CEOs vow to align Pakistan’s business landscape with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The CEOs of Pakistan’s top companies from all sectors at The CEO Summit, 2018 vowed to align Pakistan’s Business landscape with UN Sustainable Development Goals with the collective aim of sharing strategies and setting direction for the future of business in the country.

The Summit was organized by the Employees Federation of Pakistan in collaboration with International Labour Organization in a local hotel with the objective to bring CEOs and Top Management Professionals together at a platform for an interactive session and dialogue to provide them with the vision and opportunity to share their strategic wisdom enabling transformation in their organizations in the fast-moving world of corporate excellence.

Speaking as the Chief Guest, Mr. Takashi Kurai, Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan expressed the resolve that Japan will work with the new Government to extend economic cooperation to Pakistan to further cement the bilateral ties which is still far from the actual potential. Mr. Kurai said that there are around 80 Japanese Companies which have been operating in Pakistan and desired for expansion in their operations to contribute in the national economy of Pakistan. “we are trying to find the local partners for Japanese companies and Japanese partners for Pakistani companies to bolster the economic cooperation between the two countries” the Japanese envoy said.

Mr. Majyd Aziz, President EFP in his opening remarks welcomed the presence CEOs in such a large number at the Summit and said that their presence indicated their overwhelming positive response to the challenge of shaping the future of business by combating challenges and availing opportunities available for Pakistan’s share in the global business. He stressed the importance of changing top-down hierarchies to facilitate flexible work cultures more suited to achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.

The CEO Summit 2018, held under the theme “Shaping the Future of Business: Challenges and Opportunities upto 2030 & Beyond”, was addressed by Ms. Ingrid Christensen, Country Director ILO, 
Mr. Ravindra Peiris, Senior Specialist ILO ACT/EMP New Delhi, and Mr. Andrew Moore from Dutch Employers Cooperation Programme in the inaugural session.

Ms. Ingrid Christensen, Country Director, International Labor Organization, in her remarks, appreciated the efforts of EFP and underscored the liaison between organizations and ILO in supporting and regulating occupational safety, employment opportunities and creating dialogue through all levels of the business ecosystem.

Mr. Zaki Ahmed Khan, Vice President EFP and Mr. Fasihul Karim Siddiqi, Secretary General EFP also addressed the inaugural session.

The inaugural session was followed by an MOU signing ceremony between Employers’ Federation of Pakistan and Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMA Pakistan) with the objective to collaborate with each other to promote industry-academia linkages to prepare management accounting professionals to respond to the ever changing needs of the labor economy, and to maintain highest level of excellence in ethical practices and rules of good governance as dictated by a demand driven economy. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mr. Asim Husain Khan, Acting Director Continuing Professional Development, ICMA and Members of the EFP Board of Directors with the MOU signed by Mr. Aamir Ijaz Khan as Executive Director of ICMA Pakistan and Mr. Zaki Ahmed Khan, Vice President EFP.

In the Session titled “Sharing CEOs Success Stories”, Ms. Shazia Syed, CEO, Unilever Pakistan, shared the rising contribution of millennials in corporations with value-driven and inclusive business projects on health, education and energy.  Mr. Alexander Reisch, CEO & MD, Philip Morris Pakistan, urged that businesses should be more inclusive by putting the consumers at the top priority. Ms. Ameena Saiyid OBE S.I., Chair Oxford University Press, urged for promoting the culture of institutionalizing the businesses to deal with the emerging challenges and complexities. Mr. Fakhar Ahmed, Chief Marketing and Communication Officer K-Electric Limited, highlighted the success story of his organizations and their initiatives in building the future of business in Pakistan. Dr. Prof. Mustaghis-ur-Rehman of Bahria University Karachi Campus, chaired the session.

Discussing the role of CEOs as enablers, Mr. Saquib Shirazi, CEO, Atlas Honda Limited, pointed out that business corporations need to aim toward becoming institutions for their long-term positive impact on society. Mr. Sirajuddin Aziz, President & CEO Habib Bank AG Zurich, chaired this session.

Speaking at the session on the “Future is now”, Ms. Mahvash Siddiqi, COO Epla Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., dwelled upon the Autopsy of Pharmaceutical Business in Pakistan and making a business case urged upon the Government and Industry to collaborate to create a better regulatory framework that serves public health goals and allows industry to thrive. Mr. Perwaiz Khan, CEO Dalda Foods Limited emphasized upon the need for business to avail the technological opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of people with their products and services. He stressed upon the water scarcity in the country and called for investing in harvesting crops with less water stress which could be a game changer in the context of Pakistan’s Future of Business. 

Dr. Naseem-ul-Ghani Sahito, Commissioner Sindh Employees Social Security Institution, who was chairing the Session, pointed out that Pakistan’s business sector would be dealing hard times in view of Chinese imports in Pakistan and said that myopic approach of policy makers and business companies would be putting the local companies in an awkward situation. “We have not been doing anything substantial and practical in the face of huge challenges”, he noted and believed that this might be proved a disaster for the local trade sector. He called upon the businessmen to put pressure on the political forces of the country to create conducive environment for the local industries for its operations.

In the session on “Building a Fantastic Tomorrow”, Leisure Leagues shared their vision of creating a happier future for the youth through engagement with football. Dr. Peter O Brian, an Irish economist, addressed the summit via video link, sharing research results on the prevalence of global corruption. 
Mr. Riyaz T. Chinoy, CEO International Steels Limited pointed out towards the need to revamp the performance appraisal systems to make performance more convertible into results. Mr. Syed Nadeem Ahmed, CEO The Searle Company Limited highlighted the impactful role of business in building a fantastic tomorrow and quoted that the five companies from Pakistan make it to Forbes ‘Best under a billion list’, Searle being one of them. He proudly mentioned that his company will be the first Pakistani Pharmaceutical company which will go global, get US FDA approval, start manufacturing in several European countries, will be listed in UK and USA stocks, will launch globally bio-tech products and APIs and will be truly multinational. Mr. Ahsan Mehanti, MD & CEO Arif Habib Commodities chaired this session.

The last business session was on the future of business and its linkage with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Mr. Zubair Bawany, Global Director Partnerships & Social Impact, Leisure Leagues Pakistan, 
Ms. Madiha Javed, Public Affairs Manager, Nestle Pakistan, Ms. Sadaf Khan, Project officer, Sona Welfare Foundation-Fauji Fertilizer Company limited, highlighted the initiatives taken be their company in aligning their strategies with the Sustainable Development Goals and pointed out towards the need for more collaborative partnerships among business to promote and implement SDGs and make their impact on communities they work around. Mr. Saghir Bukhari, Senior Programme Officer, ILO Country Office Islamabad stressed upon the need of public private partnership in implementing decent work which has been placed at the center of SDGs having cross cutting impact on all SDGs. Mr. Zeeshan Lakhpaty international management trainer who was chairing the session winded up the session by concluding that business has immense potential to gain sustainability by implementing the SDGs since they were already making deep impact and difference in the lives of communities through their CSR activities.

The CEO Summit was an overall success. The summit, which was attended by a large number of CEOs, COOs, CFOs, and members of the senior management, concluded with a national declaration on business vision for 2030 which stipulated the business to make exhaustive efforts in combating issues and challenges upto 2030 and beyond to make Pakistan a real Asian tiger. It also called upon the CEOs to align Pakistan’s business landscape with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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