Launching Living Business 2020
Updated: Mar 10
Living Business, the programme for companies who want to profit from sustainability, launched on Thursday. Hosted by sponsor HSBC, the event kicked-off with an introduction to the Programme and was followed by roundtable discussions on eleven sustainability topics. Special thanks go to the moderators for managing some packed tables and sometimes heated conversations.
Sabrin Rahman, Head of Sustainability at HSBC Middle East in her opening remarks said:
"Living Business is a part of HSBC’s contribution to the SME community. It’s a programme to help mobilise action within organisations, suppliers and customers: a programme to connect with global leaders in the sustainability space: most importantly, a programme to help contribute to UAE’s wider sustainability goals as highlighted in Vision 2021 and the upcoming Expo 2020 agenda."
Below are some photos from the event and the discussions.
From The Future of Work: Values, Culture and High Performing Teams roundtable:
I can speak on behalf of Rajeev and Cecilia as well if I say that we really enjoyed last Thursday's event. Thanks for letting us be a part of it. Find below some of the key takeaways from the discussions we hosted:
One of the key challenges raised and discussed around the table was how to start working on the corporate values and culture, especially within small and medium enterprises where this is not usually a priority for management. We talked about how important it is to align the whole organization to a common purpose and vision, and translate it down to employee engagement, behaviors and attitudes.Most people agreed that Corporate Culture should be a representation of the entire team, instead of the core values being only decided by the Key management. Corporate culture and aligned behaviors throughout the organization only succeed if the whole organization believes in the values, lives by them and is reminded of them or even evaluated based on them (HSBC as an example where a set of behaviors is part of the official evaluation criteria).
The issue of how remote workers can contribute and belong to a corporate culture, and still stay engaged, was another key part of the discussion. A paycheck is not the only priority, and you need to address the autonomy vs the expected results, as well as the issue of social connections impacting one’s well-being. If remote workers are not checked or connected to something larger like purpose, they may get demotivated on their own.Please, let us know if you have any questions! Best regards, Floor
From The Future of Work: Employee Upskilling in a Time of Digital Transformation roundtable:
Topic Facilitators: Anna Batchelder (Bon Education) and Dominique Ghazar (HSBC)
The Employee Wellbeing and Skills roundtables focused on three points of discussion:
Employee Wellbeing: What does wellbeing mean? How can organizations enable employee wellbeing?
Employee Skills: What are the skills required to be future-proof?
Reimagining the Future: What does an ideal future look like when it comes to employee wellbeing and skills?
At the beginning of each roundtable session, participants were asked to share sub-topics
or questions they were most interested in thinking about together. The following were
sub-topics of interest:
How might we bring the human element back into the workforce not just in the future, but today?
How do we become technology-proof?
What will people do after automation takes away their jobs?
How can we create more inclusive workplaces?
Are there creative and alternative ways to upskill people, especially in the context of the Middle East?
How do employees think about and create genuine value for their companies? How do companies think about and provide genuine value for their employees?
What employer/employee regulations are needed in the future workplace?
How will the gig/freelancer economy work in the future?
With more and more people working from home, how do we keep remote workers motivated and accountable?
When participants discussed, “What should ‘wellness in the workplace’ look like today
and in the future?” Responses included things like:
Allowing employees “me” time to recharge
Bringing mindfulness and awareness practices into the workplace
Teaching employees to manage their perspectives and how to maintain a positive attitude in the face of change and uncertainty
Ensuring the workplace environment is filled with good air, water, nature, etc.
Having teams and individuals set limits and boundaries to allow for sleep, family time, good work to happen
“Tech-free” time where employees actually connect and relate to one another
Participants identified the following skills as critical for future-proofing:
Diversification and transference of skills between industries
Managing one’s mindset
Focusing on results
When participants were asked to re-imagine a better future workplace, responses
included ideas like:
Allocating 20% time to sustainability-focused activities (anything from personal sustainability to thinking about how the business can be more sustainable)
Reinvent how upskilling takes place
Look to nature for ideas around how to create a more sustainability, wellness and skills in the future
Both roundtables left with more questions than answers. Recommended next step:
Create a longer event where participants apply design thinking and other problem-solving skills to some of the aforementioned questions and sub-topics.
