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Integrated Thinking, Embedding Sustainability into Organisations is Key to Business Success

Leading experts urged businesses in the Gulf Region to prioritize embedding sustainability into financial decision-making, at a forum entitled ‘Finance Leaders Circle of Practice Roundtable: Towards Integrated Thinking in the Gulf Region’ held in Dubai on 27 April 2016.

The event was hosted by the Pearl Initiative, the leading Gulf business-led not-for-profit organisation promoting a corporate culture of accountability and transparency as a key driver of competitiveness across the region, in collaboration with HRH The Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG). The Pearl Initiative signed a MoU with A4S in November 2015 to influence and improve corporate accountability and transparency, and to promote Integrated Thinking and Reporting in the private sector across the region.

Speaking at the event, Imelda Dunlop, Executive Director of the Pearl Initiative said: “We are pleased to be collaborating with the HRH The Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability Project and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group to help drive the conversation on the importance of integrated thinking in organizations across the Gulf Region.”

She added: “Today’s event is a great platform for CFOs and finance leaders to innovate on how best to improve the region’s sustainability practices through increased accountability and transparency in business.”

The forum was attended by CFOs and finance leaders from top public and private companies, family firms, state-owned entities and government institutions from across the Gulf Region. The session presented an opportunity for participants to shape the Gulf Region Finance Leaders Circle of Practice – a vehicle to help share ideas, experiences and good practices amongst a group of experts in the regional finance community, to drive sustainability and set the pathway towards Integrated Thinking. The platform looks to create a space for collaborative innovation, and encourage companies to adopt an integrated approach by providing networking, mentoring and knowledge sharing opportunities.

During the event, attendees were asked to vote on their perceptions of Integrated Thinking and how they feel it can have an impact in the region. 73 per cent of participants agreed that issues such as water scarcity, climate change, staff well-being, and community relations can have a major commercial impact on business, and 79 per cent expressed an interest in joining the Gulf Region Finance Leaders Circle of Practice.

Speaking about the session, Jessica Fries, Executive Chairman of A4S said: “A4S aims to inspire finance leaders to take action and to integrate economic, environmental and social matters to enhance business decision making and create resilient business models. By bringing together companies, governments and investors in the Gulf Region, the Circle of Practice Roundtable will help drive integrated thinking and action and will encourage finance leaders to incorporate sustainable business practices into their organizations.”

Huda Mohd Al Houqani, Director, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group, Director of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group who hosted the first CFO and Finance Leaders Meeting on 2nd November 2015 in the capital city of the UAE, Abu Dhabi in partnership with Pearl Initiative and A4S said: “Sustainability is integral for organizations to be able to create and maintain value in the long-term and the finance community must take the lead to a more resilient future. Our collective mission should be to encourage all types of sustainability to overcome future challenges through an integrated approach. This event was a fantastic opportunity for the community to come together once again to shape the future of Integrated Thinking.”

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