Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 June 2020

Firm commitment to green initiatives means a brighter future for us all

Guest column from Hala Badri: Embracing a sustainable corporate approach does not have to mean a loss of profit or limited innovation.

Experts across the world agree that there are clear leaders in terms of the efforts they put into being as sustainable as possible. It’s not hard to spot those who head up each sector; studies such as the 2013 Sustainability Leaders Survey conducted by Globescan/SustainAbility clearly define those companies that are setting a positive sustainable example for the rest of us.

These leaders are, as they say, living proof that embracing a sustainable corporate approach does not have to mean a loss of profit or limited innovation, as is the common misconception. Rather they prove that a sustainable business strategy will ensure continued profits through more easily sustained means, which will carry us forth into a greener future.

A sustainable business approach is more than just environmentally beneficial, although there are many benefits that come with adopting a greener way of operating. These include bottom line cost savings and a competitive advantage, and it can help to attract and retain top talent, who will be as committed to your company’s sustainable values as you are.

Achieving sustainability, and continuing along the path towards becoming more sustainable as time progresses, takes a strong leadership that can set a solid example from the top. The UAE is lucky to have visionary leaders who are staunch supporters of sustainable initiatives and innovation; they encourage the creation of new, groundbreaking technologies to continue developing a smart, sustainable society. Our nation is guided towards more sustainable practices, ever more so since the acquisition of Expo 2020, by a government that is keen to set the precedent on a regional, if not global scale, for what is achievable in the sustainability arena.

The UAE Strategy for Green Development, an initiative announced in 2012 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, emphasises the need for sustainability to go hand in hand with innovation. It’s only natural that the changes required to become sustainable should be so closely linked with innovation, as our habits of consumption and creation are based upon processes that necessitated the sustainability movement in the first place.

In light of this, the nationwide UAE Strategy for Green Development aims to make the country a global pioneer in the creation of a green economy, as well as establishing the country as a hub for exporting and re-exporting sustainable products and technologies.

It’s no secret that we, as global citizens, must adopt more sustainable practices if we are to improve the overall quality of life not just in the UAE, but across the world for generations to come. The processes that are required to drive sustainability at this level must be created by innovative minds that are capable of looking at the world in a new way. Building a sustainable future, however, is not the responsibility of a select few, but rather the responsibility of all. To foster a culture of sustainable practices, we must do three things:

• We must empower our community with knowledge. By providing learning opportunities, access to best practices and past experiences, we can empower the sustainable innovators of today and tomorrow with the ability to be forward thinking in the way they employ sustainability within their industry and community.

• We must collaborate. No one, whether as an organisation or an individual, can do it all. Knowledge-sharing is essential, and by building a collaboration framework we will provide innovators with the ability to connect to the resources they need. Partnerships between experts represent the future of a sustainable society.

• Last but by no means least, we must provide innovators with the tools they need to be innovative. Investment is essential for any sustainable venture to have the chance to succeed. This point also links back in with the two above; investment can come in the form of providing educational opportunities, in the form of knowledge- sharing and encouraging best practices, or in the form of financial support.

By thinking outside the box and adopting a greener mindset, it is possible to implement sustainable practices in any business strategy. This will lead us to a brighter future for our country, our community and our environment, but, most importantly, it will allow businesses to thrive on a whole new level, where people, planet and profit enjoy equal benefits.

Hala Badri is the executive vice president of brand and communications at du

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Updated: April 8, 2014 04:00 AM



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