Creating a Corporate Culture of Transparency and Accountability

The Pearl Initiative is the leading independent, not-for-profit, by-business for-business organisation working across the Gulf Region of the Middle East to positively influence and improve corporate accountability and transparency. Developed in cooperation with the Global Partnerships Institute and United Nations Office for Partnerships, it is a regionally-focused growing network of business leaders committed to driving joint action, exhibiting positive leadership and sharing knowledge and experience in order to positively influence the regional business and student community towards implementing higher standards.


The Pearl Initiative focuses on the business case for long-term value creation through the adoption of best governance practices in family firms.

The regular interactive roundtable sessions, held right across the GCC, on Governance Practices in Family Firms share research insight on the topic, and participants and discussion leaders share their experiences and challenges as they implement better practices in these areas. Members of family firms often speak openly and inspirationally about their own personal perspectives and experiences on corporate and family governance.

The Pearl Initiative Report on Governance in GCC Family Firms was launched in January 2013. The analysis is based on over 100 interviews with family firms across the GCC, carried out in collaboration with PWC. The aims are to:

  • Raise awareness and understanding on governance issues, trends and existing practices in GCC family firms
  • Enable family firms to benchmark their own business against others in the region

Research is now underway to write detailed case studies on good governance practices within leading MENA family firms.


The Pearl Initiative holds forums across the GCC region that facilitate frank and open discussions on the challenges of operating in difficult markets, as well as wide exchanges of strategic imperatives and regionally-relevant corporate good practices. Discussions often emphasize the need for organisations to embed values and stamp out unethical behavior throughout a company’s culture and code of conduct now, to facilitate economic benefits in the long term. The aim is always to share insights and learning between organisations, and help improve policies and actions to mitigate the risk of possible corrupt practices within organisations.

The Pearl Initiative collaborates with the Saudi National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) on such programmes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


The Pearl Initiative programme on Towards Integrated Reporting is in collaboration with HRH The Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) Project. It involves holding awareness-raising sessions around the region in order to introduce the concepts and benefits of integrated reporting, and provides a regional network through which interested organisations can gain knowledge, benefit from mutual support and share experiences. A number of GCC good practice case studies on sustainability reporting in GCC companies have been included in our published Research Reports.


The Pearl Initiative Case Study Competition is a competition for University business students to research, write and submit Case Studies of corporate good practices in accountability and transparency that are implemented and working within the region. This important initiative is helping ensure that when students leave the world of Academia, they are better prepared for the world of commerce, with the practical application of ethics and values at the heart of their business education. It is also building an important knowledge base of regionally-relevant case studies, for application by the wider business community and as teaching material in business schools across the region.

The Pearl Initiative Student Competition in Saudi Arabia was the first, run during 2013, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and the King Khalid Foundation. Submissions were assessed by the Judging Panel and the results were announced at an Award Ceremony in Riyadh on 14th May 2013. Pearl Initiative Student Competitions are now underway in the UAE and Oman in the first semester of 2014.


The Pearl Initiative is leading a programme to carry out the research and present a quantitative and qualitative analysis of women in senior management and leadership positions within the Gulf Region. Through this programme and as the strategic partner of the United Nations Global Compact in the GCC, the Pearl Initiative is incorporating the framework of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles within the work.

The overall aim of the programme is to inform business leaders on practical programmes to attract, retain and develop women into senior positions in the GCC region, and thereby create a larger pool of Board ready women. The business case for greater levels of senior management and board diversity clearly relates to strategic decision making, better governance and closer understanding of target markets.


Across all areas of interest, the Pearl Initiative is researching and publishing examples of good practice experiences within organisations in the region, so that the learning can be shared across the wider business community. All Pearl Initiative good practice case studies reports involve students in the research and writing process, and they are widely disseminated across the business community - and to universities around the region for use as teaching material.


The Pearl Initiative and the United Nations Global Compact drive joint programmes in the Gulf region, as part of their Strategic Partnership – signed in New York on 19th September 2013 - in areas such as corporate governance, anti-corruption good practices, codes of conduct, integrity in the supply chain, corporate reporting, leadership diversity and responsible investment.


As a founding partner of the Pearl Initiative the GPF provides ongoing advice regarding strategy, program implementation and engagement opportunities with international organizations, academia and other relevant stakeholders.

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