The survey reflects the sustainability performance and level of reporting of the top 100 companies in the UAE. The survey also identifies trends in the levels of reporting and highlights the inclusion of emerging areas of importance including human rights, sustainability supply chain, climate-related risks and carbon targets, to name a few.
KPMG’s survey studied the annual financial and corporate responsibility reports published by the top 100 companies in the UAE, and draws comparisons with global industry trends, leveraging KPMG International’s Corporate Responsibility Survey.
“The higher number of reporting companies shows a continued, positive trend in the UAE: that of local companies being increasingly aware of the impact of their business and operational activities on society and the environment. With less than half of the top 100 companies currently assessing and reporting their CR performance, there is scope for improvement, but the increase from last year is definitely an encouraging sign,” said Raajeev B Batra, Partner and Head of Risk Consulting, KPMG Lower Gulf Limited.
From announcing its commitment to create a ‘sustainable environment and infrastructure’ as a part of the UAE Vision 2021, to positioning ‘sustainability’ as one of the core themes of Expo 2020, the UAE is focused on establishing itself as a global leader in sustainability.
“Sustainable environment and infrastructure’ is one of the key pillars of the UAE Vision 2021, the local government’s long-term strategy for socioeconomic development. Further, 2017 was declared the 'Year of Giving' in the UAE, a government initiative which focused on three key pillars: corporate social responsibility, volunteering, and serving the nation. Given this increased commitment to sustainability in the region, we expect CR reporting to become the norm for larger companies in the next five years,” said Hanife Ymer, Director in charge of Sustainability Services, KPMG in the Lower Gulf.
KPMG also observed an increase in the number of non-financial metrics being reported. These included social and environmental impacts generated by an organisation’s business operations; human rights; adoption of sustainability and/or specific codes of conduct across the supply chain; and quantifying financial risks related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects of an organisation’s business practices. The report also looks at the level of reporting in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In terms of sectors, transport and leisure, and financial services best demonstrate their commitment to sustainability through public reporting. There was scope for improvement in sectors such as healthcare, oil and gas, and the food and beverage and retail sectors, especially in comparison to global peers.
The survey also revealed that organisations in the UAE are increasingly aware of the need to apply internationally recognised reporting frameworks and guidelines when it comes to disclosing non-financial performance. In fact, 11 per cent of the reporting companies were found to already follow the latest Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards framework; these guidelines are slated to become mandatory in 2018.