Top Stories

How family businesses can create a meaningful future

Published on September 30, 2022:

In a new Op Ed with MEED, John Iossifidis speaks about the importance of future-focused thinking, Al Ghurair’s own newly launched Vision statement, and how family businesses in the region need to adapt to create a more meaningful future.

How family businesses can create a meaningful future
Friday 30 September 2022

Published on September 30, 2022:

In a new Op Ed with MEED, John Iossifidis speaks about the importance of future-focused thinking, Al Ghurair’s own newly launched Vision statement, and how family businesses in the region need to adapt to create a more meaningful future.

Family businesses have been at the forefront of change in the UAE for generations, thanks to their commitment to the vision outlined by the nation’s leadership. 

Historically a driving force for advancement, they remain a staple component of the UAE’s commercial ecosystem today: synonymous with trust and recognised for their vital role in driving job creation and economic growth.

The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in some 70 per cent of business leaders in the UAE forming a stronger connection to their purpose, according to a November 2020 KPMG report entitled A different service for a new reality.

In an era of global uncertainty, purpose is the North star, defining why a business exists and guiding family businesses as they move to transform and innovate in order to stay relevant and competitive – both now and in the future. 

Further, consumers, employees and shareholders alike are increasingly paying attention to how companies go about their business: from operating models and treatment of their people to the values they display.

Alignment of corporate and personal purpose is now imperative across all stakeholder groups, and future success for family businesses will depend as much upon being recognised for their social contribution as their commercial leadership.

Aspirational view

For some, this will mean a seismic shift in mindset, which must be borne out of strategic intent. To make this shift, a clear and articulate vision of the future is a valuable, and indeed essential, tool.

If purpose is the North star, providing direction, a vision paints the picture of the future; it is an aspirational view of the destination along the way. For every stakeholder touchpoint, a vision brings alignment, structure and clarity, especially during times of unprecedented change. 

Al-Ghurair Investment has built a 60-year history founded on its pivotal role in the country’s evolution and for making bold moves with a progressive mindset. Today, we embrace that legacy into the core of who we are, and look to our next chapter, launching an all-new vision that incorporates our history and our future: ‘Pioneers in the pursuit of better to enhance life, every day’.

Pioneering passion

The UAE’s ongoing transformation has ushered in a new era of opportunities for family businesses, energising us to always stay one step ahead of the times.

That means embracing change as a constant and being agile in our ability to adapt and respond to market trends and movements. 

Our transformation journey emphasises innovation, driving us to make bold moves that disrupt – thereby consistently raising the benchmark and expanding consumer choice.

From a legacy built upon groundbreaking moments: establishing the first flour mill, the first canola seed crushing plant, the first cement company and being first-to-market with a multi-use mall, we retain our pioneering spirit and have bold intentions to add many more firsts to our future story. 

Future success will depend as much upon being recognised for their social contribution as their commercial leadership
John Iossifidis, Al-Ghurair Investment

Pursuing better for all

To remain at the forefront of development, family businesses need to continuously up their game to become better for customers, employees, shareholders and society.

Customer priorities and behaviours are shifting, and brand loyalties are continuously being tested. In a recent customer intelligence report, four out of five UAE consumers have switched brands at least once in the past year.

There are growing expectations around improving customer experiences. Managing digital touchpoints, customer insights and data analysis are critical. It is encouraging to see family businesses in the region treating digitalisation as a top strategic priority going forward, with cost reduction no longer the primary driving force. 

The focus should be on shaping customer journeys that resolve pain points and build moments that not only satisfy but delight. 

Finally, for every business decision made, family businesses need to keep an eye on the country’s future, investing in sectors that drive local economic development and social advancement for generations to come. 

Through our partnership with the Abdulla al-Ghurair Foundation for Education, we invest in and enable the development of Emirati and Arab youth, building better livelihoods through education. Furthermore, conscious mindfulness towards sustainability is an increasing imperative – focusing on circularity, waste reduction and managing carbon footprints.

Enhancing life, every day

From the beginning, we pledged to enhance life in the community by entering sectors that are core to customer needs, that advance society and make a meaningful contribution. All our efforts are guided towards facilitating the ‘ecosystem of life’ – feeding people, housing people, educating people or bringing communities together. 

