Press Release

CEOs in Saudi Arabia Get Together with the United Nations to Talk About their Journey Towards Sustainability

24 February 2021

This first of its kind CEO roundtable aimed to unravel the influence of business to inspire innovation and leadership and bring us closer to the Saudi Vision 2030 and UN 2030 Agenda.

In collaboration with UN Global Compact, UN in Saudi Arabia, today, convened a virtual CEO roundtable to exchange best practices and knowledge around sustainability, challenges and opportunities during times of crisis, resilience and recovery.

This first of its kind CEO roundtable aimed to unravel the influence of business to inspire innovation and leadership and bring us closer to the Saudi Vision 2030 and UN 2030 Agenda. 

The year 2020 has shown that businesses can’t operate in isolation. Businesses need to unite to contribute towards the umbrella of ‘corporate sustainability’ to support workers, communities and companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and providing guidance and support to companies everywhere.

A coordinated subnational approach involving the business sector will be critical in efforts to support people and companies affected, limit further disruption to the economy and facilitate business continuity for a swift recovery.

The CEO Roundtable, kicked-off by Mr. Ayman Afghani, Deputy Minister, who urged the CEOs to advance sustainable development through the investments they make, the solutions they develop, and the business practices they adopt. Followed by H.E. Dr. Khalid Al Yehya, Secretary-General of the Council of Saudi Chambers, who discussed the role of the Council of Saudi Chambers in achieving the plans and initiatives of the Saudi Vision 2030. Mr. Majid Al Asfoor, General Manager for strategy and alignment of Ministry of Economy and Planning, opened the floor for the CEO discussion by presenting the priority SDGs in the Kingdom and explained how the private sector can support the government in the national SDG processes and the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).

Finally, Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director of UNGC, in her closing remarks encouraged all companies to join the UN Global Compact and to take greater action on the SDGs.

Influential CEOs from prominent companies joined the roundtable discussion to talk about their journey towards sustainability. Among the participating companies:


Dr. Abdullah Hamad Al Fozan, Chairman, KPMG  

Mr. Paddy Padmanathan , President and CEO, ACWA Power

Mr. Patrick Chalhoub, Group President, Chalhoub Group  

Mr. Rayan Fayez, Managing Director & CEO, Banque Saudi Fransi  

Mr. Turki Al Shehri, Chief Executive Officer, Engie

Mr. Yassin Al Suroor, President and CEO, A’amal Group 

Ms. Bedor Al Rashoudi, Chief Executive Officer, Jazan Energy and Development  


The UNRC, Ms. Nathalie Fustier noted during her opening remarks: “The challenges in our world today are more integrated. In order to overcome fragmented responses we need to fully understand that the three dimensions of sustainable development — economic, social and environmental — call for a fully integrated approach. Partnerships are a critical driver of progress across the full agenda. Governments, the UN, and a diverse range of stakeholders from both private sector, academia and civil society must all commit to a more coordinated and integrated approach.”


Interested to join the UN Global Compact Initiative? Get in touch with UN RCO Partnerships Consultant Sarah Issa:


UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Resident Coordinator Office

Goals we are supporting through this initiative