Businesses cannot achieve long-term profits without solid corporate accountability and good governance, say participants at the Corporate Accountability Matters conference in Dubai.
Organized by Pearl Initiative in partnership with United Nations Global Compact, the conference kicked off on Thursday morning with the keynote address via video (click here to watch) by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
In their addresses at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Reem Al Hashmy, the UAE’s Minister of State and Director-General of Bureau for Dubai Expo2020, and Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, President and Chairperson of Foundation for the UN Global Compact, stressed on the strong corporate accountability and its link with concrete economic growth.
Improving corporate governance and transparency is fundamental to fostering future competitive growth, and this will enhance job creation efforts and boost sustainable social development in the Gulf region, they said.
Founder of Pearl Initiative, Badr Jafar, says: “It is clear that accountable and well-governed companies are the building blocks of any sustainable economy and society.”
Linking good governance and job creation, Jafar says: “The impact of youth unemployment across the region has been well documented. Even here in the GCC, we can expect our workforce to grow by four per cent each year, meaning that by 2020, (the year of our very own Expo hosted right here in Dubai) the region will need an extra three million jobs for Gulf nationals entering the job market.
“And we know that we cannot, and should not, expect our governments to employ them all. Therefore the only sustainable solution is to have healthy companies generating jobs and strong economies providing opportunities. These are the real drivers of social and economic sustainability.”
Good accountability standards and governance should be for all companies not only the big conglomerates.
The founder of the Pearl Initiative says: “We often come up against a perception that governance measures (such as corporate accountability), are only really relevant or applicable to larger, more established companies. “Nothing could be further from the truth. These principles are just as applicable, if not more so, to small-sized companies. Even start-ups.
“In fact, small enterprises can arguably benefit the most from embracing the principles of corporate accountability, by increasing their appeal to prospective investors, employees, partners and customers, which in turn can help them to grow faster and steadier than they otherwise could,” he concludes.