Taqeef, a UAE-based air-conditioning solutions company, has focused its efforts on building a brand image that is friendly to its surroundings. It has created “iMatter” which is a CSR initiative that is designed to “reflect the company’s core values of social responsibility and empowerment,” as described by the company.
The program is STEM education program for charity schools across the country. Overall, the program has benefitted 1861 students across 8 schools.
We spoke to Tariq Al Ghussein, Taqeef Chairman and CEO to understand more the role the country took in CSR.
What do you think the role of brands in CSR?
CSR isn’t just a chance to generate some goodwill and shouldn’t just be a marketing add-on, ultimately it should be a clear demonstration of purpose, and a reflection of vision and values that’s woven into the fabric of a brand or a business. CSR really is the only strategic option for modern brands or businesses because today, we’re all being judged by our social impact.
Do you think this is the best way to connect with your customers?
Today’s consumers are increasingly favoring brands that stand for something, so yes, some kind of shared social awareness is essential in building a brand that excites and ignites interest. Having said that, for CSR to be credible it needs to be authentic with a clear rationale and solid strategic fit.
Do brands stand a chance to survive if they don’t show interest in the community?
CSR comes in many different shapes and sizes, but giving back and investing in a better tomorrow certainly makes good business sense whichever way it’s done.
Why did you choose STEM as a focus for your CSR?
Technology lies at the heart of Taqeef’s business so a focus on developing talent in this area seemed like a natural fit. In 2017, when we first conceptualized iMatter, the STEM movement was gaining traction in education, having been identified as an area that would fuel the job and innovation markets of tomorrow. Despite this, STEM had limited visibility in many of the region’s less well-resourced schools, so we created a program that would address this imbalance and ensure all children – irrespective of gender or financial circumstance – had the opportunity to explore STEM in an interactive space.
Some would argue that your CSR program is just a way to improve your brand’s image (as someone who supply AC products) what do you answer for that?
CSR is embedded in Taqeef’s DNA. It’s a central thread to our vision and also intrinsic to our values and the behaviors we expect of our team. As a company we believe we’re here to make a positive difference to the world, as well as make a profit. We also believe each team member is important, and should have the opportunity and obligation to make a difference. So, iMatter was our way of bringing all of this together into one project that allows us to invest in our community, our industry and our business. It’s CSR in the truest sense of the word.
This is a video by the company that explains the program.