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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Tejarah Talks session focuses on sustainability as a business imperative

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BUSINESS REPORTER


MUSCAT, FEB 26


Tejarah Talks, a new business initiative by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Investment Promotion (MoCIIP) was launched Wednesday evening at the Civil Aviation Authority Training Centre in Al Hail North with a session entitled ‘Sustainability – A Nice-to-have or a Need-to-have?’ Supported by SOHAR Port & Freezone, HSBC and Oman Business Forum, Tejarah Talks attendees heard from a panel of local and international businesses committed to reversing climate change through innovative thinking, helping lower Oman’s CO2 emissions, improve sustainability and lead Oman’s transition to renewables.


Maymuna al Adawi, MoCIIP Director and Tejarah Talks organiser said: “Omani consumers used to fall into two distinct categories a niche group of eco-friendly shoppers and everyone else. Today that distinction no longer exists. Sustainability is mainstream and the public particularly Oman’s youth want the brands they choose to engage with to be eco-friendly.” The February 23 Tejarah Talks session was moderated by His Highness Sayyid Dr Adham al Said, Founder, The Firm. The panelists were: Mazin al Saadi, HSSE Manager, Mazoon Dairy; Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO, SOHAR Port & Freezone; Dr Firas al Abduwani, VP, Clean Energy OQ Alternative Energy; Simon Adcock, Head, Commercial Banking, HSBC; and Dr. Michael Tsang, Founder, Three Pillars Consulting.


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a sizeable shift in Omani consumer attitudes towards climate change which has inspired firms, large and small, to innovate and re-evaluate their way of working and become more sustainable.


“Businesses in manufacturing, energy, tourism and food production are finding interesting and exciting ways to address sustainability issues,” commented His Highness Sayyid Dr Adham al Said, Founder, The Firm and moderator of Wednesday evening’s Tejarah Talks. “The upshot is companies discovering new ways to go green, protect the environment and make substantial savings.” In addition to the financial savings Omani businesses can make through green practices, there is also scope to attract investment with sustainability increasingly becoming a prominent criterion for funding, pointed out HH Dr Adham.


A recent Barclays study revealed that 75 per cent of businesses interviewed benefited commercially after going green. For many firms, investing in sustainable measures is not just an ethical decision but also a profitable one.


One third of businesses surveyed by Barclays also reported lower business costs as a result of their green investments – while 27 per cent believed their actions would help their company gain environmentally responsible status in the marketplace.


“It is clear from the Barclays study that investing in green and sustainable measures not only enhances brand image but also increases competitive advantage. In fact, there is no doubt that improving a company’s reputation by showing dedication to sustainability can have an indirect effect on a firm’s net profits,” added the MoCIIP Director.


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