that limit women’s career growth and their professional development is essential for building a robust and egalitarian economy. 

This event addressed the concerns that affect women’s advancement in the workforce, and explored the findings of our research on the subject through a discussion of our new Thought Leadership Report. 

Topics addressed included: 
  • the factors that affect women’s participation in various industries,
  • obstacles to women’s economic engagement, and 
  • systemic solutions that would support women at all career stages.
18 September 2019
Whistleblowing and corporate governance are closely linked; in an open and transparent corporate environment where policies on wrongdoing and whistleblowing are made clear, it is much easier to detect malpractice early, put right any wrongs and avoid a scandal that could be disastrous for a business.
 
Whistleblowing is an essential element for safeguarding interest and for promoting a culture of internal accountability and integrity within organisations. This being said, there are several barriers to a successful whistle-blowing programme, such as the protection of the rights of the whistleblower within an organisation, as well as potential retaliation from fellow employees and potentially illegal disclosure.

The purpose of this event is to provide an introduction into whistleblowing policies as implemented in the Gulf Region and shed light on effective whistleblowing policies while sharing real case studies of whistleblowing procedures. Furthermore, the panel will highlight the areas whistleblowing policies should be focused on discussing best practice and why effective management of whistleblowing is crucial to organisations. The event will provide an opportunity for delegates to reflect on current processes and improve on them.
18 September 2019
The Pearl Initiative held a webinar that discussed how MSMEs can efficiently use corporate governance structures for smarter investment and funding strategies.

Led by a former consultant with the International Finance Corporation and over 30 years of experience in corporate governance advisory, the webinar addressed how MSMEs can strengthen their performance and resilience by adopting good corporate governance practices.
 
Viewers also had the chance to ask questions about their small business concerns and receive practical guidance on how they can customise and implement corporate governance to meet their needs.
15 September 2019
Delivered as part of the Governance in Philanthropy programme, this workshop was designed to give corporate and family business donors insight into the process of developing a “theory of change” for social investment programmes in order to achieve their intended impact and inspire change in the societies they support.   

A “theory of change” is a multi-purpose tool that describes how a project aims to bring about social impact by helping articulate the project’s mission, strategy and providing a roadmap for impact measurement.

The process of creating a “theory of change” allows organisations to articulate a process for change by identifying aims, short and long-term outcomes and goals, while also examining  assumptions. A well-built theory of change supports organisations in programme development, external communications, and is a prerequisite for effective evaluation of the work carried out.
11 September 2019
Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are a diverse sector of the regional economy, while also being the main employers of the regional workforce. In this era of market exits, unicorns, and serial entrepreneurship, what can MSMEs do to make sure their business ventures sustain their growth and innovation?

At this event, audience members found out how corporate governance is not limited to larger companies but can also be customised for small business success. 

Attendees were invited to employ the Pearl Initiative’s innovative, bespoke online platform for regional MSMEs to access information and guidance on corporate governance principles at no cost.

Attendees alsoc engaged with the key players in the MSME and start-up spheres at this event and pitch your business concerns to sector leaders.
 
12 June 2019

On Wednesday, 12 June 2019, the Pearl Initiative and NAMA Women Advancement Establishment held the first stakeholder meeting under the Diversity in Business Leadership programme. 

The stakeholder meeting convened a group of thought leaders and business professionals in an informal setting to collectively discuss the experiences of women in the workplace in the UAE. This meeting witnessed discussions on the experiences of working women across multiple sectors, as well as potential solutions that could be implemented by businesses to support women and their careers.

This stakeholder meeting was moderated by Yasmine Omari, Executive Director, Pearl Initiative.
The outcomes of this meeting will be translated into qualitative data for our upcoming Diversity in Business Leadership report, to be published in December 2019.

08 May 2019

The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge to call upon senior business leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when carrying out business and interacting with society.

The Business Pledge allows business leaders to showcase their best practices in ethical business conduct while uniting students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of the Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements 
The Pearl Initiative would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time, and engagement with our programme:

Bahrain Islamic Bank
Dawood Khalil, Assistant General Manager - Human Resources, Bahrain Islamic Bank
University of Bahrain and Dr. Naglaa Fathy 
University of Bahrain students


The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend our gratitude to PepsiCo as supporters of the programme and the Business Pledge Initiative. 

Event Summary  

Event Location: Bahrain Islamic Bank, Manama


The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between University of Bahrain and Bahrain Islamic Bank on 8 May 2019. This event was a Business Pledge session, held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative.

The Business Pledge is designed to connect students with business leaders, affording them the opportunity to learn about the practical aspects surrounding the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

This particular session was delivered by Mr. Dawood Khalil, Assistant General Manager - Human Resources, Bahrain Islamic Bank, on the pillar of ‘A more inclusive workplace’. Mr. Khalil began this interactive session by asking the students what diversity and inclusion meant to them, and offered his thoughts on the same.  

Mr. Khalil noted that diversity and inclusion should be in the DNA of every organisation. BisB backs the initiative to empower women in the workforce by designing a development program to target all women employees, who constitue 34% of BisB’s employee pool. To support this initiative, BisB promoted an experienced woman employee to the Head of Central Operations role, and also promoted a woman to head the Sharia’a Audit function for the first time in Bahrain.

Mr. Khalil additionally spoke about a training and development program called ‘Shine’, which aims to build core capabilities in value-based leadership, effective team performance, coaching skills, time management, delegation, ownership, and diversity management. 

Another program called ‘High Potential Proposition – HiPos’ is designed to identify and enable individuals who display high potential to operate at leadership and succession levels. This program takes into consideration individual development needs and the future leadership capabilities required by the bank. 

Mr. Khalil concluded the session by entertaining questions from the students, and then spoke at length about the pros of accepting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and how it enhances productivity, profits, and employee satisfaction. 

02 May 2019

The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge to call upon senior business leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when carrying out business and interacting with society.
The Business Pledge allows business leaders to showcase their best practices in ethical business conduct while uniting students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of the Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements

The Pearl Initiative would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time, and engagement with our programme:
Ernst & Young
Neal Ysart, Director, Ernst & Young
Amity University 
Dr. Geetanjali Chandra
Amity University students


The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend our gratitude to PepsiCo as supporters of the programme and the Business Pledge Initiative. 

Event Summary  

Event Location: Amity University, Dubai


The Pearl Initiative held a Business Pledge session for Amity University students and delivered by Neal Ysart, Director at Ernst & Young to provide practical examples of how sustainable best practice are applied in business. 

The Business Pledge is designed to connect students with business leaders, affording them the opportunity to learn about the practical aspects surrounding the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

Speaking on the pillar of ‘Promoting Integrity’, Mr. Ysart initiated the discussion by explaining what integrity means and why integrity matters to business. 

Mr. Ysart went on to discuss an initiative at EY called the “Integrity Agenda.” The “Integrity Agenda” is a framework with four foundational elements, namely: 

1.    Governance
2.    Culture
3.    Controls
4.    Insights

Governance 
The structure of integrity management, encompassing the board, line management and corporate functions and the policies that guide organisational behaviour, vision, mission and ethical obligations.

Culture 
The commitment to integrity that guides decisions across the extended enterprise. This includes open and transparent communication, training and education, codes of conduct, and organisational values. 

Control 
The procedure that embeds integrity into day-to-day operations, preventing and detecting violations of rules and policies. 

Insights  
Data-based insights about emerging risks and integrity performance, driving program effectiveness, and enriching employee knowledge.

The “Integrity Agenda” helps organisations bridge the gap between intentions and behaviour. These four foundational elements help align an individual’s actions with an organisation’s objectives.

Mr. Ysart spoke about narrative integrity analysis by discussing a few examples on how it is used to investigate fraudulent cases of integrity. He concluded the session on the core challenge, which is influencing behaviour over diverse and dispersed employees and third parties amidst intense competitive pressures and rapid technological changes. 

 

28 April 2019
Hosted in partnership with King Khalid Foundation, this workshop was designed to give foundations an insight into the process of developing a “Theory of Change” for entire programmes, organisations or initiatives in order to achieve their intended impact and inspire change in the societies they support.   

A theory of change describes how your organisation or project aims to bring about social impact. It is a multi-purpose tool, helping to articulate your mission, refine your strategy, and provide a roadmap for impact measurement.

The process of creating a theory of change allows foundations to articulate a process for change by identifying and defining aims, short and long-term outcomes and goals while also examining  assumptions. A well-built theory of change supports foundations in programme development, external communications, and is a prerequisite for effective evaluation of the work carried out.  

* Please note that the workshop was hosted in Arabic. 
24 April 2019
Regional micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) form the backbone of national economies, and in their lifecycles, face a range of business concerns that can be addressed by the implementation of corporate governance.

Held in collaboration with Zubair SEC, this workshop was designed to introduce micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises to the ways in which good corporate governance practices can be adopted for improved business outcomes.

Led by a governance expert from the International Finance Corporation, this workshop showed MSMEs how corporate governance can improve access to capital, create enhanced monitoring, attract the right talent, and successfully navigate business concerns.
23 April 2019
The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between Ahlia University and Saleh Hussain Consultancy on 23 April 2019.
This event was a Business Pledge session, held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative.
The Business Pledge is designed to connect students with business leaders, providing them the opportunity to learn more about the practical aspects surrounding the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.
This session was delivered by Mr. Saleh Hussain, Founder, Saleh Hussain Consultancy (SHC), on the topic of ‘Promoting Integrity’.
 
22 April 2019
The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge to call upon senior business leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when carrying out business and interacting with society. 

The Business Pledge allows business leaders to showcase their best practices while uniting students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time and engagement with our programme:
  • Emirates NBD
  • Elena Cruz, VP, Head of Brand and Corporate Responsibility, Emirates NBD
  • American University of the Emirates and Dr. Nikolina Ljepava 
  • American University of the Emirates students
The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend a special thank you to PepsiCo as supporters of the programme and the Business Pledge initiative.

Event Summary  

Event Location: American University of the Emirates, Dubai


The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between Emirates NBD and American University of the Emirates on 22 April 2019.

The event was a Business Pledge session, held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative. 

The Business Pledge is designed to connect students with business leaders, affording them the opportunity to learn more about the practical aspects surrounding the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

The session was delivered by Ms. Cruz on the pillar of ‘Setting targets for sustainable and responsible growth’. Ms. Cruz began by addressing the basics of social responsibility and highlighting how it takes more than just compliance with regulations to be sustainable. She then spoke about the Social Investment Framework, which details the importance of CSR on social return on investment at Emirates NBD.

Ms. Cruz went on to address the two flagship platforms at Emirates NBD, called ‘Together Limitless’ and ‘Money Wise’. 

Together Limitless is an initiative whereby Emirates NBD advocates for the rights of people of determination. This initiative supports the inclusion of people with disabilities on multiple fronts and since its inception, Emirates NBD has placed over 50 people with disabilities in long-term employment across the UAE. 

