JEDDAH: A new study has shown that Saudi Arabia has emerged as a leading country in adopting and integrating corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.
Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, a major regional communications agency in partnership with YouGov, an international research and data analytics group, published the first regional CSR survey report, ranking the Kingdom second in adoption and integration of CSR in businesses. Egypt topped the list.
Some 219 C-suite executives and corporate leaders from across the region were picked due to their contribution to their respective sectors, including government, aviation, automotive, banking and finance, construction and real estate, healthcare, and transport. The respondents were asked a series of CSR-related questions that were revisited in the midst of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
With CSR increasing in the corporate world — making a significant impact in the Kingdom’s business landscape — the survey found that CSR is a necessity, not a mere luxury. Policymakers with an understanding of how firms adopt CSR issues are improving policy formulation as it is being considered a key component in the culture of corporate governance and the regulatory frameworks and guidelines.
The survey found that there is a reasonable level of CSR awareness as well as a moderately positive attitude towards the concept in Saudi Arabia, with results finding 41 percent of respondents familiar with CSR. Of the executives surveyed, 90 percent possessed an intrinsic understanding of the scope of CSR and 58 percent deemed it integral for their business.
“The UAE and the Kingdom emerged as leaders in CSR implementation and incorporation, and while familiarity with CSR regionally has always been of note, the report consolidated how the value of giving is ingrained in the region on a cultural level and not an attribute that needed to be adopted,” said Ahmad Itani, founder and CEO of C&B and chairman of PRCA MENA.
Stephan Shakespeare, CEO of YouGov, said: “This report represents a milestone that underpins the emphasis on CSR across regional sectors and industries. We are delighted and proud to unveil the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s leading regional position in the integration of CSR. The demonstration of responsible business practices towards employees, stakeholders and customers was apparent throughout the findings, and we look forward to the continued growth of CSR across the MENA region to influence and inspire its global counterparts.”
For job seekers, an organization being socially responsible matters. It was marked as an important criterion — Saudi Arabia showed the highest average of executives (70 percent) who agree or strongly agree that CSR activities are important when considering opting for a job or rejecting it. Overall, 92 percent of executives in the Kingdom are upbeat about the impact of CSR.