Dubai Chamber’s largest sustainability conference brought together public and private sector stakeholders to discuss strategies for surviving and thriving sustainably.
United Arab Emirates - October 26, 2020: Businesses in the UAE must prioritise sustainability and make it an integral part of their strategies as they tackle new challenges and prepare for the post-pandemic recovery, industry experts said during the Dubai Dialogue 2020.
The annual conference, recently hosted virtually by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, examined several key sustainability and CSR trends and issues reshaping the global business landscape, as well as practical strategies and valuable insights shared by leading public and private sector organisations and stakeholders in the UAE.
Presentations and discussions during the event highlighted the business benefits of adopting sustainability as a strategy, tool and mechanism that can be used to ensure resiliency and competiveness, while boosting organisations’ triple bottom line of people, planet and profits.
During his opening remarks, Dr. Belaid Rettab, Chief Economist
Senior Director, Economic Research & Sustainable Business Development Sector, Dubai Chamber, said Dubai Dialogue is the largest conference organised by Dubai Chamber dedicated to CSR and sustainability matters, describing it as an ideal platform for industry experts to share knowledge and best practices in this area. This year’s Dubai Dialogue was of particular importance, he explained, as discussions delved into timely issues and new challenges created by Covid-19, as well as opportunities emerging in a changed business landscape.
Strong interest and participation in the conference reflects a growing awareness of the importance of CSR and sustainability in enhancing business strategies and fostering innovation, he said, adding that the Centre for Responsible Business - since its establishment in 2004 - has played a crucial role in promoting responsible business practices and offering guidance to companies.
Prof. Vijay Pereira, Associate Professor of Strategic and
International Business Khalifa University, UAE, noted that the business environment has changed in an unprecedented way and many of the successful conventional ways of doing things should be revised. He highlighted the role technology is expected to play in the post-Covid-19 era, and stressed the importance of integrating employee health and well-being in future sustainability strategies.
For his part, Martin Bradley, Chief Financial Officer, Dulsco LLC, spoke about how sustainability helps businesses create value and benefit from competitive advantages, said more businesses should look at Covid-19 as an opportunity to drive organisational change and become more sustainable and responsible.
Ibrahim Al Zubi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Majid Al Futtaim elaborated on how Majid Al Futtaim successfully embedded net positive environment strategy as one of its core business objectives. He said sustainability is not a burden or a cost but rather a factor that can create new value for organisations.
Steve Burnell, Managing Director, School Transport Services, said it is more important than ever before for organisations to develop favourable people policies, responsible processes and sustainable products. Business with a short-term view may face long-term challenges, he explained, adding that networking, communication and listening are also key to addressing environmental and social challenges.
For his part, Dr. Kamel Mellahi, Senior Manager at Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business, said sustainability, business continuity and competitiveness are inextricably linked and must go hand in hand. Sustainability, he noted, is more than just good business ethics but a key component of any resilient business model, and advised businesses to make and keep sustainability a top priority during Covid-19 and beyond.