Money Wise is another initiative through which Emirates NBD holds seminars, panels, and workshops that promote financial awareness, as well as a community forum with 25 community leaders working together to identify gaps in financial literacy. The motive of this initiative is to empower employees, customers, and local community members to better manage their personal finances, thus maintaining a financially healthy standard of living.

Ms. Cruz spoke briefly of other areas of focus  of Emirates NBD. These including Women’s Empowerment, Community Development, and an Exchange Volunteer Programme. 

Ms. Cruz concluded the session by highlighting the resultant return on investment from community and social development initiatives carried out by Emirates NBD. 
21 April 2019
Students are a fast-growing segment of the entrepreneurial community across the Gulf Region, and have exciting business ideas. However, students need support getting their business dreams off the ground and can learn from the experiences of those before them.

At this student lecture, the students joined Maher Ezzedine (CEO, Ideanco, and Chairman, Harvard Business School Aerospace Alumni Association) to learn from his entrepreneurial journey. Mr. Ezzedine walked students through his experiences and provided lessons that enterprising students can take home for their future career success.

This event was co-organised with Young Arab Leaders (YAL), and supported by Shera'a.
17 April 2019

The Award Ceremony was held at HCT Dubai Women’s Campus, United Arab Emirates, on 17th April 2019 to recognise and reward the students and faculty champions that took part in this Competition. The Ceremony was attended by over fifty (50) students, faculty members and executives from renowned organisations and universities in the region.

11 April 2019
The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge to call upon senior business leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when carrying out business and interacting with society.

The Business Pledge allows business leaders to showcase their best practices in ethical business conduct while uniting students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of the Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time and engagement with our programme:

KIPCO
Eman Al Awadhi, Group Communications Director, KIPCO
American University of Kuwait and Dr. Subhra Chakrabarty 
American University of Kuwait Students


The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend a special thank you to PepsiCo as supporters of the programme and the Business Pledge Initiative. 

Event Summary  

Event Location: American University of Kuwait, Kuwait


The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between KIPCO and American University of Kuwait on 11 April 2019. This event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative.

The Business Pledge is designed to connect students with business leaders, affording them the opportunity to learn more about the practical aspects surrounding the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

This session was delivered by Ms. Eman Al Awadhi on the pillar of ‘Collaborations & Partnerships’. Ms. Awadhi explained what the meaning of collaborations and partnerships means to KIPCO, and differentiates the two from each other. 

At KIPCO, collaborations take place with companies that are within the KIPCO group of companies, where KIPCO and the collaborator work jointly in an intellectual endeavour – whether contractual or otherwise. Ms. Awadhi mentioned that partnerships include a third party, and can be contractual. 

Ms. Awadhi discussed a partnership at KIPCO called ‘KIPCO Tamkeen Award for Young Entrepreneurs’, which is a partnership between the KIPCO Group and the Youth Empowerment Organisation. The partnership was established in 2015 and focuses on start-ups in e-media & technology. The motive behind such an initiative and partnership was for the diversification of the economy, empowering youth in line with the Kuwait Vision of 2035, and to invest in the youth and encourage them to be creative and innovative. This initiative includes a monetary reward of $100,000, which aims to help budding entrepreneurs establish their product/services through insurance coverage, market feasibility studies, consultations, and other business services.
 
The partnership between KIPCO and the Youth Empowerment Organisation has been impactful, and has helped young entrepreneurs establish themselves in the Private Sector by giving them exposure to developing entrepreneurial trends and helping propel their ideas into actions.  
 
27 March 2019
The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge to call upon senior business leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when carrying out business and interacting with society. The Business Pledge allows business leaders to showcase their best practices while uniting students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time, and engagement with our programme:
  • Pinsent Masons
  • Alexandra Aikman, Associate, Pinsent Masons
  • Amity University Dubai and Dr. Geetanjali Chandra
  • Amity University Dubai Students
The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend a special thanks to PepsiCo as supporters of the programme and initiative.

Event Summary  

Event Location: Pinsent Masons, Dubai, UAE


The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative Business Pledge session with Pinsent Masons and Amity University in Dubai on March 27th, 2019.

The event was held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative, designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage with business leaders to learn more about the practical aspects pertaining to the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.
This interactive Pledge session, delivered by Ms. Alexandra Aikman (Associate, Pinsent Masons), shed light on the pillar titled ‘A More Inclusive Workplace’.

Ms. Aikman highlighted the initiatives being taken by Pinsent Masons towards a more diverse and inclusive workplace and emphasized that although the legal industry is not traditionally diverse, Pinsent Masons have paved the way in providing fair and equal opportunities. 

Ms. Aikman highlighted Pinsent Masons’ strides towards creating a workplace which accepts all genders, races, religions, nationalities, ethnicities, disabilities, age groups etc. and highlighted a few of their key initiatives, namely; 

-    FREE (Faith, Race, Ethnicity and Equality) 
-    Well-being Week 
-    Family Support Network 
-    Female Futures 

Ms. Aikman addressed two of Pinsent Masons’ global projects in this regard. The first is named ‘Project Sky’ and aims to achieve an improved gender balance in the firm's partnership and senior leadership team by removing barriers to women’s progression to the highest levels within the organisation. The second, ‘Project Sun’, is an initiative that creates racial and ethnic balance within the firm, and identifies barriers to recruitment and career progression. 

Ms. Aikman summed up the session by elaborating on how a diverse workforce can help the growth of a company. A few takeaway points revolved around how diversity increases creativity by facilitating a diverse set of solutions, and boosts morale by making employees feel included which in turn increases productivity. 

After the session, a law student from Amity University said, “The initiatives taken up by Pinsent Masons to face discrimination and diversity issues are unique and interesting. As someone who is soon to graduate, this is something I would look for in a company.”
 
20 March 2019
The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge calling upon Senior Business Leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when engaging with society by showcasing their best practices to unite students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative's Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgments 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their valuable input, time and engagement with our programme:
  • SABIC
  • Mr. Jaleel Ghani 
  • Prince Sultan University Staff and Faculty
  • Prince Sultan University Students 
The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend their thanks to PepsiCo as funders of the programme, and is grateful for their continued support.

Event Summary  

Event Location: SABIC Head Office, Riyadh


The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between SABIC and Al Ghurair University on March 20th in Riyadh.

The event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative's student engagement initiative, designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage with business leaders to learn more about the practical aspects related to implementing sustainability best practices.

The session was delivered by Mr. Jaleel Ghani, Regional Compliance Leader MEA at SABIC. Mr. Ghani discussed one of the four pillars of the Business Pledge titled 'Promoting Integrity'.

Mr. Ghani kicked off the session by giving the students a brief introduction of SABIC and then discussed their compliance framework and how it is embedded within their legal function. SABIC believes that compliance and ethics is the responsibility of a business and through this, SABIC has a culture based on integrity, devoted quality and innovation, being responsible for maintaining higher standards for their environment, health and safety, fair employment and sustainability. 

SABIC's compliance framework lies in their Code of Ethics which covers four areas; 

1) Global Environment
2) Workplace
3) Protecting their assets
4) Compliance reporting

SABIC's employees are asked to abide by their Code of Ethics which requires them to be honest, trustworthy and to obey the law. Mr. Ghani mentioned that most companies in the Gulf Region have a Code of Conduct, but this is something that has not been embedded into their culture, all of SABIC's employees have to undergo a training on the policies contained in the Code of Ethics. 

Mr. Ghani concluded the session by considering the benefits of having compliance and integrity practices which are a) boosting employee performance b) attracting and retaining talent and building trust among employees.  
 
12 March 2019

The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge calling upon Senior Business Leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when interacting with society by showcasing their best practices to unite students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.


Acknowledgements 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time and engagement with our programme:

  • Crescent Enterprises
  • Mr. Samer Choucair 
  • Skyline University Staff and Faculty
  • Skyline University Students 


The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend their thanks to PepsiCo as funders of the programme, and is grateful for their continued support.

Event Summary  

Event Location: Crescent Enterprises Head Office, Sharjah


On 12th March 2019, the Pearl Initiative held a collaborative lecture event with Crescent Enterprises and Skyline University in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates.

The event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative, designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage with business leaders to learn more about the practical aspects pertaining to the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

The session was delivered by Mr. Samer Choucair, Director - CE-Creates, Crescent Enterprises. The crux of the session was the importance of sustainability in businesses of all sizes and sectors, particularly in stakeholder management.

Mr. Choucair introduced the students to Crescent Enterprises and its four subsidiaries whilst historicising the relationship that Crescent Enterprises has with the emirate of Sharjah. With a diverse portfolio of projects - all of which feature business, environmental, and social sustainability - Mr. Choucair offered examples of businesses that Crescent Enterprises operates under its umbrella. From eco-friendly coffee experiences to electric vehicles, Crescent Enterprises firmly embeds sustainability as a part and parcel of business longevity.

Mr. Choucair then took questions from students about how businesses can be sustainable from the get-go, how to make sustainability economical for businesses, and how to engage with reporting and stakeholder management.

27 February 2019
The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge calling upon Senior Business Leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when interacting with society by showcasing their best practices to unite students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time and engagement with our programme:
  • Chalhoub Group
  • Ms. Dana Dadoush 
  • Al Ghurair University Staff and Faculty
  • Al Ghurair University Students 
The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend their thanks to PepsiCo as funders of the programme, and is grateful for their continued support.

Event Summary  

Event Location: Chalhoub Group Head Office, Dubai


The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between Chalhoub Group and Al Ghurair University on February 28th in Dubai.

The event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative, designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage with business leaders to learn more about the practical aspects related to implementing sustainability best practices.

The session was delivered by Ms. Dana Dadoush, Sustainability and CSR Professional at Chalhoub Group. Ms. Dadoush discussed one of the four pillars of the Business Pledge titled ‘A more inclusive workplace’.

Ms. Dadoush shed light on the topic of diversity and inclusiveness by elaborating on one of their sustainability pillars named ‘People’, which ensures Chalhoub employees are happy and healthy and also provides motivating and meaningful experiences to their employees.

 Chalhoub Group strides towards making diversity and inclusion their way of life, through this effort, Chalhoub Group encourages collaborative teamwork and provides continuous learning and development opportunities for their employees to grow by learning new skills. 

The ‘Planet’ pillar aims to improve the efficiency of their operations and allows Chalhoub Group to give back to the planet by implementing their new ‘Environmental Policy’ and using a sustainability software which helps monitor progress.  

Ms. Dadoush took into account the importance of sustainability by explaining the role of the other pillars and said, “If you don’t measure your sustainability, there is no point in being sustainable”.
06 February 2019

Gulf Region MSMEs are the backbone of regional economies, but face challenges in taking their businesses to the next level. Many MSMEs lack information on the importance of corporate governance, believing it as the realm of larger corporations. However, corporate governance practices are useful in assuring stakeholders and investors that a business is serious about its growth and success.

