Sustainability isn’t a buzzword anymore


February 3, 2023 | By Rupkatha B

Sustainability isn’t a buzzword anymore

It was around four decades ago that the word ‘sustainability’ entered the business parlance. It took almost another decade before the word slowly got integrated into various organisations’ corporate social responsibility framework and initiatives. Cut to the present, operating sustainably is crucial for any business now more than ever before.

If anything, the UAE’s recent announcement of 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’ ahead of hosting Cop28 is not only timely but also comes as an urgent call to action for businesses and individuals to collaboratively work towards sustainable development.

Emphasising the importance of operating sustainably, Jamil Haddad, Head of Sustainability at UAE-based Al Bayader International said, “In our business the goal is to integrate sustainability placing it at the core of everything that we do across product categories and markets with a strong focus on innovation and people. Our aim is to support our partners to become sustainable brands on their own terms before they are pushed due to regulatory and compliance requirements or customer demand.”

From a consumer point of view, there is an increasing willingness among customers to buy sustainable products if they are aware of how sustainable the products are. A survey found that almost 49% of consumers in the UAE are willing to pay more for sustainable products, 15% significantly more and 34% a little more. Hence, transparency in communication to drive customer awareness is crucial not only to get their dollars but to earn their trust and loyalty.

Innovation is also a crucial part of the sustainability journey. “For example, in our business we are constantly looking for innovative ways to ensure energy efficiency and reduce waste. Our factory is Jebel Ali is solar powered and we’ve a sewage treatment plant that takes away sewage to be converted into clean water and fertilisers for our botanical garden with 240 trees. Every month we recycle one million plastic bottles in our manufacturing plant,” Haddad shared.

Looking ahead, aligned with UAE’s sustainability goals, businesses such as Al Bayader are also putting in concerted efforts to become a zero-waste business. “We are keen to achieve net zero in carbon emissions by using innovative energy sources such as biogas to power our operations. We will also continue collaborating with companies and R&D facilities that are at cutting edge of sustainable materials and packaging industries.”

“Importantly, our goal is to develop local solutions for local problems. As part of that goal, we want to hire the right people with the right passion and spend time in training them to build a workforce equipped to deal with tomorrow’s problems,” he concluded.

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