Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Opportunities Exist to Make an Impact on the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Social and Environmental Challenges


New Oliver Wyman Report Addresses How Region is Ripe for Real, Lasting Change and Need for Non Profit and Private Sector to Drive New Initiatives
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates--(BUSINESS WIRE/ ME NewsWire)-- Oliver Wyman’s new report on social impact initiatives in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has revealed that the region’s private and non-profit sectors remain far from where they need to be in order to be effective partners to governments in driving sustainability.
Oliver Wyman surveyed more than 60 business leaders in the region to study the role that private and non-profit sectors across the GCC are playing when it comes to social and environmental sustainability in the region.
The research looked to explore the role governments, international organizations and support networks can play in supporting and driving the growth of this critical new area of focus in the GCC.
The report shows 86 percent of those surveyed strongly agree that immediate action is required to tackle the region’s challenges, particularly when it comes to youth unemployment, CO2 emissions and water depletion.
“The findings presented in the report suggest that the region is ripe for real, lasting change,” said Greg Rung, an Oliver Wyman Partner in the Middle East and the author of the report.
“Awareness about these issues has been growing over the past decade, and the current situation has created a growing sense of urgency and crisis. The journey to effective social and environmental impact is long and too many organizations have yet to take meaningful steps in the right direction.”
Not enough being done
Whilst still evolving in the region, the survey showed that a large majority (68 percent) of organizations feel sustainability is a top priority for their senior leadership. Less than a third of survey respondents (30 percent) believe corporations, foundations and NGOs are currently doing enough to address the issues, and less than half (41 percent) have reassessed the focus and scale of their sustainability programmes in the past two years.
Less than a third (27 percent) have increased their dedicated budgets for sustainability, and as a result, only 40 percent feel that current budgets are sufficient.
“The overwhelming consensus regarding the urgency of the region’s social and environmental challenges is concerning, but it also signals an opportunity for meaningful change,” said Mr. Rung.
Crisis and opportunity
To address the issues facing the GCC, the report outlines how ‘regional pioneers’ will be crucial, and how private sector leaders need to show that sustainability can contribute to growth and add a competitive advantage.
Integrating sustainability into an organization’s DNA is also a multi-year process that requires significant change management, the report says, adding that sustainability must be directly linked to the business model for long-term growth and profitability.
Training and empowering staff across the organization and incentivizing ‘sustainability managers’ also needs to be part of an organization’s strategy, and measurement should also be a top priority, leveraging international reporting guidelines and external support actors.
The report also provides examples of organizations which are showing the way as regional pioneers.
Building partnerships
Collaboration between governments and the private and non-profit sectors also needs to improve, according to the report.
“Despite the launch of important governmental reform initiatives in the past two years, it has become increasingly apparent that governments cannot be expected to tackle the region’s social and environmental challenges alone,” said Mr. Rung.
The report titled ‘The Social Impact Imperative – The role of private and non- profit sectors in the GCC,’ can be viewed here.

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