Queen Rania Urges Businesses to Provide Opportunities for Youth at Launch of Arab Sustainability Leadership Group

May 07, 2008

(Office of Her Majesty – Press Department – Amsterdam) - While delivering the keynote address at the Global Reporting Initiative in Amsterdam, Wednesday, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah announced the formation of the Arab Sustainability Leadership Group (ASLG), the first of its kind from the region to commit to sustainability and reporting. Queen Rania also appealed to the audience of over one thousand global business leaders to make Arab youth part of their social equity agenda.

The ASLG will encourage businesses to balance profit with environmental protection, and equal opportunity.

The network, which currently brings together 16 leaders of business, government, NGOs and civil society, “will be the region’s voice on the global stage, ensuring the Arab world not only catches up, but keeps pace with the front runners in field [of sustainability],” announced Queen Rania.

By leading the ASLG, Queen Rania pledges to “spotlight the issue of social equity,” she said. “In the Arab world, we desperately need to focus our energies on creating equal opportunity for all, particularly our young people, our potential, our future.”

Ernst Ligteringen, GRI’s CEO, said, “GRI is inspired hearing about this new development towards greater sustainability in the region. The GRI wishes the Arab Sustainability Leadership Group every success, and will look to lend support and partner with the group at every opportunity.”

Her Majesty highlighted many issues that need attention in the region as she encouraged the attendees to “put the boys and girls and young people of my region at the top of your boardroom agendas because a world where so many youth are hungering for opportunity is not a sustainable world”.

“Sixty percent of our region is under the age of 30, that’s 70 million young people in the Arab world. They need our help, your help, in order to become all they can be,” said the Queen.

“At the moment six million of our children are not enrolled in school; over half of them are girls. At the moment 9.2 million of our young people are illiterate; they cannot read your advertisements or fill in your job application forms. At the moment, almost 1 in 5 of our population lives below the national poverty lines: children are out laboring, instead of learning, just to make ends meet” she warned, “And we have the world’s highest rate of youth unemployment; only one in three young people has a job.”

As she encouraged companies to chart progress and outline their goals in a sustainability report for all concerned stakeholders, Queen Rania cited the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer survey saying that when consumers consider a company socially responsible they are more likely to buy their products, recommend them and then invest in them. The same survey, however, noted that less than half of the respondents trust companies to do “what’s right”. Sustainability reports provide companies with the means to prove that they are being responsible, accountable and transparent.

“For companies that want to remain competitive, [sustainability reports] are crucial,” said the Queen.

Almost 2,000 GRI reports are expected to be written this year, which includes the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), a non-profit NGO founded and chaired by Her Majesty Queen Rania. JRF will be the first NGO in the region to publish a sustainability report.

Quoting the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, Queen Rania urged the business world to “let conscience be your compass” as they commit to sustainability and reporting.

Additional contacts:

Global Reporting Initiative

Scott McAusland


PHONE + 31 (0)20 530 00 57 MOBILE +31 (0) 65 255 9228

Arab Sustainability Leadership Group

Darin Rovere, Sustainability Excellence Arabia