Navigating business and sustainability: French entrepreneur on introducing eco-conscious practicses

Romain Gerardin-Fresse, who recently addressed an audience at COP28, shares insights on why sustainability is a must for business owners


Husain Rizvi

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Photos by Shihab
Photos by Shihab

Published: Wed 13 Dec 2023, 4:56 PM

In an exclusive interview with City Times, Romain Gerardin-Fresse, a lawyer, entrepreneur, and an esteemed European CEO of the Year awardee, delves into the intricate relationship between business and sustainability, sharing profound insights into the challenges and triumphs of incorporating eco-conscious practices.

In his opening remarks, Romain, who recently addressed an audience at COP28 in the UAE, sets the tone for a conversation that transcends conventional business discussions. For him, sustainability in businesses is not just a moral responsibility but a business necessity. The emphasis on aligning with customer values positions sustainability as a competitive advantage.

Romain delves into actionable insights, emphasising the need for a proactive strategy, elaborating on how his perspective on sustainability as a long-term commitment resonates with the growing debate around responsible business practices.

But with it, come challenges and Romain dishes out a few tips on how to tackle those, creating a balance between short-term business gains and long-term benefits of sustainability. So he encourages businesses to stay true to their values, but incorporating sustainability as an important factor. For him, sustainability is in line with being responsible, a perspective which focuses on the impact a business can have on the world at large. Excerpts from the interview:

Let's delve into your recent visit to COP28. What were your first impressions?

COP28 was a magnificent event. It is really important to organise these type of events, especially in Dubai because of the city's global appeal to entrepreneurs. Sustainability is the crux of our evolving world. While we often focus on immediate gains, we must not forget the long-term impact. Sustainability today is the profit of tomorrow.

You emphasised the importance of integrating sustainability into businesses. Can you elaborate on that?

Absolutely. Sustainability should be a core aspect of any business. Customers are increasingly conscious of environmental impact. Integrating sustainability not only aligns with global values but also ensures the longevity of your market presence. It's a strategic move.

Moving towards sustainability requires a proactive strategy. What's step one for a business aiming for this goal?

Sustainability is about durability. You need a long-term vision, ensuring that your goals today align with your goals tomorrow. A proactive strategy integrates future visions, making it essential for market adaptation.

Incorporating sustainability comes with challenges. What are some you've faced in your business?

Sometimes, it's easier to sidestep sustainability due to immediate gains. The challenge lies in adapting your products and market goals to align with sustainability. It might take longer, but reducing risks and gaining customer trust are worthwhile.

Congratulations on being awarded European CEO of the Year. What advice do you offer to businesses wanting to implement sustainability?

Believe in your product or service. If you're convinced, never give up. Integrate sustainability into your goals and confront challenges with innovative solutions. Follow your instinct, and don't be afraid to go against the grain.

Before we conclude, what inspired you to incorporate sustainability into your business?

It's about responsibility — responsibility for tomorrow. Sustainability should not be introduced only as a commercial or marketing gig. We must be accountable for our actions today, ensuring they contribute positively to the future. It goes beyond commerce; it's a responsibility for the Earth.

Lastly, your thoughts on the current market in Dubai?

Dubai is a beautiful land of opportunity, offering unparalleled freedom for entrepreneurship. It is the real definition of liberalism. If you follow the rules and laws, you will not find a place that offers more freedom than Dubai in terms of entrepreneurship. The visionary leadership and government policies create a stable, secure, and sustainable market which is always blooming. It's a warm and exciting time for entrepreneurs.

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