Sustainability in Business

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Nowadays, in the globalized world virtual borders are present so that the Middle East European neighborhood is a matter to study economically. The most stable multilateralism Middle Eastern organization is the GCC, beside the GCC member states role in securing the global and European financial system because of their sovereign wealth funds. Therefore, it is important to highlight on the relationship between the European Union and GCC partnership.

For an economy with a large public debt and several economic difficulties like Lebanon, the oil and gas production could be a great opportunity. After the deep water gas discoveries in the Lebanese near geological offshore, the Lebanese economic structure will change in few years. However, the Lebanese oil and gas exploration and production will have many risks and challenges.

Oil revenue mismanagement changes the economy structure and make it oil dependent which may lead to fiscal inefficiency. Due to which, the government oil ownership alone does not guarantee economic development. Therefore, it very important to control the management process during all the stages of production for better utility for oil discovery and production. This study discusses Lebanese practice in oil and gas revenue management, challenges, and tests the impact of the oil and gas production on the Lebanese economic growth. Due to the absence of official strategy for oil and gas production, we test the impact of oil and gas production based on our estimated scenarios. Hereby, econometric models could not apply due to which oil and gas production will be new to the Lebanese economy with no historical data.

The energy consumption and economic growth relationship has been well studied in the literature. However, the relationship between the energy exploration/ production and the GDP is not well covered. In this paper we will focus on the effect of the Lebanese oil and gas exploration and production on the Lebanese economy mainly GDP growth, and budget deficit passing by the stages of exploration and production. The importance of this research is to give the Lebanese policy maker a step forward to best use of the oil and gas revenues in pushing the Lebanese economy and best use of these resources.

This research theme may include money and markets that involves the analysis of various aspects of money, financial intermediaries and financial markets, monetary policies and their impact on the various components of the markets. It also tackles subjects related to efficiency, profitability and performance of financial intermediaries and the importance of financial development for different growth and profitability prospects. Moreover, it includes the analysis of different types of markets including stock market, commodity market, bond market, markets for derivatives, housing market. In addition, it involves an analysis of the volatilities of various types of financial instruments, as well as financial modelling and forecasting of securities prices and volatilities. It also tackles topics related to variance decomposition of different instruments and models that determine prices for commodities, financial instruments and stocks. Topics related to the impact of macroeconomic factors and microeconomic factors and their impact on the pricing and volatility of instruments as well as on the performance of financial institutions and firms are also considered.

In addition, this research theme may include financial inclusion which encompasses various aspects that promote financial inclusion by analyzing how payment systems and services promote access to and use of financial services. It also covers the links between financial inclusion and the different aspect of economic, financial and monetary developments. It discusses the importance of the spread of financial services to the poor and the need to provide more financing especially to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). Furthermore, Private Equity, as a tool to support Creative Sustainable Development, discusses the importance of private equity to various aspects of development and growth. It shows the importance of having investors that directly invest in private companies, or that engage in buyouts of public companies as well as the need for institutional and retail investors that provide the capital for private equity, and the capital can be utilized to fund new technology, make acquisitions, expand working capital, and to bolster and solidify a balance sheet which will lead to higher level of economic growth and development. Moreover, it tackles subjects that relate private equity to financial development, institutional development, growth and different aspects of economic development.

Research under this theme may address exchange rate and its effects on sustainable development. One of the pillars of creative sustainable development is to have financial stability. A stable exchange rate is critically important for economic activities and its sustainability. This research subtheme aims to cover a wide range of research topics related to exchange rate targeting, floating exchange rate, monetary policy related to exchange rate as well as the implications of exchange rate on economic performance. In addition, this research under this theme may extend to investigate sustainable supply chain management and. Future research may include environmental sustainability practices across supply chain management, incorporating sustainability into supply management, the integration between green supply chain management and sustainability, cleaner production towards a sustainable transition. In addition, future research should focus on innovative behavior and learning activities on sustainable innovation, competitive advantage, corporate social responsibility, stakeholder management and investor behavior, internationalization of small business enterprises, social capital and organizational performance, and knowledge management.

Investors and other stakeholders are progressively calling for more transparent information about how organizations deal with sustainability issues, including environmental, social, governance aspects and risk information, in their annual reports. In several cases, traditional financial statements provide merely part of the story. An organization’s ability to display how environmental and social factors affect its strategy and operations is essential to meet the needs of a variety of stakeholders. Sustainability reporting has developed as one way to do that. It was grown in the mid-1990s as a means for organizations to manage and balance their creative efforts with those of the environment and their adjacent societies. It is a most inclusive format of corporate reporting where organizations focus on the backward- and forward-looking (economic, ecological, and social) information and it is considered an essential ingredient of a communication process between organizations and their stakeholders. Accordingly, there has been an increase in the number of organizations voluntarily providing this non-financial information. Actually, sustainability reporting could be used to differentiate organizations in the marketplace. Organizations that report sustainability metrics have also found that providing this information can improve their corporate reputation and amplify employee loyalty. Given the increasing significance of sustainability issues to an organization’s stakeholders, such transparent reporting aids to promote investor trust and may enhance access to capital. In addition, due to the increasing needs to more information to be disclosed, accounting research extend this stream through developing integrated reporting. Prof. Hegazi argues that auditor attestation on integrated reporting is a means to add value to this kind of business reports.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) develops internationally accepted sustainability reporting guidelines. Those guidelines covers the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of companies’ activities, products, and services. The examination of motivations behind the adoption of sustainability reporting is a suggested research area in Lebanon. In addition, the use of sustainability reporting as a tool to conceal sustainable development problems and promote an ideal view of the firms’ image could be a suggested extension to this literature. Examining users’ perception about the benefits, implementation challenges and motivations of sustainability reporting is an excellent area of research. Furthermore, the role of external auditors in verifying sustainability reports and how this verification may add value to financial reporting is a suggested research area in Lebanon.