UAE, KSA retain regional CSR leadership
The UAE and KSA have emerged as regional leaders in the awareness and adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices based on the findings of the second edition of the MENA CSR Survey Report.
The annually conducted survey by Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy (C&B) in partnership with 3Gem Research and Insights, studies the understanding and impact of CSR across select countries in the GCC, Levant, and North Africa. In this year’s report, the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia lead the way and emerge as leaders, retaining their position from the report’s previous (2020) edition.
The 2021 CSR Report highlights that the understanding of CSR as a concept among C-suite executives in the MENA region is high. Over 50 percent of those surveyed claimed to have a strong understanding of it, with the UAE and the KSA leading the pack in the number of executives understanding the need and impact of CSR. The report also finds that seven in ten C-suite managers regionally feel that CSR is essential, with two-thirds of the respondents feeling it has a very positive effect on a company’s business - executives in the GCC were among the most likely to favourably perceive the effects of CSR and two-thirds (over 66 percent) of UAE executives are positive about the CSR programme their organisation follows.
The report found that nine in ten respondents from the MENA region feel that adopting CSR practices will have a positive effect on a company’s business. 81 percent of UAE managers state that the CSR for their company is either part of their DNA or one of the top priorities, while 95 percent in the KSA agree with the same.
Nine in ten managers in the UAE, compared to eight in ten in the KSA, chose their own country as being the most active in terms of CSR.
Interestingly, surveyed top executives in the UAE were found to be more likely to be aware of practising CSR companies, and the majority of those surveyed also agreed that the pandemic had a positive impact on their CSR doings. Respondents from the UAE and KSA had the most optimistic perceptions about COVID-19’s effect on their companies’ CSR practices, with two-thirds feeling positive compared to six-in-ten MENA respondents.
Questions about the impact of CSR had some interesting findings in the report. Among companies with a CSR programme, three-quarters of all respondents believe that it benefits their business, with two-thirds of UAE respondents having positive sentiments about their CSR programmes.
Charitable giving and socially, environmentally conscious movements will be a focus for over 50 percent of the companies that participated in the survey. When asked about their plans in 2022 and beyond, the majority (two-thirds) of MENA executives said their businesses will be increasing their CSR activities, while a quarter plan to replicate their 2021 CSR activities.
UAE companies are driving this trend, with over eight in ten planning to increase their CSR practices, while others opted to keep their CSR activities unchanged.
In total, 263 C-suite government, aviation, automotive, banking and finance, construction & real estate, healthcare, and transport executives and corporate leaders from across the MENA region were surveyed, including the UAE, the KSA, the greater GCC, and Egypt. The respondents were asked a series of CSR-related questions to gauge overall regional perception.