There is huge potential for businesses in Dubai to utilise modern technologies for the greater good and maximise their social impact, according to industry experts speaking at Dubai Dialogue 2018, the largest annual sustainability conference in Dubai.
The conference, organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Centre for Responsible Business, brought together key public and private stakeholders from the UAE and abroad who shared their perspectives, best practices, experiences and insights on how advanced technologies have been successfully integrated into organisational models to improve sustainability strategies and performance.
During his welcome remarks, Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, explained that rapid technological changes are creating new possibilities, opportunities and challenges for governments and businesses around the world.
“Businesses in Dubai must adapt to new trends and leverage modern technologies for the greater good. The companies participating in today’s conference are a prime example of how technology and sustainability can go hand and hand to make businesses more sustainable and responsible,” said Buamim, while noting that sustainability is one of the key pillars of Dubai Plan 2021.
He stressed the Dubai Chamber’s commitment to supporting Dubai’s vision to become one of the world’s most sustainable cities by encouraging the business community to adopt responsible and sustainable practices, adding that Dubai Dialogue has become as an important platform for public-private sector collaboration in this area.
Kicking off the first presentation, Dr. Mohammed Osami, Architectural Engineering and Design Management Programme Director, Loughborough University, said, “Managing the planet’s natural resources, reducing emissions and promoting sustainable production and consumption are some of the sustainable development challenges. New technologies have the potential to provide new solutions to some of these challenges. However, for new technologies to be effective key stakeholders need to coordinate their activities. To optimise and integrate the use of available knowledge and resources, Public-Private Partnerships, PPPs, are increasingly viewed as an important vehicle for advancing sustainable development.”
Abdulaziz Al Falahi, CEO of Corporate Technical Support Services, Roads and Transport Authority, RTA, gave a detailed presentation explaining how smart solutions leveraging real-time data are being used by the RTA to improve fleet and traffic management in Dubai.
Sunil Sinha, Resident Director of Tata Sons, Middle East and North Africa, delivered a presentation on transforming business models to unlock the potential of modern technologies for sustainable development. In his presentation, he explained that breakthroughs in modern technologies are challenging businesses to continuously innovate their products, services and business models in order to grow sustainably.
“The role of technology has shifted from being simply the ‘enabler’ to the business strategy to becoming the ‘core’ of business strategy. CEOs therefore must understand the implications and impact of modern technologies to make right choices for their businesses in a rapidly changing environment,” Sinha said.
Sharing her perspective on how modern technologies are being deployed to address humanitarian challenges throughout the world, Silvia Moriana, Innovation and transformation lead, Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF OCBA, described the use of modern technologies as an opportunity to overcome current and future challenges in the humanitarian sector. She said there is an urgent need to keep developing creative ways to increase access and provide meaningful aid to victims of crises, adding that modern technologies, with a human-centred approach, is the key to achieving this goal.
Hanan Darwish, Cluster President for Schneider Electric – Gulf and Pakistan shared her prediction that digitisation through modern technology would be the top factor in enabling sustainable economy and social change within Dubai’s business community in 2019. She also outlined practical ways companies can use technologies to address pressing challenges, reduce their environmental impact, and make a difference in their communities.
The Centre for Responsible Business was established by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2004 to support and promote corporate social responsibility, CSR, and sustainability. The centre’s objective is to engage the Dubai business community in assuming greater responsibility for the emirate’s social and environmental needs. The CRB also promotes Dubai as the GCC’s gateway for global commerce by offering its business partners an environment of transparency and rule of law.