Leveraging technology is among the essential components that companies specialising in food retail and distribution must consider when taking into account environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, a top official of LuLu Group International has said.
In the report ‘ESG Intelligence: Qatar’s Sustainable Economic Transition’, Dr Mohamed Althaf, director of LuLu Group International, emphasised that it is important that companies’ wider business targets are aligned with ESG goals.
“As such, it is necessary to implement an ESG framework that complements and strengthens existing business units,” Dr Althaf stressed in the report, which was produced by Oxford Business Group (OBG), in partnership with LuLu Group International.
Dr Althaf said: “Corporate strategists must consider how ESG goals can be adapted to meet the requirements of the local market and dovetail with the national economic development plans of the countries in which they operate, such as Qatar National Vision 2030.
“Another key consideration is the creation of a cross-functional ESG policy committee for strategic guidance, alongside a core implementation team involving operational heads, engineering and project departments, public relations and supply chain managers.”
Dr Althaf also pointed out that “food retailers have been one of the first movers in capitalising on the potential of smart technologies such as automation and the internet of things.”
He noted that companies can also utilise technology in reducing food waste and monitoring stock losses.
“New cloud-based shipment tracking solutions can help businesses ensure product freshness and effective cold chain management of shipments, as well as help with the traceability of products. Artificial Intelligence is enabling retailers to make accurate demand predictions which, in turn, makes supply chain management more efficient,” Dr Althaf explained.
He also underscored the importance of effective public-private collaboration in the strengthening of food security and product safety.
“For example, private companies and government authorities can deepen their partnerships in the strategic storage of essential food products to mitigate food security challenges during periods of disruption in global supply chains.
“There is also scope for further collaboration in research to develop new production techniques and more resilient food systems. In addition, the government can work with the private sector to establish food technology parks, which could help to attract more global food companies,” Dr Althaf stressed.
He added: “Empathy, kindness, and trust are key leadership qualities in the modern business environment. Leaders are required to encourage collaboration across their organisation and make quick decisions effectively, while communicating complex and sometimes uncomfortable problems to key stakeholders.”
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