9.37 AM Saturday, 2 December 2023
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02 December 2023

Family businesses a crucial driver of green investments and climate philanthropy


Co-hosted by Dubai Chambers, the inaugural Campden Global Owners & Family Office Congress, taking place between 9th and 13th of October, brought together over 300 family business principals from over 30 countries to share knowledge, best practices, and discuss opportunities for collaboration in addressing opportunities and challenges facing family businesses and the communities they operate within.
The opening plenary discussion on 10th October, titled ‘The key to long-term, multi-generational family success’, hosted Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, Francois von Finck, Chairman of Mövenpick Holding AG, Mohammad Lootah, CEO and President, Dubai Chambers, and was moderated by Jamie Cayzer-Colvin, Family Principal, Caledonia Investments.
During the discussion, Badr Jafar shared his views on some of the major opportunities and challenges facing many family businesses within the Gulf region. Reflecting on the potential impact of family businesses, he stated, "Our region’s family businesses generate over 60% of our GDP, employing over 80% of the workforce. They can and must be at the forefront of addressing all challenges we face in our region, including socio-economic challenges such as youth unemployment and the growing skills deficit."
Highlighting the imperative for strong corporate governance, Badr Jafar, Founder of the Pearl Initiative, addressed the urgent need for succession planning and institutionalisation within family businesses, adding: "The majority of our region’s family businesses are owned and managed by the second generation, moving to the third generation within the coming decade or so. Without proper governance frameworks and policies, we face a huge risk of value destruction of this critical economic and social engine. Family businesses must therefore urgently professionalise structures and implement solid succession plans to ensure resilience and sustainability."
The discussion highlighted the many areas that family businesses are well positioned to constructively engage in, including education, job creation, gender diversity, and sustainable corporate practices. According to a report by Dubai Chambers, UAE-based investors have access to $8trillion of private capital across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and these large pools of capital offer major opportunities to align investment plans with social and environmental priorities.
Addressing the opportunities for business owners to embrace strategic philanthropy in partnership with business and government capital, Jafar highlighted the importance of building strong philanthropic infrastructure and transparent governance to maximise the impact of the hundreds of billions of dollars of philanthropic capital that are invested by Arab communities every year. He emphasised the significance of harnessing philanthropic impact through research, education, and fostering collaboration between the many family foundations and social enterprises scaling their operations across the region.
Badr Jafar, who serves as Chair of the upcoming COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum, addressed the pivotal role that the region’s family businesses must play in accelerating climate and nature outcomes, stating “The upcoming COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum represents a critical turning point in our collective efforts to drive action, to accelerate green technology transfer, de-risk green investments through blended finance, foster entrepreneurial solutions for climate and nature challenges, and support climate-vulnerable countries in building a more resilient and sustainable future.”
As a part of the Campden Global Owners & Family Office Congress, the Crescent Group also hosted a workshop, led by Neeraj Agrawal, Executive Director, Crescent Enterprises, for family business owners at the House of Wisdom in Sharjah. The session showcased the journey and experiences of Crescent Group’s two main subsidiaries, Crescent Enterprises and Crescent Petroleum, and the diversification opportunities that the UAE and the wider region offers businesses looking to expand into the region.
The Campden Global Owners and Family Office Congress is a week-long experiential platform consisting of discussions, workshops and family showcases, bringing together over 300 families and their private offices to introduce family business owners to new opportunities, sharing knowledge, and learning from each other.