France-based Bel Group engages with UN’s Global Compact Network UAE

By Salma C, Intern Reporter
  • Follow author on
Bel Group Global Compact Network UAE
Officials of Bel Group and Global Compact Network UAE at the signing ceremony.

French global leader in dairy branded cheese, Bel Group will engage with the Global Compact Network UAE, a non-binding UN organization that encourages businesses, to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and to report on their implementation.

The signing ceremony, held at the French Pavilion at Expo 2020 as part of the one-day conference focusing on climate change and sustainability. The event was attended by regional government and business leaders, including Eng. Saif Mohamed AlShara, Assistant Undersecretary of the Food Diversity Sector at the UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Ms. Nathalie Kennedy, Consul General of France in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, along with CCI France UAE, member of the global network of French Chambers of Commerce Abroad (CCI France International).

Expressing his appreciation to Bel Group for recognizing the strong correlation between climate change and food security, Eng. Saif Mohamed Al Shara stated that “The vital food and beverage industry can play an important role in reducing global emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change on food security, helping meet the ambitions of SDG 2: Zero Hunger and other related goals.”

“Today’s signing makes us confident that we are together on the right path towards achieving the sustainable future to which we aspire, and we hope that many more companies will follow the example of Bel Group and join this impactful global effort,” H.E. Eng Al Shara added.

Meanwhile, Ms. Cecile Beliot-Zind, Bel Group’s Group Executive Vice President remarked that “At Bel Group, sustainability is at the core of our ethos. As a member of the Global Compact Network for nearly two decades now, we have taken a science-backed, robust, and measurable approach to mitigate our own environmental footprint by cutting down on carbon emissions and water usage – a commitment we have made across all markets we operate in. By engaging with the Global Compact Network UAE, we can translate our expertise to the region, and join other business leaders in balancing the needs of the planet with our financial obligations to our stakeholders.”

Chairman for the Global Compact Network UAE, Eng. Waleed Salman who hosted the World Green Economy Organization underscored the important role that the private sector has in fostering change and driving environmental responsibility.

“An alarming report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year alluded to the fact that the region may become uninhabitable by the end of the century if action is not taken immediately to mitigate climate change and its ramifications,” explained Eng. Waleed Salman.

Global Compact Network UAE, Chairman further added that “Real change – real concrete actions – has to happen now and the private sector should be leading these efforts. Furthermore, the Global Compact Network UAE is proud to be supporting businesses building climate resilience and become leaders at the forefront of the climate movement”.

Mr. Garo Matossian, Bel Group’s Middle East Cluster General Manager further reiterated the brand’s commitment to sustainability and Bel’s role in the UAE and the entire region, especially in light of the brand’s engagement with the Local Network.

“The UAE’s leadership, in addition to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, has taken the helm of the regional sustainability agenda by announcing their own ambitious net zero targets. While governments are driving the agenda, the responsibility to deliver on Net Zero falls on businesses and corporations from across the value and supply chain – particularly in the food industry.” Mr. Matossin added.

The call for French companies in the United Arab Emirates and the region to join the Global Compact Network UAE was underscored by CCI France UAE and supported by the UAE Local Network.

Ms. Agnes Lopez Cruz, Managing Director of CCI France UAE stated that “The UAE – and the region as a whole – has been home to a multitude of French firms for years, and we owe it to our hosts to join them in their journey to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. I, therefore, call on all French companies to follow Bel Group’s lead and shoulder their environmental responsibilities in the UAE and the GCC.”

Mr. Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi, Majid Al Futtaim’s Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice Chairman for the Global Compact Network UAE also shared the participants’ sense of urgency to take action.

“It is our responsibility to mitigate unsustainable practices of the past, “green” our current economy and living spaces, and clear the path for a better-shared future. To manage this climate crisis effectively, we need global and regional climate action collaboration and a unified vision to make an impact. Under the guidance of the UAE’s visionary net-zero commitments supported by the Global Compact Network UAE, businesses around the globe have the opportunity to reshape the way they operate and transform the way they work. Today’s event is a prime example of joining forces for global climate action.” Mr. Al-Zu’bi added.

The largest corporate sustainability initiative, UN’s Global Compact Network is a call to companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption and take actions that advance societal goals.

Related: DEWA steps up efforts to promote sustainability with new virtual lectures