Tag Archive | "CSR"

Canon ME awarded the Dubai Chamber’s CSR label

Canon Middle East, a leader in imaging solutions, has once again been awarded the CSR Label from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, reinforcing the organisation’s commitment to incorporating corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable initiatives across all aspects of the business.

The annual Dubai Chamber CSR Label, presented at a ceremony held at Dubai Chamber headquarters, was awarded for the second consecutive year to Canon Middle East, one of 11 winners and the only company featured from the technology industry, following a review of the company’s regional CSR activities.

Anurag Agrawal, Managing Director, Canon Middle East said: “At Canon, we pursue sustainable economic growth while also aiming to do business responsibly. In addition to activities undertaken by the Canon Foundation, we work extensively with the community through partnerships with various organisations including Dubai Centre for Special needs, Dubai Autism Centre and Emirates Environmental Group.”

Developed in 2010 by Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business, the Dubai Chamber CSR Label provides companies with an activity framework offering access to toolkits, networking seminars and training workshops, to support implementation of their own CSR schemes.

Canon Group is ranked 8th in the World’s Most Reputable Companies (2013), 30th on Interbrand’s 2013 Best Global Green Brands and its score on the Climate Counts scorecard is 66/100. Canon was also recertified to ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard this year.



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Eleven firms honoured for sustainable business practices

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry honoured 11 organisations for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability efforts during a ceremony held at its premises last week.

Companies that received the Dubai CSR Label for the first time were Kimoha Entrepreneurs and Wasl while Emirates Transport, DUCAB, Emrill, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Summertown Interiors, DLA Piper, Canon Middle East, Commercial Bank of Dubai and Standard Chartered.

In his welcome address, Hamad Bu Amim, Director General of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, explained his appreciation for the number of honourees increasing with each year, with a grand total of 46 companies this year. He said: “This is a clear indicator of the overwhelming response to the concept of sustainable business practices. It also showcases the honourees’ intention in adopting the initiative to enhance their company’s reputation in the market place as a CSR leader.”

He added that the Dubai Chamber CSR Label allows organisations to learn, assess, monitor and improve individual CSR strategies and practices while also encouraging them to promote these schemes among their staff and customers.

The CSR Label is open to every type of organisation, regardless of its size, culture or sector and can make a major difference to a company’s reputation, efficiency and productivity. Its success depends on how the CSR objectives are set and communicated to staff and stakeholders.

Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business launched the CSR Label in 2010, it offers a variety of educational, professional training and consulting services that are designed to increase a company’s capacity to implement broad CSR programmes.

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Sustainability Network expands to over 50 members

With a new member, AGL Coca-Cola joining in, the Sustainability Network’s membership has gone up to 51 companies. Two of the members – Tristar and Majid Al Futtaim Properties – who have recently produced Sustainability Reports talk about the challenges and benefits of reporting on their company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and share their reporting journey in this issue.

As a Sustainability Network member, the Chalhoub Group is featured for its Gift of Giving Campaign during Ramadan when the company distributed 12,000 plus backpacks made of 100% recycled plastic bottles to 6,000 plus underprivileged students in the UAE and region reinforcing the link between education and environmental responsibility.

In its ‘Sustainability Network Interview Series’, the newsletter features Mr. Simon Webb, Managing Director of AF Carillion who talks about his company’s strong commitment to health and safety and its impact on the quality of people’s lives as well as their approach to embedding responsible business practices.

The newsletter covers Engage Dubai’s new community partners including Growing Leaders Foundation (GLF), Skyline University College and Stepping Stones while the Dubai Chamber Sustainability Directory shares the story of a Sustainability Network member (National Bank of Abu Dhabi) and company (BiteRite) working together to deliver healthy meals at the Bank.

Also, the newsletter covers the Climate Change seminar which the Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) organised in collaboration with EWS-WWF and carries an article on Marketplace Leadership in the Dubai Chamber CSR Label framework as well as new case studies from the CSR case study bank. CRB established in 2004 by Dubai Chamber, fosters corporate integrity promoting Dubai as the region’s gateway for global commerce by promoting transparency and rule of law. It is the leading centre of expertise in business ethics and corporate social responsibility in Dubai.

