KUWAIT: Gulf Bank is committed to maintaining a robust sustainability program and plays a vital role in contributing to the markets in which they operate in ways that extend well beyond finance. Throughout the years, Gulf Bank has been a leader in shedding light on major global challenges. By spearheading multiple corporate social responsibility initiatives, Gulf Bank has not only inspired local and regional enterprises, but is also leading by example on an international level with its unique approach to sustainability.
In 2019, Gulf Bank’s corporate social responsibility initiatives went hand in hand with international efforts, aligning with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Also known as the Global Goals, the SDGs were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
Gulf Bank proudly spearheaded a number of corporate social responsibility efforts in 2019, with an approach that consists of three pillars: community sustainability, economic sustainability, and environmental sustainability. Through a combination of efforts on all of these fronts, Gulf Bank proudly met a majority of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Commenting on Gulf Bank’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility, Lujain Al-Qenaei, Assistant Manager for External Communications at Gulf Bank, said: “Much like how the United Nations is shedding a spotlight on major global challenges, we recognize how important it is for larger enterprises to do their part on a local and national level. At Gulf Bank, we are not only aware of our role, but we are proud to take it on.
We also believe that the UN’s 17 SDGs are all interconnected, and that long-lasting development must strike a balance between community, economic and environmental sustainability. We are proud to see so many of our initiatives moving hand in hand with international efforts, and are looking forward to paving the way for even more initiatives to come in hopes for a more sustainable future for our beloved Kuwait.”
Throughout 2019, Gulf Bank’s community sustainability efforts aligned with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: 2) Zero Hunger, 3) Good Health and Wellbeing, 4) Quality Education, 5) Gender Equality, 8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, 9) Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, 11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, and 17) Partnerships for the Goals.
As one of the most important social sporting events in the country, the annual Gulf Bank 642 Marathon aims to raise the level of health awareness and encourage the local community to adopt a healthier lifestyle. By partnering with Kuwait Red Crescent Society this year, Gulf Bank was able to assist in bringing medical aid to those who are unable to afford medical treatment. This year’s marathon attracted more than 9,300 participants representing over 100 nationalities from around the world, and more than 300 volunteers.
Gulf Bank is also keen on promoting a message of inclusion and diversity when it comes to hiring. Gulf Bank this year proudly employed 10 people with special needs among various branches, taking into account the unique needs of each individual. The Bank continues to strive to ensure to achieve gender equality and empowering women throughout the organization to deliver on the Bank’s mandate. Currently there are 43 percent female staff in comparison to 57 percent male staff. The bank was one of the first Banks in Kuwait to become a signatory of the ‘Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs)’ initiative by the United Nations to promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
The Bank has a strong focus on developing Kuwaiti professionals. In terms of human capital initiatives, the Bank’s graduate development program AJYAL is widely recognized for its intensive training to shape the future of banking in Kuwait. Accepting 21 applicants, AJYAL spans six months and aims to help candidates develop key banking skills, cultivating holistic bankers that have shown growth potential on both a personal and professional level. Since the program’s inception in 2014, five generations have graduated with a total of 85 employees, to date.
Gulf Bank also demonstrated its commitment to preserving Kuwaiti heritage and traditions by sponsoring the production of ‘Memoirs of a Sailor,’ an epic musical comprised of poems from the Kuwaiti poet Mohammed Al-Fayez. The production took place during the second quarter of the year at the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center.
During 2019, the bank also hosted a number of family fun activities, including a ‘Reading Fun Day’ for children to encourage reading and learning, in collaboration with That Al Salasil. Gulf Bank also held a ‘Bring Your Kids To Work’ for their employees and their children. Throughout the year, Gulf Bank also participated in and sponsored Qout Market.
As part of Gulf Bank’s commitment to supporting and empowering Kuwaiti youth, Gulf Bank also sponsored the annual National Union of Kuwaiti Students (NUKS) Conference in the United States. During the summer, applications for Gulf Bank’s summer internship program were also available to interested student applicants. Gulf Bank also organized a mobile photography training workshop for aspiring photographers in collaboration with mobile accessories store, Cavaraty.
