Mercer – a global leader in human resources consulting – has found that CSR is becoming increasingly more important in the region according to its Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Programs, Policies and Practices Survey carried out in the Middle East and Turkey, in partnership with IIRME’s 10th CSR Summit.
A global version of the survey had previously been conducted in 2012 and in both surveys CSR and Sustainability were treated together. In the Middle East, 41companies – both multi-national and large local companies – contributed; with the highest participation rates from UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The results showed that 72% and 83% of companies worldwide and in the region, respectively indicated that CSR has become more important in the past 2 years, with 78% companies in the Middle East employing a policy for CSR/Sustainability. In fact, 86% of companies in the Middle East rated it as a very important or important component of business strategy.
For those with existing programmes in place, 58% have had a policy for a period of 4 years or less, 25% with a policy of 10 years or more, and for those with an older policy in place, those were predominately multinational companies with headquarters in the region and with more than 1 billion in revenue and over 10,000 employees.
Cameron Hannah, Mercer Senior Partner and Market Leader, India, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, commented, “We found 41% of participants indicated that CSR is reported directly to the CEO, which demonstrates the importance of CSR as an emerging business issue.”
A key finding of the survey was the importance for longer-term, sustainable initiatives for companies. In the Middle East, 82% indicated Employee Health & Wellness as the top core area for CSR/Sustainability initiatives, followed by Community-based development (74%) and Environmental affairs (68%).
CSR/Sustainability programmes have also been found to influence employee engagement, by getting the workforce involved in initiatives that highlight the company’s corporate social responsibility. For the influence of CSR/Sustainability on employee engagement, the number one area that it had a significant or considerable influence was Employer Brand Recognition (64%), followed by employee loyalty (55%), employee retention (52%) and employee productivity (50%).
And while main challenge by companies globally and regionally is quantifying the business value of these programmes, companies believe more can be done and 85% of companies in the Middle East indicated that they plan to increase efforts over the next 2 years, with top areas including increasing resources and reporting publicly on activities.
Cindy Arkin, Mercer Regional Corporate Social Responsibility and Marketing, India, Middle East, Turkey and Africa said, “We are seeing that companies are looking at longer-term, sustainable projects for their CSR programs, rather than one-time initiatives, developing its role as an integral part of good business strategy.”
Source: Zawya.Com – Press Release – 21 May 2013