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Going green initiative: need of the hour!

Pakistan currently ranks 135th in the list of global emitters of carbon on a per capita basis, accounting for less than 1 percent of total global carbon emissions, according to World Bank data. According to the report submitted by Pakistan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change last year, the country’s emissions in 2015 stood at 405 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2 eq.). However, emissions are increasing at a rate of 3.9 percent (16 MTCO2 eq.) annually.

Pakistan is also considered one of those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, from worsening floods and scalding summer temperatures to erratic rainfall that can kill crops. Planned renewable energy projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) include a solar park, four wind farms and three hydro plants that together would generate around 3,900MW, at a cost of about $7.5 billion. According to the Pakistan Alternative Energy Development Board, Pakistan has the potential to generate annually 2.9 million MW of clean energy from solar, 340,000MW from wind and 100,000MW from hydropower.

Green initiative

Today Pakistan is facing numerous environmental problems such as global warming, ozone depletion, crowded cities and pollution. The universal solution in general and Pakistan, in particular, has no other option but to address these problems by planting more and more trees and making the nation greener and eco-friendly. According to famous saying “A man doesn’t plant a tree for himself. He plants it for posterity”. A growing trend in business is the emphasis on sustainable “green” business practices. Going “green” means many things to different individuals as well as to different business enterprises. On one hand, it could mean reducing energy use or supporting the use of alternative energy sources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. On the other hand, it could include cutting operating costs, enhancing employee health and productivity, enhancing business reputation or reducing the risk of running afoul of environmental regulations.

 

From cost savings to positive PR, increasingly “going green” is a modern business imperative. A brand’s social purpose and green footprint

are among the factors that influence purchasing decisions, according to Nielsen. Globally, more than half of all consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services from businesses that are committed to social and environmental impact.

Brands in Pakistan seem only to be “painting” in green, focusing on patriotism, religion or other tried-and-tested formulas. Respect for culture is a sure way for marketers to create empathy and a sense of belonging. By being culturally savvy, brands will be able to break through the clutter, communicate better and create ownership. When everyone is searching for an unfair advantage, Pakistani brands should embrace culture for success by actually going “green” through adopting following ways (Reduce, Re-use, Recycle and Repair):

  1. Using re-usable pens, inks and cartridges.
  2. Eliminating waste in printing.
  3. Using natural light.
  4. Using environment-friendly paper and energy-friendly items.

The government, through collaboration with universities, should encourage and support research projects related to renewable and alternative sources of energy and introduce technology competitions. Entrepreneurs should also establish innovative businesses that tap into the rising demand for electricity. Moreover, the government needs to introduce tax rebates and custom incentives for people investing in such environment-friendly green stations. In addition to awareness programs, governments and businesses will need to come up with financial incentives to attract people to travel the road of sustainability.

The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan

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