Green Shoots of Eco-Economy

More than ever, businesses today have discovered a new pathway towards economic growth, one that is green and sustainable in nature. Misbaah Mansuri gives a lowdown on how progressive businesses are embracing sustainability and widening their focus beyond profit

Times might have been difficult but it’s been heartening to see how even in the midst of it all, people are leading the push to better the world.

It’s amazing how from a global perspective, especially post-Covid we have all had a chance to reassess what is important in life and that life can be fragile. The pandemic has given us a chance to reset and rebuild the new normal. And hence the thought that we should start making better choices. That said, environmental policies, products, and information drives have affected the psyche of consumers. A recent Deloitte survey indicated that 98 percent of companies reported reformulating at least some part of their product portfolio to align with new health and wellness policies. That said, several recent developments indicate that leaders of many large enterprises have accepted the reality of climate change and have realised that they need to step up their focus on environmental sustainability.

Simplifying sustainability

To be sure, Dubai is the goldmine for sustainability startup enthusiasts. The launch of the Energy Strategy 2050 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has bolstered this journey and says a thing or two about the importance being given to it. Moreover, Sheikh Mohammed unveiled the Dubai Green Fund worth AED 100 billion to finance investors in the clean energy sector. With that, it is estimated that Green Investments in Dubai would touch a whopping USD 30 billion by 2030. Furthermore, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) is the key player in transitioning Dubai into a green economy through a number of initiatives aimed at increasing reliance on clean energy and efficient production and consumption of water.

It is estimated that Green Investments in Dubai would touch a whopping USD 30 Billion by 2030

Gunning for green businesses

More and more businesses today seem to have realized that embracing the concept could emerge to be great for both the bottom line and the brand. They are now increasingly aware that their actions have an impact on the planet, whether it is burning fossil fuels, cutting down rain-forests or filling landfill sites with plastic and other waste.

Hospitality businesses adopting the concept are benefiting from lower operational costs alongside substantial reputation gains. A survey by Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) brought to light that sustainable practices have helped hospitality businesses reduce energy and water consumption costs by more than 20%, reduce solid waste and waste-water disposal costs by more than 15%, improve the quality of the tourism ecosystem in which they operate, and improve staff motivation. Going green might not be an entirely new concept, but businesses sure seem to be pushing the envelope for innovation while at it.

A case-in-point is The Giving Movement, a fashion brand born during the time of the Covid-19 crisis. The Dubai-based entrepreneur’s ethical practices, sustainable fabrics and a charitable initiative have combined with the contemporary look and feel to grow a client base almost overnight that spans a broad spectrum of demographics and ages. Its attributes of being sustainable and ethical helped the brand sell over 7,000 units and donate more than $23,000 to charities within 12 weeks of the launch.

The Giving Movement, a fashion brand born during the time of the Covid-19 crisis; its attributes of being sustainable and ethical helped the brand sell over 7,000 units and donate more than $23,000 to charities within 12 weeks of the launch

Dubai-based startup The Concept too has been making its presence felt in this landscape, thanks to its innovations that help boost the aviation sector’s efforts in the sustainability domain by eliminating non-sustainable hardware from it.

Its redesigned lightweight in-flight economy food tray called NEOS Fly combines functionality, sustainability, technology and conveniences, and is geared towards making a positive impact on the environment, while also allowing airlines to save money in the long run as well. And then there are green designer brands like Urban Nest, Tribe Dubai, Home and Soul, Trends who are creating practical pieces of furniture from things like ethically sourced materials, reclaimed wood, layered bamboo among others.

Beauty for good or clean beauty is another trend that has been gaining momentum which is only soaring given the changing preferences driven by the Covid pandemic. This growing awareness has led to a drastic surge in ethical cosmetics sales, with the global cosmetics market size expected to reach US$48.04 billion in value by 2025 according to a recent report by Grand View Research.

A growing body of evidence suggests that as companies gravitate towards increased emphasis on the concept of sustainability, their business results improve

Now is the time

A growing body of evidence suggests that as companies gravitate towards increased emphasis on the concept of sustainability, their business results improve. A recent PwC analysis for the World Economic Forum shows that industries that are highly or moderately dependent on nature generate more than half of global GDP ($44 trillion), underscoring the financial exposure for businesses worldwide if current trends continue unabated.

The global response to Covid 19 is, in many respects, the expression of this purpose-led approach to solving problems. And seems like it could be a catalyst to supercharge the thinking, the action and the execution of sustainable initiatives and purpose-led investments. It might be just a trigger that fires sustainable finance and proves that it is a long-term growth opportunity.  And hence, going green seems to be more than just a trend. By acting now, businesses will be well-poised to reign over the hearts and minds of generations to come.

The Unstoppable Arab Emirates

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