The third edition of the annual CSR Qatar, held under the patronage of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce and in cooperation with the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will open tomorrow at the Hilton Doha Hotel with a focus on innovative approaches to corporate social responsibility that contribute to a more sustainable and socially responsible economy.

Taking place from 24 – 25 November, CSR Qatar 2015 brings together Qatar’s top business and community leaders and academics to explore new trends and practices in CSR and discuss notable examples of community initiatives built around Qatar National Vision 2030. This year’s conference is held under the theme “Transforming CSR to Support a Socially Responsible and Sustainable Economy in Qatar”.

Hoda Abdelhay, Conference Director, CSR Qatar 2015, said:

The idea of corporate social responsibility has evolved dramatically in Qatar in the past few years, with companies becoming more transparent and more appreciative of the strategic value of CSR and its impact on business outcomes. CSR Qatar 2015 aims to pave the way for decision-makers across various fields to engage in meaningful dialogue around CSR issues and drive the sustainability agenda forward.’

Following a series of pre-conference workshops and masterclass sessions to be held today, CSR Qatar 2015 will officially open tomorrow morning (Tuesday, 24 November) to set the stage for two days of insightful keynote presentations, panel discussions and case studies.

The sessions kick off with a panel discussion entitled ‘From CSR to Sustainability’, which will address how Qatari businesses are transforming from a short-term philanthropy mindset to a more strategic, sustainable CSR approach. Participants in the panel discussion include HE Ewa Polano, Swedish Ambassador to Qatar; Naim Yazbeck, General Manager, Microsoft Qatar; and Rob Sherwin, General Manager – Corporate Affairs and Deputy Country Chairman, Qatar Shell.

This will be followed by the opening keynote address from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. More panel discussions will take place in the afternoon session, alongside a number of best practice case studies.

This year’s conference also marks the launch of the inaugural CSR Qatar Awards, which will be hosted on Tuesday, 24 November 2015. The awards will recognise outstanding achievements of organizations and individuals that have contributed to the development of the sustainability agenda in Qatar. Shortlisted companies include RasGas, Bedaya Center, Weill Cornell Medicine, Maktaba, Qatar Charity, Qatar Football Association, Qatar Shell, and the Ministry of Information & Communication Technology.

CSR Qatar 2015

Topics of discussion at CSR Qatar 2015 range from sustainable development and social entrepreneurship to worker and labor rights and employment generation. The conference will also focus on the relationship between sports and social responsibility.

Dalal Al Dossary, Founder and Managing Director of IMPACT CSR Solutions, who takes part in a panel discussion at the conference entitled ‘Aligning Sports with Social Responsibility’, said:

Sport is recognised as a crucial means to promote peace and sustainable development. In order to achieve Qatar’s National Vision, we must understand that sport is a direct link to its success. Without tying the two together, the entire strategy would be amiss, and the opportunity to harness the power of influence sport has will be totally lost.’

Yousef bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, CEO of Qatar Charity and one of the keynote speakers at the conference, stressed the need for increased private investment in Qatar’s health and education sector:

Investing in education is essential for success in a knowledge-driven world, which in turn would catalyze social and economic development. The private sector is encouraged to create and support Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) education programs to motivate students and help them innovate.’

He added:

Improving healthcare is one of the pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030, and this means not only offering better medical care, but also to be active on the front of preventive care, and this is where CSR can play a role, such as – for example – by developing programs that encourage healthier lifestyles, particularly in view of the alarmingly high diabetes and obesity rates among the youth in the region.’

The 3rd CSR Qatar features a distinguished line-up of speakers that includes senior executives from leading public and private organizations including Microsoft Qatar, Qatar Charity, the United Nations Office for Project Services, Vodafone Qatar, Qatar Red Crescent Society, Ericsson, DHL, Nestle, Qatar Shell, Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar Airways, National Human Rights Committee, and Qatar University.

CSR Qatar 2015 is supported by several leading public and private organisations in Qatar including WOQOD (Qatar Fuel) and Microsoft.