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Pakistan Leadership Conversation 2022: People, Planet and Profit at the Heart of a Sustainable Pakistan

Rethinking our World: Sustainable Growth for Pakistan TEXT: Harnessed by the power of – digital, sustainability...
03 Apr, 2022
  • Rethinking our World: Sustainable Growth for Pakistan

TEXT: Harnessed by the power of – digital, sustainability /ESG, ethics and future ready workforce.

ACCA Pakistan organized six high profile events. Future focused policy recommendations were agreed to rethink inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth for Pakistan.

ACCA members commitment to Pakistan’s socio-economic prosperity.

Power of Digital

  • New business models have created a digitally enabled ecosystem; leading to strong focus on digital economic growth.

  • Growing ICT penetration, IT exports, startups, incubation & venture capital space and recent foreign investments has shown the exponential benefit technology and digital acceleration brings to economy and citizens.

  • Stakeholders need to continue creating an agile, integrated framework of digital transformation promoting digital literacy and inclusive participation.

  • Greater focus required on potential risks safeguards, consumer protection and greater understanding of customer journey.

  • Knowledge-based, technology-driven national ecosystem to help capitalise youth dividend, increase exports and attract FDI to support Pakistan's emergence as a global digital powerhouse.

Recommendations:

  • Digital transformation is viewed by businesses as a tool to enhance competitiveness.

  • Facilitate digitally enabled products and services to empower communities supported by payment gateways tailored to customer needs especially SMEs.

  • Promote offshore outsourcing (ITeS) to increase exports and support job creation.

  • Invest in training and development of the local talent.

Power of ESG/Sustainability

  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the most critical global conversation for sustainability of businesses and economies.

  • Pakistan is set to join global economies through BRI / CPEC and export focused strategy; thus ESG implementation strategy will be critical for promoting transparency, investment and investor confidence and transition towards a sustainable economy.

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is critical for stakeholders to achieve the recognised global standards of performance and excellence.

  • Much has been done to recognise the Governance dimension and build the capacity of corporate leaders and regulators; much more investment is needed in the Environmental (E) and Social (S) dimensions.

Recommendations:

  • Stakeholders need to partner and build long-term commitments to promote ESG/ SDGs awareness, ecosystem capacity building, knowledge sharing and adoption of sustainability reporting best practices.

  • Place ESG compliant strategies (including climate risk and net zero) at the heart of businesses and board agendas.

  • Emphasis on independent and diverse boards that promote gender equality to deliver long-term value to all stakeholders.

Power of ethics

  • Role of professional accountants upholding public trust is vital for an inclusive and sustainable organisation.

  • Consumers and governments are sharpening focus on ethical and sustainability issues, directly impacting preferences and behaviours.

  • Businesses are under more scrutiny about their impact on society from the media, consumers, governments and their own people.

  • Expanding digital activities, data flows (beyond borders) and digital advancements have introduced new ethical complexities including data integrity to the ever-changing business world.

  • Economic crimes extrapolate at a faster pace due to social media and tech enabled platforms. Businesses must identify and manage these to survive.

Recommendations:

  • A robust governance framework is imperative for short and long-term success.

  • Voluntary guides to enable good business practices that add value to the community.

  • Leaders to "lead by example" to augment the impact and bring "ethics" at the core.

  • Regulators must act with a sense of urgency to tackle offenders and social media should be used not only as a monitoring tool, but also to educate and encourage to highlight abusive and manipulative schemes.

Power of future ready workforce

  • With talent, ambition and the will to work, Pakistan's human capital can be made useful effectively.

  • Technology solutions alone cannot prepare organisations and industries for an ever-changing environment.

  • Continually upgrading skills and capabilities, while also creating a culture of lifelong learning is essential to maintain the relevancy of the workforce.

  • Pandemic has accelerated modernisation of public sector reforms including capacity building that delivers resilience and improved response to shocks.

Recommendations:

  • Establish DEI policies which set out organisational principles in both public and private sector.

  • Increased awareness and adoption of future-ready skills to develop agile human resources, reducing operational costs and supporting value creation.

  • Women in the workplace can help bridge the gap in the country's talent pool.

  • Adopting future ways of working, flexibility and agility can bring more individuals to the workforce, enhancing economic productivity.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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