At this event, held in collaboration with Zubair SEC, MSMEs uncovered why corporate governance matters to small businesses seeking funding, and what MSMEs can do to incorporate best practices in corporate governance for sustainable growth.

This event was held in Arabic.

29 January 2019

Whistleblowing and corporate governance are closely linked; in an open and transparent corporate environment where policies on wrongdoing and whistleblowing are made clear, it is much easier to detect malpractice early, put right any wrongs and avoid a scandal that could be disastrous for a business.
 
Whistleblowing is an essential element for safeguarding interest and for promoting a culture of internal accountability and integrity within organisations. This being said, there are several barriers to a successful whistle-blowing programme, such as the protection of the rights of the whistleblower within an organisation, as well as potential retaliation from fellow employees and potentially illegal disclosure.

The purpose of this event is to provide an introduction into whistleblowing policies as implemented in the Gulf Region and shed light on effective whistleblowing policies while sharing real case studies of whistleblowing procedures. Furthermore, the panel will highlight the areas whistleblowing policies should be focused on discussing best practice and why effective management of whistleblowing is crucial to organisations. The event will provide an opportunity for delegates to reflect on current processes and improve on them.

 

17 December 2018
Over the past year, the Pearl Initiative has collected data surrounding governance practices in the philanthropic and CSR sector from leading organisations in the Gulf Region through a series of interviews, focus group discussions and surveys. Our research has shown that in the Gulf Region, philanthropic organisations and corporations are taking positive measures to enhance their governance practices, particularly practices related to transparency and impact evaluation. 

However, despite ongoing efforts, discussions with key players reveal that:
  • There is a requirement for philanthropic and CSR initiatives to be increasingly focused on results rather than activities solely; and
  • There is a need for organisations to introduce defined systems or standards to better monitor the results of their initiatives and measure their impact.
  • To address these challenges, the Pearl Initiative, in collaboration with en.v, a Kuwait-based organisation dedicated to fostering social development and civic engagement, delivered a two-day workshop led by regional and international experts on results-based program design and monitoring & evaluation for CSR and philanthropic initiatives.
The workshop convened CSR managers and directors in leading corporations and family firms based in Kuwait.  
15 November 2018

The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge to call upon senior business leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when carrying out business and interacting with society. The Business Pledge allows business leaders to showcase their best practices while uniting students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time and engagement with our programme:

    Ma’aden
    Abdurahman Alsum, Sustainability Programs Development-Sustainability Corporate
      Sustainability Assurance Manager, Ma’aden
    Prince Sultan University and Dr. Allwiya Allui
    Prince Sultan University Students

The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend a special thanks to PepsiCo as supporters of the programme, and supporters of this initiative.

Event Summary  

Event Location: Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, KSA


The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between Ma’aden and Prince Sultan University, Riyadh on November 15th, 2018.

The event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative, designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage with business leaders to learn more about the practical aspects pertaining to the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

The session was delivered by Mr. Abdurahman Alsum, Sustainability Programs Development-Sustainability Corporate Sustainability Assurance Manager at Ma’aden. Mr. Alsum discussed with the students the sustainability framework in the oil and gas industry and the fundamentals of what is sustainability and why it is an important part of any business. 

Mr. Alsum emphasised the three elements that are often taken into consideration by companies when looking to measure more than financial performance alone, that is the governance, environment and social (ESG) impact of the business. Organisations in the oil and gas industry have an important role to play in considering ways that business can reduce the damage to the environment. This is not to detract from the role of business but to also impact the economy and to be profitable. A business can and should positively impact the economy, the environment and society.  He also noted that the importance of sustainability has been reinforced for organisations in KSA by the importance placed upon it by Saudi Vision 2030.  
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For Ma’aden, working in a way that is sustainable, is a fundamental part of the way in which they operate their business. The session was then opened for Q&A where the role of Saudi companies to consider not only their profits but how they are contributing to the society was discussed.  

14 November 2018

Strong integrity practices are becoming more and more crucial for organisations looking to lead their respective industries in the current business environment. In this digital age, developments in technology can assist organisations of all sizes in establishing and implementing effective integrity practices.

The “Business Integrity Principles: Driving Implementation for Sustainability” seminar will bring together business leaders and subject matter experts from various industries to discuss the benefits of implementing rigorous business integrity practices, with a focus on sharing successful best practice case studies.

With a primary focus on the voluntary adoption of best practices in integrity using emerging technologies, the discussion will seek to explore the mechanisms and systems implemented by organisations to detect, mitigate, and prevent against any incidents resulting from lapses in conduct surrounding business integrity.

The goal is to shed light on how organisations can use technology to effectively implement and enhance systems and policies that promote business integrity within an organisation.

Further, the Pearl Initiative will introduce the Gulf Integrity Indicator, a tool designed to provide organisations with a comprehensive framework to review their existing integrity practices, with the objective of identifying areas for refinement and enhancement.

07 November 2018

The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge to call upon senior business leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when carrying out business and interacting with society. The Business Pledge allows business leaders to showcase their best practices while uniting students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time and engagement with our programme:

  • Bee’ah
  • Dr. Hashem Stietiya, Head of Environmental Consultancy, Bee’ah
  • The American University of Sharjah and Dr. John Katsos
  • The American University of Sharjah Students

The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend a special thanks to PepsiCo as funders of the programme, and supporters of this initiative.

Event Summary  

Event Location: Bee’ah Head Office, Sharjah, UAE

The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between Bee’ah and the American University of Sharjah on the 7th of November 2018.

The event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative, designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage with business leaders to learn more about the practical aspects pertaining to the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

The session was delivered by Dr. Hashem Stietiya, Head of Environmental Consultancy, Bee’ah. Dr. Stietiya discussed one of the four pillars of the Business Pledge titled ‘Setting Targets for sustainable and responsible growth’, showcasing the strides Bee’ah has taken towards achieving zero waste to landfill, as a sustainable and an economical measure to sustaining life on earth. Bee’ah’s motive to reaching zero waste to landfill was driven by the Emirates 2021 Visions which aims to achieve at least 70% diversion rate to landfills across all emirates.

Bee’ah implemented this initiative by dividing it into four categories namely;

Optimised waste collection: Reducing usage of fuel, using electric cars, collecting waste only when necessary using the shortest route.
Resource Recovery: Material recovery facility, construction and demolition waste recycling facility, tyres recycling facility, metal shredding and recycling factory.  
Renewable Energy: Converting waste that cannot be recycled into energy, treating 300,000 tonnes of waste annually.
Community Outreach: Implementing reverse vending machines, Bee’ah school of environment, Smart bin sensors, use of 3-stream bins etc.
Bee’ah’s initiatives have a strong impact on the environment which in turn benefits society and helps sustain life longer with earth’s exhaustive resources. Having only diverted 20% of waste from landfills in 2007, Bee’ah has achieved a diversion rate of 76% over the course of 10 years through their sustainability initiatives.

05 November 2018

Mr Samir Thabet, Sustainability Coordination Manager at CCC discussed the sustainability policy of CCC which addresses the environmental elements of sustainability, as well as the social and economic elements. 

The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge to call upon senior business leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when carrying out business and interacting with society. The Business Pledge allows business leaders to showcase their best practices while uniting students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of the Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time and engagement with our programme:

Consolidated Contractors Company
Samir Thabet, Sustainability Coordination Manager, Consolidated Contractors Company
Al Ghurair University and Dr. Jaya Premila
Al Ghurair University Students

The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend a special thanks to PepsiCo as supporters of the programme, and supporters of this initiative.

Event Summary  

Event Location: Al Ghurair, Dubai, UAE

The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and Al Ghurair University in Dubai on November 5th, 2018.

The event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative, designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage with business leaders to learn more about the practical aspects pertaining to the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

The session was delivered by Mr Samir Thabet, Sustainability Coordination Manager at CCC. Mr Thabet discussed one of the four pillars of the Business Pledge titled ‘Setting Targets for sustainable and responsible growth’ and shared information around the sustainability policy of CCC. The policy addresses the environmental elements of sustainability, as well as the social and economic elements. Mr Thabet explained how all the elements were interlinked and all integral that contribute to the sustainability of the organisation and society as a whole. 

Mr Thabet also spoke of the importance of aligning the company’s best practices with pre-existing, and well-established frameworks such as the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), in an attempt to implement and adhere to proven, global standards of sustainability.

Mr Thabet concluded the session by highlighting the importance of having the principles of sustainability embedded within the moral compass of every member of society as a tool for driving long-term sustainability in the Region.

29 October 2018

The Business Pledge session held between FAB and Abu Dhabi University highlighted the framework of sustainability which consists of four pillars which created value for the bank by reducing its costs and in turn increase profits for the bank.

The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge to call upon senior business leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when carrying out business and interacting with society. The Business Pledge allows business leaders to showcase their best practices while uniting students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time and engagement with our programme:

  • First Abu Dhabi Bank (“FAB”)
  • Belinda Scott, Senior Manager - Corporate Sustainability, FAB
  • Abu Dhabi University and Dr Petra Turkama
  • Abu Dhabi University Students

The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend a special thanks to PepsiCo as funders of the programme, and supporters of this initiative.

Event Summary  

Event Location: Abu Dhabi University, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between  FAB and Abu Dhabi University in Abu Dhabi on October 29th, 2018.

The event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative, designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage with business leaders to learn more about the practical aspects pertaining to the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

The session was delivered by Ms Belinda Scott, Senior Manager – Corporate Sustainability, FAB. Ms Scott discussed one of the four pillars of the Business Pledge titled ‘Setting Targets for sustainable and responsible growth’, which highlighted their sustainability framework and how sustainability is important to FAB.

FAB’s sustainability framework consists of the following four pillars;

Governance, Integrity and Risk Management encompassing risk management, data security and privacy, AML and anti-corruption aspects

Responsible Banking comprising of financial and economic performance, customer experience, financial access and inclusion, the direct environmental impact of operations etc.

Responsible Employment highlighting the role, value and importance of diversity and inclusion, talent management and employee wellbeing

Positive Social Impact pertaining to community investment and socio-economic development, responsible and sustainable procurement and Emiratisation

Ms Scott explained further how FAB viewed sustainability and its role in relation to the bank’s employee retention strategy, stakeholder satisfaction, and brand recognition. Ms Scott also noted how sustainability initiatives created value for the bank by reducing its costs and in turn increase profits for the bank.

23 October 2018

The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge to call upon senior business leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when carrying out business and interacting with society. The Business Pledge allows business leaders to showcase their best practices while uniting students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time and engagement with our programme:

  • Emirates NBD
  • Elena Cruz, Head of Brand & Corporate Responsibility, Emirates NBD
  • Murdoch University Dubai and Dr Keary Shandler
  • Murdoch University Dubai Students

The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend a special thanks to PepsiCo as funders of the programme, and supporters of this initiative.

