31 Aug 2023

SCA partners with the National CSR Fund to promote sustainability and corporate social responsibility standards in the UAE

“We are working to foster partnership between the private and public sectors, thus meeting the sustainable development requirements and underpinning the national efforts aimed at achieving the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision targets,” bin Touq Al Marri.

“We strive to incentivize joint stock companies to incorporate corporate social responsibility standards into their economic activities in line with the national priorities, thereby enhancing the country’s global competitiveness,” Mohammed Al Shorafa Al Hammadi.

August 2023, Dubai: The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) partnered with the National CSR Fund (Majra) to unify the efforts aimed at putting into practice the corporate social responsibility frameworks, promoting the UAE’s international position in this field, and directing the contributions of listed joint stock companies to social development projects, which help sustain the national economy and contribute to the achievement of the UAE’s sustainable development goals as part of the wise leadership’s declaration of 2023 as the Year of Sustainability.

The partnership was launched by H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National CSR Fund, and H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, Chairman of the SCA.

The partnership ceremony took place at the Ministry of Economy in the presence of H.E. Dr. Maryam Butti Al Suwaidi, CEO of the SCA; Nuha Al Harmoudi, Director of the National CSR Fund; and officials from the two sides.

H.E. Al Marri said: “Establishing the principles of corporate social responsibility and fostering the role of the private sector in achieving sustainable impact in the UAE is a national priority that is consistent with the efforts aimed at promoting cooperation and partnership between the private and public sectors and enhancing corporate role in underpinning the country’s efforts to meet the sustainable development requirements and realize the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision”.

“By collaborating with the SCA, we will be implementing the first phase of the mandatory CSR disclosure policy, which aims to promote transparency and establish good governance; specify the mechanisms through which corporations and organizations can disclose their contributions to achieve sustainable impact; enhance the UAE’s competitiveness and business sustainability; improve the community’s ability to address challenges; develop an integrated regulatory framework to manage, improve, and measure social initiatives with sustainable impact; and document social responsibility and sustainability practices and measure their impact on the country’s sustainability and competitiveness”.

For his part, H.E. Al Hammadi said: “The partnership comes as part of the efforts of the two sides to promote socially responsible practices among listed companies, enhance cooperation between the private and public sectors, incentivize listed joint stock companies to incorporate social responsibility standards into their economic activities, and help direct corporate contributions to development projects in line with the UAE’s national priorities and ESG indicators, thereby pushing the country’s economic development to unprecedented heights and enhancing its global competitiveness.”

He stressed that enhancing community awareness of the concept of corporate social responsibility has positive implications for society and the environment and that pursuing an incentives and rewards policy helps companies strike the perfect balance between incorporating ESG considerations on one hand and generating revenues on the other. H.E. Al Hammadi indicated that joint stock companies that incorporate social responsibility into their corporate identity end up building a good reputation that helps them promote their sustainability practices, enhance their competitiveness, and increase their success rates in raising the needed funding for their activities in light of the growing need of individuals and institutions alike to start investing in green projects that embody social considerations.

Areas of cooperation

Under the partnership, the two parties will enhance awareness of corporate social responsibility, promote corporate disclosure practices, and encourage joint stock companies to dedicate their contributions to the social projects approved by the National CSR Fund. The parties will also share information, expertise, and studies; organize joint training and educational programs in the fields of capital markets, the financial services industry, and financial inclusion; and make use of the e-portals and social media platforms of each other for awareness-raising purposes. 

The partnership gives the SCA the priority to receive a list of the projects approved by the National CSR Fund to have it optionally linked to listed companies for financing purposes. Under this partnership, the SCA implemented the first stage of the mandatory CSR disclosure policy across selected companies, which should provide the SCA and the National CSR Fund with information related to their practices.

Overview of the SCA’s corporate social responsibility efforts

As the federal entity commissioned to regulate the UAE capital markets, the SCA has demonstrated its absolute commitment to achieving the global development sustainable goals. It has made significant efforts to drive economic growth and promote sustainability by imposing green standards on the securities sector in the country. In April 2023, the SCA adopted a decision permitting joint stock companies to issue green bonds and sukuk whose entire subscription proceeds are used in green, environmentally friendly projects, such as those on climate change adaptation and the transition to a circular economy. It exempted companies from the relevant registration fees for 2023. The SCA will continue to provide support to all listed companies in their efforts to foresee the future of sustainability and achieve the UAE’s strategic objectives.

Overview of the National CSR Fund

The National CSR Fund is the federal authority promoting social responsibility principles and sustainable impact in the UAE by launching projects of national priority, endorsing social responsibility projects in the UAE, and measuring and encouraging corporate social responsibility practices that support ESG principles and sustainable development goals.