As businesses around the world become more and more engaged in sustainability, we are presented with an increasing range of interesting examples of active companies. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they say that they often hear about the same examples from the same international companies over and over again.
In an attempt to share some new best practice examples, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Here are some examples from Egypt, Switzerland and UAE.
March Rauch, Sustainability Coordinator, The American University in Cairo, Egypt
One of the most interesting sustainable development projects in Egypt is being run by IDEA, a Canadian-Egyptian consortium. They are converting 350 or so brick factories south of Cairo from Mazout (heavy oil) to natural gas, thus drastically reducing the amount of CO2 and pollutants emitted by the factories. This also improves the economic situation of the SME’s who own the factories. Finally, they have a well-thought-out, well-integrated set of social welfare programs for the 42,000 brick factory workers (including women and children) who work and live there -often in deplorable conditions. They have committed 5% of the profits of their business to the social welfare programs.
Dr. Jost Hamschmidt, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
The “grown ups” in this field in Switzerland include RepRisk AG, a provider of business intelligence on environmental, social and governance risk. SouthPole Carbon Asset Mangement specializes in reducing greenhouse gases and developing innovative climate friendly solutions. Some of the emerging players in this area include UrbanFarmers which provides systems and solutions that enable companies to grow fresh vegetables and fish in the city on a large scale. OrganicStandard is a monthly journal that enables individuals and organisations to keep up-to-date on developments concerning standards in the organic industry. Superar Suisse is a project that brings music to socially disadvantaged children in Switzerland. PowerAge Foundation is a think tank that aims at changing the way aging is viewed and treated in business and society.
Dr. Eappen Thiruvattal, Assistant Professor, University of Dubai, UAE
TNT Express UAE, a courier service company with a very strong commitment to sustainability is very active in the community here in Dubai. They partner with and support Al Manzil, an institute catering to special needs children where highly professional care giving and learning environment is cultivated for individuals with special needs, enabling them to explore their potential in the Middle East. They have recently donated an amount of AED 83000(USD 26000) which has helped to purchase a much needed bus. They have also been generous sponsors to Doctors Without Borders, as well as several other organisations working locally.