The Pearl Initiative and stc deliver Business Ethics and


The Pearl Initiative, a non-profit organisation focused on corporate accountability and transparency in the Gulf region, recently held two Business Pledge sessions with universities in Saudi Arabia, engaging over 230 students from Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University and Prince Sultan University. The sessions, delivered in collaboration with the stc Group, highlighted the private sector’s role in promoting sustainable growth through the adoption of good corporate governance practices across the Gulf region.


Led by Jaleel Ghani, Compliance and Corporate Ethics Senior Advisor at stc Group, the sessions reflected on the important relationship between ethical business practices and long-term sustainable growth. 


During the session Mr. Ghani explained how integrity underpins all aspects of a successful business—from internal practices to external relationships, governance, and sustainability. The session demonstrated the potential that lies in adopting integrity as a core business principle, which can drive not only sustainable growth but also elevate positive corporate image and create shareholder value. “Business integrity isn’t just about doing the right thing. It’s about building trust, fostering sustainability, and ultimately, ensuring that businesses serve as a force for good in an ever-evolving world,” said Mr. Ghani.


According to the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia, there were approximately 1,075,000 university students in the country in 2020. Understanding the importance of business integrity and good governance is critical for students from a sustainability perspective, because it equips them, as future leaders, to make responsible and ethical decisions that benefit not just the company’s bottom line, but also the society and environment in which the business operates.


The sessions involved real-world scenarios and ethical decision-making dilemmas. 
Topics discussed, ranged from understanding the challenges of ethical decision-making, to exploring how unethical choices made by suppliers and third parties impact organizations. The importance of fostering a culture of integrity within organisations was also explained, and students were provided with an overview of practices stc followed as part of its ethics and compliance program framework. 


Such integrity-based business practices are essential in building trust, mitigating risk, attracting investors, ensuring regulatory compliance, and driving long-term profitability.




A student from the Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University (PNU) who attended the session remarked, “The use of audience polls made the session interactive. I felt the moral dilemmas we went through were particularly impactful, challenged us to rethink how we make ethical decisions. This session was an eye-opener, and I now understand the importance of a culture of integrity within an organization and the private sector’s role in promoting corporate responsibility and sustainable growth.




The Pearl Initiative launched the Business Pledge programme in 2017 during the Regional Forum for Sustainability in Action in partnership with the United Nations Global Compact. The programme highlights the role of the private sector in promoting responsible and sustainable growth in the Gulf through good corporate governance. The Pearl Initiative calls for business leaders to renew their commitment to ethical principles in interacting with society. Universities or companies wishing to participate in upcoming Business Pledge sessions can contact the Pearl Initiative for further information.






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