It’s the Holy Month of Ramadan, and I thought it would be suitable to write about some of the good causes and positive influence that communicators can effect or support.
Charity is one of the themes of the Holy Month, and it’s also an obligation on our sector because of the great influence and power to do good that communicators possesses.
The Global Reporting Initiative’s Media Sector Supplement (MSS-Complete) states that communicators have the capacity to inform, create debate and engagement around key sustainability issues such as pressing environmental matters, human rights, economic and social justice, and well-being.
So here’s a list of things you can be doing today.
1. Begin a sustainability report
I don’t write nearly enough about the Global Reporting Initiative (!) – and if you don’t know about this important organisation, you should do well to click the link above. Then contact the Arabia CSR Network and register for one of their excellent workshops.
And if your client won’t agree, or isn’t ready – then do one for your own business. You will be surprised at the results and how useful it becomes. There are guidelines for various industries including event management (Event Organizers GRI webpage) and media/advertising/PR (Media SS GRI web page).
If you are already producing a Sustainability Report, why not go that step further and become an organisational stakeholder and join 600 other companies around the world trying to make it a better place.
2. Sign to the UN Global Compact
If your CEO is in the mind to think about Human Rights, Labour Relations, the Environment and Anti Corruption then maybe its about time to broach the subject of the UN Global Compact.
By sending a letter to Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the UN in New York you are putting your organisation on the path to helping to bring about positive change across the globe.
For most organisations, especially stock market listed firms, it’s a no-brainer as in many cases the company in question is already compliant. However, you must be aware of the annual donation that is expected (although not mandatory at this time) which can grow to $10,000 pa depending upon the revenues of the signatory.
3. Reach out to an NGO
There are plenty of them out there, however three that I have met recently and which are
doing great work across our region are Care International, Habitat for Humanity and the Emirates Wildlife Society (Worldwide Fund for Nature). I also like Medicin Sans Frontieres and I have participated in its Vertical Marathon a couple of years ago and intend to Swim the Burj at one point.
On a personal level, you might consider checking out Gulf4Good which has just sent an expedition off to trek to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro.
4. Start Recycling
Here’s something you can do whilst waiting for Iftar – sort through your waste and separate glass, plastic, aluminium and paper. You can then drop by any of the recycling points on your way back from which ever buffet banquet you have been attending that night and set a good habit for post Eid.
For corporates, you can search out a local NGO to support you – The Emirates Environmental Group has a good reputation in the UAE.
5. Start your own cause or use your skills to support a local initiative
There are always things that we complain about to our friends and families. So, why not do something about it! As communicators, we have a lot of skills, influence and power we can put to good effect. And its the least fortunate of us who can most benefit.
As an example, see the #justicefornathalie campaign which is being supported most vociferously by UAE PR guru Mita Srinivasan and recently by Alexander McNabb in his well-tended blog. You can read more on this from the Gulf News and also check out the Facebook page.
So… with those five ideas just for starters, there are many actions you can be doing as a communicator to fully support the spirit of the month in your home and work-life. Please feel free to recommend any others!