CSR Applications in the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City

Emad Abu Eid
Libraries and Community Services Expert,
Head of Public Libraries Unit

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a modern managerial approach that attracts the interest of private sector, public sector, professional groups and community as well. Since municipalities are government agencies that deal with urban planning, infrastructure and construction, they have a responsibility and contributions towards society in terms of social, educational, cultural and economic fields. They also have a role in environmental awareness and increase community awareness in the relevant issues. The International Standard ISO 26000: 2010 Guidance on social responsibility defines CSR as "responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behaviour that

  • contributes to sustainable development, including health and the welfare of society
  • takes into account the expectations of stakeholders
  • is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour
  • is integrated throughout the organization and practised in its relationships"

It is noteworthy that the concepts of social responsibility is already available in Arab and Islamic culture. Islam was the first ever who generalized principles of social responsibility to all members of the society. In this regard, Hammoury (2010) pointed out that fundamental pillars of the Islamic way of life is to build a civilization, establishment of construction, provision of development, achievement of the purposes of religion. This lead to recognizing developmental and religious dimensions of the role of "Islamic Waqf" which is to invest money in productive assets, produces benefits and revenues in the health, social, educational, economic, humanitarian and other fields beneficial to the community and the environment.

Eventually, It remains to say that CSR consists of four pillars as agreed by most of the written sources. These pillars are; community, environment, workplace and stakeholders that affect organization and vice versa. However, some of the source began to expand in identification of these cornerstones to include other topics of interest and value, especially in the applied field of basic concepts, showed that international conventions such as ISO 26000 expanded the circle of interest to include recent and relevant issues such as human rights, labor standards, transparency and anti-corruption and other.

Applications of CSR in the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City

The application of social responsibility in the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City achieved by systematic and clear approach of work which included four steps; 1)governance of social responsibility; 2)assessment the level of social responsibility; 3)preparing strategy of social responsibility and 4)evaluation of results and achievements in various areas of social responsibility for development and improvement. A brief review of each of the four steps as follow:

1. CSR Governance

Municipality of Abu Dhabi City is keen to ensure that all of its activities make a positive impact on community, has a history to work closely with the residents, respect for environment, and support the local economy. This is not a new approach, as the strategic goal is to strengthen this approach, and become a leader in the field of social responsibility among municipalities. The following actions and decisions were taken to enhance of the principles of corporate governance and transparency, institutional application of CSR standards, tasks and responsibilities, relationship with key stakeholders in preparing, planning, coordinating, follow-up and implementing of social responsibility:

  • Formation of CSR Committee: to represent leadership role and interest in various areas of social responsibility. The Committee is made up of leaders from all concerned departments and sectors of the municipality. The Committee is working to facilitate deployment of the CSR policy, preparing CSR strategy and increase awareness.
  • Creation of an organizational unit dealing with the applications of social responsibility with emphasis on awareness, CSR projects and initiatives, monitoring and measuring implementation, and raise up understanding of concepts and programs to reach advanced and role model levels as per relevant standards.
  • Issuance of corporate social responsibility policy in the municipal system: that aims to be a pioneer and role model in the government's performance with regard; a)to achieving social responsibility obligations, b)to emphasize that the municipal system is committed to the interests of his customers, staff, relevant authorities, society and environment, commitment to fulfill the responsibility towards local society, c) and to implant a culture of social responsibility in the workplace. CSR of the municipal system consists of four basic pillars: community, planet Earth (environment, health and safety), workers (staff of municipal system), partners (government, private and other entities and sectors). Community Services Division and Corporate Communication and Marketing Office are responsible for application and execution of the policy.
2. Assessment of the level of applications

The municipality has assessed the level of application of CSR based on guidelines of ISO 26000 as an international standard, issued by reputed and trustworthy organization. A third party was appointed for this mission. As a result of the assessment, the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City received "advanced level" in application of these standards. Improvement areas were determined to achieve "role model" includes issuance of sustainability report, perform internal audit and creation of CSR KPIs dashboard.