Event Summary  

Event Location: Murdoch University, Dubai, UAE

The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between Emirates NBD and Murdoch University in Dubai on October 23rd, 2018 in Dubai.

The event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initiative, designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage with business leaders to learn more about the practical aspects pertaining to the implementation of sustainable best practices in business.

The session was delivered by Ms Elena Cruz, Executive VP, Head of Brand & Corporate Responsibility at Emirates NBD. Ms Cruz discussed one of the four pillars of the Business Pledge titled ‘Setting Targets for sustainable and responsible growth’, sharing insights on how Emirates NBD defines sustainability, and what it means to the organization as a whole. Additional information was shared around their Philanthropic endeavours and the journey taken by Emirates NBD towards Creating Shared Value (CSV).

Ms Cruz shed light on the elements of the CSV initiatives being implemented by Emirates NBD at great length describing the positive impact such initiatives had to both its shareholders, as well as the growth and development of the organisation itself.   

Ms Cruz also spoke about the importance of aligning the company’s best practices with pre-existing and well-established frameworks such as the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) which helps ease the process of measuring impact, saving valuable time that would otherwise be lost to establishing new processes.

Ms Cruz concluded the session by shedding light on the positive impact of the implementation of such practices in relation to the organisation’s growth and reputation, both within Emirates NBD and across the broader community.

01 October 2018

Nesma hosted the students of Effat University to discuss the pillar 'Promoting Integrity’, defining what integrity meant to them while also introducing the corporate Code of Conduct of Nesma Holding.

The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge calling upon Senior Business Leaders in the Gulf Region to make a public commitment to adhere to principles of ethical and responsible conduct when interacting with society by showcasing their best practices to unite students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme.

Acknowledgements 

The Pearl Initiative team would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their valuable input, time and engagement with our programme:

  • Nesma Holding
  • Ms. Rana Zumai
  • Effat University Staff and Faculty
  • Effat University Students

WHO FUNDS THIS PROGRAMME?

The Pearl Initiative team would also like to extend their thanks to PepsiCo as funders of the programme, and is grateful for their continued support.

Event Summary  

Event Location: Auditorium, Nesma Holding Head Office, Jeddah

The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event between Nesma Holding and Effat University on October 1st in Jeddah.

The event was a Business Pledge session held as part of the Pearl Initiative’s student engagement initative, designed  to provide students with the opportunity to engage with  business leaders to learn more about the practical aspects related to implementing sustainability best practices.

The session was delivered by Ms. Rana Zumai, Executive Manager Corporate Communications at Nesma Holdings. Ms. Zumai discussed one of the four pillars of the Business Pledge titled ‘Promoting Integrity’, defining what integrity meant to Nesma Holding while also introducing the corporate Code of Conduct of Nesma Holding.

Ms. Zumai described the elements of the code of conduct at great length describing the main corporate principles and values it defines as well as its scope as a guide and reference for all employees in their daily business dealings as employees of Nesma Holding.

Ms. Zumai also spoke about the Business Ethics training conducted at Nesma Holding which was introduced in 2017 to uphold and maintain the reputation of Nesma Holding for excellence and high ethical standards as an ongoing process to;

  1. Align actions and behaviours with the expectations of Nesma Holding
  2. Contribute to a healthy and respectful work atmosphere
  3. Ensure compliance with established rules and regulations
  4. Report in good faith of any observed or suspected wrong-doing.


Ms. Rana concluded the session by shedding light on the impact of implementing such practices and their impact on the reputation of the organisation before all stakeholders, internally within Nesma Holding and externally.  

 

 
 
26 September 2018

Strong Integrity practices are becoming more and more crucial for organisations looking to lead their respective industries in the current business environment. Business Integrity Principles: Driving implementation for sustainability roundtable will bring together business leaders and subject matter experts from various industries to share and discuss the benefits of implementing rigorous business integrity practices. 

With a primary focus on voluntary adoption of best practices, the discussion will seek to explore the mechanisms and systems implemented by organisations to detect, mitigate and prevent the risks associated with fulfilment of practices not aligned towards business integrity. 

The goal is to shed light on the practices that have assisted organisations to add value to their businesses by appointing sustainable and effective business integrity principles. 

In addition, Pearl Initiative will introduce the Gulf Integrity Indicator, designed to provide organisations with a framework to review their existing integrity practices in an effort to stimulate a discussion within the organisations seeking to enhance on current practices.

29 August 2018
The Pearl Initiative, in collaboration with Dubai Business Women Council, is honoured to invite you to attend this interactive roundtable event to discuss the value corporate governance has for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) seeking to raise capital.

Gulf Region MSMEs are innovative and growing fast, but face challenges in raising capital. If applied practically, corporate governance practices can assure stakeholders, investors, and other sources of funding that a business is serious about its growth and success. At this event, join international and regional industry leaders and practitioners to learn why corporate governance is essential for small businesses seeking funding, and what MSMEs can do to adopt practices to suit their specific needs.

Expert speakers will answer questions that tackle the most pressing issues for MSMEs today, including:
  • How can small businesses tackle difficulties in accessing funds?
  • How can small businesses attract and retain the right talent?
  • How can small businesses find the time to focus on the critical issues that really make a difference to the success of their business?

 

06 June 2018

The Pearl Initiative hosted its annual Suhoor this Ramadan on Wednesday, 6 June 2018 at the Al Majlis, Madinat Jumeirah. This Suhoor brought together the Pearl Initiative partner companies as well as other members of the business community across the UAE.

The Suhoor reflected on our latest report titled ‘The State of Governance in Philanthropy – Gulf Region’ and discussed future initiatives and activities aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of giving in the Gulf Region.

09 May 2018

With the support of the Siemens Integrity Initiative, the Pearl Initiative holds an annual Case Study Competition for business and law students from leading universities in the Gulf Region to research, write and submit case studies on corporate good practices. This programme has reached over 1000 students from more than 35 universities across the Gulf Region. This programme supports the Pearl Initiative’s mission to grow a knowledge base on regional responsible business practices, and to enhance the capabilities of future business leaders.

 

30 April 2018
The workshop was hosted as part of the Pearl Initiative’s programme, ‘Governance in the Philanthropic and Non-Profit Ecosystem’, which they have launched with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and in collaboration with the King Khalid Foundation. Through in-depth research, workshops and roundtables, the programme aims to promote and enhance the governance capabilities of organisations within the philanthropic and non-profit ecosystem in the Gulf Region.

By discussing real case studies and examples relevant to the region, the workshop reinforced the importance of measuring impact and address practical ways in which organisations can be best measuring the impact of their programmes and activities. It also provided knowledge on practical tools that organisations can use to measure the impact of their programmes.

To access the slides prepared by the workshop facilitator, please visit this webpage. 

*Please note that the workshop was held in Arabic.
25 April 2018
Under the Patronage of His Excellency Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, the Pearl Initiative and Saudi Aramco co-hosted the inaugural Governance in Focus Forum on 25 April 2018 in Riyadh. 
 
The Forum attracted over 400 high-level delegates from international and regional companies, government institutions, academia and family firms who engaged in an open platform to discuss the role of corporate governance in the new business paradigm.
 
The speakers and delegates came from around the region and the world to discuss global corporate governance trends in business, finance, investment, philanthropy, policy and technology. The Forum highlighted the value of improved governance practices in enhancing business resilience and attracting investment, particularly in the context of technological disruption and shifting geo-economic landscapes. See the full list of speakers here.

Forum Highlights:
  • Keynote speech by H.E. Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company
  • Welcome Address by Amin Nasser, President and CEO, Saudi Aramco

 

Forum Highlight Videos:

  1. Introductory Message “Corporate Governance: The Foundation of Corporate Sustainability” by Badr Jafar, Founder, Pearl Initiative and CEO, Crescent Enterprises

  1. Welcome Address “Saudi Aramco: From Regional to Global – Leadership in Governance” by Amin Nasser, President and CEO, Saudi Aramco

  1. Keynote Address “Governance in Strategic Sectors: Impact on National Competitiveness” by H.E. Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and Chairman, Saudi Arabian Oil Company

  1. Plenary Panel: Private–Public Dialogue on Governance

  1. Plenary Panel: Governance for Diversification: Supporting National Champions

  1. Plenary Panel: Governance in a Digital World: Creative Disruption and New Technologies

  1. Plenary Panel: Governance for Long-Term Value Creation: ESG and Social Capital








Official Media Parter 



Offiical Transportation Partner

24 April 2018
Mr. Jamal Fakhro from KPMG held a session with students from Ahlia University about how their business practices promote sustainability and correspond to the Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge initiative.
Mr. Fakhro spoke about the establishment of the Jassim Fakhro Fund, which focuses on empowering Bahraini youth through professional education and technical qualifications, and to create and promote avenues for professional finance-focused education to develop Bahrain’s human capital. This initiative is implemented across KPMG in three areas:
1. Learning & Development/Training;
2. Bahrainization strategies; and
3. Corporate Citizenship strategies.
This initiative is thus a core part of KPMG’s personnel development practices, and of responsible community development and citizenship commitments.
KMPG has used this initiative to help young Bahrainis graduate from professional educational programmes, with approximately 200 youths supported in the last 3 years. These graduates are not required to remain employed at KMPG after they get their qualifications: indeed, many graduates have gone on to become successful industry leaders across Bahrain outside KPMG. The result of this educational support is ultimately not to benefit KPMG alone, but the Bahraini economy and labour force as a whole.
18 April 2018
On Wednesday, 18 April 2018, the Pearl Initiative organised a lecture for the students of Princess Nourah bint Abdul Rahman University in Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as part of its series of student presentations around the Gulf Region aimed at raising awareness about the issues of business ethics, integrity and anti-corruption. The purpose of this lecture series is to bring successful business leaders and students together and to inform students about how these topics are applied in practice by businesses in the Gulf Region, and how they contribute to the overall success and growth of an organisation.

The lecture, attended by approximately 80 students, was delivered by Mr Sulaiman Al Sudais, General Counsel and Legal Director at KPMG Saudi Arabia. Mr Sulaiman Al Sudais initiated the session by introducing the topic of ethical and integrity practices in business and highlighted the importance of implementing such practices, as well as the negative impacts that may befall an organization’s reputation and overall wellbeing by not adhering to integrity-related practices.

