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Dr. Fatih Mehmet Gul is a multi-sector experienced CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) expert for today’s good business practices. He has background in healthcare, aviation, insurance and publishing sectors. After handling several international social and business projects, he merges his experiences in Corporate Social Responsibility field. He is the founder of CSR Middle East platform.
He has been involved in UN Projects, EU Projects and International Projects where he was dealing mostly with the development, budgeting and administration. He is a licensed physician and received intensive trainings on business & administration and had career opportunities in different countries and cultures.
Thanks for that interview. CSR in MENA has had a development phase from charity to the strategic business model in last ten years. As it happened globally, public preferences became an important part of business decision. Similar changes have been seen in MENA too. Stakeholder engagement is now at the top list of regional business plan.
What incited you to start CSR Middle East?
As in any new discipline and topic in business, collaboration is an important factor of success. In 2005, there were several organizations for different part of the world assisting business in CSR development, like CSR Asia, CSR Europe, etc. I started the missing piece of the puzzle, CSR Middle East. Since then, we have had hundreds of corporate members sharing and discussing the CSR development issues. Today, we have more than 1500 corporate members at CSR Middle East.
What are the major social challenges addressed by Corporates in Arab countries?
There are two main issues in MENA today which is important for business and governments. Young population and women empowerment. Both issues have effects on business and public development plans.
What are some of the best CSR and Sustainability initiatives in your eyes implemented in Middle East?
There are several best practices in regional CSR projects for employee engagement, consumer engagement, environment and women empowerment initiatives.
Are there any incentives given to the companies doing good CSR Activities?
Regional governments started supporting companies active in CSR initiatives; however there is no announced incentives.
There has been a lot of work done to uplift women, is something done for immigrated women from other countries to the Gulf continent?
It is not easy to cover all women in public for an initiative, however women empowerment initiatives are designed to help all women.
What are the unattended local social problems around which aspiring CSR professionals should make CSR Strategy for companies operating in MENA region?
CSR Professionals should focus on the stakeholders of the business. As mentioned before, I believe that young population and women would be a focus point in CSR development.
According to you which steps should be taken by the Governance in order to accelerate CSR in the Gulf?
CSR should be planned and implemented with the top management of the companies. I believe that CSR professionals should keep top management involved in CSR activities as much as possible. That way of implementation will help CSR activities to be successful.
How do you see CSR impacting International Development, Global Business and Politics?
With the increasing size of companies, private sector becomes more engaged in public decision makers.
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