UAE. A‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Is Your Company Making an Impact?’ poll, recently conducted by Bayt.com, a leading Middle East job site, has revealed that while 95.3% of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) respondents want to do more community service work, 41% say that they don’t know where to start.
According to the survey, respondents across the MENA region are eager to dedicate themselves to CSR work, with 73% preferring to give time and effort towards charitable causes rather than merely donating money (mostly because 62.2% cannot afford to contribute financially, while a fifth i.e. 22.6% of respondents believe that donated money will not be used correctly).
Seven out of 10 (67.4%) respondents frequently participate in charity or community service work, with 95.3% saying they would like to do more.
While the number one reason holding would-be volunteers back is not knowing where to start (according to 40.9%), 15.1% state that they are held back because their company doesn’t engage in CSR activities.
To the majority of respondents (76.8%), working for a socially-responsible company is very important to them, with 89.8% stating that they believe the corporate sector has a moral responsibility to do CSR work. In fact nine out of 10 (88%) would favor products and services from a socially responsible company.
The majority (66.9%) of respondents claim that their companies ‘very regularly’ (43.9%) or ‘sometimes’ (23%) engage in CSR activities, and the majority also claims that their companies actively motivate employees to participate in CSR activities (74.7%).
The most common types of CSR activities that companies in the MENA are involved in according to respondents are feeding, housing or clothing the poor (25%) and working with orphans and underprivileged children (13.2%). 14.4% of respondents state that their company participates in the above and more, such as aiding refugees, providing education and scholarships, sponsoring people with disabilities, medical research and aid, and environmental causes.
What respondents would like their company to be involved in is helping the poor or those with special needs (51.2%), providing free education and scholarships (20.4%) and saving or protecting the environment (11.2%).
When asked why they believe companies engage in CSR work, the respondents said that the main reasons are: promoting corporate image (17%), ethical motivation of the company’s top management (15.1%), or improving relationships with the community (13.1%).
Respondents also believe that the biggest obstacles stopping companies from integrating CSR activities into the corporate strategy are lack of know-how and institution assistance (29.9%), no support from top management (11.2%), and lack of specific legislation on CSR (10%). A fifth (22.1%) claim all of the above, in addition to other obstacles.
Meanwhile, the three main benefits of adopting a CSR strategy are considered to be enhanced corporate reputation (28.5%), improved relationships with the community and stakeholders (10.4%), and strengthened employee commitment (9.9%).
According to 64.7% of respondents, companies that engage in CSR do make an impact. In fact, an overwhelming 94.3% of respondents feel that corporate CSR strategies can directly contribute to business success.
“There is clearly the need for more companies to consider developing CSR programs, or to enhance their existing ones. Not only is there a desire from employees to participate in more activities that will benefit the community, but respondents have shown that they feel more warmly towards companies that engage in CSR, giving companies the potential to benefit in return for their community work,” said Suhail Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com.
Data for the Bayt.com ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Is Your Company Making an Impact?’ poll was collected online from June 21 to August 11, 2013, with a geographically diversified pool of 10,754 respondents including regionally respondents from the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.