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Sustainability in hospitality

Worldwide, the energy and environmental impact of the hospitality sector is huge as it relies heavily on built assets, is a major consumer of energy and water and generates considerable volumes of waste. The sector is thus greatly vulnerable to sustainability issues. BGreen and Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC) chaired a round table discussion on sustainability trends in the hospitality sector in the Middle East, the sixth in our collaborative series Sustainable Solutions

The round table participants were Philippe Torrin, Vice President – Technical Services Hospitality, Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Group; Ashroff Shakoor, Director of Engineering, Grand Hyatt Dubai; Srilal Palihakkara, Director of Engineering, Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai & Technical Coordinator – Middle East, India and Sri Lanka with Dubai Tourism’s Said Ishaq Abugharbieh as observer. The discussion was moderated by Anoop K Menon, Contributing Editor, BGreen.

BGREEN: How would each one of you relate sustainability to the hospitality sector?
I feel that even today sustainability is neither well understood nor well presented. You have a lot of public relations and marketing with the need to look good superseding everything else. So you have expensive propositions presented as sustainable actions. When it comes to sustainability in the hospitality sector, I feel that we need to concentrate on low hanging fruits, make a credible success out of them and see where we can go from there.
Ashroff: Around 15 years ago, we started collecting condensed water from the AC coils at the Hyatt Regency. Today, we collect over 10,000 gallons of water, and on a hot humid day, it goes up to 15,000 gallons. At that time, the objective as quite simple – reduce the bills. Sustainability, on its own, became an important driver for us seven years ago when we invested nearly AED 3.5 million to put up a solar water heater system on the Grand Hyatt. In fact, I have come across older hotels implementing simple energy-efficiency measures, carrying out energy audits, operational reviews compared to new properties. I went to a recently opened five star hotel in Dubai and was shocked to not find even a single LED lamp. Sustainability in the region’s hotel sector is really a mixed bag.
Srilal: In my opinion, sustainability has a wider perspective beyond technical gains. At Movenpick, we started our sustainability journey in 2009 with energy monitoring programme in 12 hotels. Today, 98% of our properties in the Middle East are implementing this programme. In fact, all our Middle East hotels have Green Globe Certification (GGC), which is a worldwide sustainability system. GGC has over 337 action points all the way from energy and water conservation to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). For example, we buy fair trade coffee which guarantees that the product is produced in a sustainable manner and doesn’t involve child labour – this is a sustainable way of doing business.

BGREEN: Why isn’t sustainability a widespread trend in the region’s hotel sector despite its obvious importance? What are the challenges in its way?
Philippe: We are living in a society driven by revenue. Before taking up high cost steps like food waste composting and the like, we should start with actions that have a huge impact on costs with minimum investment. These are no-brainers that are often side-lined for public relations gimmicks despite proven results. In fact, we should go in for more subjective actions only after harvesting the low hanging fruits. The need of the hour is sharing best practices, and developing a proper, independent tool to measure the results and prove that a particular action gives a particular set of results. This would be useful to engineers who want to convince their management. Today, there is little or no dissemination of sustainability actions taken and results achieved. Moreover, Return on Investments (ROI) promised by vendors are based on inflated or incorrect values that don’t consider ground reality.
Ashroff: There is a lot of value if you go to someone who has experience in implementing sustainability initiatives. As a 30-year old group operating different properties, we have that experience. We started installing LED lamps three to four years ago and achieved ROI in five months despite the fact that we didn’t consider heat dissipation from the halogen lamps. Buoyed by that success, we started implementing LED lighting in other properties.
Philippe: What we need now is a platform to share such success stories.
Ashroff: In fact, there should be networking events where hotel engineers can gather and share their knowledge and experiences.

BGREEN: How important is water and waste from a sustainability standpoint?
At the Hyatt Regency, we took Treated Sewage effluent (TSE) supplied for irrigation, treated it in a reverse osmosis (RO) plant installed at a cost of AED 1.3 million and used this water in our cooling towers. I had calculated 12 months as the payoff period but it took only nine months. We replicated that success in the Park Hyatt and two months ago, we installed a similar system in the Grand Hyatt as well. Water conservation can play an important role in your sustainability plan.
Srilal: The energy monitoring programme that we launched in 2009 motivated our hotels to save on water and other utilities. We have saved 78,000 cubic metres of water in the 12 hotels which equates to 31 Olympic sized swimming pools or 52 million 1.5 litre-bottles. We achieved these savings through small actions like installation of water savers, water bottles in the toilet tanks and also guest education. We only spent money on water savers which paid off in six to nine months. While we started with 12 hotels, other hotels too have been implementing these measures. When you talk about waste in this part of the world, it is enormous. There are five countries in the Middle East that figure among the top 10 in the world when it comes to waste generation. Apart from food waste, hotels also generate general waste. We have been segregating waste and recycling it for the past one and a half years but I started measuring it only recently. In just 15 days, we diverted six percent of our waste which was going to landfill to recycling. Our target is eight percent by the end of the year.
Philippe: Even with water, we need an independent tool to measure the savings. We need to go with Genuine Performance. At MAF, we are audited by an internationally recognised third party, which verifies that the numbers in our annual reports and the method of calculation is correct. In three years, we saved 24% in electricity and 18% in water and diverted 30% of waste from landfill through recycling. In fact, we are receiving money for the recycled waste while earlier, we had to pay money for waste to be taken away.

