Bel Group deepens sustainability commitments


Bel Group joins CCI France UAE in calling for all French companies in the country and the region to ‘shoulder their environmental responsibilities’


A Staff Reporter

Published: Fri 25 Feb 2022, 6:18 PM

Bel Group has signed on to engage with the Global Compact Network UAE, a non-binding UN organization that encourages businesses to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation.

The signing ceremony, held at the French Pavilion at Expo 2020, was done in tandem with a full-day conference focusing on climate change and sustainability, attended by regional government and business leaders, including Saif Mohamed AlShara, assistant undersecretary of the Food Diversity Sector at the UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment; and Nathalie Kennedy, consul general of France in Dubai and Northern Emirates; along with CCI France UAE, member of the global network of French Chambers of Commerce Abroad (CCI France International).

Saif Mohamed AlShara said: “The vital food and beverage industry can play an important role in reducing global emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change on food security, helping meet the ambitions of SDG 2: Zero Hunger and other related goals.”

"Today’s signing makes us confident that we are together on the right path towards achieving the sustainable future to which we aspire, and we hope that many more companies will follow the example of Bel Group and join this impactful global effort,“ he said.

“At Bel Group, sustainability is at the core of our ethos,” said Cecile Beliot-Zind, Bel Group’s group executive vice president. “As a member of the Global Compact Network for nearly two decades now, we have taken a science-backed, robust, and measurable approach to mitigate our own environmental footprint by cutting down on carbon emissions and water usage – a commitment we have made across all markets we operate in. By engaging with the Global Compact Network UAE, we can translate our expertise to the region, and join other business leaders in balancing the needs of the planet with our financial obligations to our stakeholders.”

Waleed Salman, chairman for the Global Compact Network UAE, underscored the important role that the private sector has in fostering change and driving environmental responsibility. “An alarming report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year alluded to the fact that the region may become uninhabitable by the end of the century if action is not taken immediately to mitigate climate change and its ramifications.”

“Real change - real concrete actions - have to happen now and the private sector should be leading these efforts. Furthermore, the Global Compact Network UAE is proud to be supporting businesses building climate resilience and become leaders at the forefront of the climate movement,” he said.

Garo Matossian, Bel Group’s Middle East cluster general manager, said: “While governments are driving the agenda, the responsibility to deliver on Net Zero falls on businesses and corporations from across the value and supply chain – particularly in the food industry. Today’s commitment to adhere to the UN Global Compact principles-based approach to responsible business is testament to our firm and unfettered responsibility in supporting the region’s sustainability and climate action visions.”

The call for French companies in the UAE and the region to join the Global Compact Network UAE was underscored by CCI France UAE and supported by the UAE Local Network.

“The UAE - and the region as a whole - has been home to a multitude of French firms for years, and we owe it to our hosts to join them in their journey to achieve net zero emissions by 2050,” said Agnes Lopez Cruz , MD of CCI France UAE. “I therefore call on all French companies to follow Bel Group’s lead and shoulder their environmental responsibilities in the UAE and the GCC.”

Ibrahim Al-Zu'bi, Majid Al Futtaim’s chief sustainability officer, also shared the participants’ sense of urgency to take action: “It is our responsibility to mitigate unsustainable practices of the past, “green” our current economy and living spaces, and clear the path for a better shared future. To manage this climate crisis effectively, we need global and regional climate action collaboration and a unified vision to make impact. Under the guidance of the UAE’s visionary net-zero commitments supported by the Global Compact Network UAE, businesses around the globe have the opportunity to reshape the way they operate and transform the way they work."

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