Queen Rania's JRF: first NGO in the ME to launch sustainability management report

May 11, 2008

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah launched the Jordan River Foundation’s (JRF) sustainability report, Sunday, in a meeting attended by board members and supporters. This makes the foundation the Middle East’s first non-governmental organization (NGO) to author such a report. JRF hopes this new way of transparent reporting will attract more partners and donors and help scale up their efforts to improve the quality of life and access to economic opportunities for more Jordanians.

Sustainability reports provide institutions with the means to prove that they are being responsible, accountable and transparent. Companies are encouraged to balance profit with environmental protection, and equal opportunity.

“I’m proud that Jordan River Foundation is the first NGO to produce such a report,” said the Queen, who founded and chairs the foundation. “Sustainability has been behind JRF’s goals from the beginning; reporting is increasingly more important for corporations, but also for NGOs because transparency is critical,” she said.

Through the report, JRF is able to quantify its reach and impact. According to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) checked report, since its inception JRF has positively impacted over 360,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries by reaching out to the traditionally disenfranchised members of society and touching their lives, in addition to developing 180 community-based organizations and training 8 municipalities in strategic planning and project management.

“This report gives us a scientific way to measure our impact and state it clearly,” said the Queen. While highlighting JRF’s positive impact in the country, the report also serves as a guide to show where the foundation can scale up its efforts and improve outreach opportunities. Dar Al Aman, for example, was hailed as a good program, but with minimal outreach, which JRF will now focus on improving. The report also maps JRF’s ambitions for the year.

According to Vice Chairperson of JRF Fadi Ghandour, “JRF will connect the sustainability report to the foundation’s strategy so that there is no disconnect between financial reporting and overall strategy… our strategy of how and what we do is very transparent”.

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Suheir Ali emphasized that the report is a great measure from a donor perspective, as it states exactly how and where funding is being spent.

“When things aren’t measured it leaves a lot of room for doubt. When you have things documented, there’s no room for debate,” said the Queen, noting her hopes for all NGOs in the region to follow in line with JRF’s leadership and produce their own sustainability reports.

The report also outlines JRF’s environmental impact. Minister of the Environment Khaled Irani said he was encouraged to see the positive implications in the report, including JRF’s organic farming that will be expanded in the coming years.

While attending the GRI conference in Amsterdam last week, Queen Rania urged companies to chart progress and outline their goals in a sustainability report for all concerned stakeholders and launched the Arab Sustainability Leadership Group (ASLG), the first of its kind from the region to commit to sustainability and reporting. JRF is currently the only NGO member of the group.

Almost 2,000 GRI reports are expected to be written this year. You can read the full JRF sustainability management report, which includes a foreword by Queen Rania, on the website: www.JordanRiver.jo.