What are the main CSR projects that you work on?
Kempinski believes that integrating our operations into the life of the local community is highly rewarding for Kempinski as a brand and our employees. We have built a strong corporate social responsibility program that is lived by all employees, whether at a corporate and regional level or within an individual hotel. This program is built on three main pillars including health, where Kempinski is proud to be a member of the Stop TB Partnership and the first active private sector member of the BE Health Association which is an independent, non-profit association based in Switzerland; art, as the Kempinski Young Artist Program works with arts organizations to increase cultural awareness, and environment as Kempinski has developed the Green inspiration program that starts with raising awareness among guests and staff, inspiring them to adopt simple but impactful behavior, starting with the Oak Initiative. The oak tree is a symbol of strength, an ancient European tree, resistant to drought and disease.
In light of your work, how do you define CSR?
We believe that CSR is more than just donating money or using recycled paper to save trees, it’s about contributing to the health and welfare of society, operating transparently and ethically. More importantly, this way of operating should be embedded in the business, rather than being an afterthought.
What is the ROI for companies that work on CSR projects?
A strong CSR enhances innovation within the hotels. Cost-effective pre-competitive CSR and sustainability collaborations can result in major innovation, enabling the hospitality sector to improve its collective CSR impacts while driving business and operational benefits. It also helps in developing a stronger government and NGO relations. Hotels that increase their CSR or sustainability expertise are better positioned to contribute positively to regulatory initiatives by government and other agencies and to engage constructively with NGOs and other stakeholders. Being related to a strong CSR program builds industry reputation and increases the value of the brand where it can build positive stakeholder relationships with guests, communities, owners, NGOs, suppliers and the like.
What are the sectors in Egypt that need CSR projects?
Since day one, I have always thought that Education is the major sector in Egypt that needs all the support the community can provide. Most developing countries suffer with poverty and lack of health care and all the other benefits many developed countries take for granted is because of lack of education. Very few people in developing countries are literate. The majority of the people in these countries can barely read, or write their own names. Rapid and continuous economic growth cannot be achieved, in a country, if less than 40% of its citizens are illiterate, the percentage in Egypt is 26% an alarming figure that should be diminished.
How could you measure the impact of these projects?
Illiteracy generates hundreds of problems. Because of illiteracy, people don’t know how to earn well and how to spend well. As a result, they cannot come out of their poverty trap. Many do not have knowledge about food and nutrition. So they suffer from various kinds of diseases. In a word, illiteracy is the cause of poor socio-economic condition, high mortality rate, low life expectancy, child-labor and child marriage and high growth rate of population. Illiteracy frustrates all developmental programs of the government. Again, in order to improve the poor condition of the illiterate people, the government has to spend a huge sum of money on different programs. This affects other sectors and hinders long-term development of the country. Fix illiteracy and all above is eliminated.
What are the policies that the government and the parliament should work on to enhance the CSR ecosystem?
In my opinion the government can extend support to CSR initiatives through various ways one of them would be assessing corporate annual reports concerning companies’ CSR activities. The company with the highest score can be awarded a prize in the form of partial tax exemption. The government can also boost the development of sustainable products through its own sustainable procurement policy.
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