Gulf Bank’s 2019 sus­tain­abil­ity ef­forts progress in line with global ef­forts by the United Na­tions

Pro­mot­ing com­mu­nity, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity

Kuwait Times - - Local -

KUWAIT: Gulf Bank is com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing a ro­bust sus­tain­abil­ity pro­gram and plays a vi­tal role in con­tribut­ing to the mar­kets in which they op­er­ate in ways that ex­tend well be­yond fi­nance. Through­out the years,

Gulf Bank has been a leader in shedding light on ma­jor global chal­lenges. By spear­head­ing mul­ti­ple cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity ini­tia­tives, Gulf Bank has not only in­spired lo­cal and re­gional en­ter­prises, but is also lead­ing by ex­am­ple on an in­ter­na­tional level with its unique ap­proach to sus­tain­abil­ity.

In 2019, Gulf Bank’s cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity ini­tia­tives went hand in hand with in­ter­na­tional ef­forts, align­ing with the United Na­tions’ 17 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs). Also known as the Global Goals, the SDGs were adopted by all United Na­tions Mem­ber States in 2015 as a univer­sal call to ac­tion to end poverty, pro­tect the planet and en­sure that all peo­ple en­joy peace and pros­per­ity by 2030.

Gulf Bank proudly spear­headed a num­ber of cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity ef­forts in 2019, with an ap­proach that con­sists of three pil­lars: com­mu­nity sus­tain­abil­ity, eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity, and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity. Through a com­bi­na­tion of ef­forts on all of these fronts, Gulf Bank proudly met a ma­jor­ity of the UN’s Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals.

Com­ment­ing on Gulf Bank’s on­go­ing com­mit­ment to sus­tain­abil­ity and cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, Lu­jain Al-Qe­naei, As­sis­tant Man­ager for Ex­ter­nal Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Gulf Bank, said: “Much like how the United Na­tions is shedding a spot­light on ma­jor global chal­lenges, we rec­og­nize how im­por­tant it is for larger en­ter­prises to do their part on a lo­cal and na­tional level. At Gulf Bank, we are not only aware of our role, but we are proud to take it on. We also be­lieve that the UN’s 17 SDGs are all in­ter­con­nected, and that long-last­ing de­vel­op­ment must strike a bal­ance be­tween com­mu­nity, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity. We are proud to see so many of our ini­tia­tives mov­ing hand in hand with in­ter­na­tional ef­forts, and are look­ing for­ward to paving the way for even more ini­tia­tives to come in hopes for a more sus­tain­able fu­ture for our beloved Kuwait.”

Com­mu­nity Sus­tain­abil­ity

Through­out 2019, Gulf Bank’s com­mu­nity sus­tain­abil­ity ef­forts aligned with the fol­low­ing UN Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals: 2) Zero Hunger, 3) Good Health and Well­be­ing, 4) Qual­ity Ed­u­ca­tion, 5) Gen­der Equal­ity, 8) De­cent Work and Eco­nomic Growth, 9) In­dus­try, In­no­va­tion, and In­fra­struc­ture, 11) Sus­tain­able Cities and Com­mu­ni­ties, and 17) Part­ner­ships for the Goals.

As one of the most im­por­tant so­cial sport­ing events in the coun­try, the an­nual Gulf Bank 642 Marathon aims to raise the level of health aware­ness and en­cour­age the lo­cal com­mu­nity to adopt a health­ier life­style. By part­ner­ing with Kuwait Red Cres­cent So­ci­ety this year, Gulf Bank was able to as­sist in bring­ing med­i­cal aid to those who are un­able to af­ford med­i­cal treat­ment. This year’s marathon at­tracted more than 9,300 par­tic­i­pants rep­re­sent­ing over 100 na­tion­al­i­ties from around the world, and more than 300 vol­un­teers.

Gulf Bank is also keen on pro­mot­ing a mes­sage of in­clu­sion and diver­sity when it comes to hir­ing. Gulf Bank this year proudly em­ployed 10 peo­ple with spe­cial needs among var­i­ous branches, tak­ing into ac­count the unique needs of each in­di­vid­ual. The Bank con­tin­ues to strive to en­sure to achieve gen­der equal­ity and em­pow­er­ing women through­out the or­ga­ni­za­tion to de­liver on the Bank’s man­date. Cur­rently there are 43 per­cent fe­male staff in com­par­i­son to 57 per­cent male staff. The bank was one of the first Banks in Kuwait to be­come a sig­na­tory of the ‘Women’s Em­pow­er­ment Prin­ci­ples (WEPs)’ ini­tia­tive by the United Na­tions to pro­mote gen­der equal­ity and women’s eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment.