Achieving sustainable change is not just about big, symbolic efforts, but the smaller moments, where our daily actions can make a genuine difference. 

We believe family businesses need to build a culture around pursuing ‘being better’ every day, whether through how they serve their customers or how efficiencies are built into internal processes.

We ask ourselves every day at Al-Ghurair: “What can we do better today?” as this is how we can fulfil our larger purpose and vision for the UAE.

In doing so, we seek to collectively lead the business into a new era of growth: becoming more progressive, people-oriented, value-driven and guided by a focus on sustainable excellence – all while creating value for all our stakeholders. 

The Al-Ghurair family is woven into the fabric of the country’s rich heritage and economic growth. I believe there is much to be excited about when I look towards the future of the UAE and our organisation’s role within it.

Read the article in its original location here: https://www.meed.com/how-family-businesses-can-create-a-meaningful-future

Economic Times: Debra Teles on leading change in workplace culture at Al Ghurair Investment

Published on September 23, 2022:

In an exclusive interview with The Economic Times, Debra Teles, GVP, People & Culture, discusses cultural transformation – and how we, at Al Ghurair Investment, are doing it differently, and with a wholly people-centric approach.

Economic Times: Debra Teles on leading change in workplace culture at Al Ghurair Investment
Friday 23 September 2022

Published on September 23, 2022:

In an exclusive interview with The Economic Times, Debra Teles, GVP, People & Culture, discusses cultural transformation – and how we, at Al Ghurair Investment, are doing it differently, and with a wholly people-centric approach.

“At Al Ghurair Investment, our culture has organically evolved over the past six decades as our business has developed, matured and expanded. With the onset of our overall business transformation journey, we have taken a more scientific approach to culture, by measuring our ‘as is’ culture and defining our desired culture, aligned to deliver on our overarching Group strategy."

"I believe a unique characteristic of our culture is our approach to embedding it within the everyday lives of our people....We are developing our leaders to focus on a culture of psychological safety and wellness, encouraging collaboration to improve the employee experience across all touch points."

Read the full article in its original location here: https://hrme.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/workplace/debra-teles-on-leading-change-in-workplace-culture-at-al-ghurair-investment/94356868

AG Power to attend WETEX and DSS 2022

20 September 2022, United Arab Emirates:

AG Power, part of the Construction & Services sector at Al Ghurair Investment, announces its attendance at the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) and Dubai Solar Show (DSS) later this month.

AG Power to attend WETEX and DSS 2022
Tuesday 20 September 2022

20 September 2022, United Arab Emirates:

AG Power, part of the Construction & Services sector at Al Ghurair Investment, announces its attendance at the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) and Dubai Solar Show (DSS) later this month.

Jacob John, CEO Chief Executive Officer, Al Ghurair - Construction & Services, Engineering Cluster, comments:

“AG Power LLC is privileged to be invited to attend this year's WETEX exhibition, in recognition of our active support of clean energy, water conservation and sustainability goals, which are an increasing focus of our overall business model.

AG Power is proud to be a UAE National company, owned by the prestigious Al Ghurair family; a family with an admired business legacy that dates back more than sixty years, the Al Ghurair Investment business was founded upon a core purpose to facilitate meaningful, sustainable change – by ‘Enhancing Life’ for all those it touches.”

AG Power is reputed for executing turnkey high-voltage substations operating up 132kV for both DEWA and EWA, and up to 220kV for TRANSCO, AADC, and other partners. As part of Al Ghurair Investment’s wider Construction & Services cluster, AG Power has a diversified network of affiliates that complement our own services, and that can fulfil a broad set of stakeholder requirements.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is organising the 24th WETEX and DSS under the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and under the patronage of HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, from 27 to 29 September 2022 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. 

Supporting a circular economy is key to being a corporate citizen

18 September 2022, United Arab Emirates:

In a new Op Ed with Gulf Business, Dr Arturo Lujan discusses how supporting a circular economy is key to being a corporate citizen - and how data-driven processes are more essential than ever to making circularity a reality. shares his insights into the UAE real estate market, and how the growth trajectory can be maintained.

