Schema issues and implements CSR guidelines for MENA banking sector
Schema applies the CSR Guidelines for the Financial Sector to two banks in the Middle East so far; the guidelines were earlier issued by Schema in collaboration with the Union of Arab Banks
Amman, Jordan, 14 July 2013
The Union of Arab Banks (UAB), in collaboration with Schema (a MENA specialized Corporate Governance (CG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) advisory firm) has developed general CSR Guidelines for the financial sector in the MENA region.
The CSR Guidelines were designed in a way that takes account of local needs and capacities, as well as the latest international trends and expectations, focusing on the practical application of CSR principles for banks and financial institutions, and providing straightforward guidance on implementation. The CSR Guidelines comply with international standards, including Basel II principles and the Equator Principles, whilst taking into consideration the particular characteristics of the region.
In order to ensure that the CSR Guidelines are aligned with the needs of the market, Schema engaged with around 150 of the Union of Arab Bank (UAB) members to gauge their CSR interests and needs. Members’ origins included Jordan, Sudan, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, and UAE.
“The guidelines are designed to provide banks with guidance on CSR principles and practices to assist them in enhancing, improving and implementing effective CSR best practices whether or not such practices are legally mandatory. The CSR Guidelines are also intended to correlate all applicable CSR practices making them available in one resource hence easily accessible“, said Maali Qasem Khader, CEO and Founder of Schema.
Schema so far has implemented the CSR Guidelines in its core strategy advisory services to Jordan Ahli Bank and Byblos Bank in Lebanon. Applying the guidelines in the CSR assessment and strategy design for the two banks proved to bring the outcomes into a higher level of focus and consideration for the sector’s dynamics. The resulting CSR strategies and programs align with the banks’ business and main capacities.
“The CSR Guidelines developed by Schema opened our eyes to the challenges that the whole industry in our region is facing. They served as a good benchmark for us to better understand where we stand and where we should and would want to go. The CSR Assessment that we conducted with the help of Schema led us to develop a sound strategy based on the gist of what we believe in: “Humanizing our Capital”“, commented Nada Tawil, Head of Group Communication Department at Byblos Bank.
“We believe that one of the challenges faced by the financial sector is monitoring and benchmarking practices, especially when it comes to CSR programs and efforts. The CSR Guidelines we published with UAB have proved to help banks improve the impact and value of their CSR efforts, develop sustainability and sustainable practices, improve stakeholder relations, improve corporate reputation and branding, and involve institutions in the economic and social development of the ecosystem they operate within”, added Khader.
The CSR Guidelines for the Financial Sector have been published in English, Arabic and French and available through the UAB website on www.uabonline.org and on Schema’s website on www.SchemaAdvisory.com
About Union of Arab Banks
Union of Arab Banks (UAB) is an organization responsible for fostering cooperation between Arab banks, developing Arab financial business, and enhancing the financing role of Arab banks in the Arab World.
The headquarters of the Union is located in Beirut, Lebanon and has three major regional offices in Egypt, Sudan and Jordan. The ultimate objectives of UAB are to consolidate relations and foster cooperation between its members, to coordinate their activities, and to emphasize their Arab identity to secure common interests. This is beside the development of the banking and financial sector in the Arab countries, and the enhancement of the role of the Arab banking and financial institutions in supporting the social and economic development in the Arab region.
For more information please visit www.uabonline.org
Schema is an established advisory firm focused on Sustainability, providing value to clients through tailored solutions in Corporate Governance (CG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) across the MENA region. It is the only Sustainability advisory practice in the region that specializes purely in CG and CSR, maintaining a focus on and evolving with the rapid development in these fields.