The Bank has a strong fo­cus on de­vel­op­ing Kuwaiti pro­fes­sion­als. In terms of hu­man cap­i­tal ini­tia­tives, the Bank’s grad­u­ate de­vel­op­ment pro­gram AJYAL is widely rec­og­nized for its in­ten­sive train­ing to shape the fu­ture of bank­ing in Kuwait. Ac­cept­ing 21 ap­pli­cants, AJYAL spans six months and aims to help can­di­dates de­velop key bank­ing skills, cul­ti­vat­ing holis­tic bankers that have shown growth po­ten­tial on both a per­sonal and pro­fes­sional level. Since the pro­gram’s in­cep­tion in 2014, five gen­er­a­tions have grad­u­ated with a to­tal of 85 em­ploy­ees, to date.

Gulf Bank also demon­strated its com­mit­ment to pre­serv­ing Kuwaiti her­itage and tra­di­tions by spon­sor­ing the pro­duc­tion of ‘Mem­oirs of a Sailor,’ an epic mu­si­cal com­prised of po­ems from the Kuwaiti poet Mo­hammed Al-Fayez. The pro­duc­tion took place dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of the year at the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ah­mad Cul­tural Cen­ter.

Dur­ing 2019, the bank also hosted a num­ber of fam­ily fun ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing a ‘Read­ing Fun Day’ for chil­dren to en­cour­age read­ing and learn­ing, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with That Al Salasil. Gulf Bank also held a ‘Bring Your Kids To Work’ for their em­ploy­ees and their chil­dren. Through­out the year, Gulf Bank also par­tic­i­pated in and spon­sored Qout Mar­ket.

As part of Gulf Bank’s com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing and em­pow­er­ing Kuwaiti youth, Gulf Bank also spon­sored the an­nual Na­tional Union of Kuwaiti Stu­dents (NUKS) Con­fer­ence in the United States. Dur­ing the sum­mer, ap­pli­ca­tions for Gulf Bank’s sum­mer in­tern­ship pro­gram were also avail­able to in­ter­ested stu­dent ap­pli­cants. Gulf Bank also or­ga­nized a mo­bile pho­tog­ra­phy train­ing work­shop for as­pir­ing pho­tog­ra­phers in col­lab­o­ra­tion with mo­bile ac­ces­sories store, Cavaraty.

Gulf Bank also spear­headed other char­i­ta­ble ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the holy month of Ra­madan, in­clud­ing part­ner­ing with the Kuwait Food Bank and Saveco to dis­trib­ute ‘maachla’ food­stuff boxes to lo­cal fam­i­lies in need. Gulf Bank also launched a so­cial me­dia ac­ti­va­tion in recog­ni­tion of the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing a healthy life­style dur­ing the holy month. The com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive, ti­tled “Ten Min­utes,” con­sisted of a se­ries of short so­cial me­dia episodes high­light­ing unique tips on how view­ers can live a health­ier life­style by en­hanc­ing their nu­tri­tion, men­tal health, fit­ness, and gen­eral well­be­ing in only ten min­utes.

In 2019, Gulf Bank also launched ‘AlTi­jouri,’ an en­ter­tain­ing es­cape room com­pe­ti­tion in which teams from all across the coun­try joined to­gether to solve puz­zles and com­pete for cash prizes. The ac­ti­va­tion, which took place in Phase 3 of The Av­enues over the course of three days, re­sulted in a to­tal of three win­ning teams, each of whom took home a KD 300 cash prize for solv­ing the es­cape room in the least amount of time.

For Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month, the bank launched a se­ries of ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing part­ner­ing with Mowasat Hos­pi­tal and other lo­cal hospi­tals to pro­vide spe­cial of­fers, ex­clu­sively for Gulf Bank clients, that aim to make the process of get­ting checked more con­ve­nient and more ac­ces­si­ble. Through­out the month, the Bank also lit up its head of­fice branch in Kuwait City in pink in an ef­fort to en­cour­age ev­ery­one to learn more about breast can­cer.

Eco­nomic Sus­tain­abil­ity

In the past year, Gulf Bank’s eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity ef­forts also aligned with the UN Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals of: 4) Qual­ity Ed­u­ca­tion, 5) Gen­der Equal­ity, 8) De­cent Work and Eco­nomic Growth, 9) In­dus­try, In­no­va­tion, and In­fra­struc­ture, and 17) Part­ner­ships for the Goals.

In keep­ing with an­nual tra­di­tion, Gulf Bank ex­tended its sup­port to INJAZ Kuwait, a non-profit, non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion for ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing in work­force readi­ness, fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy and en­trepreneur­ship. As part of our strate­gic part­ner­ship with INJAZ, Gulf Bank spon­sored nu­mer­ous ed­u­ca­tional and en­tre­pre­neur­ial cour­ses for high school and col­lege stu­dents across both the public and pri­vate sec­tors.