Mr Al Sudais then discussed the importance of educating employees on the benefits of implementing best practices, as well as ensuring organisations are performing third party due diligence on their stakeholders to prevent potential associations with unethical practices. The lecture was then opened up for Q&As from the student attendees. We would like to extend our gratitude to KPMG for their commitment to business ethics, and for collaborating with us for the student lecture. We would also like to thank the staff, faculty and students of Princess Nourah bint Abdul Rahman University for their time and engagement with our programme.
10 April 2018
The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event with Gulftainer and Amity University on 10th April 2018. The purpose of the event was to unite students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme, which promotes and showcases the best sustainability practices being implemented by businesses across the Gulf Region and its link to corporate governance best practices. The session was delivered by Mr. Sarmad Tiwana, Group HR Head at Gulftainer. Mr. Tiwana initiated the session by highlighting the importance of a more inclusive workplace and introducing the wellness programme Gulftainer has established titled “Positive Pulse” which is targeted at improving their employee’s lifestyle by engaging them in numerus activities aimed at enhancing their mental and physical wellbeing. Examples of these activities included general health team building activities, holistic movement activities, meditation, laugh therapy and much more. Through this programme, Gulftainer was able to increase their employee’s productivity, involvement and overall wellbeing as well as decrease sick leave absenteeism. The programme also assisted a number of employees quit smoking and engage in more physical activities. The overall takeaway from the session is that employees are the most crucial asset to a business, their happiness and overall wellbeing plays a critical role in the success of businesses.
10 April 2018
The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event with EmiratesNBD and the American University of Sharjah. The purpose of this event was to unite students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of the Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme, which promotes and showcases the best sustainability practices being implemented by businesses across the Gulf Region, and its link to best practices in corporate governance.

The session was delivered by Elena C Cruz, CSR Vice President at EmiratesNBD. Ms. Cruz spoke at length about what sustainability means to EmiratesNBD, and how businesses can be sustainable without giving money to make a difference. She underscored the notion that sustainability is not limited to the realm of large companies, and that there exist no time, personnel, or monetary requirements to be sustainable. In her words, “Sustainability starts with you.”

Ms. Cruz then went on to discuss one of the four pillars of the Business Pledge, titled ‘Setting Targets for Sustainable and Responsible Growth’. She noted that when a company gets involved with sustainability, they should think not just about the recognition that the company will receive for their efforts, but also about the benefits the company will receive to help them grow responsibly, Ms. Cruz threw light on the four pillars of sustainability at EmiratesNBD, which are: 1) Responsibility for society 2) Responsibility for the environment 3) Responsibility in the marketplace, and 4) Responsibility in the workplace. She elaborated on how these four pillars of sustainability must be based on a balanced approach for a company striving towards sustainability as well as in an individual’s personal life.

We would like to extend our gratitude to EmiratesNBD for their commitment to business ethics, and for collaborating with us for the student lecture. We would also like to thank the staff, faculty, and students of the American University of Sharjah for their time and engagement with our programme.
04 April 2018

The objective of this event was to identify and understand the benefits and impact of implementing rigorous business integrity practices. With a main focus on voluntary adoption of best practices, participants explored the mechanisms and systems implemented by organisations to detect, mitigate and prevent the risks associated with unethical business practices.

Finally, the launch of the Gulf Integrity Indicator public phase was introduced which is designed to provide organisations with a high-level assessment of their integrity practices in effort to stimulate discussion within the organisation to seek change and enhance on current practices.

06 March 2018
On March 6th, the Pearl Initiative organised a lecture for 45 students in Kuwait, as part of our series of student presentations around the Gulf Region addressing the topics of ethics in business and anti-corruption. The lecture was held at Box Hill College, which was established in 2004, and is the only private institute catering exclusively to women’s higher education in Kuwait.

This lecture aimed to unite business leaders and students in a mutually beneficial exchange of information on how regional businesses operate using best practices in corporate governance. This lecture, as with previous lectures held by the Pearl Initiative, are a crucial component of our Anti-Corruption Best Practices programme, in which we aim to create dialogue and foster education to promote integrity in business activities across the Gulf Region.

The lecture was presented by Eman Al Awadi, Group Communications Officer at Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO), which is Kuwait’s largest holdings company, and was established in 1975. Ms. Al Awadi spoke about ethics and integrity, and why both principles are integral to the smooth operation of a business. She briefed students on general anti-corruption measures in businesses, and detailed KIPCO’s specific anti-corruption and ethics practices. These include the establishment of a Transparency Forum, regular internal audits, the formation of a whistle-blower policy, and miscellaneous corporate governance reporting measures. Students were welcome to ask questions and discuss the contents of Ms. Al Awadi’s lecture as a means of critically engaging with the topics of ethics and integrity.

We would like to extend our gratitude to KIPCO for their commitment to business ethics, and for collaborating with us for the student lecture. We would also like to thank the staff, faculty, and students of Box Hill College for their time and engagement with our programme.
05 March 2018
The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event with the Tamer Group and Effat University. The purpose of the event was to unite students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of the Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme, which promotes and showcases the best sustainability practices being implemented by businesses across the Gulf Region, and their links to best practices in corporate governance.

The session was delivered by Mr. Ayman Tamer, Chairman and Managing Partner at Tamer Group. Mr. Tamer introduced the topic of sustainability in businesses and highlighted the Sa’aid Arms that are implemented and followed by Tamer Group. These arms include: Education, Women’s Empowerment, Art & Culture, Workplace Wellness, Philanthropy, and Environment Conservation. Mr. Tamer also discussed one of the four pillars of the Business Pledge, titled ‘A More Inclusive Workplace,’ where the motive is to instill a diverse culture in the workplace. Mr. Tamer linked two of the six Sa’aid Arms to this pillar, one of which is the ‘Women’s Empowerment’ arm wherein the mission is to educate and empower women with the skills and confidence necessary to enter the work market and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The second Sa’aid arm discussed by Mr. Tamer was the ‘Workplace Wellness’ arm that aims to promote safe practices at work, improve performance, protect communities, and encourages employees to take personal responsibility for their own health and safety through several initiatives. We would like to extend our gratitude to the Tamer Group for their commitment to business ethics, and for collaborating with us on the student lecture. We would also like to thank the staff, faculty, and students of Effat University for their time and engagement with our programme.
25 February 2018

The roundtable convened leaders in philanthropy, corporate giving and non-profit organisations to discuss how the effectiveness of giving can be enhanced through institutional philanthropy and improved governance practices in this sector in the Gulf Region. 

The event responded to key findings of the Pearl Initiative’s regional survey launched to highlight how governance practices are adopted in the philanthropic and non-profit sector as well as the expectations of donors who fund philanthropic activities. Our research shows that governance as well as specific areas such as impact measurement and transparency are key issues that organisations, foundations and institutional donors consider important to better understand, adopt and contemplate when making decisions.

13 February 2018

The Pearl Initiative held a collaborative event with Chalhoub Group and the American University of Sharjah on 13th February 2018.  The purpose of the event was to unite students and business leaders to discuss the four pillars of Pearl Initiative’s Business Pledge programme, which promotes and showcases the best sustainability practices being implemented by businesses across the Gulf Region and its link to corporate governance best practices.

The session was delivered by Marc Ruiviejo, Senior CSR Executive at Chalhoub Group. Mr. Ruiviejo introduced the topic of sustainability in businesses and highlighted the impact the growth of Chalhoub Group’s talent pool, employee performance, attracting a wider range of customers and acquiring innovative minds has on their long-term sustainability.

Mr. Ruiviejo then went on to discuss one of the four pillars of the Business Pledge titled ‘A more inclusive workplace’ targeted at instilling a culture of diversity, free of gender bias where high potentials, irrespective of gender, can perform and grow.

Mr. Ruiviejo used the event to highlight how Chalhoub has implemented diversity initiatives through a focus on gender-based inclusive policies, such as increases in maternity and paternity leaves, the conscious hiring of women in management and warehouse roles, and anonymizing recruitment. He reaffirmed Chalhoub Group’s commitment to the Business Pledge with the belief that diversity and equality in the workplace will increase employee satisfaction levels and ultimately, profitability.

08 February 2018

On 8 February 2018, the Pearl Initiative held its first Student Advisory Board meeting at the Westin hotel in Dubai, UAE. Members of the board consisted of elite students from the American University of Sharjah, Effat University, Ahlia University, Abu Dhabi University and Prince Sultan University.

The Student Advisory Board was established by the Pearl Initiative’s Board of Governors to provide a voice to the region’s youth and to gain their perspective on ways to foster awareness of the Pearl Initiative and it’s programmes amongst the future generation of business leaders. Their role as members of the board is to act as vocal supporters for the Pearl Initiative to the wider student community, raising awareness on our values and principles and to act as ambassadors, facilitating outreach within their respective universities and countries.

The Student Advisory Board Meeting began with a brief introduction on the Pearl Initiative and its various programmes as well as to introduce the members to their roles and responsibilities as Student Advisory Board members. The meeting then went on to provide a detailed introduction on Pearl Initiative’s student focused programmes and initiatives which include the Gulf Region Wide Student Case Study Competition, The Business Pledge and The Young Leaders Network. The dialogue provided the Board Members with the opportunity to discuss the programmes and PI more generally and share their ideas and suggestions as well as provided recommendations to potentially improve the programme implementation and communication plans.

13 December 2017
The Pearl Initiative successfully held a roundtable event in Jeddah, KSA  in partnership with the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI).

This roundtable was held as part of the Pearl Initiatives regional
Corporate Governance for Micro, Small and Medium Business Enterprises (MSME) programme which aims to add tangible value to businesses through effective corporate governance. The session opened with a key note address from Dr. Lama Al Suleiman, Vice Chairwoman and Board Member, Jeddah Chamber of Commerce. Carla Koffel then delivered a brief welcome address in which she highlighted key findings from the Pearl Initaitive SME survey. Sohailah M. Yousef, Director, Jeddah Young Business Women Commitee then delivered a welcome address of her own on the importance of faciliating the growth of SMEs in the region.

This was then followed by a panel discussion which included Amr Banaja, SVP of Marketing and Corporate Responsibility, SEDCO Holding Group and Majdi Al Madani, Director (Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services), Ernst & Young.
28 November 2017
The Pearl Initiative and Red Flag hosted a roundtable event at the Ritz Carlton, Abu Dhabi for senior executives to explore the practical application of corporate integrity practices in the UAE and the Gulf. 

The objective of this roundtable was to explore how important business integrity is when presented with a business decision. Why is it important for businesses to ensure that integrity practices are reviewed and proper due diligence is conducted, prior to establishing a new business relationship. A theoretical and hypothetical case study was presented to attendees to examine and report on what potential risks the organisation may be exposed to when making decisions. 

Download the full event report to learn more. 

 
27 November 2017

The Pearl Initiative hosted a roundtable event at the Le Meridien, Al Khobar for senior executives to explore the practical application of corporate integrity practices in the UAE and the Gulf.   

The session opened with welcome remarks from Carla Koffel, Executive Director, Pearl Initiative which was followed by a keynote speech by Shadi AlDaoud, Vice President and General Counsel, Siemens Limited who shared the experience of Siemens and how they overcame their challenges. 

This was followed by a panel discussion which consisted of David R. Cherrington - Corporate Compliance Organisation Manager & Senior Counsel, Saudi Aramco, Nick Robinson - Partner and Regional Forensic Services Leader, PwC and Shadi AlDaoud with Carla Koffel moderating. 

