Corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Dubai appears to be in its infancy after business leaders said they sympathise with social and environmental issues but stop short of taking action to resolve them, a survey carried out by the Ethics Resource Centre, an affiliate of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, showed.
The study measured the commitment of those profiting from the emirate’s economic boom to giving back. However, of the 2,200 companies contacted by the centre, only 310 – 15 per cent – replied. The questionnaire concluded firms, though sensitive to social issues, rarely get actively involved.
The results are identical to findings of a similar questionnaire by the centre in 2006 that concluded company executives see corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a significant part of business practice, although words rarely translate into action.
CSR ranges from ethical internal business practices to taking action to resolve wider social problems, such as poverty and a lack of access to education.
In the most recent survey, Dubai’s business community said health insurance, safety, environmental responsibility and customer service ranked as their most important social contributions.
However, volunteering and committing hours to resolving social issues was found to be uncommon among the companies.
A report published by the centre said although challenges were large, CSR is an inevitable part of doing business and the authors encouraged business leaders to start internal programmes to increase participation. The report concluded the biggest hurdle for CSR in Dubai is moving companies from sympathy to actual practice.
The centre was established in 2004 and employs a team of experts to help Dubai businesses apply responsible policies that boost performance and the potential for competitiveness.
Dubai execs 'less committed' to CSR