Allow for divergence of ideas and then move into a convergence of ideas phase where participants share optimal solutions.
Supplier sustainability: winning commitment, encouraging action and measuring results
20 Feb 2020, Living Business, HSBC Dubai
David Ramos / Andre Vreman
Internal sustainability objectives
Commitments around supply chain (procurement)
How do you motivate your suppliers to be active in sustainability?
How do you measure the impact of your supply chain?
How would you consider influencing your clients?
Du - 12 years (left recently)
Empowerment of suppliers
Yasmine Hussain - MRC Systems
Jebel Ali based since 20 years
GRP panels and complete solutions
Thair Hussain - MRC Systems
Manufacture here and ship all over the world
Flying constantly as individuals in the organisation
CO2 calculation started, establish climate related targets
Main product they buy is resins from multinationals
Husband in Four Seasons hotels (3 hotels in Dubai)
Angelie and Vidi – Apparel Group 90% of the brands only retailing, not manufacturing
Concern on smaller suppliers - shopping bags, etc. local suppliers
Abdulrahim - Ibrahim Al Khuairy Lawyers
Andre – GSE System / EIN enterprise
Marianna - Bizzmosis
Control of drivers to reduce travel distances
David - HSBC
Office space measures, like water filtration, lights, logistics, shipping, movement of people.
Packaging to protect product is an issue
Engagement with staff Training of project managers to increase consistency across projects
Towards suppliers: - Local suppliers whenever is possible for the projects - sourcing of material critical - Motto: improve suppliers or otherwise change supplier
Financial sustainability for suppliers – financial practice pushes suppliers in survival mode
Governance around financials
People/workers - who are they hiring – empowerment is key
At Du - 5000 suppliers received a simple questionnaire around sustainability, which was part of audits. There was a supplier support programme if score below 50%.
Abdulrahim Financial distress at companies is limiting efforts for sustainability
Angelie & Vidi
Apparel Group also did supplier’s questionnaire, but auditing is difficult due to the large number of suppliers
Marianna Depending on sizes categorise suppliers in groups, so they can share experiences and support each other
Capacity to influence suppliers? In general yes
Sometimes is just around encouragement, helping them shift the needle in the right direction
Angelie Transparency, openness and communication with suppliers. Example of water bottles: supplier was afraid to loose business, but after working together and changing methods actually increased his business with us.
Thair Difficulty of SMEs to influence change in bigger companies - SMEs as a group are important to society, but individual ones don't have the power to influence.
Andre Opportunity for SME’s to become an example the CSR programme of large customers
Action Roundtable 1: Participants wish their contact details to be shared among each other
Adrienne - Green Touches
Cleaning with O3 and traditional cleaning, 8 million liters
Board member of Global Compact
Yousef - Fine Hygienic Holding
Moving to a wellness company by acquiring other companies
Paper production - 100% organic pulp - waste management, resource management
5 paper mill plants - 1 in UAE – one under construction
Also producing to white
Looking for opportunities
Anand - True North Partners
Optimise results costs
Experience with banking / management of assets
Andre - GSE System / EIN enterprise
Adrienne When going to the market, only working with clients/suppliers that support the SDG’s
Staff payments in cleaning have to be more sustainable
Initiatives: reducing or eliminating the core of the toilet paper / size of roll
Listen to innovative ideas in their supply chain
Started to happen that big corporates are kicking out suppliers
It is about predicting the direction of the market
Third party suppliers - looking more into the values of the company than what they deliver.
Steel bottles for water and many other office initiatives
Reduce paper usage
Resource management / recycling
Product source to 60 different countries
For every tree they cut, they plant 5
Spread sustainability message consistently among staff
Anand Wage structure is not helpful
David Influencing clients on sustainability is important at HSBC. Work together and give clients enough time.