Dubai trade responds in a big way to challenges - GulfToday

Dubai trade responds in a big way to challenges


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Businesses in Dubai investing in corporate social responsibility (CSR) were able to respond more effectively to new challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey from Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (DCCI) Centre for Responsible Business.

The survey, conducted in May and June 2020, revealed that the Dubai businesses community quickly responded during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak by safeguarding employee health, safety and wellbeing and putting processes in place to ensure business continuity.

Overall, the transition for businesses to remote working was smooth thanks to a number of factors such as digital preparedness, advanced IT infrastructure and digital-savvy employees.

Surveyed organisations highlighted the importance of top management in reassuring employee safety and job security while working from home, at the same time ensuring healthy interaction with peers and physical and emotional wellbeing. In response to restrictions on face-to-face meetings and events, companies quickly adapted by shifting employee volunteering activities to digital platforms, leading organisations to explore new ways to give back to their communities and maximise social impact, according to the survey.

Organisations surveyed emphasised the importance of institutional guidelines introduced by authorities in advising the business community on measures that should be implemented to ensure employee safety.

The study analysing businesses’ responses to the pandemic is a follow up to an in-depth report recently published by Dubai Chamber entitled Corporate Social Responsibility in Dubai: Current Practices, Challenges and Future Opportunities, which revealed that more businesses are now consistent and systematic in their approach to CSR and engage in CSR initiatives aligned with business strategies.

More than half of the surveyed organisations had a formal CSR policy and 65.7 per cent of organisations had a dedicated department or officer to manage CSR. Among the organisations that participated in the 2019 CSR survey, 62 percent of respondents reported a highly mature approach to employee involvement and this figure increased to 70 per cent when in relation to health and safety.

More than 70 per cent of organisations reported that the board of directors are involved with CSR issues, while 68 percent of respondents reported advanced CSR practice maturity levels with employee volunteering. Large organisations were the most mature when it came to community investment. Overall, 76 per cent of responding companies engaged with their communities.

Findings in the comprehensive report show that “improving the community” was the top motivating factor behind CSR initiatives for 80 per cent of companies, while “improve revenue” was the least motivational factor. In addition, 58 per cent of responding organisations reported either a marginal or a significant increase in CSR expenditure over the last three years, and 42 per cent noted that CSR spending either stayed the same or decreased over the same period.

Meanwhile Dubai Economy has conducted its first-ever online workshops for the new applicants in the 2020 cycle of the Dubai Quality Award (DQA) and Dubai Human Development Award (DHDA) in view of the precautionary measures against COVID-19.

The DQA workshop had 40 attendees while the DHDA session attracted 20, and the participants represented diverse business sectors, including finance, healthcare, tourism, construction, service, manufacturing, transport and logistics, as well as the government. The participants were addressed by European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) trainers, Dr Laura Salasco, Dr Franco Pieracci and Marc Karschies, on how to conduct self-assessments and write their award submissions for the 2020 cycle. The workshops were organised with the purpose of encouraging the business community and employers to participate in DQA and DHDA, which are the longest-running Business Excellence Awards of Dubai Economy. Participants in the workshops are trained on the management framework to implement in order to improve business performance, service quality and human development. They also learn how to self-assess their progress (and eligibility for the Awards) and how to prepare an effective Award submission.

Shaikha Ahmed Al Bishri, Director of the Business Excellence Department, said that the workshops reflect the commitment of Dubai Economy in addressing the current and future needs of businesses and supporting them to adapt and grow sustainably. “We have hosted a series of business-related webinars for the community free of cost, to enable them to address the current challenges and become future-ready.


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