Riyadh – MENA Herald: Companies in Saudi Arabia are increasingly leveraging a commitment to transparency as a competitive business advantage, observed leading experts in corporate governance at a two-day event featuring interactive workshops and panel discussions on ‘Best Practices for Due Diligence in the Supply Chain’.
Hosted by the Pearl Initiative, the leading Gulf business-led not-for-profit organisation promoting a corporate culture of accountability and transparency as a key driver of competitiveness, the sessions were held earlier this month in Riyadh and Jubail, in collaboration with the Siemens Integrity Initiative and SABIC.
Highlighting the necessity for due diligence and building capacity in the supply chain in Saudi Arabia, the event is part of Pearl Initiative’s three-year Collective Action project funded by the Siemens Integrity Initiative to support the implementation of integrity and anti-corruption best practices in businesses across the Gulf Region. The workshops convened 170 executives from leading Saudi private and public sector companies, including family firms and state-owned entities.
The opening panel session on ‘Attracting International Customers and Investment through Supply Chain Compliance’ offered executives the opportunity to hear private and public sector perspectives on the rationale behind ethical business and why stakeholders – both global and regional – are increasingly requesting evidence of good practice policies and programmes in the Saudi supply chain.
Speaking at the panel session, Ahmed Al-Shangiti, Vice President – Global Procurement Services, SABIC, said: “Today, it is not enough for a business to be successful financially. Customers and investors want to know about the compliance and ethical practices of an organisation as it is these standards and practices that establish the solid foundation of the organisation and shape its sustainable growth.”
The participants discussed international best practices in transparency, anti-corruption, corporate governance and ethics, with 64 percent agreeing that much work is needed in the journey towards entire supply chains embedding this fully within their organisations. During the voting sessions at the events, the participants displayed confidence in the business benefits to be gained through progressing on this journey with 61 percent of the participants believing the private sector in Saudi Arabia will significantly advance corporate accountability practices within the next five years.
Andreas Glogowsky, Siemens’ Corporate Account Manager for SABIC said: “As a person who is involved in the sales process, I have observed that customers are now very conscious about not just the quality of the products and services but also the process of delivering these products and services. Having a code of conduct and a due diligence process of pre-screening suppliers are significant tools of Supply Chain Compliance which not only protect us from becoming part of any ethical or legal consequence but also safeguard the brand and reputation of our customer. In today’s corporate and social world no reputable entity wants to be directly or indirectly attributed to a controversy emerging from an ethical or non-compliant behaviour.”
Imelda Dunlop, Executive Director of the Pearl Initiative, said: “We commend and appreciate all the executives and organisations that participated in this event and are committed to supporting transparency, corporate governance and ethics best practices in their business operations. It is truly enriching to listen to perspectives and learnings from top business leaders in Saudi Arabia on the importance of compliance and ethical practices.