ENGRAINING IMPACT IN OUR REGION
"The Country Report: the State of CSR in Lebanon – Trends and Observations of National Corporate Social Responsibility" by CSR LEBANON
To further imprint the presence of CSR in the Lebanese business culture and as part of its national strategy, CSR LEBANON hosted the CSR Champions roundtable event, inviting some of Lebanon's most active CSR professionals to discuss experiences, challenges and the way forward.
Mrs. Hasmig Khoury, representing Bank Audi, was among the 10 individuals who participated in this roundtable, led by Mr. Khaled Kassar, founder and CEO of CSR LEBANON, and facilitated by the Australian expert Mr. Dwayne Baraka who spoke of CSR professionals as change managers. Participants seemed to indicate resonance with their own experiences as purveyors of change, “… passionate and engaged human beings wanting to bring about good.”
“Organisations focused on bringing about a more responsible form of business have played key roles… Companies realised that in order to be leaders in business, you have to be leaders in CSR.”
Identified challenges include, “…from a shared value perspective where NGOs should unite their resources and communicate better on what they are doing. They should be taught to find common interests.” Other key challenges range from the need for a strategic vision, business leadership, dedicated budgets and clear implementation practices of CSR. Managing social and environmental risks to accentuate impact is a main concern for the region.
The aspects of the discussion, that centered around transparency and the importance of CSR to business strategy, drew the distinction between companies that announce versus the ones which act the part. This indicates an appetite for greater transparency on CSR issues among the leaders of CSR in Lebanon. Collaboration was recognised as key to promote sustainable development. Incentives addressing government needs can also motivate responsible actions.
In closing, participants identified the next important steps for CSR to gain traction in Lebanon. The highest score was attributed to: raising awareness, educating and a national CSR strategy.
The report sums: “It is not surprising that Bank Audi, regarded as a CSR leader in Lebanon (at least based on comments made by participants and as reinforced in publicly-available information), was (at the time of the roundtable) the only organisation in Lebanon with a formal and fully dedicated Head of CSR, and the only one having a GRI-report in the country.
CSR UNIVERSITY AWARENESS SESSION
INSPIRING IDEAS, MOTIVATING FUTURE GENERATIONS!
For the second year in a row, the CSR Unit held an interactive university awareness initiative leading to a competition at Bank Audi and aiming at encouraging students to be creative and pitch a feasible CSR project that is aligned with the Bank’s CSR strategy. Of the 9 proposals submitted, 4 were shortlisted by an external 5-member CSR jury. They presented their projects to the Bank’s CSR Committee during live presentations.
1ST PRIZE WINNER
Malak Hashmieh (LIU) for her proposal, "Amal", a program which finances startups or new businesses, and helps create job opportunities, especially for the Lebanese youth.
2ND PRIZE WINNER
Lara Macaron Sabbouri (LU) for her proposal "Guest-Speaker Program", whereby employees volunteer to give a one-session business course to university students and explain how Bank Audi applies theoretical concepts in its daily activity.
3RD PRIZE WINNER
Hind Chazbek (AUB) for her proposal "Eco-Friendly Car Loan" which consists in encouraging people to buy and drive environmental-friendly cars by providing a green car loan at a low interest rate. This initiative motivates the youth to develop responsible thinking and to take action as regards sustaining the environment and positively influencing their surroundings.