3. Preparation of CSR strategy

A CSR strategy has been prepared. This strategy aligned with municipality corporate strategy. It aims to build the foundations of the main trend, a base for work plans and initiatives. The main features of the strategy includes the current status, vision and mission of social responsibility, and governance of social responsibility within the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City. The implementation strategy includes; pillars of social responsibility, formulation of initiatives, responsibilities and roles model, monitoring and measuring the performance, action plans, in addition to reporting and communication.

4. Assessment of results achievements

The implementation strategy was based on four main areas of society, environment, workplace and stakeholders. Each area contains seven goals. Monitoring on the performance of the strategy by thirtieth performance indicators distributed to all concerned departments and sectors. A glimpse of the most important achievements and results achieved as follow:

Environment: Achieving ISO 14001 requirements, the first comprehensive and global standard and internationally recognized for environmental management. As well as obtaining of the ISO 50001 certification, which is a frame that supports organizations in all sectors to use energy more efficiently through the development of energy management system. The municipality replaced street lighting, bridges with environment-friendly LED light. Installation of hydrants fitted with sensors to avoid wasting water. Fixing of solar cells on the roof of the main building to convert sunlight into electricity. Meet requirements of the Blue Flag criteria on public beaches in order to protect and develop beaches with friendly manner to environment. Use of recycling containers and waste sorting in all floors and offices. Conversion of vehicles to operate on natural gas instead of oil containers, in addition to conducting of awareness campaigns on environmental conservation and protection.

The community: implementation of annual community calendar of events compatible with international calendar of events including social, cultural, sports and recreational activities. Training of university students in Summer period helping them to develop job skills and preparing them for entering the labor market. Opening of four public libraries in public parks and beaches to help community members in education and cultural and recreational aspects. Provision of sale centers for foodstuffs in discounted and subsidized prices for UAE citizens implementing the directions of His Highness the President of State. Humanitarian initiatives such as visits to hospitals' sick residents. Enhance safety and security standards for members of the community and reduce traffic accidents by providing pedestrian bridges, rehabilitation of the traffic control and new traffic lights system. Last but not the least, the Municipality has developed a monitoring and management system of seismic hazards for the protection of people and property against seismic disaster risks.

The workplace: the Municipality is committed to provide jobs, training programs and professional development, rewards and promotions for all employees with the emphasis on implementation of localization programs. Application of a of excellence culture at job performance. Trying to ensure balance between life and work among employees by deploying flexible work timing and early exit for the purpose of feeding and other social and humanitarian cases.The Municipality develops integrated

management systems policy in order to implement international standards to reflect efficiency and effectiveness at work. As a result, the Municipality obtained Health and Safety Management System ISO 18001 certificate, Information Security ISO 27000, Quality Management System ISO 9001 and Corporate Social Management System MVO8000. Preparing and dissemination of rules of business ethics and policy of reporting. Encouraging employees to form relationships with each other through the organization of social, sports, cultural and traditional events. Providing covered car parks to staff, cleaning and servicing their cars. The Municipality has also worked to provide a comfortable work environment by hosting a cafe, restaurant, sweets shop, branches of commercial banks and counters for Etisalat and Du. Finally, providing environment friendly club cars work on electricity to serve employees and customers.

The stakeholders: The municipality has worked to encourage stakeholders to express their views, feedback and opinions by providing means of communication such as Call Centre, Toll-Free number 800555 via Government Call Centre, Customer Relations Management (CRM), Internet Web site and suggestions, complaints boxes. Accordingly, the Municipal received ISO 10002 certification for Customer Complaints Management System. Maintaining customer information secure and confidential by applying criteria's of ISO 27001. Activation of electronic pages on the social media and networks e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. Transforming more than a hundred of its services electronically through its website and provide integrated services through offshore centers scattered across the city. Practicing fairly with all suppliers by giving equal opportunities for all with regard to tenders, dissemination of information relating to all public tenders on its website and forming an Independent Evaluation Committees for opening the submitted envelopes at the same time to ensure governance and transparency. The results publish at the headquarters at Contracts and Purchasing Department. Develop contracts with of various dealers and suppliers to include CSR related issues. Finally, holding of meetings with customers, suppliers, and partners on a regular basis, in addition to measure their level of satisfaction.

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