CSR in Saudi Arabia: Far behind or another path?

In the Middle East CSR is largely characterised by a charity mindset, easily regarded as archaic by outsiders. However, the region’s CSR focus on charity is explained by the general perception that CSR is a corporate form of Zakat, one of Islam’s five pillars, which stipulates that Muslims give a certain percentage of their wealth in charity. Saudi companies primarily focus their CSR activities on programmes that have little to do with these companies’ core activities. Some present aid to the handicapped while others support and encourage young Saudi citizens to join the labour force. Some concerns, however, receive little or no attention, such as environmental issues, human rights of guest workers or the equal treatment of women in the workplace. The CSR focus on charity is deeply rooted in religious tradition. Therefore, CSR in the Middle East will develop along its own path.