AmCham Saudi Arabia launches green business initiative

Several leading diplomats, academics and business officials took part in a panel discussion to discuss ESG strategies, plans and reporting at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel where the ESG committee was launched. (Supplied)
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Several leading diplomats, academics and business officials took part in a panel discussion to discuss ESG strategies, plans and reporting at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel where the ESG committee was launched. (Supplied)
AmCham Saudi Arabia launches green business initiative
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Several leading diplomats, academics and business officials took part in a panel discussion to discuss ESG strategies, plans and reporting at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel where the ESG committee was launched. (Supplied)
AmCham Saudi Arabia launches green business initiative
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Several leading diplomats, academics and business officials took part in a panel discussion to discuss ESG strategies, plans and reporting at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel where the ESG committee was launched. (Supplied)
AmCham Saudi Arabia launches green business initiative
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Several leading diplomats, academics and business officials took part in a panel discussion to discuss ESG strategies, plans and reporting at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel where the ESG committee was launched. (Supplied)
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Updated 21 September 2022

AmCham Saudi Arabia launches green business initiative

AmCham Saudi Arabia launches green business initiative
  • AmCham’s new committee to help firms meet environmental obligations
  • Top local, international executives discuss protections for consumers

JEDDAH: The American Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia, or AmCham Saudi Arabia, launched a new committee on Monday to help companies meet their environmental and social responsibility goals.

The ESG, or Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance, committee was launched at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel.

Several leading diplomats, academics and business officials took part in a panel discussion to discuss ESG strategies, plans and reporting.

Julie LeBlanc, US commercial consul for the western region, said American businesses were committed to support the Kingdom’s plans on this front.

“Major US companies, which are leaders in ESG participated in the panel event including PepsiCo, UL, and AspenTech to discuss innovations and best practices in ESG. The United States is committed to supporting the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal to diversify its economy,” she said.

The panel was moderated by Nizar Kammourie, CEO of SAWACO Water Desalination, who said the ESG committee would help raise awareness in the business sector on the need for firms to operate in a socially responsible manner.

“By doing so, the AmCham ESG Committee aims to pave the way for US businesses to explore new venues for opportunities in the Saudi market,” he said.

The panelists shared various sustainability measures adopted by their companies which they described as innovative and pioneering.

Tala Alem, sustainability lead at PepsiCo spoke about the responsibility of her company toward ESG based on its business model, operating systems and products.

“At PepsiCo, we look at everything we are engaged in including our entire value chain and creating a sustainability framework to be applied in each country. As every country has its own objectives, in Saudi Arabia, we take into consideration several areas which include agriculture and climate impact, plastics usage and its packaging as well as social and community responsibilities.”

“While every company on its own has a bigger responsibility to the community and the environment, it is valuable for companies to come together with or without the government and share best practices and present case studies as there is a lot of value in it. Such events should be organized more frequently in order to build awareness and encourage everyone to adopt ESG strategies in their company,” Alem added.

Dareen Ayyad, country manager at Underwriters Laboratories, discussed the benefits and the specifics of ESG reporting.

“We look forward to assisting the companies looking for solutions with ESG reporting. UL is providing solutions when it comes to ESG reporting with the help of a software called UL 360 that will help customers in the Kingdom to gather all the ESG data that compile all the information and manage the data.

“We are also offering reporting software for identifying the ESG risks and opportunities. UL offers third party certification and third party advisory services to address the ESG means. We are hoping to create more awareness amongst corporations on the importance of ESG reporting and look forward to engaging with more stakeholders in the Kingdom.”

Echoing these sentiments, David McKenna, sustainability performance director of The Red Sea Development Co., said: “It is important to raise the topic of ESG reporting as more the companies adopt it, the more transparency can be acquired.

“Some companies will take a step forward whereas some backward as it’s not easy to accept ESG strategies, but it is important to disclose the performance across metrics, which could, for various factors, macro and micro, may go up and down but at least the ESG will set a baseline and that will showcase it to the consumers.”

Saif Sheikh, MENA director of solution consulting at Aspen Technology, and Johnny Obeid, vice president of the Middle East at Veolia, opined that ESG is no longer an option and has to be built into business strategy.

