quotes From passion to profit

28 December 2023
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Updated 28 December 2023

From passion to profit

Picture this: You are cruising the Jeddah Corniche, windows down, music blasting, when sand suddenly starts swirling like a dust devil. That is not a mirage; that is the future knocking, courtesy of climate change. But hold up. Before you grab your thobe or abaya and head for the mountains, let us talk revolution: Green, Saudi-style.

Remember when everyone called environmentalism some hippie hug-tree nonsense? Yeah, those days are as over as Milli Vanilli. Forget caramel lattes; companies are chugging sustainability. Kool-Aid seems like it is going out of style. Why? Because being eco-friendly is not just some namby-pamby trend; it is about survival (remember the sandstorm that hit the Arabian Peninsula in late April 2018?).

Think of it like a majlis: Everyone sits around, sipping tea, sharing a common purpose. This time, the purpose is saving the planet, and the companies are the ones leading the charge. They are ditching plastic like dates in ruins, cooking up renewable energy like Saudi singer Rabeh Saqer tunes, and building smart cities that make Dubai look like a sandbox.

Sure, some might call it greenwashing, a fancy term for “painting your G-65 green and calling it eco-friendly.” But we Saudis know it is real when we see it. Remember when ACWA Power announced the building of the world’s biggest solar plant? That was not a PR stunt; that was throwing down the gauntlet, saying: “We’re serious about sunshine, not fossil fuel fumes.”

But this is not a solo act. This green fire is infectious, spreading like gossip at a ladies’ gathering. Take SABIC, the petrochemical giant. They are not just pumping out plastic anymore; they are turning it into recycled gold — literally, they are making new products from old plastic, closing the loop like my great-grandfather’s tent. And guess what? Their shareholders are loving it; their profits are greener than an oasis after a downpour.

This sustainability ripple effect is not just for bigwigs, though. Imagine your neighborhood shawarma joint composting scraps and turning it into fertilizer for the rooftop makeshift herb garden. Or your favorite tech startup developing apps that track your carbon footprint and nudge you toward eco-friendly choices. Every little step counts, like grains of sand in a desert.

Of course, the road to green glory is not paved with sweets and baklava. There are detours: Short-term costs, stubborn traditions and measuring impact like counting grains of rice in a kabsa. But here is the thing: When the sun gets hot, we Saudis adapt. We built cities in the sand, crossed oceans on dhows and turned barren land into farms. We can handle this green challenge, too.

Believe it or not, many green companies started their sustainability journey not with dollar signs in their eyes, but with a burning desire to do good. Remember? That one local coffee chain ditched plastic cups for reusable mugs way back when, driven by the founder’s vision of a plastic-free future. Sure, it was not the cheapest move, but the loyal smiles of eco-conscious customers and the sweet aroma of freshly brewed coffee were rewards in themselves.

But here is the plot twist. As these companies embraced sustainability with open arms, they stumbled upon a hidden treasure: Profitability. As it turns out, going green can be good for the green in your wallet, too.

And the ripple effect does not stop there. As consumers see their favorite brands taking a stand for the planet, their perception shifts. Suddenly, that reusable coffee mug is not just a quirky accessory, but also a badge of honor; a symbol of belonging to a generation that cares. This change in consumer mindset paves the way for even bolder moves. Companies gain the confidence to push for stricter environmental regulations, knowing that their customers will have their backs.

So, the next time you see a Saudi company going green, remember, it is not just about saving the planet; it is about redefining what it means to do business. It is about proving that passion and profit can be partners, not mortal enemies. And who knows? Maybe one day, Saudi Arabia will not just be known for its oil, but also for its green gold, too.

So, let us get behind these Saudi green giants. Invest in their eco-friendly ventures, spread the word like wildfire and hold them accountable when they stumble. This is not just about saving the planet; it is about showing the world that Saudis can be pioneers, not just oil barons. Together, we can turn those sandstorms into sandcastles and build a future as bright as the midday sun.

Boys and girls, keep in mind that we have a choice: Join the green wave or perish in the sand. Let us make Saudi Arabia the spot of sustainability, the envy of every eco-warrior on the planet. Now, demonstrate to the world what green Saudi Arabia looks like by spreading the green love!

Abdulelah S. Al-Nahari is the managing director of business development for a prestigious marketing-solutions firm. An expert in his field, he leads strategic-growth initiatives in line with Saudi Arabia’s digital-first vision. The key components of his drive for excellence in the industry are his multi-sector awareness, strategic digital foresight and range of industry experience.