Improving Labor Standards Performance in the Middle East

SAI's Craig Moss Contributes Article to UN Global Compact Yearbook 2011 about Labor Rights and the Arab Spring 

July 2011


(Photo: Reuters) Protesters wave Egyptian flags during a protest in Tahrir square, Cairo, in April 2011

On July 5, the UN Global Compact published its 2011 Yearbook, focusing on exemplary entrepreneurial commitments to establish a blueprint for corporate sustainability.SAI Corporate Programs and Training Director, Craig Moss contributed the article "Improving Labor Standards Performance in the Middle East," detailing his experience in Egypt and the Middle East, and highlighting a specific case where a company's commitment improving its social performance saved them an estimated $2 million in lost revenue.   

In April 2010, SAI was working with an Egyptian company based in Cairo, to help it build an internal social performance team, which would help improve internal communications through freely elected worker representatives. Nine months later, prior to one of the Arab Spring's national strikes in Cairo, the worker representatives spoke with management, citing palpable improvements, recognizing the management's efforts to establish and respect communication channels.  

"There are real positive benefits from involving workers in the operations of a company, and creating a dialogue," said Craig. "Businesses in the Middle East are starting to recognize that the pursuit of economic growth through employment creation and income generation should be balanced with protection of the basic rights of workers."

For companies looking to get started, SAI's Social Fingerprint® Program offers companies a process-based approach to measure and improve system development and implementation. Out of the nine categories that Social Fingerprint® uses to evaluate a company's labor standards performance, the following three were identified as the fundamental building blocks that Egypt and the Middle East: 1) Management systems; 2) Internal social performance team; and 3) Worker involvement and communication.

SAI's currently offers the course, "Social Fingerprint®: Building an Internal Social Performance Team " to help participants gain the tools and techniques to establish this important mechanism to improve the social performance within a company. Click here to watch a short demo video of the course.  

Read the article, excerpted from the UNGC 2011 Yearbook. For more information about the Yearbook, visit http://bit.ly/n3aVkW. For more information, contact Joleen Ong at jong@sa-intl.org

Bookmark and Share