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Posts Tagged ‘CSR’

 Recently, I have been really overwhelmed with many blog posts, articles, and tweets that were only negatively looking at many, especially social, aspects of Saudi Arabia. I would give those writers the benefit of the doubt and say that they are in love with this country, and they want to see it the best country in the world; so out of love, they get really harsh on it sometimes.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=Saudi+Arabia&iid=5131620″ src=”a/5/f/0/closeup_of_the_2a42.jpg?adImageId=9467495&imageId=5131620″ width=”234″ height=”327″ /]The fact of the matter that it seems much easier to spot shortcomings rather than qualities. I do not know, maybe it is human nature; we perceive advantages as normal and sometimes as basic rights while on the same time we tend to overreact to imperfections. I am saying these words and I am not trying, in any way, to pretend to be the most positive person in the world. I am just trying to be objective as much as I can 🙂

Let’s move to the post which you could’ve guessed by now that it will be about something positive; actually it is … but not totally!!

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), let’s face it; a lot of management practitioners do not totally grasp this concept. The truth is that it is a vague concept with a lot of ethical backgrounds and dilemmas. Saudi companies, as many others around the world, are suffering from this lack of understanding in addition to the fact that most of them are mixing between the concepts of social responsibility and charity.

Despite all that, two Saudi companies just provided an interesting example about how to be socially responsible companies; Saudi Aramco and Siemens Saudi Arabia. According to this article in Arab New, the two companies are initiating a very interesting program to improve Saudi youngsters’ enthusiasm for science. The program that has already been implemented in many countries around the world, by the Siemens international I believe, will be available for 400 students in the Eastern region of the country in the first phase or the pilot of the program. Those 400 students will receive what the program call ‘Discovery Boxes,’ different materials are available in these boxes for the students to conduct different experiments in different scientific disciplines. By any means, this is a really bright example of social responsibility.

However, there is only one remark that could make this program a bit less than perfect; will it be available to any school in the Eastern region and the whole Kingdom in later phases, or it will be exclusive to the schools where the children of Saudi Aramco staff are receiving their education!!

Finally, I have to mention my ‘free spirit’ statement; although I have many friends working in Aramco, and a brother in law working in Siemens, this post has not been influenced by them in any way …

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[picapp src=”f/3/0/8/Obama_Administration_Authorizes_0ee1.jpg?adImageId=5707244&imageId=6683460″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

I am writing this blog post in response to the ‘Blog Action Day 09, Climate Change’.

To be honest, writing about this subject, in Saudi Arabia, is a bit weird!! You know why? Because the whole philosophy of preserving the environment and taking serious measures to fight the climate change is still young in the minds of both; the public and the business world.

For that, thinking about the climate change prevention idea in the Saudi business world will definitely lead you to consider the concept that contains such ideas; that is the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This concept is still new in the Saudi business environment. And even more, it is not totally understood, let alone embraced. Following the subject in the media, you would be encountered with a bunch of articles; most of them are written by Saudi academics trying to explain the concept. I am not saying this is wrong; on the contrary, it is advisable and certainly good to bring such concept to the public attention. But still, most of the examples provided to illustrate the concept are based on employees’ benefits and charity. Yes, these are main elements of the CSR, but they are not everything.

 I believe it is reasonable to claim that preserving-the-environment awareness is a cultural issue before any nothing else. Unfortunately, showing respect to nature, saving power resources, and respecting the green life in general are some things we are not growing up with around here. So any initiatives to address such matters should always consider this cultural lack of understanding.

 Nonetheless, hope is there and it is not all a black picture. There are some companies’ initiatives to promote environmental awareness and practices. ARAMCO and SBIC (Saudi Electricity, to some extent) always come to mind, at least for their fields of interests if not for anything else. However, although the efforts to adhere to modern industrial standards are important, the effort to raise employees’ environmental awareness is something we should concentrate on, at least, to compensate for the lack of it in our normal life. Maybe building this awareness in the corporate culture will be pay its dues and we will start seeing its results in the normal life.

Finally, more regulations, incentives, and programs are required to address this issue. And they better to be real and sincere and not to be used as way of advertisement! Such efforts are needed from both, public and private sectors, to raise the awareness of such critical matters. Critical matters to the essence of our existence on this planet.

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