Mena focus for UN campaign
Global efforts to rein in corruption and unethical business practices turned towards the Middle East and North Africa after the United Nations agreed to launch a number of programmes in the region in partnership with a key non-profit organisation working towards better corporate governance in the Arab world, it was announced yesterday.
The Pearl Initiative, founded in 2010, has signed a strategic partnership with the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative, to run joint programmes across the Middle East to promote responsible business practices in areas such as corporate governance, diversity, transparent reporting, anti-corruption, responsible investment and integrity in the supply chain, it said in a statement.
The deal was signed during the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit chaired by the UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon in New York yesterday. The summit calls on business to contribute to efforts to tackle climate change, water scarcity, food security, equality, job creation and access to education.
“The vast majority of business decisions and actions involve local challenges and local stakeholders. Therefore, this partnership is not about applying business practices from other parts of the world to companies in the Arab world hoping they still work. Instead, it is about using our knowledge of the region and adopting the UN Global Compact’s universal principles to inspire corporate responsibility,” said Badr Jafar, the Pearl Initiative’s founder and managing director of UAE-based Crescent Group. “ Through reinforcing positive regional experiences, we will be able to encourage more companies to embark on a journey with us to raise business standards and fight corruption … ultimately fostering competitive economic growth, sustainable social development and job creation.”
The UN Global Compact has 8,000 business participants in 145 countries supporting the creation of a framework for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible policies and practices around the world.
“We hope to improve corporate accountability and transparency in the Mena region. The Global Compact’s principles have spurred thousands of companies around the world to embed sustainability into their organisations, now we turn our attention to the Arab world and the great potential for private sector-led action that benefits business and society,” said Georg Kell, the executive director of UN Global Compact.