Companies stand to gain when they pay it forward

Business experts share key aspects for creating a successful corporate sustainability and responsibility programme.

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Companies in the Emirates often try to identify programmes that help their employees and the broader community. But firms with successful corporate sustainability and responsibility (CSR) programmes also find ways to create publicity and marketing opportunities as well as improve staff productivity.

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), for instance, has rolled out financial products such as a payroll card targeted at workers who might not otherwise have access to a bank or financial services.

In a partnership with the Western Region Development Council, the bank's trainers are helping small and medium-sized business owners better understand and manage their finances—a project that could lead to those business establishing accounts with the bank. The lender is also looking at how internal health and wellness schemes might boost employee productivity.

"When it's philanthropy, you don't always expect there to be [or] want to get publicity specifically for it, whereas when you're investing in a community or flagship programme you want it to be something you can measure and see long-term benefits," says Belinda Scott, senior manager of corporate sustainability and responsibility at NBAD.

Yet there are other considerations for business executives thinking of launching a CSR programme, which experts recently shared in Dubai during a special seminar and masterclass on the topic. To find out more about their tips, check out the latest edition of The Life.