Gulf Bank also spearheaded other charitable activities during the holy month of Ramadan, including partnering with the Kuwait Food Bank and Saveco to distribute ‘maachla’ foodstuff boxes to local families in need. Gulf Bank also launched a social media activation in recognition of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the holy month. The community initiative, titled “Ten Minutes,” consisted of a series of short social media episodes highlighting unique tips on how viewers can live a healthier lifestyle by enhancing their nutrition, mental health, fitness, and general well-being in only ten minutes.
In 2019, Gulf Bank also launched ‘Al-Tijouri,’ an entertaining escape room competition in which teams from all across the country joined together to solve puzzles and compete for cash prizes. The activation, which took place in Phase 3 of The Avenues over the course of three days, resulted in a total of three winning teams, each of whom took home a KD 300 cash prize for solving the escape room in the least amount of time.
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the bank launched a series of initiatives, including partnering with Mowasat Hospital and other local hospitals to provide special offers, exclusively for Gulf Bank clients, that aim to make the process of getting checked more convenient and more accessible. Throughout the month, the Bank also lit up its head office branch in Kuwait City in pink in an effort to encourage everyone to learn more about breast cancer.
In the past year, Gulf Bank’s economic sustainability efforts also aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals of: 4) Quality Education, 5) Gender Equality, 8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, 9) Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, and 17) Partnerships for the Goals.
In keeping with annual tradition, Gulf Bank extended its support to INJAZ Kuwait, a non-profit, non-governmental organization for education and training in workforce readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. As part of our strategic partnership with INJAZ, Gulf Bank sponsored numerous educational and entrepreneurial courses for high school and college students across both the public and private sectors.
To date, Gulf Bank has participated in five INJAZ Al-Arab programs, two INJAZ Kuwait Job Shadow Days, seven INJAZ Kuwait Innovation Camps and four INJAZ Kuwait Entrepreneurship Master Class workshops. Additionally, 282 Gulf Bank staff members have volunteered their time and efforts at numerous schools and universities across Kuwait, inspiring over 3,275 students.
This year, Gulf Bank has also extended its economic sustainability role to social media. In an effort to promote financial literacy and create a culture of financial awareness, Gulf Bank’s Economic Research Unit prepares weekly videos on topics including fintech, investment, saving, and general tidbits about the state of the economy. The one-minute tips are delivered by Tareq Al-Saleh, Deputy General Manager of the Economic Research Unit at Gulf Bank, and are aired across Gulf Bank’s various social media channels.
Gulf Bank also participated in a number of other activities as part of its ongoing efforts to improve the local business environment. In October 2019, Gulf Bank hosted a real estate market focus group to discuss the current state of the real estate market and its latest developments. Gulf Bank also sponsored the Central Bank of Kuwait’s annual International Banking Conference.
In collaboration with the Manpower Restructuring Program, Gulf Bank also held the first-ever career fair for people with disabilities in Kuwait. In January 2019, Gulf Bank employees also participated in the Fikra Program, designed to equip Kuwaiti youth with the essential business skills and knowledge required to transform their ideas into businesses.
Gulf Bank is committed to environmental conservation and sustainability with its community sustainability efforts in 2019 going hand in hand with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: 12) Responsible Consumption and Production, 14) Life Below Water, 15) Life On Land, and 13) Climate Action.
In 2019, the bank partnered with Omniya, a nationwide recycling initiative founded in 2015 by young Kuwaitis aiming to raise awareness for waste recycling. Through this partnership, the Bank committed to recycling paper and plastic waste, and strategically distributed recycling receptacles in front of Gulf Bank’s Head Office. By placing the recycling receptacles in one of the most visible locations in the heart of Kuwait City, Gulf Bank is raising awareness for recycling not only with its employees, but also with members of the local community.
The bank also held a beach cleanup at the Kuwait Towers as part of its commitment to Earth Day. A non-profit NGO provided an awareness session on the hazardous effects pollutants have on our environment and assisted Gulf Bank employees in cleaning the beach. The Bank also joins global community efforts in reducing power consumption during ‘Earth Hour,’ a worldwide initiative that encourages individuals, communities, and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights.
With multiple CSR initiatives throughout the year, Gulf Bank is setting an example for local and regional players to make even more progress in line with international efforts by the United Nations. Through a combination of efforts promoting community, economic and environmental sustainability, Gulf Bank is proud to wrap up 2019 with an impressive round-up of CSR initiatives and activities, with even more initiatives to come in 2020.