Zain com­mit­ted to the UN’s 2030 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Agenda in Kuwait and be­yond

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Zain Group, a lead­ing mo­bile tele­com in­no­va­tor in eight mar­kets across the Mid­dle East and Africa show­cased its re­gional ex­pe­ri­ence in the ar­eas of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment at a round­table dis­cus­sion re­cently con­vened by the United Na­tions (UN) and the Kuwait Gen­eral Sec­re­tariat of the Supreme Coun­cil for Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment (GSSCPD). The meet­ing was cen­tered on the role of the pri­vate sec­tor as a part­ner in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the UN’s 2030 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDG) through the coun­try’s na­tional de­vel­op­ment plan.

The meet­ing was held at the Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Build­ing United Na­tions House, and was ad­dressed by Zineb Touim­iBen­jel­loun, UN Res­i­dent Co­or­di­na­tor who high­lighted the crit­i­cal im­por­tance of the pri­vate sec­tor as a part­ner in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the SDGs. Dr Khaled Mahdi, Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the SGSCPD, also ad­dressed and out­lined the key aims of the Kuwait Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan to achieve His High­ness the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad’s State Vi­sion: Kuwait 2035, and how the pri­vate sec­tor can en­gage with the pub­lic sec­tor to sup­port its achieve­ment.

The Vi­sion aims for Kuwait to achieve re­gional lead­er­ship as a cen­ter for trade and fi­nance, and to stim­u­late the role played by the Kuwaiti pri­vate sec­tor in the de­vel­op­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing of young peo­ple. The Vi­sion also brings into fo­cus the im­por­tance of sci­en­tific re­search, which con­trib­utes to the eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Kuwaiti pri­vate sec­tor en­ti­ties who are al­ready ac­tive in the ar­eas of sus­tain­abil­ity and cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity par­tic­i­pated in the round­table and shared their ex­pe­ri­ences in con­tribut­ing to sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. The par­tic­i­pants iden­ti­fied ar­eas where fur­ther sup­port by the govern­ment could fa­cil­i­tate closer part­ner­ship on im­ple­men­ta­tion of the SDGs. Jen­nifer Suleiman, Head of Cor­po­rate Sus­tain­abil­ity in Zain Group par­tic­i­pated in the round­table dis­cus­sion high­light­ing how the com­pany’s numer­ous op­er­a­tional ac­tiv­i­ties and vi­sion in Kuwait and be­yond aligned with the State Vi­sion: Kuwait 2035 and com­mented, “Zain owes a great deal of its suc­cess to in­te­grat­ing sus­tain­abil­ity into our busi­ness de­ci­sions, in­cor­po­rat­ing so­cial, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sid­er­a­tions at the high­est lev­els of de­ci­sion-mak­ing.”

Suleiman high­lighted Zain Group’s cre­den­tials with re­spect to sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment em­pha­siz­ing how the com­pany was geared towards up­lift­ing so­cial and eco­nomic ben­e­fits in the com­mu­ni­ties in which it op­er­ates, with a key fo­cus on ed­u­ca­tion, health, youth de­vel­op­ment and the eco­nomic in­clu­sion and bet­ter­ment of all.

Suleiman con­tin­ued, “Our so­cial, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal com­mit­ment, and de­sire to achieve our strate­gic goals, made us take con­certed steps to sup­port sus­tain­abil­ity in the ar­eas of in­no­va­tion and to cat­alyze the tran­si­tion towards a knowl­edge-based econ­omy. We be­lieve this is best achieved through the sup­port of en­trepreneurs, skills de­vel­op­ment, and ca­pac­ity build­ing among young peo­ple.” Zain Group’s track record of ini­tia­tives, aimed at pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment are con­sis­tent with the UN’s Global SDGs, and in­clude a com­mit­ment to re­duce car­bon emis­sions by 2020. Zain Group in part­ner­ship with the GSMA, also par­tic­i­pates in mo­bile ef­fi­ciency ini­tia­tives aimed at help­ing mo­bile net­work op­er­a­tors im­prove their ef­fi­ciency through global stan­dard­iza­tion with other op­er­a­tions from around the world.

Sup­port­ing as­pir­ing en­trepreneurs and dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion in Kuwait and across the re­gion, Zain has also been a key part­ner of the MIT Pan Arab Start Up Com­pe­ti­tion for the past two years (even hold­ing the 2015 fi­nal cer­e­mony in Kuwait) and most re­cently spon­sored the global MIT In­no­vate for Refugees com­pe­ti­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally in Kuwait, the com­pany im­ple­mented the Zain Great Idea (ZGI) ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­gram to steer the coun­try’s youth into pri­vate or en­tre­pre­neur­ial op­por­tu­ni­ties. It sup­ports and en­cour­ages young Kuwaitis to bring their most in­no­va­tive ideas to life by ac­quaint­ing them with in­ter­na­tion­ally cer­ti­fied pro­grams that will guide them to re­al­iz­ing their own cre­ative ideas and form ac­tive busi­nesses.

Part of the com­mit­ment en­tails that that Zain an­nu­ally pub­lishes a Sus­tain­abil­ity re­port to dis­close on trans­par­ent ba­sis sus­tain­abil­ity re­lated top­ics. This sus­tain­abil­ity re­port is par­tially as­sured by an ex­ter­nal au­dit­ing firm us­ing the guid­ing GRI frame­work with G4 in­di­ca­tors.

Suleiman said, “This Sus­tain­abil­ity re­port is the em­bod­i­ment of our com­mit­ment to be a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on the so­cial, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity of our com­mu­ni­ties, so we are keen to pub­lish con­tent pub­licly and in con­form­ity with the frame­work of the UN’s guid­ing prin­ci­ples on busi­ness and hu­man rights re­port­ing.”

On Septem­ber 25, 2015, lead­ers from 193 coun­tries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, pro­tect the planet, and en­sure pros­per­ity for all as part of a new sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment agenda and His High­ness the Amir of Kuwait, joined world lead­ers at the UN to en­dorse the ini­tia­tive.

Zain Group has al­ways ex­pressed sup­port for the SDGs and as a part of the pri­vate sec­tor Zain has a crit­i­cal role in achiev­ing the goals and the com­pany con­tin­ues to push towards its re­al­iza­tion of the goals as part of it core busi­ness ac­tiv­ity and value chain.

Jen­nifer Suleiman, Head of Cor­po­rate Sus­tain­abil­ity in Zain Group

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