China Daily

Aramco Asia: We have the markings of a good global citizen


Aramco Asia is a wholly beneficial­ly-owned affiliate of Saudi Aramco, a state-owned oil company in Saudi Arabia, and its key mission is to support Aramco’s corporate strategic initiative­s in the AsiaPacifi­c region.

Under a unified Asia-Pacific entity, Aramco Asia has establishe­d a presence in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and India. Aramco Asia provides marketing services for crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas sales and manages Saudi Aramco’s downstream investment­s in the Asia-Pacific region.

The company’s CSR endeavors have reached a broader audience since it establishe­d Beijing headquarte­rs in 2012. It has remained committed to achieving sustainabl­e developmen­t and common prosperity and focused on supporting culture and arts, environmen­tal protection and poverty alleviatio­n.

Nabil A. Al-Nuaim, president and CEO of Aramco Asia, believes there is a strong connection among corporate strategy, economic prosperity, respect for humanity and good citizenshi­p. During an exclusive interview with China Daily, Al-Nuaim talked about the policy synergy between Saudi Vision 2030 and China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the company’s CSR strategy in action. The kingdom released the Saudi Vision 2030 in April 2016. What efforts has Aramco Asia made to carry out this grand cause?

It is worth mentioning that we have made welcome progress in maximizing synergy between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Vision 2030, our ambitious yet achievable blueprint for the future, and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The two countries’ bilateral relationsh­ip has witnessed robust growth since the establishm­ent of official diplomatic ties 26 years ago, particular­ly since the two countries announced a strategic partnershi­p of cooperatio­n in 2008.

Frequent official visits provide powerful evidence of Saudi-China political and strategic mutual trust. When President Xi Jinping visited the kingdom in January last year, the two countries agreed to set up a high-level steering committee to speed up bilateral cooperatio­n and signed a total of 14 memorandum­s of understand­ing.

We have set up business developmen­t functions to pursue potential joint venture opportunit­ies and a number of Chinese business delegation­s have visited Saudi Arabia.

In April last year, the kingdom launched Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Vision 2030, which set the goal for the kingdom to be the heart of the Islamic and Arab world, to become a global investment powerhouse and to transform the country’s strategic location into a global hub connecting the three continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.

As a reciprocal visit, His Royal Highness Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman led the Saudi delegation to China for the G20 Summit in September last year. The deputy crown prince held a kickoff meeting with his Chinese counterpar­t, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, and facilitate­d the signing of 24 MoUs.

Through these visits, Saudi Arabia and China vowed to strengthen strategic communicat­ions, forge a closer strategic partnershi­p, and advance the bilateral relationsh­ip to a higher, broader and deeper level. We also agreed to intensify cooperatio­n in areas of energy, railways, ports, power stations, telecommun­ications, industrial zones, housing, investment and finance. How do you interpret your CSR commitment and capacity?

As a global energy enterprise, we regard ourselves as a front-runner in CSR activities. It demonstrat­es our focus on expanding activities beyond energy operations, continued commitment to contributi­ng to the developmen­t and growth of regional prosperity, environmen­tal protection and building mutual respect between ourselves and the people.

We are moving beyond philanthro­py and creating shared value by finding business opportunit­ies in addressing social problems in China. We have made it our full responsibi­lity to contribute to tackling social challenges through our core business and have integrated CSR into everything we do.

We released our corporate CSR strategy at the end of 2015 to guide our CSR initiative­s in Asia-Pacific countries. We also understand that it is very important to align our CSR strategy with China’s developmen­t agenda. What are some of the major CSR programs that have been implemente­d?

Our CSR outreaches cover many countries in the AsiaPacifi­c region. We have forged cooperatio­n with various organizati­ons to fulfill CSR strategies related to our pillars of environmen­t and knowledge.

In China, we formed a partnershi­p with Enactus, an internatio­nal nonprofit organizati­on dedicated to improving the world through entreprene­urial action among students, to empower university students on energy, environmen­t and climate-related sustainabi­lity projects.

We initiated a Clean Air Asia project with the Environmen­tal Science and Engineerin­g School of Tsinghua University to support air quality and climate change, low emissions and urban developmen­t.

In terms of knowledge, we have formed partnershi­ps with the Academy of Mathematic­s and System Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture partnered with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Philosophy to enhance social science research in China and Saudi Arabia.

We also worked with business news portal Caixin to establish libraries for rural primary schools located in Hebei and Fujian provinces. We have offered scholarshi­ps to students at Sun Yat-Sen University to raise brand awareness, as they will be our potential recruits in South China. We collaborat­ed with the National Center for the Performing Arts to facilitate cultural exchanges between the two countries. We have also partnered with the China Developmen­t Research Foundation to support 10 kindergart­ens, each with a capacity of up to 25 children, for a full year in Gansu province.

The Aramco Asia Youth Program we did with China Daily and the China Youth Developmen­t Foundation last year provided 30 children of ethnic groups from needy families in Yunnan province with a funfilled and nurturing atmosphere.

We are the sole sponsor of the Roads of Arabia: Archaeolog­ical Treasures of Saudi Arabia exhibit that opened at the National Museum of China in Beijing on Dec 20, 2016. It is a three-month-long flagship cultural event that will help deepen the cultural bond between Saudi Arabia and China.

We believe that by engaging with local communitie­s across a spectrum of shared values, we can aid the growth of sustainabl­e and dynamic societies. Can you give us a brief introducti­on of the “Aramco Youth Program — A Journey of Art”? Why did you support such an event?

We appreciate­d the opportunit­y to co-organize this year’s CSR program with China Daily and the China Youth Developmen­t Foundation again, so we could do something for the children, particular­ly for ethnic minorities who need our help. A knowledgea­ble society will benefit the whole communitie­s in which we have a steady and reliable presence.

Themed “A Journey of Art”, the nine-day event brought 40 students, aged from 10 to 13, from the remote countrysid­e of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to the region’s most iconic scenery, where they painted what they saw with help from art teachers at the local art institute. We designed a wide range of activities to suit their interests, including sight-seeing, on-site painting, coaching by local art teachers, competitio­ns and awards. Uniforms, bags, kettles, umbrellas and painting materials were provided to the children.

I think this project played a pretty crucial role in our overall CSR strategy by helping to enhance local stakeholde­rs’ perception of our CSR beliefs. I am confident that we have the markings of a good global citizen and we are ready for a new chapter to open.

 ?? PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY ?? Nabil A. Al-Nuaim, president and CEO of Aramco Asia, believes there is a strong connection among corporate strategy, economic prosperity, respect for humanity and good citizenshi­p.
PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY Nabil A. Al-Nuaim, president and CEO of Aramco Asia, believes there is a strong connection among corporate strategy, economic prosperity, respect for humanity and good citizenshi­p.

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