Rola Osta, the engagement manager of the chamber’s Jeddah chapter, said that governments and companies have started to take an increased interest in ESG, gaining it an elevated status of relevance.

“A lot of companies are striving to deliver sustainable solutions and outcomes from their operations while aligning the committee’s goals with the Saudi Green Initiative. The AmCham ESG launched this event to present the effort and strategy of companies and government agencies in adopting ESG principles to provide sustainable solutions for their operations.”

Mohammad Tafesh, vice president of the Jeddah chapter, said: “The ESG committee aims to create bridges between US businesses and their counterparts in the Kingdom to provide environmental and sustainability solutions. This will be the first of many upcoming events related to ESG.”

The event was attended by representatives from the US and Italian consulates, Saudi and international companies, and educators from top Saudi universities.

The event concluded with a round of questions and answers.

 


KSRelief concludes voluntary program to combat blindness in Bangladesh

KSRelief concludes voluntary program to combat blindness in Bangladesh
Updated 10 sec ago

KSRelief concludes voluntary program to combat blindness in Bangladesh

KSRelief concludes voluntary program to combat blindness in Bangladesh

RIYADH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) concluded on Saturday the voluntary medical program to combat blindness and its diseases in Nawabganj Town, Bangladesh. 
The project came within ‘Noor Saudi Arabia’ voluntary program.
Since its beginning, the KSRelief’s voluntary medical team has medically examined 4,610 cases, distributed 1,616 glasses, and performed 519 successful cataract surgeries.
This campaign is part of the voluntary projects, implemented by the KSRelief in several countries, with the aim of providing treatment to people with limited income.


KSRelief distributed food baskets in Pakistan, Sudan and Lebanon

KSRelief distributed food baskets in Pakistan, Sudan and Lebanon
Updated 2 min 38 sec ago

KSRelief distributed food baskets in Pakistan, Sudan and Lebanon

KSRelief distributed food baskets in Pakistan, Sudan and Lebanon

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) continued to provide assistance to people in disaster-hit areas and refugee camps.
Various relief aid was distributed to those affected by the floods in Pakistan with as many as 1,360 food baskets distributed, which benefited 9,520 people.
These efforts come within the Saudi relief airlift operations that have been dispatched, under the directives of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.
Similarly, KSRelief distributed 455 food baskets in Khartoum, Sudan – or translated to 2,503 individual recipients – as part of programmed efforts to help needy families in the country this year.
KSRelief also distributed on Saturday 675 food baskets in the Arsal region of Lebanon, which benefited 3,375 people under the food security effort for Palestinian and Syrian refugees as well the host community there.


SDRPY participates in Mahri Forum in Yemen

SDRPY participates in Mahri Forum in Yemen
Updated 04 October 2022

SDRPY participates in Mahri Forum in Yemen

SDRPY participates in Mahri Forum in Yemen
  • The purpose of the forum is to contribute to raising and developing awareness toward cultural heritage, as well as to protect it from extinction

Al-MAHRA, Yemen: On Mahri Language Day, the Mahri Forum was held at Qishn School, Al-Mahra governorate, with the participation of the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen.

The purpose of the forum is to contribute to raising and developing awareness toward cultural heritage, as well as to protect it from extinction.

The SDRPY participation comes with reference to strengthening ties between both countries, as well as supporting culture in Yemen.

“We wish Yemen all the best, and may it recover within a secure, prosperous, and stable environment. May Yemen be able to contribute to the projects and initiatives hosted by the SDRPY, which amounted to 224 programs and initiatives in total, including more than 50 projects in Al-Mahra, with the purpose of improving its daily life and raising the efficiency of infrastructure in various sectors,” said Abdullah Basilman, director of the SDRPY’s program office in Al-Mahra.

Mahri is a Semitic language like Soqotri and Shehri, among others. SDRPY aims to contribute to the revival of the Mahri language and avoid its extinction through its participation in the forum.


