18 December, 2011

du tops S&P/Hawkamah Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) Index 2011 as MENA’s most compliant company

du’s transparency and efforts towards sustainability earn the telecom its well-deserved position as an exemplary corporate governance practitioner

du has been ranked first in the S&P/Hawkamah Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) Index 2011. The ranking comes as a result of the telecommunications company’s sustained efforts to enhancing corporate governance standards within the company and community, which have boosted du up from last year’s ranking to achieve the position as a leader and implementer of best practice.

“Our improved ranking is a reflection of the level of corporate governance and compliance excellence that our colleagues have striven towards in the past year. We are extremely proud that our efforts have improved our ranking in the S&P/Hawkamah Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance Index, and we have reached the very top,” said Ahmad Bin Byat, Chairman, du. “We founded our company with a strong desire to make a difference. Through our extensive work with the government, community and environment of the UAE, we have created a positive impact on the community that we serve.”

“We hope that in the future, our company will become synonymous with best practice in corporate governance, as a leading example that sets the benchmark for the region,” said Osman Sultan, CEO, du. “Good corporate governance is essential for good corporate performance, and we have proved that our organization is able to create sustainable value while achieving our goals through effective and efficient management. The dedication, countless efforts and the degree of passion that has been exerted towards the roll out and implementation of corporate governance across our company has been phenomenal, and we look forward to further invest in corporate governance best practices.”

Information disclosure has been a key focal point for du in the past year. The telecommunications company upgraded its website to better disclose its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, including Environment, Health and Safety-related activities. Part of this process was revamping the company’s CSR Policy, and improving the corporate governance and investment relations websites.

Additionally, du launched its first Sustainable Development report, a landmark independently-audited document that gives an in-depth insight into the company’s activities from inception to present.

du has been involved in several corporate governance initiatives in the UAE, Middle East and the USA, promoting best practice through a number of workshops, sponsorships and many more initiatives. Included among these is the sponsorship of the Abu Dhabi Corporate Governance Conference, and of the Hawkamah-OECD 6th annual regional corporate governance conference, at the latter of which Mahmood Hussain Ali Ahmad was a speaker. Ahmad also participated as a panelist at sixth annual Yale Governance Forum, held in Connecticut, USA, in June 2011; he has also addressed the audience as a keynote speaker at the DLA Piper and PwC Kuwait corporate governance seminar in November, in Kuwait, and is a speaker at the Dubai Chamber event, Dubai Dialogue: Corporate Governance Conference 2011, in December. du has also applied systematic compliance, embedded within the Corporate Governance system of the company, with increased environmental initiatives following energy savings directives, as directed by Ahmad Bin Byat, Chairman of du.

Various policies introduced by du have boosted the efficiency and performance of the telecommunications company’s board. These include Directors’ Access to Independent Professional Advice Policy, Board of Directors Evaluation and Communications with Shareholders and Disclosure Policy.

Further efforts to improve corporate governance include training and development, such as DLA Piper workshop on Corporate Governance, du’s Sustainable Development Report – Materiality Session Briefing and quarterly industry trends.

Standard & Poor's and Hawkamah (the Institute for Corporate Governance for the MENA region) have jointly created the S&P/Hawkamah ESG Pan Arab Index in 2010. The purpose of the ESG Index is to raise the profile of those companies that perform well along the three parameters of environmental, social and corporate governance practices when compared to their market peers.

The Index covers companies in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia, and provides qualitative information to investors looking to analyse these companies' sustainability performance. Index constituents are derived from over 1,000 listed companies and selected by total market capitalization. This universe of stocks is then subjected to a screening process which yields a score based on a company's ESG disclosure practices in the public domain.