Hamad Alkaltham - Corporate Sustainability Manager
Corporate Sustainability Manager, Eng. Hamad Alkaltham, recently had the pleasure of participating as a guest speaker at the GCC Board Directors Institute meeting. Eng. Alkaltham's presentation focused on the theory and practice of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The aim of the discussion was to highlight how both sustainability and corporate responsibility complement each and should be aligned in every department in an organisation, ultimately creating shared value for the organisation, stakeholders and the community to which they belong.
“Alturki has been trading as a family business for 45 years, and we realise our duty to create a positive impact on a national, regional and global scale. With this in mind and our belief in the key pillars of transparency, integrity, excellence and passion we continue to achieve success through sustainability.”
Alkaltham also highlights the constant strive to incorporate a strategy throughout the group as a whole and within each of the subsidiaries, where sustainability is defined as: “The daily creation of economic value, through responsible investment, while positively impacting our people and the environment in which we operate.” In the day-to-day operations, it is crucial to give this declaration the gravity it deserves and place it firmly at the heart of business decisions.
At a MENA level, however we see more mixed messages and results. A 2018 study by Sustainable Square across the region showed that 36% of the companies surveyed had no CSR or sustainability strategy at all, although just over half have a form of annual reporting on their sustainability, social responsibility or environmental performance. This suggests that while these aspects are widely acknowledged as important factors, they do not form part of a company’s success criteria.
Although only around a third of the businesses had a holistic sustainable business and CSR strategy, 75% of those produced annual sustainability reports. Once again, it is imperative that these organisations have a benchmark by which to gauge the effectiveness of their strategic performance and assess any room for improvements or adjustments.
As a way to dissect a sustainable business in its most basic terms, AlKaltham emphasized on looking beyond financial performances and indicators and understanding the value and relevance of each stakeholder and how they play an imperative role in the organisation. Thus, understanding the significance of what financial and non-financial risks might be at stake and ensuring the right implementational strategies and practices to mitigate those risks.
On a broader scale, the objectives of a sustainable business are investing responsibly, environmental responsibility, social empowerment and excellence in operations and governance – without these elements, an organisation will rapidly move from incomplete to obsolete.