The consequences of climate change on our world will define the next century. The next few decades will increasingly threaten human security in ways we cannot comprehend. The imperative for sustainability has never been more apparent.
Nations and businesses worldwide are rallying behind reducing their carbon footprint and introducing new eco-conscious policies. But to achieve a sustainable future, innovation in green technologies will be pivotal to driving sustainability-driven initiatives to reshape our society.
Fast Company Middle East’s Impact Council, comprising influential entrepreneurs, technologists, and innovators, has partnered with BCG to organize two sub-committees this year.
One of these sub-committees, the Climate Change and Sustainability panel, takes a focused approach to address pressing environmental concerns and sustainability initiatives in the Middle East. Experts and leaders will come together to identify opportunities for sustainable development practices for a greener future.
David Shepley, Director of Sustainability at FIVE Holdings, says, “Sustainable development reveals that our complex natural, social, and economic world operates as one interconnected system — far before it can be perceived as a utopian vision. In this light, it exposes the dynamics contributing to humanity’s gravest challenges. And yet, when we look farther forward, sustainable development offers the blueprint of hope.”
Creating a more sustainable future requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, especially advanced technologies.
Suresh Vaidhyanathan, Chief Executive Officer – Special Projects at Ghassan Aboud Group, says the enhanced awareness of the adverse impact of climate change has led many global organizations to focus on sustainable solutions – predominantly driven by most recent technologies in renewable energy, mobility, and green buildings. Further, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, internet-of-things (IoT), and Big data are driving the productivity and efficiency of organizations.
Education also plays a pivotal role in advancing global sustainability goals. Vaidhyanathan states that UNESCO’s ESD for 2030 program will strive to catalyze personal and societal transformation, aligning with ambitious global sustainability targets.
The financial sector also holds enormous power in funding and bringing awareness to sustainability issues, whether by investing in alternative energy sources or supporting businesses that address socio-economic and environmental challenges.
Also, these investments provide an opportunity to influence and encourage sustainable practices in these companies, fostering global transformation.
Azhan Hasan, Advisor-Climate Change/Sustainability at the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change, Qatar, says, “By integrating technology, education, and finance, organizations can potentially drive sustainable practices and mitigate the impacts of climate change through informed decisions, optimized resource use, and reduced waste.”
He added that finance can facilitate forming partnerships, knowledge exchange, and resource mobilization to tackle intricate global issues. This includes bolstering capacity-building, fostering technology transfer, and establishing conducive environments for sustainable development. He believes such collaborative endeavors are crucial in enhancing sustainability by offering practical solutions to environmental and social dilemmas, such as enhancing energy efficiency, minimizing waste, and ensuring equitable resource access.
Fawzi Al Dibis, Service Lead – Climate Change & Carbon Advisory at WSP, points out that the fight against climate change is imminent and holds the potential to drive economic growth for those who act swiftly and assume leadership roles.
He added, “Education, finance, and technology drive sustainability. Education raises awareness and equips the workforce. Sustainable finance fosters transformation, especially in technology. Technology scales efforts through digital ecosystems and climate-friendly advancements, central to our initiatives.”
Shepley says, “As we reflect upon the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which encompass the responsible stewardship of both land and water, the promotion of educational equity, and the advancement of infrastructure development, it becomes clear that sustainable development calls upon us to adopt a global perspective.”
Sustainable development can lead us to a better world, recognizing that ongoing improvement and adaptability are essential on this enduring journey.
“Education molds our beliefs and kindles our dreams; technology lays the groundwork for our creativity and validates our concepts, while finance amplifies our influence and molds our realities,” adds Shepley.
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