Tell us about your organisation Sustainable Solutions LLC and what led you down the path of sustainability?
We are a business consultancy and management firm focusing on the sustainability industry. In line with the ongoing Sustainability Vision and realisation of the UAE 2030 Agenda, we advise and assist organisations and businesses to achieve their sustainability missions with prudent solutions and strategies aligned with a sustainable business model that supports a circular economy. We act as agents to facilitate, intermediate and connect sustainability driven governments with like-minded companies across different sectors.
My long-term concern for the future convinced me to dedicate my career towards sustainable developments. I stopped eating meat at a very young age. Coming from a meat-eating family, at my age this was very unusual. As I was growing up, I developed allergies associated with food, which led me to discover how unhealthy industrial/processed food is. These incidents and revelations, and other growing health concerns about food and unsustainable future as well as my love for animals pushed me into adopting a fully vegan-organic lifestyle.
While pursuing a Master’s Degree in Luxury Management at International University of Monaco, I learnt that the world is changing into a fast-paced unsustainable environment that is beneficial to no one in the long run. People, the environment and our future are under an enormous threat of devastation due to climate change, air, and waste pollution, and natural disasters that are occurring globally.
Tell us about why your brand mission is ‘Sustainability is the New Luxury’?
Our actions are a reflection of who we are, and sustainability is the epitome of the healthy, sustainable, and prosperous life that we all aspire for.
Sustainability has become a leading priority as environmental concerns have increasingly transcended into everyone’s agenda. Today, corporations, companies, brands and consumers are prioritising ‘planet over profits’. Consumers are now increasingly associating wealth, prestige, and brand experience with the sustainability of a product or service. Sustainability now serves as a vital component of consumer motivations, forcing brands and companies to pursue innovative and sustainable initiatives. ‘New Luxury’ can also be defined by appealing to a new type of consumer who sympathises with a greater holistic narrative and zero-waste, circular economy. Sustainability now serves as a vital component of shopper motivation, forcing brands to pursue innovative sustainability initiatives.
How has the journey of advocating sustainability been in the GCC region and what have been the lessons learnt?
The UAE and GCC are opening up to the world with green initiatives and structures for diversifications from oil to hydrogen, to renewable energy such as solar, wind, and hydrogen and encouraging the use of sustainable transportation. In my quest for providing sustainable solutions, I learned that companies are aligning their business strategies to government priorities and the realisation of the 2030 Agenda.
How do you think has the concept of a ‘circular economy’ gained more traction after the pandemic?
Post pandemic is a ‘green wake’ up call for all of us. We are witnessing that collective social and economic fate is inseparably linked to nature and this awareness is creating a need for a global change, where the planet and humans can stay healthy. We can see that the global market is moving steadily in the direction of clean energy. Findings show that businesses with fully integrated ESG factors in nearly every sector of the economy are more successful and profitable.
The commercial and consumer demand for cleaner energy and new business scenario that is transitioning from a linear model of society based on ‘extraction, production, consumption and waste’, to a circular model that turns waste into resources, is accelerating and shifting to greener more sustainable supply chains. The circular economy (3R— reduce, reuse and recycle) is having its own momentum that has been accelerated by the pandemic and has profoundly triggered the opportunity to rethink, reset and redesign the global economy.
In your opinion, has brand association changed in light of a greater need for sustainable business practices in recent times?
What we have experienced with the Covid outbreak made us realise that everything in nature is interconnected. The sustainability revolution is growing consumer’s awareness and also presenting the opportunities for businesses that have not made sustainability as priority to make the transition now. Consumers want to be reassured that what we buy is made responsibly through every step of the process from the raw materials to the final products. Although we are seeing that the acceleration towards environmental sustainability and reduction of CO2 emission lately have increased, the adoption of circular economy and global sustainable business practices are yet to take-off.
Does the modern consumer care about the social impact of the organisation they are buying or interacting with? And if so, what should organisations do to portray a better brand image?
Yes, I believe they do. We are experiencing an emerging sustainability trend that is reflecting consumer purchasing decision. The increased awareness and care for the environmental, social and ethical issues are escalating the need for more sustainable living that comes down to more ethical consumer habits.