Osman Sultan joins prominent leaders to discuss private sector role in sustainability

Thursday 10 November 2016

Dubai - MENA Herald: Osman Sultan, du’s Chief Executive Officer, joined industry luminaries in a panel discussion to examine how the private sector can achieve shared prosperity for businesses and communities in uncertain times during the Pearl Initiative and UN Global Compact 2nd Regional Forum.

“We are staunchly committed to sustainability, and developing sustainable practices throughout our business is in line with our principles. Our annual Sustainability Report is testament to this, and every year we work toward developing sustainability from within our business, and working with other organisations and the government to create a conducive environment wherein sustainability thrives,” said Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer, du. “We will continue championing public private partnerships, and are very proud to be a part of this Forum and a contributor to this discussion today.”

The panel discussion featured industry luminaries from various industries who offered an enlightened perspective on sustainability in light of the Forum theme “Sustainability in Action: Business and the Sustainable Development Goals”. Moderated by CNN Money Emerging Markets Editor, John Defterios, on the panel were Khalid Al Hussan, CEO, Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul); Sheikha Hanadi Al-Thani, Founder & Chairperson, Amwal; Sanjeev Chadha, CEO PepsiCo Africa, Middle East and North Africa; Arjen Radder, CEO, Philips Middle East & Turkey; and Osman Sultan.

During the discussion, Osman Sultan tackled the issue of how long it would take for sustainability to become a truly integrated business practice. Contrary to the current standard practice for many businesses worldwide, Sultan argued that businesses should take a transformative approach to delivering shareholder value through a dedication to sustainability – not just in terms of monetary returns, but in terms of creating prosperity through the various layers to ensure a holistic value chain. Later on the discussion, Osman also discussed the importance of cyber security in the modern digital environment. He highlighted that regardless of whether we are operating in the business or social space, everything we do is now operated remotely and online. He reiterated the importance of partnership across all levels, public and private, to create a culture where security is paramount.

Sustainable practices form the core of du’s business ethos and touches every part of the organisation. Last year, the company formalized its volunteering structure in communicating top management’s support in order to boost employee engagement and this year, du brought together its employees and members of the public when it completed its annual Ramadan initiative packing over 20,000 boxes of iftar ingredients to be donated to families in need. Furthermore, investment by the company in the Babnoor App - an innovative solution that assists children with nonverbal autism and other disabilities with a first of its kind application specifically developed for local Arabic dialects – has supported and empowered many families across the UAE whose children suffer from learning disablities. When it comes to supporting local initiatives, du’s Fujairah Call Center serves a dual purpose – it is 100% Emirati operated with over 90% female staff. Moreover, du’s Masar programme and other education initiatives such as the Zayed University Media Lab support ICT education from a grassroots level, and its Agent 055 Network program gives the youth a glimpse into life as an entrepreneur.

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