The sustainable social responsibility at BMMI’s core
With the world going through a particularly challenging time, the responsibility of organisations towards their stakeholders and communities is more critical than ever. We sat down with BMMI’s CSR Partner, Reem Altajer, to learn more about the Group’s approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
What is BMMI’s approach to CSR?
BMMI’s CSR activities are focused on providing all of our stakeholders with sustainable value. We strive to make a real and positive difference to the communities that we operate in. Simultaneously, we ensure that everything we do is strategically aligned with the business.
The Group has always considered CSR to be part of its core DNA. A contribution of 2% of the BMMI’s annual profit is set aside each year for the Alosra Charitable Foundation in order to finance various relevant donations and charitable causes. In this way, the Group reiterates on its commitment to CSR, and its support for important initiatives, regardless of any other factors.
When it comes to our current CSR strategy, it was developed after much trial and error - eventually transforming into something that makes intuitive sense for us as a business. Our CSR initiatives come together under our CSR policy, Nourishing Life. The policy is driven by several commitments that fall under three over-lapping themes: Care, Truth and Well-being. We consider these themes to be constantly evolving, and we consistently review them to remain relevant.
How else do you ensure BMMI’s CSR approach remains relevant?
We do our best to ensure that our process is as inclusive as possible, and we reach out to various stakeholders and encourage people to approach us too.
By being conscious of the impact we have as an organisation, as well as our business needs, we maintain a fluid strategy that’s beneficial to the community, while also being relevant and real to us as an organisation and to our team.
The process now helps us develop an annual plan with a potential list of organisations to support in order to make a streamlined impact on our communities. In line with the three pillars of our CSR policy, the focus areas we’ve currently identified are: health, education, environmental protection and support for youth and vulnerable children.
An example is BMMI’s Alosra Scholarship Programme that was launched in collaboration with INJAZ. The initiative will support local students’ education at the university level. Besides supporting local talent and helping build Bahrain’s future workforce, the initiative gives BMMI the opportunity to build connections with the community that could potentially serve as a resource for future employees for the Group. It’s beneficial on both sides.
Can you tell us more about the BMMI Care Committee?
In our quest to be inclusive in finding strategic CSR initiatives that also positively impact our businesses, we set up the BMMI Care Committee earlier this year with passionate employee volunteers and business heads. The Committee brainstorms and proposes CSR initiatives that are simultaneously aligned with important metrics that have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.
It has been challenging in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to launch the Committee’s first initiative. However, gathering these passionate group of people and having the support of our CEO and senior management has been a crucial first step towards turning these projects from proposals on paper into reality. We look forward to seeing the positive outcomes out of the Care Committee in the near future.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic had any effects on BMMI’s CSR approach?
We are more adamant than ever to make a positive difference, whenever we can. In my opinion, that’s exactly what makes BMMI great - the urgency to contribute to address global societal and environmental challenges, especially when and where it’s needed the most.
The COVID-19 pandemic has re-strengthened our commitment to building sustainable partnerships with relevant entities in order to widen our reach and impact. We’ve taken the lead this year to identify initiatives with appropriate NGOs, ministries and registered charities to further extend our support to the livelihood of disadvantaged families.
For example, our partnerships with the Rotary Club, Tree of Life and other charities allowed us to tap into capabilities of established networks that have specific reach and expertise. This includes, our support of 230 disadvantaged families across Bahrain with crucial household appliances, as well as supporting 120 students in need to receive laptops to continue their education through remote learning. We’ve also further collaborated with entities such as Bahrain’s Ministry of Health to ensure we support pressing issues, such as donating artificial pancreas machines for diabetic children and patient beds to help alleviate shortages.
With the help of passionate employees, we are also able to have a positive impact internationally. For example, Gregory White has been key in helping BMMI form a longstanding relationship with Confident Children Out of Conflict (CCC), an NGO and orphanage based in South Sudan. Besides supporting the education of over 20 children, BMMI covered the cost of a brick making machine that’ll be used to make bricks for the construction of the NGO’s new premises. It will also be used to make bricks for sale in the local market to provide sustainable income for CCC, while providing training and employment opportunities in construction for the children.
What does the future of CSR look like at BMMI?
CSR’s future at BMMI will continue to be collaborative, and I’d like to thank all partners and employees that assisted in ensuring successful implementation of our initiatives.
In wake of the current circumstances, with its various challenges, it has also offered the opportunity for businesses to shift towards a more impactful, intrinsic CSR agenda. It has pushed business leaders across the world to put sustainable thinking at the forefront, whether through resource sharing, optimising costs, further prioritising health, or more.
I believe our senior management has done a great job in supporting initiatives that aid local communities and also providing employees with the confidence that no matter the circumstances, BMMI will do what’s necessary to safeguard every single person while working towards achieving sustainable success. From the protective measures put in place, to prioritising employee wellness with the launch of our Happy Hearts programme, responsibility is always at the forefront. I hope in times to come, CSR can further be at the heart of our foresight to develop initiatives, as well as a major driver of innovation across BMMI.
Besides how meaningful it is to be involved in work that positively impacts others, I am happy to be part of a Group that strives to incorporate its employees as key stakeholders. Whether it’s to find solutions to survive and thrive during the current pandemic, or how to best sustainably impact our communities, BMMI continues to prove its commitment to responsibility externally and within its internal family.
We each have a role to play in furthering responsibility across the Group. I would love to hear your input on how we can sustain our CSR momentum, drop me an email at email@example.com!