BGREEN: Clearly, lack of awareness about sustainability isn’t a significant challenge…
I agree that things are changing but slowly. Earlier, people were turned back by the costs, but with prices coming down, they are keen to invest. Today, you can buy branded LED bulbs for AED40 which used to be AED60. I feel things are moving in the right direction.
Philippe: In my opinion, this change was induced by the economic crisis. Before the crisis, business was so good that hotels were not hard-pressed to cut costs. Post-crisis, the focus on bottom line pushed them to cut their energy and water costs. We made investments worth over millions in heat pumps, LED bulbs and recycling in our properties with positive results. We were doing it for the first time so there were risks. We had to prepare a proper case study and sent that to our business analyst, make IRR and NPV of 10 years which also included increase in maintenance costs to prove that the investment is worthwhile. But how many are really willing to do all that or even bear the risk? At the same time, most of the suppliers here are not really capable of helping you on the implementation side. The bigger five star hotels will have good chief engineers but the same may not be the case for smaller hotels. If you do not have good local resources, things can get very complicated. In fact, procurement and support for implementation is very important. I feel there is opportunity for specialised companies in these areas.
Srilal: Product evaluation is also an issue. For example, while there are many LED products in the market, sometimes they will not last the years stated in the guarantee. There are a lot of technicalities involved in selecting products.
Ashroff: You must study the technologies and calculate the ROI. Shorter the duration of ROI, the better. Also, our engineering team carries out most of the implementations. Why invest so much money and then rely on outside contractors to do things? Even otherwise, if you are clear about what you want and how to get it, you can get the contractor or supplier to do it for you.

BGREEN: How do you get your customers to buy into sustainability?
Corporates who are passionate about sustainability prefer to do business with suppliers who share that ethos, and this applies to their choice of hotels too. In this case, sustainability becomes an important driver of business. Business apart, sustainability is also a moral obligation to save the world for the future. I believe that it is easier to take sustainable measures today because there is so much of waste. Most of the actions we have implemented so far required little by way of investment. But now we are ready to go to the next stage of investing money and getting returns.

BGREEN: How do you ensure that the workforce don’t lose sight of the sustainability agenda?
We have linked bonus to performance to make the workforce accountable. We have given our engineers tools to measure performance. We are also pushing this accountability further down to other departments as well.
Ashroff: We have appointed a company to prepare reports on consumption figures which we get at the end of every month. These reports tells us how we have performed compared to the previous months. In 2006, we were given a target to achieve reductions of 25% in electricity and 20% in water consumption by 2015. With this system and past records and looking at the other properties, we are doing very well. I agree that it is important to give people targets and tools to measure the progress.

EGBC representative: Hospitality is one of the sectors that we are focussing on as part of our sector-based sustainability programme. I would like to know how EGBC can be platform for collaboration between the government and hotel sector.
Philippe: EGBC should develop a proper tool and establish a common platform to share success stories, data or results so that the entire sector benefits. Competition between hotels is determined by service and not by how green they are. However, a ‘greener’ Dubai will certainly attract more people and everybody benefits.
Ashroff: Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has carried out many awareness drives. In fact, DTCM should encourage all hotels to carry out energy audits as these audits will tell the management where the ‘leaking buckets’ are. There are so many simple measures that hotels can take provided the management knows about it. EGBC can play a co-ordinating role here.
Srilal: I would like to share a few statistics from the World Travel & Tourism Council. The tourism industry is the second highest employer in the Middle East. We have 3,000 operational hotels with 300,000 rooms in the UAE. If every hotel launches an environmental training programme for their staff, 1.7 million people could be trained in a single year in the UAE alone. This could boost the sustainability awareness within the country. In fact, in Movenpick, staff training is an integral part of our sustainability agenda.