Download the full event report to learn more.

14 November 2017

The Pearl Initiative held the third of a series of focus group discussions under the programme, ‘Governance in the Philanthropic and Non-Profit Sector’ at the King Khalid Foundation in Riyadh. 

This programme is being run with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. With the collaboration of the King Khalid Foundation, the discussion focused on what good governance practices mean for the sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Region, now and in the future.  

Building on the vast accomplishments achieved in the philanthropic and non-profit sector, the discussion addressed the region’s most pressing governance priorities in the sector including transparency and accountability. 

Download the full event report to learn more. 

13 November 2017
The Pearl Initiative held an event at the Dubai Chamber in collaboration with the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) as part of the Pearl Initiatives regional Corporate Governance for Micro, Small and Medium Business Enterprises (MSME) programme to add tangible value to businesses through effective corporate governance. 

The session opened with welcome remarks from Nadine Halabi, Business Development Manager, Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) and Carla Koffel, Executive Director, Pearl Initiative.

Khawar Ansari, Regional Programme Manager, Corporate Governance MENA, IFC delivered the keynote address and highlighted the value corporate governance can bring to any sized business. This was followed by a panel discussion which consisted of Salma Sakhnini - Entrepreneur, Reputed Leader, Executive Coach, & Business Advisor to CEOs and Board of Directors, Noor Shawwa - Managing Director, Endeavor UAE and Khawar Ansari. 
06 November 2017

The Pearl Initiative held the second of a series of focus group discussions under our programme, ‘Governance in the Philanthropic and Non-Profit Sector' at the Chairmans Club in Kuwait on 6 November 2017. 

This programme is being run with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Building on the vast accomplishments achieved in the philanthropic and non-profit sector, the discussion addressed the region’s most pressing governance priorities in the sector including transparency and accountability. The discussion also focused on what good governance practices mean for the sector in Kuwait and the Gulf Region, now and in the future. 

12 October 2017
On Thursday, October 12, 2017, the Pearl Initiative organised a lecture for the students of Zayed University in Dubai, UAE as part of its series of student presentations around the Gulf Region aimed at raising awareness about the topics of business ethics, integrity and anti-corruption. Over 40 students from the College of Business attended the lecture. the purpose of this series is to bring successful business leaders and students together and to inform students on how these topics are applied in practice by businesses in the Gulf region and how they contribute to the overall success and growth of an organisation.

The lecture was delivered by Mr Ali Salim and Mr Abuzer Sigriwala, both Managers in Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services at EY with over 9 years of experience each in the field. Mr Ali Salim initiated the interactive session with a personality type exercise that got the students engaged and introduced the students to the fraud triangle which highlights the main causes of misconduct.

Mr Ali and Mr Abuzer discussed the concept of fraud and detailed the different types of fraud such as corruption, asset misappropriation and financial statement fraud. The discussion also highlighted ways in which organisations can identify red flags and why it is imperative for organisations to put fraud prevention policies in place.

Mr Ali and Mr Abuzer then went on to explain the characteristics of a fraudster and provided the students with the behavioural red flags displayed by perpetrators through statistics and examples based on their experiences. The lecture was then opened up for Q&As.
27 September 2017
This roundtable was held at Bait Al Zubair in Oman and discussed the priorities, challenges, levels of implementation and needs of Corporate Governance and Accountability practices in MSMEs across Oman.

This event was carefully designed for MSMEs and entrepreneurs to come together face-to-face for a dynamic discussion about the priorities of Oman-based SMEs and how they are trying to achieve them. Key risks and challenges faced by MSMEs were also identified.

This event included an interactive workshop and focused discussion regarding key aspects of Corporate Governance methodologies and how they can enhance MSMEs competitiveness and resilience. 
25 September 2017

The roundtable discussion was held at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers and was the first of a series of focus group discussions under our programme, ‘Governance in the Philanthropic and Non-Profit Sector’, which we are running with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness of the sector in the Gulf Region through improved governance, accountability and transparency.  Through the programme the Pearl Initiative is aiming to support organisations to consider and improve governance in a way that is tailored and best suited to the Gulf Region, taking into consideration the current opportunities and challenges for the philanthropic and non-profit sector in the Gulf Region.

Building on the vast accomplishments achieved in the philanthropic and non-profit sector, the discussion addressed the region’s most pressing governance priorities in the sector including transparency and accountability. With the goal of driving the efficiency and impact of giving, the discussion also focused on what good governance practices mean for the sector in the UAE and the Gulf Region, now and in the future. 

25 September 2017
On Monday, September 25, 2017, the Pearl Initiative organised a lecture for the students of Effat University in Jeddah, KSA as part of its series of student presentations around the Gulf Region aimed at raising awareness about the topics of business ethics, integrity and anti-corruption. Over 80 students from the colleges of Business, Engineering and Architecture attended the lecture. the purpose of this series is to bring successful business leaders and students together and to inform students on how these topics are applied in practice by businesses in the Gulf region and how they contribute to the overall success and growth of a company or organisation.

The lecture was delivered by Mohammed Tamer, CEO and Partner of the Tamer Group who has over 25 years of business experience in the Gulf region. Mr. Tamer introduced the importance of business ethics to the students and explained why it is necessary for the smooth flow of a business.

Mr Tamer initiated his presentation by introducing the students to the concept of corruption and integrity practices. This was followed by a brief description of common misconduct in organisations and the cost associated with it, as well as the benefits of managing ethics in the workplace. With a major emphasis on differentiating between morals and ethics, Mr Tamer further explained in a business environment what is considered unethical behaviour and what steps did Tamer Group undertake to detect, prevent and mitigate the impact of such behaviours.

Mr Tamer explained what were the common causes of unethical behaviour and presented some real-life examples from Tamer Group of unethical behaviour that occurred in the past and provided the students with hypothetical scenarios aimed at engaging them in discussions and debates. Mr Tamer then showcased to the students that actions that Tamer Group took to resolve the issues and opened the floor for Q&As.
24 September 2017

This event was part of a roundtable event series under the Anti-Corruption Best Practices programme in partnership with Siemens held at the Sheraton Hotel in Kuwait. The event deliberated and further explained the real impact of corporate anti-corruption strategies and the precautions companies can undertake to protect their integrity practices.
 
The objective of this roundtable was to identify and understand the corruption risks that are trending in today’s operating landscape and the impact such risks would have on the organisations and its leadership. The roundtable was attended by approximately 30 executives from private sector companies in Kuwait. The Keynote Speech was delivered by Mr Herbert Klausner, CEO, Siemens Kuwait.
 
The event hosted a vibrant panel of subject matter experts that included, Ahmed Kiswani, Head of Corporate Governance, Risk and Compliance, Boursa Kuwait and Wassim Ghazale, Director - Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services, Ernst & Young (EY).
 
The event concluded with roundtable discussions on the topic area, in which the audience attained the opportunity to hold an interactive discussion with the panellists and the attendees.

20 September 2017

This event was part of a roundtable event series under the Anti-Corruption Best Practices programme in partnership with Siemens held in Manama, Bahrain. The event deliberated and further explained the real impact of corporate anti-corruption strategies and the precautions companies can undertake to protect their integrity practices.
 
The objective of this roundtable was to identify and understand the corruption risks that are trending in today’s operating landscape and the impact such risks would have on the organisations and its leadership. The roundtable was attended by approximately 40 executives from private sector companies in Bahrain. The Keynote Speech was delivered by Mr Stefano De Vita, Senior Legal Counsel, Siemens.
 
The event hosted a vibrant panel of subject matter experts that included, Dawood Al Ashhab, General Manager and Head of HR, Bahrain Islamic Bank (BISB), Nicholas Cameron, Partner and Head of Forensics, KPMG and Saleh Hussain, Founder, Saleh Hussain Consultancy. 
 
The event concluded with roundtable discussions on the topic area, in which the audience attained the opportunity to hold an interactive discussion with the panellists and the attendees.

17 September 2017

This event was part of a roundtable event series under the Anti-Corruption Best Practices programme in partnership with Siemens held in Dubai, UAE. The event deliberated and further explained the real impact of corporate anti-corruption strategies and the precautions companies can undertake to protect their integrity practices.

The objective of this roundtable was to identify and understand the corruption risks that are trending in today’s operating landscape and the impact such risks would have on the organisations and its leadership. The roundtable was attended by approximately 50 executives from private sector companies in the UAE. The Keynote Speech was delivered by Mr Nadeem Anwer, Regional Compliance Head M.E. Siemens UAE.

The event hosted a vibrant panel of subject matter experts that included, Jack Nichols, Managing Associate, Linklaters & Robert Ford, Managing Partner & Founder, Governance Gurus. 

The event concluded with roundtable discussions on the topic area, in which the audience attained the opportunity to hold an interactive discussion with the panellists and the attendees.

30 August 2017

On Wednesday, August 30, 2017 a focus group on “Enhancing the Competitiveness of SME’s through Improved Governance Practices” was held by Pearl Initiative in collaboration with Endeavor UAE at their offices in Dubai Internet City.

The event was designed as an interactive workshop and focused discussion which tackled keys aspects of Corporate Governance and how they can make SME’s more resilient and prosperous. Samer Choucair, VP, Crescent Enterprises – Ventures participated as the key speaker and led the discussion through his extensive expertise in the area.

14 June 2017

The Pearl Initiative hosted an Iftar on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 at the Al Majlis, Madinat Jumeirah. This event brought together our esteemed partners and integration board members as well as provided an opportunity to meet with new potential partners and contributors.

07 May 2017

The Corporate Governance and Effective Board Leadership Programme was designed and delivered by the Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) and the Pearl Initiative took place on Sunday, May 7, 2017 over the span of two days at the Shangri La Hotel in Dubai. 

Dr Simon Learmount, Lecturer in Corporate Governance at CJBS delivered the programme to participants and covered the latest thinking about corporate governance around the world, particularly in the UK, US, Japan and China to better understand how practices are applied and can be applied in the Gulf Region. 

30 April 2017
On Sunday, April 30, 2017 the Pearl Initiative organised a lecture for students of Ahlia University in Bahrain as part of its series of student presentations around the Gulf Region raising awareness about the topics of business ethics, integrity and anti-corruption. The purpose of this series is to bring successful business leaders and students together and to inform students on how these topics are applied in practice by businesses in the Gulf region and how they contribute to the overall success and growth of a company or organisation.

The lecture was delivered by Dawood Al Ashhab, Assistant General Manager, Human Resources & General Services at Bahrain Islamic Bank (BISB) who demonstrated the importance of Integrity practices by providing firsthand examples from his experience at BISB.

Key issues affecting companies in the Gulf include:
• It is important for businesses to tailor international regulations to be regionally relevant and incorporating them into their organisations.

