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Eco-innovation, one of the most attractive sectors for investors


We will soon notice a great divide emerging between two markets; a traditional market and a green-impact driven market, if you had to bet on one make sure you bet on the latter.

There were times we were considering ESG or environmental, social and governance matters was considered a luxury, whether in professional settings in general, or business settings in particular.

Today, education plays a major role influencing the attitude of the younger generations towards investing in the future. You can tell from talking to our brothers and sisters who belong to generations Z and Alpha (or born in the past two decades) that they feel they are more connected to rest of the planet.

Therefore, embracing creativity and new environmental ideas, or what can be called eco-innovation, is the most optimal way to align ourselves with the infinite energy of the generations of talents whom we will, someday, hand over this universe to.

Eco-innovation is not only good for people and the planet, it is most certainly good for business. Valued at hundreds of millions of 20 years ago, now the eco-innovation sectors is one of the most attractive sectors for investors.

It attracts billions of riyals for businesses with services and goods in fields that include but are not limited to: The 3 Rs - recycling, reducing, reducing, climate technology, and clean technology.

Not to mention that ESG has become an integral part of the good governance principles adopted by all companies that are serious about tapping into the purchase power of the global markets.

In the Sultanate of Oman, this seems to be the right time to scale-up the eco-innovation ecosystem to leverage the fact the Sultanate of Oman was one of the first nations in the world to make the environmental portfolio a cabinet-level national priority around 1990.

One of the most promising eco-innovation programmes in the Sultanate of Oman and the region is the Environmental Innovation accelerator programme - EiO; by Environmental Services Holding Company - Be’ah, implemented by Inspired Solutions.

This competitive programme, which is open for application now, rightly targets Small & Medium Enterprises - SMEs because they are globally the backbone of the economy in terms of innovation, job creation and contribution to Gross Domestic Product - GDP. It trains existing SMEs to green their value chains.

This includes GHG accounting, which includes their suppliers. This in turn improves their competitiveness, and attracts major technology and energy international companies to invite them to become part of their value chain.

This “domino effect” as the programme leader and CEO of Inspired Solutions Bill Crew puts facilitates for all businesses in the Sultanate of Oman to pivot towards green economy in line with 'Oman Vision 2040.'

What gives the Sultanate of Oman a competitive edge in this Impact Investing space is that programmes such as EiO follow a meaningful roadmap based on values of transparency and honesty at times where markets are struggling with “greenwashing” or clean activities that use green economy as propaganda with no real positive impact of people or plant.

SMEs that participate create value by embracing sustainability in a way that improves their efficiencies and profit margins.

For example, the actively analysing energy consumption, and reducing costs by eliminating waste, and using recycled materials or upcycled materials in their processes.

Saying that we love the environment is no longer enough to maintain our beautiful planet for future generations. For this reason, this is the right time for all of us to join hands with environmentalists, impact investors and programmes such as EiO to achieve better social and environmental as well as financial returns for the whole world.

The writer is an entrepreneur and innovation advisor

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