Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs & Public Diplomacy, Gilad Erdan, paid tribute to Israel's world-renowned sustainable innovation at this week’s first-ever Israeli Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Experience Conference hosted by Maala, the country’s CSR standards organization.
“Today, nearly 90 percent of our waste water is recycled,” Minister Erdan stated. “That's around four times higher than any other country in the world. It is a remarkable achievement and this benefits not only Israel. Israeli companies are helping save water around the world, from Africa to California to India.”
The conference saw leaders from Israel’s business community and key international opinion-formers in the sustainability and CSR community gather to address Israel’s social and environmental innovation and the strides it continues to make in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility. A plethora of speakers and experts from the likes of Teva, Intel, 3M and Strauss Group headed an all-day summit in Tel Aviv yesterday, while a second day saw on-site visits around the country to see Israel’s cutting-edge sustainability in action.
From the world’s most environmentally recycled paper to water shortage solutions, sustainable healthcare, energy conservation and the green construction and infrastructure of the future, Israel continues to lead the way in sustainable innovation, living up to its status as the world’s top innovator in the field of clean technologies by the Global Cleantech 100 Index.
“Israel is innovative, creative and dynamic and has more high-tech startups per capita than anywhere else in the world,” Erdan continued. “And these startups in large part are not only focused on creating high profits, but also finding ways to solve the world's most pressing problems.”
Companies leading the way in sustainability and innovation within their respective fields, and featured at the event, included the likes of Hadera Paper, the world's most recycled & environment-friendly paper; Netafim, drip and micro-irrigation pioneers; and Mekorot, the country's top agency for water management. These companies and more were recognized at the conference for their extraordinary vision and innovation in addressing some of the country’s most pressing issues.
“This is our first ever international conference and we feel CSR work in Israel has reached a mature enough stage to reflect on our environment with the international CSR community,” said Momo Mahadav, Maala CEO. “There is however lots of work still to be done and we've planned this day to allow as much engagement as possible. Israeli CSR has always focused on domestic needs first, which is a big difference from the international CSR community that focuses on global issues, such as climate change.”
Despite Israel’s new culture of corporate responsibility, 98 companies now voluntarily participate in the annual Maala CSR Index, an assessment tool Benchmarking Israeli Companies on their corporate social responsibility performance. This includes well-known companies like Teva, Unilever Israel, Strauss Group, Siemens Israel, Microsoft Israel, Intel Israel, El Al and Live Person. These 75 large companies and 23 small to mid-size companies together comprise 310,000 employees, and annual sales of $94 billion, representing approximately one-third of Israel’s GDP.