How sustainability benefits business performance

How sustainability benefits business performance

How sustainability benefits business performance
Using renewable energy can minimize vulnerability to fluctuations in the price of fossil fuels. (Shutterstock)
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Sustainability today is a core consideration in planning for organizational success. With tightening emissions targets and rising environmental awareness, there are tremendous pressures on businesses to become more sustainable.

This transition is not solely about compliance and social responsibility, however. It is about sustainability as a performance enabler — a driver of change that unlocks competitiveness and adaptability across the value chain.

Business sustainability can thus be described as a process of managing business activities in a way that maximizes efficiency without harming future generations.

Environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and corporate financial performance can all be included in the definition of the environmental, social, and governance concept, known in common parlance as ESG.

Sustainable value generation entails those actions that create and sustain growth, profitability, and enhanced value for shareholders in the long term.

There are clear economic benefits to be gained from greater sustainability. Embracing energy efficiency and reducing waste, for instance, cuts costs in production, while using renewables can minimize vulnerability to fluctuations in the price of fossil fuels.

Sustainable businesses are also able to attract cash from investors who prefer firms with strong ESG disclosures. Other analyses have revealed that a high ESG score reduces capital costs and enhances a firm’s performance.

The strategic management of environmental impact can bring both short and long-term benefits to organizations, including customer loyalty, reduced legal risks, and reputational capital.

Corporate social responsibility refers to the responsibilities that a business has to society and the impact of its operations on communities. To meet these responsibilities, firms are encouraged to respect labor practices and use ethical sources of labor.

Sustainability can give companies a competitive edge over their rivals, while at the same time being considerate to people and the planet.

Majed Al-Qatari

Cultivating a rapport and engaging with stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and communities, is an effective way of meeting those responsibilities.

Organizations with good social performance can attract talent, encourage return custom, and stave off the possibility of boycotts. Stakeholder engagement is a key factor in this, helping firms develop a robust business model that can easily cope with social shifts.

Potential barriers to sustainability include costs, resistance to change, and difficulties evaluating social and ecological impact. But with adequate planning, stakeholder input, and the use of technology in gathering and analyzing data, these can be overcome.

Meanwhile, industrial partnerships and government subsidies can assist with financial and operational challenges, while training and education programs can help shift organizational culture in favor of greater sustainability.

The circular economy, with its emphasis on recycling, and the growth of green finance will define the future business world, while artificial intelligence and the internet of things will allow organizations to monitor the effectiveness of their sustainability initiatives.

In sum, sustainability can give companies a competitive edge over their rivals, while at the same time being considerate to people and the planet.

Every firm that dreams of a prosperous future should invest in sustainable practices, thereby guarantee lasting benefits for itself and its stakeholders.

Majed Al-Qatari is a sustainability leader, ecological engineer and UN Youth Ambassador with experience in ESG and sustainability goals in business, nonprofits and financial institutions.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point of view

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Snakes of Australia’

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Photo/Supplied
Updated 11 min 33 sec ago
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What We Are Reading Today: ‘Snakes of Australia’

Photo/Supplied

Authors: TIE EIPPER AND SCOTT EIPPER

With more than 1,000 photographs, Snakes of Australia illustrates and describes in detail all 240 of the continent’s species and subspecies—from file snakes, pythons, colubrids, and natricids to elapids, marine elapids, homalopsids, and blind snakes.

It features introductions to each family, species descriptions, type locations, distribution maps, and quick-identification keys to each family and genera.

