Dubai Chamber unveils impact of Sustainability Week 2021 on diversity and inclusion

CEOs advised business leaders to develop partnerships and collaborations with different types of organisations and promote a culture of inclusivity within their organisations
CEOs advised business leaders to develop partnerships and collaborations with different types of organisations and promote a culture of inclusivity within their organisations

By Staff Report

Published: Wed 1 Dec 2021, 3:27 PM

More than 37,000 employees across 272 companies, government, academic institutions and non-profit organisations recently took part in the Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week 2021, held under the theme ‘Celebrating Diversity & Inclusion, Building Inclusive Workplace’, which raised awareness about the importance of prioritising diversity and inclusion at workplace.

The CEO Dialogue was the launch event of Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week 2021 and was attended by high-level speakers and panellists, including Hassan Al Hashemi, VP of International Relations, Dubai Chamber; Luay Al Shurafa, president and MD for Africa & Middle East, General Motors; Luciano Poli, president of Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Dow; Shamsa Al Falasi, MD and head of Global Subsidiaries Group GCC Iraq, Citi Group; and Noha Hefny, founder & CEO, The People of Impact, who shared valuable insights on diversity and inclusion, strategies, best practices, tools and measurement metrics for boosting inclusion at workplace.

CEOs advised business leaders to develop partnerships and collaborations with different types of organisations and promote a culture of inclusivity within their organisations. Transparent communication, empowerment of diverse employees, psychological and physical safety, and flexibility, empathy and trust are necessary attributes for nurturing a workplace that fosters inclusiveness, they noted.

In addition, the CEO Dialogue highlighted the importance of benchmarking to understand where a company stands, learning best practices, adopting and implementing the same to increase diversity and inclusion is the key to success.

A roundtable shed light on the opportunities and challenges associated diversity and inclusion moderated by Sanam Yaqub, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at University of Birmingham, Dubai. Among the main suggestions made by practitioners as participants were that an effectively implemented Diversity and Inclusion strategy can be instrumental to changing organizational processes, leadership and culture.

Speakers said during the roundtable that inclusive workplace doesn’t just have a diversity of people present, it has a diversity of people involved, developed, empowered and trusted by the organisation. Practitioners advised, whilst it is important to have D&I policies in place, there was also an acknowledgement that KPIs and targets need to be realistic in order to make a real change.

The Multi stakeholder Dialogue, showcased various technological solutions designed to implement diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace, as well as the benefits and challenges these companies face and gave re-world examples of such solutions being utilised. Among the speakers were Lisa Umenyiora, executive director, Careers and Student Life, Imperial College Business School; Serine Srouji, Government Alliance partner, LinkedIn; Fatiah Touray, senior director, Inclusion and Equity, New York University Abu Dhabi; and Sarah Tabet, Global Human Resources Director/D&I leader, Schneider Electric.

The campaign, titled ‘Let’s Create an inclusive Workplace’, was organised as part of the Sustainability Week, with more than 160 projects, activities and events conducted on diversity and inclusion, attracting overwhelming participation from local businesses.

The results of the campaign were unveiled at the closing ceremony of Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week 2021. During the virtual event, industry practitioners Ariadne Nerkizoglou, marketing manager from Hunter Foods, Helene Coulon , GM from Moalajah Veolia and Kunal Wadhwani, head of HR GCC from Choithrams Group on the basis of their experience after undertaking the campaign shared their recommendations and noted that diversity and inclusion bring new perspectives and innovation to the business besides improving employee’s engagement and trust.

Dr. Belaid Rettab, chief economist & senior director, Economic Research & Sustainable Business Development Sector, Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business, said the strong participation in Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week 2021 reflects the commitment of top-notch sustainability leaders from our Dubai business community and abroad who have offered, during this week, valuable insights on what can be done to improve diversity and inclusion at the workplace, adding that it will bring a significant enrichment of best practices in Dubai on diversity and inclusion.

Dr. Rettab added that the week-long initiative and campaign achieved its objectives of raising awareness about the benefits of prioritising diversity and inclusion, and encouraging organisations to take practical actions and further their progress in this area.

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