• Integrity practices have an impact from the perspective of employees as it helps maintain the trust of the company.
13 April 2017
On Thursday, April 12, 2017 the Pearl Initiative organised a lecture for students of Sultan Qaboos University as part of its series of student presentations around the Gulf Region addressing the topics of business ethics, integrity and anti-corruption. The purpose of this series is to bring successful business leaders and students together and to inform students on how these topics are applied in practice by businesses in the Gulf Region and how they contribute to the overall success and growth of a company or organisation.

The lecture was delivered by Ibrahim Al Akhzami, Senior Manager, Legal Department, Omantel under the title, “Anti-Corruption: Importance of Integrity in a Business”.

Al Akhzami introduced the topic to the students and expressed its importance by giving real life examples on ways Omantel implemented integrity practices which included policies on human trafficking, false customer accounts and nepotism.

Al Akhazami also stated that policies are not only financially driven, they are also derived from the pride and responsibility the company has towards their country and towards boosting its economy.

Al Akhzami concluded the lecture by stating, “You are our future. We need to be proactive in stressing the importance of ethics in the way we conduct business”.
12 April 2017

On Wednesday, April 12, 2017 the Pearl Initiative co-hosted a roundtable discussion with the Qatar International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) highlighting the importance of good corporate governance in enhancing SME competitiveness in the region.
 
The discussion marks the launch of the Pearl Initiative’s region-wide programme to raise awareness about the benefits of good corporate governance and accountability for SMEs in terms of long-term business sustainability and profitability. The programme constitutes a series of interactive roundtables, workshops and a Gulf-wide survey that seeks to understand the challenges that SMEs in the region face and to identify solutions and opportunities. The session commenced with opening remarks from Remy Rowhani, Managing Director, International Chamber of Commerce Qatar follow by an introductory statement by Carla Koffel, Director, Pearl Initiative. Saleh Hussain, Founder, Saleh Hussain Consultancy then provided the opening keynote and delivered a presentation on “Enhancing the Competitiveness of SMEs Through Improved Governance Practices”.  

23 February 2017
This roundtable forum brought high-level constituents together face-to-face to discuss how companies in the GCC are working to attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions and the impact it has on their business. The Pearl Initiative also launched its latest report: “Women Careers in GCC: Four Good Practice Case Studies” at the event 
 
The purpose of the event was to bring together high-level constituents face-to-face for a dynamic discussion on how businesses in the Gulf Region can attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions. The Forum was attended by approximately 60 executives from public and private companies, family firms, academia, state-owned entities and semi-government bodies from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

The event hosted a vibrant panel representing the companies who participated in the case study report, GE, Olayan Group, PDO and PepsiCo along with Khalid AlKhudair, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, GloWork.  This was followed by a question that was posed to the audience on what priorities CEOs should focus on.

Keynote speaker: Rania Rizk, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Asia, Middle East and North Africa at PepsiCo.

Key takeaways from the event
  • getting the buy-in from all levels of the organisation is key to the successful implementation of policies
  • SMEs have an important role in providing job opportunities for women, this is not just an issue for large organisations
  • Senior management must monitor the implementation of policies to ensure they are being implemented effectively.
  •  Companies must find ways to implement and support work-life balance. 
09 February 2017
This roundtable forum brought high-level constituents together face-to-face to discuss how companies in the GCC are working to attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions and the impact it has on their business. The Pearl Initiative used this even as a platform to launch its latest report: “Women Careers in GCC: Four Good Practice Case Studies” at the event 
 
The purpose of the event was to bring together high-level constituents face-to-face for a dynamic discussion on how businesses in the Gulf Region can attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions. The Forum was attended by approximately 60 executives from public and private companies, family firms, academia, state-owned entities and semi-government bodies from Oman and other Gulf countries.

The event hosted a vibrant panel representing the companies who participated in the case study report, GE Olayan Group and PDO.  This was followed by a question that was posed to the audience on what priorities CEOs should focus on.

Keynote speaker: Mr Raoul Restucci, Managing Director, Petroleum Development Oman

Key takeaways from the event
  • Long-term investment in women in the workplace has shown to increase retention
  • Organisations should break stereotypes by hiring women in unconventional positions.
  • It is key to build women’s confidence. This is best done not only by training but by building a supportive working environment.
  • Senior management must monitor the implementation of policies to ensure effectiveness. 
01 February 2017
This roundtable forum brought high level constituents together face-to-face to discuss how companies in the GCC are working to attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions and the impact it has on their business. The Pearl Initiative also launched its latest report: “Women Careers in GCC: Four Good Practice Case Studies” at the event 
 
The purpose of the event was to bring together high level constituents face-to-face for a dynamic discussion on how businesses in the Gulf Region can attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions. The Forum was attended by approximately 75 executives from public and private companies, family firms, academia, state-owned entities and semi-government bodies from the UAE and other Gulf countries.

Keynote speaker: Mr. Nabil Habayeb, President and CEO, GE Middle East, North Africa & Turkey.

The event hosted a vibrant panel representing the companies who participated in the case study report,  Olayan Group, PDO and PepsiCo.  This was followed by a question that was posed to the audience on what priorities CEOs should focus on.

Key takeaways from the event
  • In addition to the need to set the tone from the top, the tone from the middle management is crucial.
  • Role Models and Mentors are essential to helping boost the confidence, support and opportunities for women.
  • The development and implementation of policies supporting gender diversity are key to the prosperity of organisations.
  • Companies must find ways to implement and support work-life balance. 
07 November 2016
HRH The Prince of Wales's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) and the Pearl Initiative, held the CFO Circle of Practice Meeting and tea reception on Monday, 7 November in Abu Dhabi. 
 
Attended by HRH The Prince of Wales, H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General, Environment Agency and Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and Founder of Pearl Initiative, the Circle of Practice Meeting brought together finance leaders from across the GCC to focus on sustainability in the region. During the opening speech, HRH The Prince of Wales shared his thoughts on the role that CFOs play in creating sustainable businesses and resilient economies.
 
Pearl Initiative Honours HRH The Prince of Wales with 'Champion of Sustainability' Award
Following the speech, HRH Prince Charles was conferred with ‘The Pearl Initiative Champion of Sustainability Award’. The honour acknowledges the significant contribution made by HRH Prince Charles towards enhancing global understanding of the importance of sustainable business practices. Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and Founder of The Pearl Initiative, presented the award, and commended HRH Prince Charles for his relentless efforts at promoting sustainability as a core business imperative.
 
The high-level meeting, which was attended is the culmination of ongoing efforts of the partnership collaboration between the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group, The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and the Pearl Initiative to explore ways and means to integrate sustainability into decision making and manage future uncertainty.  The participants focused on how the integration of sustainability into business operations enhances decision making capacity, gives strategic insight, knowledge and intelligence on risks and emerging issues faced organisations.
27 October 2016

Under the Patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, the Pearl Initiative and the United Nations Global Compact held their Second Regional Forum on 27 October in Dubai. 
 
This landmark Forum titled "Sustainability in Action: Business and the UN Global Goals" convened more than 700 public and private sector representatives, who also discussed how the GCC private sector could help advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), unveiled by the United Nations earlier this year.

The speakers and delegates came from around the region and the world to discuss how the private sector in the Gulf Region can take action today to further the sustainable growth in a way which is good for business, addressing 5 themes – Prosperity, People, Planet, Peace and Partnerships.

At the Forum, the Pearl Initiative launched “The Business Pledge” as a powerful ‘call to action’ for business leaders in the Gulf Region to advance Sustainable Development. 

Forum Highlights:

Keynote speech by H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.

Video Addresses by H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, The United Nations and H.E. Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations in New York.

Keynote speeches and panel discussions from international and regional business leaders including:

  • Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al-Thani, Founder and Chairperson of Amwal
  • H.E.  Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Chairman of Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development and Qatar’s former Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of  Energy & Industry
  • H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of Environment Agency Abu Dhabi
  • H.E. Dr Mohamed Al Zuhair, Chairman, Kuwait National Fund for SME Development
  • Khalid Al Hussan, CEO, Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul)
  • Arjen Radder, CEO, Philips Middle East & Turkey
  • Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer, Du
  • Sanjeev Chadha, CEO, PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and North Africa
  • Fahd Al Rasheed, Group CEO & Managing Director, King Abdullah Economic City


Publication Launch of Pearl Initiative’s 2016 Gulf Business Leaders Survey on SDGs. For more information about the Survey results, please click here.

The launch of “The Business Pledge” for business leaders in the Gulf with 166 taking the pledge. The Pledge servers as both a commitment to and a guide on the Private Sector’s journey towards responsible growth. For more information, about “The Business Pledge”, please click 
here.


Forum Highlight Video:


Follow the links below to view the full session videos:

02 May 2016
In collaboration with Siemens Integrity Initiative and SABIC, Pearl Initiative held two forums in Riyadh and Jubail. The forums highlighted the necessity for due diligence and building capacity in the supply chain. The sessions also introduced various practical compliance practices around anti-corruption and ethics. 
 
These sessions are part of Pearl Initiative’s three-year Collective Action project funded by the Siemens Integrity Initiative to support the implementation of integrity and anti-corruption best practices in businesses across the Gulf Region. The workshops convened 170 executives from leading Saudi Private and Public Sector companies including family firms and state-owned entities. These events were held on 2 and 3 May 2016 in Riyadh and Jubail.

The sessions offered executives the opportunity to hear Private and Public Sector perspectives on the rationale behind ethical business and why stakeholders - both global and regional - are increasingly requesting evidence of good practice policies and programmes in the Saudi supply chain.

During the voting sessions at the events, the participants displayed confidence in the business benefits to be gained through progressing on this journey with the majority of participating business leaders believing that the Saudi Private Sector will significantly advance corporate accountability practices within next five years.
27 April 2016
Pearl Initiative, HRH The Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) hosted the first Finance Leaders Circle of Practice Meeting in the Gulf Region. The event was held in Dubai with support from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and MECA CFO Alliance. 
 
The forum was attended by CFOs and finance leaders from top public and private companies, family firms, state-owned entities and government institutions from across the Gulf Region. The session presented an opportunity for participants to shape the Gulf Region Finance Leaders Circle of Practice – a vehicle to help share ideas, experiences and good practices amongst a group of experts in the regional finance community, to drive sustainability and set the pathway towards Integrated Thinking. The platform looks to create a space for collaborative innovation and to encourage companies to adopt an integrated approach by providing networking, mentoring and knowledge sharing opportunities. 

Meeting Objectives
  • Provide the structure for a Gulf Region Finance Leaders Circle of Practice, along with a roadmap forward and the outline of a deliverables plan through to the end of 2017.
  • Provide an overview of ways to integrate sustainability into finance function decision making, sharing outputs from the A4S CFO Leadership Network.
  • Discuss challenges and possible mitigating actions on each topic, including the types of guidance required.
05 April 2016
On Tuesday 5 April 2016 at the Westin Mina Seyahi Hotel in Dubai, UAE, the Pearl Initiative partnered with TOP CEO Conference and Awards to deliver two key sessions within their overall Conference Agenda. The two sessions covered the topics of Anti-Corruption & Transparency and Women on Boardrooms.