BGREEN: What would be your wish list for making sustainability an integral part of decision-making in the hospitality industry?
Philippe: I feel that authorities should make it mandatory for all hotels to incorporate solar energy in their operations and recycle grey water. They could also lay down a minimum percentage of lighting to be LEDs. Property owners who invest in sustainability should be recognised. Most of the time, the spotlight is on the hotel operators.
Srilal: My wish list would include regulations that encourages sustainability and a platform for sharing of knowledge, experiences and success stories. Investors should be forced to factor sustainability into their projects during the design stage itself. For example, you can incorporate condensate recovery and re-use at the design stage rather than as a retrofit.
Ashroff: A platform where hotel engineers can meet and exchange their experiences and knowledge can create greater awareness. We should also get the consultants to listen more to the end-users.

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Improving the life of a labourer

Home appliances manufacturer, Bosch, supplied three washing machines to a women’s labour camp in Mussafah in an effort to improve the daily lives of its residents.

The request for help came from Abu Dhabi based charity, Labor of Love, which supports over 100 women who live in the camp through regular initiatives to attract donations.

A reported 23% of water used in the UAE is domestic. With average daily water usage of 550 litres per day in the UAE, almost double the global average of 250, the state-of-the-art machines will play their part in helping the environment given the camp’s intensive usage.

The new machines are programmed to reduce the consumption of water and energy at the camp through Bosch’s award winning product design, which focuses on minimising environmental impact.

Angel Wesley, founder of Labour of Love, said: “We at Labor of Love UAE are committed to recognising the contributions made by blue collar workers here in the UAE and to show our gratitude to these women and men for helping us to build this wonderful nation. In our work, which includes various programmes and initiatives, they often ask us for specific items that will lessen the burden of their already busy and demanding schedules. We were recently asked by the women of West Coast cleaning company, who work in hospitals and schools throughout the UAE, if we could supply them with additional washing machines at their accommodation in Musaffah in Abu Dhabi because the women are doing their weekly laundry on Friday – their off day. To our and their immense delight Bosch offered to provide three brand new, top quality washing machines.”

Bosch’s Marketing Director Georg Kazantzidis added: “Bosch is committed to supporting the local community as part of our ongoing CSR campaign and help it become a better place to live for its residents. Therefore, when we saw Labor of Love’s request on Facebook for some new washing machines we were only too happy to help.”

Bosch, a leader of green home appliances and has won a number of international awards for its advanced technology, will be launching its Green Star campaign in March, which will help spread environmental messages throughout the UAE and support a number of community initiatives.

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CSR disaster relief efforts

  Has your company been involved with CSR work? You can have a chance to take the Certified Sustainability CSR Practionioner Training for free by sending us a CSR case study of what your company has been doing. From cameras, to printers, to projectors, to broadcast equipment and finally, corporate social responsibility. When it comes to Canon, CSR is one of the important aspects of their company profile.

Being a company branded specifically with technology and new and innovative products, Canon has been heavily involved with CSR work around the world from disaster relief donations, to personal aiding victims to blood donations.

United States

Many of cities in the United States were extensively damaged from Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane was a record setting heavy rainfall and blackout across the United States. In a contribution effort to support recovery efforts, Canon U.S.A donated $100,000 to the affected regions.


In 2011 record breaking heavy rains caused a massive flood in Thailand. Canon Marketing Thailand and Canon Hi-Tech carried out local relief efforts on their own to aid the victims of the flood.

The Canon Marketing Thailand staff prepared and donated 1,000 sets of survival kits containing necessary supplies such as food, water, medicine, lighting equipment and insect repellent. Shortly after, the Canon caravan drove around Ayutthaya, Chainat and other disaster stricken parts of Thailand to distribute the kits.

Similarly, Canon Hi-Tech also prepared supply kits that included food water, daily necessities, and garbage bags among other necessities. These supplies were donated to the flood victims in the Lopburi area.


Heavy rainfall in Pakistan’s northwest region has caused regrettable flooding in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa resulting in substantial damage in the region and many losses of life. The Canon Group has donated three million yen to the Japanese Red Cross Society and other humanitarian aid organisations to assist in the relief.


Canon Inc has been providing assistance shortly after Haiti was struck with a giant earthquake. The earthquake caused extensive destruction and loss of life. The Canon group has been aiding the relief efforts of the victims with a 20 million Yen (approximately US$220,00) donations to the Japanese Red Cross Society and other humanitarian aid organisations. In addition, donations were also collected from employees and put through to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Middle East

In cooperation with Sharjah Blood Centre, Canon Middle East regularly donates blood at the Canon office in Dubai.

If you have a story to share about your company’s CSR work please email dina@cpidubai.com by 6 March, 2013 . You can have a chance to be nominated on behalf of Bgreen to attend the Certified Sustainability CSR Practitioner training for free!

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