Supporting a circular economy is key to being a corporate citizen
Sunday 18 September 2022

18 September 2022, United Arab Emirates:

In a new Op Ed with Gulf Business, Dr Arturo Lujan discusses how supporting a circular economy is key to being a corporate citizen - and how data-driven processes are more essential than ever to making circularity a reality. shares his insights into the UAE real estate market, and how the growth trajectory can be maintained.

As we continue to feel the increasing effects of climate change, there is a fundamental conversation to be had around mitigation and resolution. At present, 45 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions result from the manufacturing of cars, clothes, food and other products that are used daily – with waste and pollution playing a significant part in this worrying statistic.

If business continues as usual, we are on track to emit 65 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2030, and reach a 3-to-6⁰C temperature increase by 2044. This would create an even greater challenge for the living conditions of billions of people. To prevent this, we must take greater responsibility, to reduce environmental impact, be mindful of carbon footprint and, above all, adopt a circular economy.

A circular economy moves away from a degenerative linear model where we take, make, use and dispose, and inches towards a regenerative approach where we rethink the way we design, produce, and use the things we need.

In a circular model, consumption and production are cyclical but sustainable – eking out the optimal use of a material or product for its entire lifecycle before it is ultimately disposed of, in an environmentally responsible manner. In a circular economy, the focus is not only on maximising efficiency and reducing waste in the here and now – it is future-focused, and considers the impact on our children’s livelihoods and generations to come.

Why circular economy is good for businesses in the UAE?

Whilst certainly a responsibility for businesses, ‘going circular’ also presents a business opportunity to unlock efficiencies by capturing more value from the materials and resources used to make products and deliver services. It can help create new, efficient consumption patterns that reduce new purchases and encourage the repurposing of existing materials.

While many of the economic benefits and opportunities are long-term, indirect, and require significant investment, government policies can help create more immediate financial incentives. Transitioning towards a circular economy is becoming more cost-effective in the UAE, with Dubai’s government mandating a major rise in the cost of depositing non-recyclable waste and utilising single-use plastics in line with the emirate’s target of zero waste by 2030.

This, in addition to the UAE’s own Circular Economy Council and policy, enables a transition away from a linear economy, with a focus on four main sectors: manufacturing, food, infrastructure, and transport. Policy is essential for levelling the playing field during this transition, not only setting a long-term vision around circularity, but also building capacity, infrastructure, and support systems for research and development efforts.

How data can enable us to adopt a new system?

Intelligent data-driven insights have always been the key to enabling both business transformation and building a sustainable business model. Data-driven processes are more essential than ever to make the circular economy a reality, mainly by increasing the lifespan of raw materials used for production.

Scattered data on its own would not give decision-makers the knowledge they need. It should be enabled to travel across the value chain and exchanged within the organisation – so traceability is key. It is also imperative that data and knowledge leads to action, encouraged by a culture of innovation, sustainability and a willingness to re-imagine business models.

Any organisation looking to build sustainability into its core business needs to ensure future data quality and availability by scaling dedicated circularity measurement tools and integrating circularity metrics into reporting and disclosure frameworks. These, in turn, can support smart decision-making at the financial investment level.

As a leading example in the transition towards a circular economy, the European Union established seven principles to guide this process: from defining key indicators, to leveraging a wide range of data and information sources, to measuring progress against targets. All of this contributes to a wider action plan that strengthens the relationship between circularity, climate neutrality and a zero-pollution ambition.

Where do we start?

Circular economy strategies that reduce our use of resources can cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 39 per cent, playing a crucial role in mitigating the impact of climate change. This requires action on a holistic level, with businesses playing a key role in this conversation for any meaningful change to occur.

The first major step that businesses in the UAE can take is to start adopting sustainability-led solutions and actively build them into existing portfolios. With a concerted, top-to-bottom effort and the right metrics and processes in place, it is more than plausible to start generating significant portions of revenue exclusively through sustainable product lines.

Overall, organisations need to rethink existing, inherent business models of linearity and build for a more sustainable, regenerative models that will require the use of technology, and a change in approach to help dream, design and execute a brighter, more livable tomorrow for all.

Read the article in its original location here: https://gulfbusiness.com/supporting-a-circular-economy-is-key-to-being-a-corporate-citizen/