CSR expert Daan Elffers at CUD workshop
Dubai – Companies investing in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives can expect to see a positive impact on their bottom line, as well as their business identity, according to leading international CSR expert DaanElffers, who has been speaking to students at Canadian University Dubai (CUD) on improving business performance through the Circular Economy.
Hosting two workshops for students of business ethics and environmental sustainability, Daan defined the concept of the Circular Economy as ‘an alternative industrial model to the Linear Economy, which operates in a restorative way’.
He explained, “The Circular Economy requires resources to be utilized for as long as possible, through recovery, re-use, repair, remanufacturing, and upcycling. The concept can be applied at different scales, enabling individual organizations to strive for the Circular Economy though CSR and sustainability initiatives.”
Daan, who is Founder and CEO of award-winning UK-based sustainability and CSR consultancy, EMG, was recently named one of the 100 Most Talented CSR Leaders by the World CSR Day organization. He has also been appointed a guest member of the Circular Economy Taskforce of the World Economic Forum, while EMG is a member of the European Sustainable Investment Forum.
On the business impact of CRS initiatives, Daan continued, “Companies will see both short and long term returns on their CSR investments. Internally, organizations may see increases in system and process optimization, improvements in their employee culture, and a more targeted and holistic business strategy. Externally, CSR initiatives serve to strengthen communities and safeguard the environment. The long term view is to secure all aspects of the triple bottom line; people, planet and profit.”
Accounting and Finance student, Batter Yacoub, said it’s clear to see how such initiatives will improve business performance. He said, “Upcycling is a very efficient and effective process. We will consume fewer resources in order to produce the same product, even better than the previous version.”
For Marketing Major Naureen Patne, the workshop was an important lesson in seeing the bigger picture. She said, “The talk was a reminder to us as young people that we should do the right thing now, rather than optimize something that will simply delay the damage to the environment.”
With a portfolio of clients that includes multi-national corporations and national governments, Daan is now spearheading an Islamic Reporting Initiative for CSR.
He commented, “With 2015 being marked ‘The Year of Innovation’ by the UAE cabinet, and the concept of sustainability and CSR gradually becoming an increasingly prominent subject on the global agenda, I am impressed to see that CUD has already made great strides in integrating these important subjects across the entire curriculum.
“The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow. By empowering students to have a new, much more ambitious mindset in terms of how to realize growth and success, we can design businesses and societies in a way that prosperity is not only achieved financially, but also socially and environmentally. It’s all a matter of design, and students get this.”
Assistant Professor Jeanette Teh, who teaches the business ethics course, said, “It was a wonderful learning experience to have Daan come speak to my class about sustainability and the Circular Economy, a concept that was new to my students.
“We enjoyed hearing Daan’s stories about his experience with CSR from the real world, as well as his message of doing good and not just being less bad. What was particularly inspirational was his advice to students to be more ambitious and to aim higher by forgetting what they’ve seen and to be innovators for positive social change.”
For further information, please contact:
NaheedMaalik, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communication, Canadian University Dubai.
P.O.Box 117781, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Phone: +971 4 7096801, +971 50 2277301