Corporate stewardship to become necessity for firms’ operations - GulfToday

Corporate stewardship to become necessity for firms’ operations


The Pearl Initiative launches an exclusive report on Gulf business leaders’ insights into trends and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pearl Initiative (PI), the leading independent, non-profit organisation working to improve corporate accountability and transparency in the Gulf region, has launched its exclusive report on corporate stewardship in the Gulf region.

The report, titled ‘CEO Perspectives Report: Corporate Stewardship in Times of Crisis’, provides in-depth insights from 35 regional business leaders, including eight female executives, from across 14 industries on their perceptions on corporate stewardship, its implications, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on corporate stewardship and its future in the Gulf region. Corporate stewardship is defined by the Pearl Initiative as a principle based on creating shared values across the company while also addressing the triple bottom line which is people, planet, and profit.

The launch took place at a virtually held roundtable, convened by Ranya Saadawi, Executive Director at Pearl Initiative, in the presence of eminent industry leaders like Jamal Fakhro, Managing Partner of KPMG Bahrain; Ayman Tamer, Chairman and Managing Partner of Tamer Group; and Zahara Malik, CEO and Co-founder of Grosvenor Capital, along with other PI officials and prominent media personnel.

As per one of the findings from the report, 62 per cent of chief executive officers (CEOs) in the Gulf region consider corporate stewardship as the guiding principle that influences their decision on the corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives of their organisations.

Badr Jafar, Founder of Pearl Initiative and CEO of Crescent Enterprises, said: “We mustn’t see the individual components of E, S and G as being mutually exclusive. They are linked, and we cannot do justice to any one of them without the other. Environmental and social goals are two sides of the same coin, and I like to think of the governance dimension, the G, as the edge of that coin, which binds everything together. In fact, governance in many ways is the most important aspect of the ESG agenda, as strong corporate governance creates the foundations upon which a business’ agenda of corporate stewardship is built.”

According to the report, most of the participating companies found it essential to implement corporate stewardship from the top of the organisational hierarchy for it to become effective and be followed by employees. It further revealed that while corporate stewardship is primarily led by the C-suite executives and the HR department, internal stakeholders such as employees and investors have been gaining influence on the social mandates of their organisation.

The report also underscored that while corporate governance ensures meeting the minimum standards, corporate stewardship opens the opportunity for organisations to take the maximum benefit for both the company and its wider stakeholder community.

Of the CEOs featured in the report, 76 per cent agreed that having a robust reporting standard is essential in their business processes and believed that aligning them with international reporting standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) would enhance corporate stewardship.


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