Social Responsibility Should Inspire All That We DoAs our lives go by we tend to find ourselves juggling several hats. For myself, this includes husband, father, entrepreneur, philanthropist, businessman, mentor, social justice advocate – just to name a few. Throughout all of my endeavors, however, one thing has remained constant: my strongly held belief in the importance of charity. Informing my passion for charity has been the inspiration I draw from my faith. The act of charitable giving is a deeply inveterate requirement in Islam. Volumes have been dedicated to this topic, but these select verses from the Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) represent the foundation of my philanthropic work. On the relationship between charity and one’s accumulation of wealth, the Prophet Muhammad once said, “Charity does not decrease wealth”. Additionally, speaking to the exponential benefits of charity, the Quran states, “The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of God, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. God gives manifold increase to whom He pleases. And God is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” There are many examples in my life that prove that charity only increases one’s wealth. In fact, I believe that with wealth comes the responsibility to give back, and as a businessman, corporate social responsibility (“CSR”), a concept that goes beyond mere charity, has been an essential component of my many ventures. The UN defines CSR as “a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders”. Through CSR, there are thoughts business entities can forward the interests of shareholders and other stakeholders while balancing concern for social, environmental, and economic imperatives.
Inspired by my passion for philanthropy and community service, I have deeply integrated the philosophy of CSR into the management strategy of my corporate endeavors.For instance, through my company, Nobles Holding, we have provided hundreds of scholarships to academically gifted, low income, orphaned and other university students. Nobles has also provided support for vocational training and elementary school students as well as those with learning disabilities. By allocating resources to provide educational opportunities for disadvantaged communities, corporations and successful entrepreneurs can have a profoundly positive impact on their local and national economies. Research has shown that nations with well-educated populations witness quicker economic growth compared to nations where workers are less educated. This economic effect is not just limited to investments in higher education but can be seen when resources are dedicated to even basic literacy programs. Another way we have given back is by supporting small businesses with know-how and material resources from the start-up stage to profitability. In a world where global economies are dominated by large, multinational corporations, the importance of small businesses is often underappreciated. Small businesses help create jobs, drive innovation, and foster financial independence. They also significantly contribute to economic growth. For instance, in the US, small businesses are responsible for 60-80% of all jobs in the country. Similarly, small businesses have generated 44% of the total US private payroll since 1995. Another Corporate Social Responsibility CSR initiative of Nobles has been its successful “Debtor Program”, which was aiming to rehabilitate the heads of households and assist in alleviating their financial burdens. According to the World Bank, high levels of household debt are a common problem in developed and developing economies, and evidence suggests that high household debt-to-GDP ratios contribute to financial instability, prolonged recessions, and reduced income growth in the longer run.
Collaborations with NGOs and semi-governmental Institutions:Nobles has also helped provide housing for needy families and material support for refugees. In the health care sector, Nobles provided equipment to the emergency room in the King Hussein Cancer Centre and covered some of the medical costs of patients. Last but not least, during my tenure at Tameer, I sponsored of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s “Wedding of Hope” initiative in Dubai; and since 2015, Nobles has continued to be a supporter through its Youth Wedding Program, helping young couples who need support to start their lives with one another. Beyond the important moral incentives to incorporate CSR in business ventures, I believe that the bottom line of companies can benefit immensely when corporate social responsibility CSR is integrating well into their management strategy. According to the UN, a well-executed CSR strategy can result in a company reaping competitive advantages such as increased sales, improved productivity and quality, enhanced brand image, stronger customer loyalty, greater access to capital and markets, and a more effective risk management process. We live in a world where large corporations often eclipse actual countries when it comes to their material resources, societal influence, and environmental impact. As such, if the business world does not meaningfully integrate CSR into growth strategies, it is unlikely that communities around the world will be able to successfully tackle the immense challenges of the 21st century.
omar ayesh © 2019