Foreword from our CEO in the Annual and Sustainability Report 2021 – 22
We all recognise that 2021 was challenging for businesses globally as we navigated the new normal postpandemic world. As the shutters again lifted on storefronts, and daily commutes recommenced, we have witnessed further disruption to supply chains, the workforce, and geopolitical landscapes, to name a few. However, alongside these challenges have come unprecedented opportunities for collective progress, most notably through digitisation, which has enabled businesses, governments, and individuals to overcome obstacles and accelerate growth in uncertain times. I remain grateful to every single one of our 1,800-strong Crescent Enterprises family, whose dedication, resilience, and creativity this past year has enabled many of our businesses to endure and flourish. This report presents our collective approach to maximising our operational and investment impact, even as the economic and social implications
of the pandemic set in. With our broader stakeholders’ support, we have made great strides in our journey toward inclusive leadership, global competitiveness, and lasting value for all.
Crescent Enterprises remained nimble and resilient in 2021. We delivered strong results and further solidified our commitment to sustainable business models and responsible operations as we grew to 52 subsidiaries, affiliates, and investments and operations in 15 countries. We continued to invest in various growth areas across new sectors and borders.
CE-Operates continued developing critical infrastructure and enhancing efficiencies across its global operations. The platform’s focus on sustainable development has been steadfast, with various initiatives implemented to reduce its carbon footprint.
CE-Invests’ portfolio delivered steady operational and financial performance. The platform, and its portfolio funds, successfully exited several investments and continued its expansion strategy.
CE-Ventures’ portfolio delivered top quartile performance, with a 2.90 multiple on invested capital and a net 43.6% internal rate of return (IRR). The
platform expanded its investments in breakthrough biotechnology and deep tech, with applications and impact across a wide range of industries.
CE-Creates joined forces with Abu Dhabi-based venture builder hatch & boost in the first merger of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) aimed at advancing impactdriven start-ups across our region.
Innovating with sustainable technology
We are at an opportune watershed moment, particularly in the MENA region, to leverage the potential of digitisation and innovation and positively impact socioeconomic development. Digital technology has a unique power to rapidly expand access to basic needs, stimulate job creation, increase systemic efficiencies, and foster financial inclusion. It is a transformative trend, which must be supported by investment in infrastructure, upskilling, and other innovation enabling environments.
Our PPP framework:
Crescent Enterprises has continued to actively invest in our proprietary holistic profit-planet-people (PPP) framework, which helps us assess investment viability. In 2021, we invested $83 million in this framework, with a significant portion going into sustainable technology-enabled businesses, including mobility, biotech, and fintech.
Our operating businesses within the logistics sector have, and continue to strengthen productivity and efficiency through the introduction of innovative green technology into all our global processes and operations. These steps help to address challenges within the global supply chain, which accounts for about 64% of the world’s oil consumption and 27% of all energy use.
Bridging the digital divide
While the pandemic certainly accelerated the global adoption of the digital economy, an estimated 47% of the world’s population remains offline, widening the digital divide and its inherent economic and social inequalities. We firmly believe in digital inclusion as an economic and social driver.
This year, Crescent Enterprises became the first MENA business to commit to the 1 Billion Lives Challenge, which is part of the World Economic Forum’s EDISON Alliance. We committed to impact 100,000 youth in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia by 2025 by addressing the region’s skill gap and helping to
raise a technologically future-proofed generation. We will achieve this through investment in digitally native businesses that facilitate access to digital services across healthcare, education, and financial inclusion, and through our dedicated corporate citizenship programmes. This year we have achieved corporation citizen engagement across entrepreneurship, the environment, arts and culture, and corporate governance reaching over 43,000 beneficiaries through impactdriven partnerships with business, governments, and NGOs.
The road ahead
While disruptive trends continue to emerge and evolve in our post-pandemic reality, Crescent Enterprises is determined to sustain and strengthen its resilience and commitment to collective growth. Crescent Enterprises’ priorities in this journey lie in creating, sustaining, and scaling businesses upon the
solid foundations of an authentic moral compass in, and for, the region, and beyond.