The Reality of Future Smart Cities

Your city is stupid. The flooding and potholed streets, the poor built buildings leaking considerable amount of energy, coin-operated parking devices, traffic jams many of us encounter every day have been recognizable features of almost every city for centuries. But the smart cities future is here, and it has just started its journey. Thanks to exceptional advances in technology and proliferation of Internet-connected devices (IoT), smart cities will become urban centres that will protect environment, improve residents’ quality of life and enhance economic development.

During the last decade, existing cities have been exploring innovative ways to use technology and data to improve their systems and the quality of life for those living in them. The rise of big data and ever rising affordability of new digital devices have contributed to the ‘smart’ and ‘sustainable’ transformation of modern urban centres. A smart city uses IoT sensors and smart technology devices to connect and derive data from every layer of a city, from the air to the street to underground to make a city more efficient, cost-effective, safer and greener. read more…

Why are Sustainability and CSR Programs of great importance nowadays?

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CSR Programs & InitiativesHigh market share, performance and competitive differentiation are not enough anymore to make you stand out from the crowd and become a leader in your industry. There is an ever-growing external and internal social pressure on companies to go beyond the profits and business basics and to demonstrate transparent commitment to solving social and environmental problems.

According to a recent American Express survey, 75% of Millennials believe that managing of successful businesses to meet future needs, requires looking beyond the usual models of doing business and being more open to collaborations with new partners. CSR and Sustainability programs are proving to be an effective way forward that aid organizations in improving their reputation, securing the license to operate, creating long-term value and adapting to the expectations of their stakeholders.

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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the new business paradigm for growth

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In September 2013, all 193 Member States of the United Nations joined forces to bring to light a world plan for action for sustainable development. “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (“Agenda 2030”), came into effect on 1 January 2016 and now defines and guides global development. At the heart of “Agenda 2030” are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 corresponding targets which are applied to all nations and address economic, social, environmental and governance challenges, fight inequality, injustice, end extreme poverty, hunger and protect environment. The SDGs follow and build on the Millennium Development Goals established in 2000 and replace them with more inclusive goals to be achieved in the next 15 years, until 2030.

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Moving forward with the Global Reporting Initiative Standards

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Moving forward with the Global Reporting Initiative Standards

Stakeholder demands to disclose information on key environmental, social and governance (ESG) sustainability issues have been proliferated like never before. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) introduced a new framework in October 2016 under the name The GRI Standards, now recognized as the first and most widely adopted global standard for sustainability reporting. Since the launch, 398 pioneering companies* around the world have joined the movement and implemented the Standards even before they become obligatory by the end of June 2018.

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Creating Business Opportunities from Climate Change

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Dedicated to limit the environmental impact and carbon emissions, Lebanon is one of the 195 countries who made history by taking a part in the Agreement at the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in 2015.

In the same year, the government published the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) with the purpose of reduction of the possible risks and irreversible consequences of climate change on its already-stretched economy and natural resources. Although Lebanon’s share in global greenhouse gas emissions is just 0.07%, the governmental intention is to establish healthy legal, infrastructural and financial working environment for local private entities and align their goals with its emission reduction target of 15% by 2030 called upon by the Paris Agreement, in order to rise the market competitiveness, maximize economic profit, create job opportunities and secure greener future. read more…

The inspiring initiatives of UAE’s Year of Giving

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It has been a year since the President of UAE, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced that 2017 is the ”Year of Giving” with focus on giving back to the community, encouraging volunteerism and fortifying the loyalty to the country. The announcement came just two months after the UAE had been named the 10th most generous country in the world, according to the CAF World Giving Index. The UAE National strategy for the ”Year of giving” includes over 1,400 initiatives and includes more than 100 government and 400,000 private bodies across the UAE. 

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Yalla, time for collaboration, big problems-solving and action!

Guest writer: Nicolas Delaunay

SDGs_logoIf I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” (Albert Einstein). Well, after 55 minutes … and 43 years of dilly dallying, between the moment it was first formulated in Stockholm [1] in 1972 until last month in New York where a set of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was adopted… world leaders have finally got down to business to solve “the most complicated problem the world has ever faced” [2] : how to ensure prosperity for all (not for some) in an ever expanding world population and world economy in a finite planet with ever shrinking natural resources. read more…

Why Your Organization Needs A Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)

CSO - Chief Sustainability OfficerOrganization charts normally have boxes for lots of chiefs – whether it’s chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), or even chief technology officer (CTO) – to indicate positions of senior responsibility for large areas the organizations’ day-to-day and strategic operations. However, organizations that are making an explicit commitment to more sustainable business practices have not yet granted the same seniority to the person in charge of those sustainability initiatives. There are a growing number of chief sustainability officers (CSOs) out there – DuPont appointed Linda Fisher as CSO as far back as 2004 – but for many organizations, sustainability is seen as being part of other strategic responsibilities such as compliance or environmental health and safety, corporate affairs, marketing, community relations, which precludes the creation of an entirely separate division. read more…

How much will Sustainability Cost my Company?

Sustainability CostThe decision to consider how sustainability can positively impact your business can be prompted by many factors. You may be personally committed to running a business that is more eco-friendly, your competition may be taking steps to becoming a more sustainable business, your suppliers may demand compliance with international sustainability frameworks (UNGC, GRI), or your customers may be starting to ask about your business practices and the extent to which you are committed to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Whatever the motivation, every business ultimately looks at the bottom line for any new initiative. What is this going to cost me in terms of the initial capital investment, what resources are required and any ongoing expenses to modify my business practices? read more…

Greenwashing – Nothing to do with laundry!

greenwashingIn the free market the consumer is king! Companies compete for the loyalty of their customers in an effort to retain their market share and profitability. We, as consumers, care about the practices of companies in relation to the environment and society and the way they produce their products. We love companies that want to make a change and do good! We love companies that have environmentally friendly policies, a sustainable supply chain, disclose their sustainability performance and goals. read more…