 


Hamas and Palestinian rivals Fatah to meet in Beijing

Hamas and Palestinian rivals Fatah to meet in Beijing
Updated 1 min 36 sec ago
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Hamas and Palestinian rivals Fatah to meet in Beijing

Hamas and Palestinian rivals Fatah to meet in Beijing
  • Hamas delegation is to be headed by its Qatar-based political chief Ismail Haniyeh, while the Fatah representation will be led by deputy head Mahmud Alul
  • Two groups have been bitter rivals since Hamas fighters ejected Fatah from Gaza after deadly clashes that followed Hamas’s resounding victory in a 2006 election

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: Senior officials from the rival Palestinian groups Hamas, which is at war with Israel, and Fatah have agreed to meet in Beijing this month in a renewed bid for reconciliation, officials said Monday.
The Hamas delegation is to be headed by its Qatar-based political chief Ismail Haniyeh, while the Fatah representation will be led by deputy head Mahmud Alul, Fatah sources said.
The two groups have been bitter rivals since Hamas fighters ejected Fatah from the Gaza Strip after deadly clashes that followed Hamas’s resounding victory in a 2006 election.
After seizing control of Gaza in 2007, Hamas has ruled the territory ever since.
The secularist Fatah movement controls the Palestinian Authority which has partial administrative control in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Several reconciliation bids have failed, but calls have grown since the Hamas October 7 attacks on Israel set off the Gaza war, with violence also soaring in the West Bank where Fatah is based.
China hosted Fatah and Hamas in April but a meeting scheduled for June was postponed.
The representatives are to meet with Chinese officials in Beijing on July 20 and July 21, according to Fatah’s central committee deputy secretary general Sabri Saidam.
Before that, a meeting of the two groups could take place, he added.
The goal, said Saidam, “is to end the state of division with a commitment to past agreements and agreeing on a relationship between the Palestinian groups in the next stage.”
Another Fatah executive member also said a joint Fatah-Hamas meeting could be held in Beijing before the official agenda starts.
China has positioned itself as a more neutral actor on the Israel-Palestinian conflict than its rival the United States, advocating for a two-state solution while also maintaining good ties with Israel.


Two-member Canadian team begins aviation security assessment at Karachi airport

Two-member Canadian team begins aviation security assessment at Karachi airport
Updated 24 min 33 sec ago
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Two-member Canadian team begins aviation security assessment at Karachi airport

Two-member Canadian team begins aviation security assessment at Karachi airport
  • This is the fifth international evaluation of Pakistan’s aviation security system in recent months
  • Pakistan’s aviation protocols have faced significant scrutiny since a 2020 fake pilot license scandal

KARACHI: A two-member Canadian team on Monday began its aviation security assessment at Jinnah International Airport in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) said.
The team comprises inspectors, Barbara Durette and Abdel Tahir, from Transport Canada — a Canadian government entity responsible for policies and services of road, rail, marine and air transportation.
It held a meeting with Pakistani officials at the PCAA headquarters. The four-day assessment will focus on aviation security documentation, airport arrangements, catering and cargo complexes.
“The team will be inspecting implementation of various aviation security protocols at the airport and implementation of special security measures being undertaken by PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) for direct flights to Canada,” the PCAA said in a statement.
It said the assessment is a continuation of collaborative efforts between Transport Canada and the PCAA to enhance aviation security standards in the South Asian country.
This is the 5th international evaluation of Pakistan’s aviation security system in recent months. The PCAA earlier said it had successfully passed all previous inspections, including an inaugural assessment by the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority (UAE-GCAA) of Islamabad and Karachi airports that concluded on July 5.
Pakistan’s aviation protocols have faced significant scrutiny since 2020 following a scandal wherein approximately 262 out of 860 active pilots were said to have obtained fake licenses, leading to the grounding of around 150 pilots from the PIA and other carriers.
This revelation came in the wake of the tragic crash of PIA flight 8303 in Karachi, resulting in the suspension of PIA’s operations in the European Union (EU) and other regions and prompting calls for regulatory reforms to improve safety standards and transparency.