With a record number of CEOs and VPs from the Gulf region in attendance, the conference brought global issues into a regional context, helping executives and leaders look at the possible impact of such issues and consider the best ways to take their organisations forward, while taking advantage of the coming transformations
09 March 2016
In partnership with Nasser Bin Khaled Holding, Pearl Initiative hosted this interactive roundtable in Doha. The successful forum offered an opportunity for participants to share experiences and viable strategies for attracting, retaining and promoting women in senior corporate positions in Qatar and the wider region. 
 
The business case for greater levels of gender diversity in leadership teams and on boards is clearly linked to enhanced strategic decision making, better governance and closer understanding of target markets. Women’s empowerment in the Gulf Region has made significant progress over recent years, but the number of women making it through to senior executive roles remains relatively low.

This interactive roundtable that was held on 9 March 2016 in Doha convened more than 60 executives from public and private sector companies, family firms, state-owned entities, academia and government institutions. The platform offered an opportunity for participants to share experiences and viable strategies for attracting, retaining and promoting women in senior corporate positions in Qatar and the wider region. As part of the agenda, the session highlighted key findings from Pearl Initiative’s 2015 report, ‘Women’s Careers in the GCC: The CEO Agenda’.

Summary Participant Outcome Actions Make the link between Qatar Vision 2020, and the strategic imperative at the country and company level, to communicate and raise awareness on the need for and business benefit of fully utilising half the Qatari workforce.

Promote a corporate culture based on performance and results in which outcomes are measured by KPIs, rather than inputs based on the time spent in the office. Ensure the development of clear and equitable guidelines and policies, and anchor gender diversity in the company code of conduct.

Encourage the next generation to take part in team sports, to help develop teamwork and leadership skills.
02 February 2016
Pearl Initiative and Olayan Financing Company jointly hosted a Forum entitled “Women in Leadership: Business Roundtable” in Riyadh. The Forum was attended by 67 executives from public and private companies, family firms, academia, state-owned entities and semi-government bodies from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. 
 
The high- level constituents shared ideas, experiences and learnings on practical programmes to attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Region.

Key Recommendations
  • Include diversity targets in the performance metrics of Chairmen, CEOs and Executives.
  • Enlist influential male business leaders to communicate more strongly to their peers on the clear business case for gender diversity.
  • Take personal responsibility to identify, mentor and develop individual high potential women through to senior roles.
  • Raise awareness and train male and female executives, especially in middle management layers, so that they can identify and improve their conscious and unconscious bias mindsets.
  • Build the talent pipeline by developing succession plans for senior appointments that identify high potential women as well as men.
  • Implement equitable compensation and HR policies to achieve gender parity.
02 November 2015
The Pearl Initiative is proud to collaborate with His Highness The Prince of Wales's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) in partnership with Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) to host this important ‘Chief Financial Officer Leadership’ meeting. 
 
The meeting provided an opportunity to share views with a select group of CFOs on the relevance of social and environmental issues to business and the role of the CFO, and consider the steps that need to be taken in response to create resilient businesses. 
01 November 2015
The forum highlighted the business case for integrated thinking and reporting and the practical opportunities and challenges that businesses in the Gulf Region are facing to integrate different forms of capital into decision-making and accounting systems. 
 
The panel session was in the form of a moderated executive conversation, in which a panel of distinguished Bahraini and international speakers shared their opinions, insights, perspectives, good practice experiences and lessons learned on global regulatory and business trends, imperatives and good practices in integrated thinking and reporting.

The forum was attended by more than 50 representatives of the leading national, regional and multi-national state-owned, public, private and family businesses in the Kingdom. It provided a platform for key stakeholders and finance professionals to discuss integrated reporting and the related challenges and opportunities that this framework offers. 
28 October 2015
On Wednesday, October 28th 2015 in Dubai, the Pearl Initiative, in collaboration with the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) of the World Economic Forum, held a roundtable forum on “Raising Anti-Corruption Standards in the Gulf Region”.

The objective of this roundtable Forum was to bring high level constituents together face-to-face to share practical ideas, experiences and suggestions on collaborative action to raise anti-corruption standards in the Gulf Region. The aim was for roundtable participants to leave with implementable ideas and actions on what can be done by their organisations to engage across value chains to improve anti-corruption practices.

The event also marked the official signing of the collaboration between the Siemens Integrity Initiative and the Pearl Initiative to carry out a collective action project to raise awareness and encourage the adoption of integrity practices in businesses across the GCC.
13 September 2015
The Pearl Initiative and Asharqia Chamber of Commerce held a workshop on "Corporate Integrity, Transparency & Competitiveness". The workshop discussed corporate imperatives for improvements in governance, risk & compliance to spread good practices across the region. 
 
The Panel Session was in the form of a moderated executive conversation, in which the distinguished panel guests shared their opinions, insights, perspectives, good practice experiences and lessons learned on the business imperative and action priorities for ensuring corporate integrity, promoting transparency and ensuring a well-regulated, fair and competitive economy that will foster long-term sustainability, economic growth and job creation across the Gulf Region.
 
The forum was privileged to host a panel of distinguished Saudi Arabian and international speakers and was attended by over 70 representatives of the leading national, regional and multi-national state-owned, public, private and family businesses in the Kingdom.
The discussion areas included:
  • The corporate imperative for improvements in governance, risk and compliance.
  • Integrity and transparency good practices within companies, and the business benefits.
  • Spreading good practices across the value chain, with suppliers and business partners.
  • Disclosure and transparency trends in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Region and internationally. 
16 April 2015
Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Pearl Initiative and the United Nations Global Compact held the inaugural Gulf Region Forum on 16 April 2015 in Dubai. 
 
This important Forum entitled “Corporate Accountability Matters: Business Integrity and Value Creation Beyond 2015” contributed to improving corporate accountability, transparency and governance, through providing a vehicle for over 600 regional and international business leaders and representatives from UN organisations, government and civil society to share lessons learned and explore effective ways to engage in activities and partnerships that advance critical sustainable business development priorities across the Gulf Region. 

Forum Highlights 
  • Video Address by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, The United Nations
  • Keynote speeches and panel discussions from international and regional business leaders including Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Board Representative Higher Committee & Director General Bureau, Dubai Expo 2020, Sir Mark Moody Stuart, President & Chairperson, Foundation for the UN Global Compact and Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser AlThani, Founder and Chairperson of Amwal.
  • Panel Discussions
  • Awards Dinner 
  • Forum Highlight Video
     
23 March 2015
The two-day intensive programme was tailored specifically for Middle East business leaders and focused on trust and leadership at all levels - including corporate governance, organisational performance and behavioural economics. 
 
The Pearl Initiative and the University of Cambridge Judge Business School collaborated to deliver this Senior Executive Leadership and Trust Programme in Dubai on 23rd and 24th March 2015. The Programme was designed to help participants to focus on their individual leadership development and build up their powers of trust and persuasion in an inter-connected, globalised world in which boundaries between businesses and employees, suppliers and competitors are increasingly porous.

The Programme was taught by Cambridge Judge Business School faculty experts Dr Philip Stiles, University Senior Lecturer in Corporate Governance and Co-Director of the Centre of International Human Resource Management, and Dr Khaled Soufani, Senior Teaching Faculty in Finance and Director of the Cambridge Executive MBA programme.

Twenty-nine regional business leaders participated in this Executive Education Programme.
21 January 2015
This forum of senior women in finance and accounting explored how diversity can be encouraged and fostered and how finance functions can play a role in making organisations more diverse. 
 
The Pearl Initiative collaborated with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) on a roundtable breakfast session on 21st January 2015 in Dubai, focused on the benefit to organisations of greater diversity in the workplace.

This forum of senior women in finance and accounting explored how diversity can be encouraged and fostered and how finance functions can play a role in making organisations more diverse. Building on research from the ACCA on ‘Building a better business through finance diversity’ and ‘The business case for diversity management’ the forum also heard from Pearl Initiative regarding some initial findings from our research on how to strengthen the pipeline of women through to executive and board levels in GCC organisations. The Pearl Initiative will publish the full outcome of this ground breaking research in the coming few months.

In today’s evolving and challenging financial function, diversity means much more than equal opportunities and goes much further than gender, ethnicity or social equality.  It is also about diversity in the ideas, skills and capabilities that people from all ranges of backgrounds, experiences, ages, geographies and cultures can bring to the finance function.  Companies may have teams that look different, which is good for the CSR reports, but the more important factor is to have a team which is going to think and work differently too.  When expanding overseas, new markets bring their own customs, culture, regulatory environment and governance standards, which need to be considered and integrated into existing corporate models.
11 December 2014
Pearl Initiative & Petrofac held a student lecture on “Ethics, Compliance and Governance” In Collaboration with American University of Sharjah and the School of Business Administration.

Dr Robert Grosse, Dean of the School of Business Administration set the scene with his opening remarks about the banking system and how the financial crisis of 2008 came to be.
12 November 2014
On Wednesday, November 12th 2014 in Dubai, the Pearl Initiative hosted a panel discussion on “Global Trends, Collaboration and Advances in Fighting Corruption”. The panel session provided a platform for an open dialogue amongst prominent regional business leaders. The participants shared their opinions, perspectives and lessons learned on the business imperative for fighting corporate corruption. They also shared their overall experience on promoting accountability and transparency, and ensuring a well-regulated and competitive economic environment that will promote long-term sustainability and growth.
17 November 2013
Ninety participants (by invitation): Executives from 50 of the largest global public companies working in Saudi Arabia, state owned enterprises, chambers of commerce and industry councils, civil society (Saafah), United Nations (UN), World Economic Forum (WEF), Transparency International (TI), and government agencies including special invited guests representing the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Capital Market Authority (CMA), Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labor, and Ministry of Interior.

Objectives:
•Enhancing transparency and sharing best practices in the business sector
•Strengthening the partnership between government and Private Sector
•Encouraging the adoption of plans and programs for protecting Integrity and combating corruption in the private sector.
22 April 2012
During March and April, the Pearl Initiative has been hosting a team of five MBA students from the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, UK and the American University of Sharjah, UAE on an intensive 4-week internship project on "Case building for good business practices in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC)".

On Sunday 22nd April, the student team presented their preliminary research findings during an event entitled "Beyond Compliance: GCC Good Practice Case Studies”, on the following topics:
  •  Effective board processes;
  • The implementation and embedding of Ethics and Integrity-related policies – covering areas such as ethical labour practices, anti-bribery and corruption, human rights, supply chain, and responsible investing; and
  • Integrated Reporting – the combination of financial and environmental, social and governance reporting.