To date, Gulf Bank has par­tic­i­pated in five INJAZ Al-Arab pro­grams, two INJAZ Kuwait Job Shadow Days, seven INJAZ Kuwait In­no­va­tion Camps and four INJAZ Kuwait En­trepreneur­ship Master Class work­shops. Ad­di­tion­ally, 282 Gulf Bank staff mem­bers have vol­un­teered their time and ef­forts at nu­mer­ous schools and uni­ver­si­ties across Kuwait, in­spir­ing over 3,275 stu­dents.

This year, Gulf Bank has also ex­tended its eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity role to so­cial me­dia. In an ef­fort to pro­mote fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy and cre­ate a cul­ture of fi­nan­cial aware­ness, Gulf Bank’s Eco­nomic Re­search Unit pre­pares weekly videos on top­ics in­clud­ing fin­tech, in­vest­ment, sav­ing, and gen­eral tid­bits about the state of the econ­omy. The one-minute tips are de­liv­ered by Tareq Al-Saleh, Deputy Gen­eral Man­ager of the Eco­nomic Re­search Unit at Gulf Bank, and are aired across Gulf Bank’s var­i­ous so­cial me­dia chan­nels.

Gulf Bank also par­tic­i­pated in a num­ber of other ac­tiv­i­ties as part of its on­go­ing ef­forts to im­prove the lo­cal business en­vi­ron­ment. In Oc­to­ber 2019, Gulf Bank hosted a real es­tate mar­ket fo­cus group to dis­cuss the cur­rent state of the real es­tate mar­ket and its lat­est de­vel­op­ments. Gulf Bank also spon­sored the Cen­tral Bank of Kuwait’s an­nual In­ter­na­tional Bank­ing Con­fer­ence. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Man­power Restruc­tur­ing Pro­gram, Gulf Bank also held the first-ever ca­reer fair for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties in Kuwait. In Jan­uary 2019, Gulf Bank em­ploy­ees also par­tic­i­pated in the Fikra Pro­gram, de­signed to equip Kuwaiti youth with the es­sen­tial business skills and knowl­edge re­quired to trans­form their ideas into busi­nesses.

En­vi­ron­men­tal Sus­tain­abil­ity

Gulf Bank is com­mit­ted to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity with its com­mu­nity sus­tain­abil­ity ef­forts in 2019 go­ing hand in hand with the fol­low­ing UN Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals: 12) Re­spon­si­ble Con­sump­tion and Pro­duc­tion, 14) Life Below Wa­ter, 15) Life On Land, and 13) Cli­mate Ac­tion.

In 2019, the bank part­nered with Om­niya, a na­tion­wide re­cy­cling ini­tia­tive founded in 2015 by young Kuwaitis aim­ing to raise aware­ness for waste re­cy­cling. Through this part­ner­ship, the Bank com­mit­ted to re­cy­cling pa­per and plastic waste, and strate­gi­cally dis­trib­uted re­cy­cling re­cep­ta­cles in front of Gulf Bank’s Head Of­fice. By plac­ing the re­cy­cling re­cep­ta­cles in one of the most vis­i­ble lo­ca­tions in the heart of Kuwait City, Gulf Bank is rais­ing aware­ness for re­cy­cling not only with its em­ploy­ees, but also with mem­bers of the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

The bank also held a beach cleanup at the Kuwait Tow­ers as part of its com­mit­ment to Earth Day. A non-profit NGO pro­vided an aware­ness ses­sion on the haz­ardous ef­fects pol­lu­tants have on our en­vi­ron­ment and as­sisted Gulf Bank em­ploy­ees in clean­ing the beach. The Bank also joins global com­mu­nity ef­forts in re­duc­ing power con­sump­tion dur­ing ‘Earth Hour,’ a world­wide ini­tia­tive that en­cour­ages in­di­vid­u­als, com­mu­ni­ties, and busi­nesses to turn off non-es­sen­tial elec­tric lights.

With mul­ti­ple CSR ini­tia­tives through­out the year, Gulf Bank is set­ting an ex­am­ple for lo­cal and re­gional play­ers to make even more progress in line with in­ter­na­tional ef­forts by the United Na­tions. Through a com­bi­na­tion of ef­forts pro­mot­ing com­mu­nity, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, Gulf Bank is proud to wrap up 2019 with an im­pres­sive round-up of CSR ini­tia­tives and ac­tiv­i­ties, with even more ini­tia­tives to come in 2020.

Fikra Pro­gram.

Help­ing fam­i­lies in need dur­ing Ra­madan.

Gulf Bank 642 Marathon.

Breast Can­cer Aware­ness.

Beach cleanup.

Injaz an­nual cer­e­mony.

Lu­jain Al-Qe­naei

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