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Better Reporting for a Better Future-A look into the UNGC and GRI Frameworks
Source: http://www.zawya.com/story/Better_Reporting_for_a_Better_FutureA_look_into_the_UNGC_and_GRI_Frameworks-ZAWYA20130724145337/
Source Date: Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Institution and HR Management
Country: United Arab Emirates
Created: Jul 24, 2013

24 July 2013: Dubai-To inculcate the significance of global practices in sustainability reporting amongst the businesses and organizations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) in association with the UN Global Compact for GCC States (UNGC) and Arabia CSR Network (ACSRN) organized a successful seminar on Better Reporting for a Better Future-A look into the UNGC and GRI Frameworks focusing on Communication on Progress (COP) and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Framework today.

UNGC is the world's largest corporate citizenship strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti corruption. According to UNGC, the goal of reporting progress is to provide various stakeholders - from investors to civil society and the media - with material information to make informed choices about the companies they interact with and thus mandate their members to issue COP. GRI is a multi-stakeholder, network-based organization with an objective to provide the framework and guidelines for all organizations to measure and report their performance in the four key areas of sustainability, i.e. their economic, environmental, social and governance performance. GRI believes that it is only by measuring and reporting one can begin to manage and change the impact of the organization on the environment, on society and on the overall economy. Thus, both the organizations stress upon the importance of following standardized reporting formats for organizations to work towards internal and external changes towards sustainability.

EEG is the regional focal point for UN Global Compact for the GCC States and provides assistance to GCC members with regards to producing their communication on progress. It facilitates members' participation in various Global Compact events, issues, platforms etc and also publishes a monthly newsletter which highlights major UNGC news, upcoming events, and members' profiles and also highlights outstanding COPs of the month.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson Emirates Environmental Group, President Global Compact Network for Gulf States welcomed the participants from diverse sectors and expressed her appreciation to growing recognition towards critical need for efficient reporting practices as an important aspect of sustainable initiatives adopted by businesses and organizations.

Highlighting the COP-GRI linkage, the session focused how the GRI framework can be effectively used to produce sustainability reports including the COP, a requirement for all UNGC members. It emphasized that GRI framework provides a globally recognized standardized format that can be used by organizations at various platforms without duplication of effort by the companies that are thriving towards sustainable practices. The speakers also addressed COP requirements such as content, criteria, deadline extension and level of differentiation and the ways in which GRI framework aligns with COP formats.
Mr. Rami Ghandour, Managing Director, Metito Utilities Ltd, a member company of UNGC network shared their company experience of operationalising COP and how it affected their performance internally and helped them build credibility externally. The experience sharing provided the participants with an understanding of processes, benefits and challenges of being a member of UNGC and implementing COP and GRI framework.

The half day complimentary seminar supported by Arabia CSR Network and hosted by Dubai Customs was very well attended by participants across the GCC region from the network of CSR majlis, Global Compact signatories within the GCC Network, members of the Arabia CSR Network, participants of Arabia CSR Awards 2013 and non members in person and through Webinar. The Arabia CSR Network (ACSRN), a multi-stakeholder platform which has been actively advancing Corporate Social Responsibility in the UAE and Gulf Region since 2004, established the most prestigious and highly coveted CSR Award in the Arab world in 2008 - "the Arabia CSR Awards". The Awards initiative is widely seen as a true knowledge and capacity building tool and enjoys the support of the United Nations Global Compact. The Awards are largely based on the UN Global Compact Principles, the Global Reporting Initiative's framework and the EFQM fundamental concepts to better align the Award with international standards.

Mr Rehan Uddin, CSR Expert, Dubai Customs shared that they were pleased to extend their support for the learning and capacity building of the businesses towards achieving sustainable practices and congratulated EEG, UNGC and Arabia CSR Network for spearheading this initiative.

Emirates Environmental Group (EEG): EEG is a professional working group devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, action programs and community involvement. It is the first environmental NGO in the world to be ISO 14001 certified and the only organization of its kind in the UAE with accredited status to the United Nations Convention to Combating Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). EEG is a signatory of the UN Global Compact and hosts the secretariat of Global Compact for the GCC states. EEG is also a member of the International Union of Conservation for Nature (IUCN).

United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) for Global States Network: UNGC is the world's largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative. It is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. The fundamental aim of the UNGC-GCC Network is to seek solutions and initiate actions that drive mutual benefits for economies, society and the environment and create opportunities for multi-stakeholder engagements that promote collective action. UNGC Gulf comprises of 87 companies within six GCC countries with UAE taking the lead. 

Arabia CSR Network (ACSRN): Formed in 2004, ACSRN is the first multi-stakeholder platform that engages small and large businesses and government institutions to strengthen their commitment to sustainable development across the Arab world. Working under the slogan "Building Partnerships for a Sustainable Future" the Arabia CSR Network's aim is to facilitate exchange of ideas and to forge lasting partnerships across sectors for an improved society based on UN Global Compact's ten principles for human rights, labour rights, the environment and anti corruption. ACSRN aims to position the Arab region as a leader in Business Excellence and sustainability by working in the areas of CSR awards, research, training and more. Over the years it has grown up to be one of the foremost CSR and sustainability related professional organizations in the Arab region.
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