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.