Policy measures, such as the Saudi Arabian government's commitment to the G20 Sustainable Development Goals, are the first step towards a greener future. However, to realise these goals, businesses need to join the effort and take concrete steps to operationalise sustainability and make it a part of their day-to-day operations.
Saudi Arabia’s G20 Commitments
For change to happen on a global scale, it is important for the world's largest economies to take the lead. In this regard, G20 countries have committed to taking action on climate change, sustainable development, and environmental protection. These big economies, which include Saudi Arabia, have pledged to work together to find ways to make their growth more sustainable.
As part of this commitment, Saudi Arabia has pledged to increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix and reduce its methane emissions by 30% by 2030. The Kingdom is also working to improve water management and increase the amount of waste recycled.
In 2021, the government launched the Saudi Green Initiative, which outlined a number of ambitious goals for the country to achieve in the coming years. The initiative includes a plan to increase the use of renewable energy, reduce emissions to net zero by 2060, protect land and sea areas from degradation, and increase the number of trees planted across the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is a key player in the G20 and its commitment to sustainability is an important step towards a more sustainable future for all. With a population of over 34 million people and a growing economy, the Kingdom has the potential to make a significant impact.
Why Is It Important To Be Sustainable?
There is a moral imperative to be sustainable — we are responsible for caring for our planet and its resources so that future generations can inherit a healthy world. But it is not just about doing the right thing, there are also very real benefits to businesses that adopt sustainable practices.
Research carried out by Harvard Business School found that companies which take sustainability seriously are more likely to outperform their competitors financially. The report found that "High Sustainability companies significantly outperform their counterparts over the long-term, both in terms of stock market as well as accounting performance"
There is an increasing demand for sustainable products and services in today's market. Consumers are increasingly looking for brands that align with their values and are making an effort to reduce their environmental impact. In fact, a recent study found that more than a third of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods.
Focusing on sustainability can also help businesses reduce costs and increase efficiency. For example, by investing in renewable energy, businesses can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and save money on energy bills. And by improving waste management processes, businesses can save on disposal costs and reduce their environmental impact.
How Can Businesses Operationalize Sustainability?
Many businesses are still not putting sustainability at the heart of their operations, but there are several concrete steps that organisations can take to operationalise sustainability.
Incorporate Sustainability into Strategy
The first step is to ensure that sustainability is embedded in the business strategy. This means taking a long-term view and making sustainability a priority for the organisation, not just an afterthought.
Set Ambitious Targets
Setting targets that challenge the status quo pushes businesses to do better. These goals should be “SMART” objectives, which means specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.
Employees need to be involved in the process of operationalizing sustainability. They should be given the tools and information they need to make sustainable choices in their work. And they should be incentivised to adopt sustainable practices.
These are just a few of the ways businesses can operationalize sustainability. By taking these steps, Saudi businesses can make a real difference to both their environmental impact and their bottom line.