Recent Events
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.
11 April 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.  
 
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.”
 
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.  
​​​​​​​
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.