Israel allows UN to bring in more equipment amid Gaza lawlessness

Israel allows UN to bring in more equipment amid Gaza lawlessness
Updated 41 min 2 sec ago
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Israel allows UN to bring in more equipment amid Gaza lawlessness

Israel allows UN to bring in more equipment amid Gaza lawlessness
  • The UN has long complained of obstacles to getting aid into Gaza

NEW YORK: The United Nations said on Monday that it will start bringing in more armored vehicles and personal protection equipment for its humanitarian aid operations in the Gaza Strip after receiving approval from Israeli authorities.
The approval was in response to a UN letter sent to Israel last month on safety and security in Gaza, said Scott Anderson, deputy humanitarian coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as the war between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas enters its tenth month and law and order has broken down.
The UN has long complained of obstacles to getting aid into Gaza — Israel inspects and approves all trucks — and says it is also struggling to distribute aid amid “total lawlessness” within the enclave of 2.3 million people, where a global hunger monitor last month said there is a high risk of famine.
Anderson said the UN was due to start bringing more armored vehicles and protection equipment into Gaza on Tuesday.
“Some communications equipment has also been approved,” he told reporters, like hand-held radios, but added that discussions are still continuing on a UN request for stable Internet access.
The UN has said it wants communications that did not rely on cell phone towers because they were not reliable. However, Israeli authorities have security concerns about what Hamas could do if it accessed satellite Internet service.
‘CRIME FAMILIES’
Anderson said the UN needed to bring in aid in the right quantity and quality, but several factors “continue to stand in our way.” He listed problems including restrictions on movement, aid worker safety, unpredictable working hours, communications challenges and a lack of fuel.
“And we’ve seen a complete breakdown of law and order and we’ve seen essentially what are crime families preventing the free movement of aid into Gaza to assist people,” he said.
“The truck drivers that we use have been regularly threatened or assaulted ... they’ve become less and less willing, understandably, to move assistance from the border crossings to our warehouses and then onto people that are in need,” Anderson said.
He said the UN was getting between 25 and 70 aid trucks a day into northern Gaza, but there was no commercial access.
Anderson said in southern Gaza “we’ve been barely able to hit 100 trucks on a good day over the last week because of law and order problems,” but that commercial deliveries were doing a little better “but they pay essentially protection money to the families in the south and they also have armed guards.”
Aid officials say about 600 trucks of humanitarian and commercial supplies are
needed in Gaza daily
to meet the needs of the population.
He said the UN was “in talks with everybody about trying to get some sort of police force established” and in the meantime was working with the families that are hindering aid deliveries to try and address the problem.
“It’s a few families that are trying to take advantage of this opportunity and that’s why I’m confident if we get police back at work that they can address the issue,” Anderson said.


Indonesia boosts funding to UNRWA to $1.2m amid funding crisis

Indonesia boosts funding to UNRWA to $1.2m amid funding crisis
Updated 56 min 34 sec ago
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Indonesia boosts funding to UNRWA to $1.2m amid funding crisis

Indonesia boosts funding to UNRWA to $1.2m amid funding crisis
  • Indonesian government has announced a grant of $2 million in response to the UNRWA flash appeal

LONDON: Indonesia announced on Monday that it will increase its funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees to $1.2 million.

The announcement was made by Indonesian Ambassador to the UN Arrmanatha Nasir during a UN pledging conference in New York on Friday.

Starting this year, Indonesia will raise its annual contribution to UNRWA to $1.2 million. In addition, the government has announced a grant of $2 million in response to the UNRWA flash appeal for the occupied Palestinian territories, covering the period from April to December 2024.

Its 2022 donation amounted to $200,000 and excluding flash appeals in 2023, its contribution totaled $600,000.

Nasir highlighted Indonesia’s commitment to seeking innovative funding solutions for UNRWA, including engaging Indonesian society through partnerships with zakat management institutions.

UNRWA, which coordinates nearly all aid to Gaza, has been in crisis since January, when Israel accused about a dozen of its 13,000 Gaza employees of being involved in the Oct. 7 attack.

The agency, which provides aid and services to Palestinian refugees in Gaza and throughout the region, was thrown into crisis when the Israeli allegations emerged. In response, the US, the biggest single funder of UNRWA, and several other major donors put their funding for the organization on hold. In all, 16 UN member states suspended or paused donations, while others imposed conditions, placing the future of the agency in doubt.

Israeli authorities have yet to provide any evidence to back up their allegations, an independent review headed by the former French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna concluded in April.