WEDNESDAY 16 DEC 2015 11:04 AM

REPORTING IN THE LOWER GULF

There’s been a dramatic increase in the number of top UAE companies that report on corporate social responsibility in their annual reports.

According to a survey by professional service company, KPMG, 36% of the UAE’s top 100 companies reported on sustainability in 2015, compared to 22% in 2013. The KPMG Lower Gulf Sustainability Report 2015 also shows that 37% of Oman's top 100 companies report on sustainability. The findings suggest that corporates in the Lower Gulf region are demonstrating a rapidly growing commitment to CSR and sustainability.

Rajeev Batra, partner and head of risk consulting at KPMG says, “Companies in the UAE and Oman, and their stakeholders, are increasingly interested in reporting on the environmental and social risks and trends that are affecting their business.”

According to the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda, sustainable development is necessary for the economic and social development of the seven Emirates. Public and private institutions in the region are asked to meet certain guidelines and frameworks in order to help meet sustainability goals.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), which introduced the G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines last year, has placed a significant focus on the quality of reporting around the world. In the UAE, 28% of reporters use GRI.

Batra says, “Sustainability is reshaping the Middle East. Leading companies are increasingly moving away from focusing only on community and QHSE, towards a formalized reporting process, with stakeholder engagements and materiality assessments. Those who lack a formal process tend to have limited quantitative sustainability data, and qualitative data shared alone can be perceived as PR or green-washing, hence they are hesitant to report; while others simply need guidance on how to report.”

Though the KPMG study has been released bi-annually for the past two decades, this is the first time that it has reported on the lower Gulf region.

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