Tawqeer initiative launched for elderly pilgrims

Tawqeer initiative launched for elderly pilgrims
Updated 03 October 2022

Tawqeer initiative launched for elderly pilgrims

Tawqeer initiative launched for elderly pilgrims

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, represented by the social, voluntary and humanitarian services, has launched the “Tawqeer” (elderly care) initiative, through which several programs and services are provided for elderly people to enable them to perform rituals in ease and comfort, enriching their experience.

Two Holy Mosques chief Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais affirmed the presidency’s keenness to provide the best social, voluntary and humanitarian services to pilgrims while applying preventive measures, following health instructions and providing visitors with a safe and healthy environment in the Grand Mosque in Makkah.


Saudi Arabia’s children now have holistic sports program for skills development

Saudi Arabia’s children now have holistic sports program for skills development
Updated 04 October 2022

Saudi Arabia’s children now have holistic sports program for skills development

Saudi Arabia’s children now have holistic sports program for skills development
  • Focus on play and not competition, says agency designing programs
  • Multiple sports for ages 4-10 including dance, yoga, gymnastics

RIYADH: A local organization, Sports Hub KSA, is designing tailor-made sports programs for children that emphasize play and skills development rather than competition, and which encourages the involvement of parents.

Simon Muller, CEO and co-founder of Sports Hub KSA, said of the approach to programs: “We want to give children a chance to do sports differently than in a school environment. There’s no pressure, it’s not in 45 minutes the teacher doesn’t have to teach something specific … the children can play in the time frame that they are with us.”

Sports Hub KSA is a Saudi Arabia-based agency that specializes in creating and delivering sports programs for stakeholders such as Inspire Sports, schools, families, and individual children aged between four and 10.

This year, for example, Inspire Sports organized a summer camp program, one of the first in the Kingdom after COVID-19, allowing children to interact with others their age.

Unlike other sports programs, Inspire does not urge competition or being the best, it rather sets a foundation for children to develop their skills while enjoying multiple activities and sports in one session.

Sports Hub KSA is a Saudi Arabia-based agency that specializes in creating and delivering sports programs for stakeholders such as Inspire Sports, schools, families, and individual children aged between four and 10. (Supplied)

“It’s a mix of sports, multi-sport is the core of our concept, it isn’t one single sport, children always need to explore different things and one sport can get boring after four or five sessions,” Muller said.

Muller believes that it is important to play with children especially “those aged between four and 10, as it is way more important than specializing in one sport.”

There can be five to eight sports or games in a session such as athletics, dodgeball, basketball, football, gymnastics, dance and yoga. “We are more focused on the game rather than the sport. “It’s very interesting that the children are interested in many different things.”

Muller said that yoga, which was done at least once a week, was quite popular in the program.

The three-hour summer program only offered apples, bananas, and water. “We just want to set examples and offer something healthy during our sessions to influence other parents and see what we are offering. We are also using social media channels to promote healthy eating,” he said.

Muller said that inclusivity is a major aspect of their programs, so the role of parents is important and coaches encourage them to be involved and present during sessions.

“Inclusion is a very important aspect of what we are doing, we don’t want to exclude anyone. We try to have games for children of different levels and age and development stages to have fun together,” Muller said.

“We are totally aware that what we are doing is something new and we as a company are new and we also know that trust is the most important thing for parents when they decide to send their children to programs, especially when the children are so young,” he said.

“Inclusion is a very important aspect of what we are doing, we don’t want to exclude anyone. We try to have games for children of different levels and age and development stages to have fun together,” CEO and co-founder of Sports Hub KSA said. (Supplied)

“So, we have open days where families can come with their children and just try it and see what we are doing but we also invite the parents all the time. The doors are completely open so parents can come in and see what we are doing at any time of the program,” he said.

“Everything is important at a young age, between three and six it’s very clear in the scientific world that this is the most important age in developing certain behaviors and having a positive association with certain things,” Muller said.

“The ultimate goal is that the children are with us, especially in the age group of four to nine, are with us for two to three years, and not just summer. When they spend couple of hours with us every week, their fundamentals are way more developed than other children that don’t have that opportunity,” he said.

Muller believes it is important for children in their early years to try different things. After the initial first few years enrolled in the sports program, children will then be able to choose the sports that they love.