KARACHI:

Pakistan, a country already grappling with the devastating impacts of climate change, faces a climate emergency that demands urgent attention.

The effects of more frequent and severe floods, droughts, and heatwaves are becoming increasingly apparent, threatening the nation’s economy and society. Yet, amidst this crisis, there is a glimmer of hope in the form of a growing sustainability movement that must be nurtured and strengthened.

EcoSummit 2023 marked a pivotal moment in this endeavour, but it must be just the beginning of a sustained effort to safeguard Pakistan’s future.

EcoSummit 2023 convened influential stakeholders from Pakistan’s business community, government, and civil society to inaugurate ‘What’s the Alternative,’ a platform launched by SEED Ventures in collaboration with the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OICCI).

The summit’s primary objective was to explore innovative and alternative practices employed by organisations to promote environmental sustainability.

A recurring theme throughout the event was the pressing need for a “mindset shift.” Sustainability must no longer be seen as a mere act of altruism, but rather as a sound business strategy.

Evidence suggests that companies investing in sustainability can yield up to 10% higher profits by reducing costs, improving efficiency, and attracting more customers. By embracing sustainability, businesses can not only contribute to the greater good but also secure their own long-term success.

Moreover, the summit emphasised that sustainability is not a luxury but an absolute necessity. Pakistan cannot afford to overlook the environmental crisis that threatens its very existence. It is essential to act swiftly and resolutely before the situation spirals beyond our control.

Collaboration emerged as another vital aspect of the summit. To make a substantial impact, all stakeholders must come together to share ideas, pool resources, and collaboratively develop solutions.

EcoSummit 2023 facilitated workshops and panel discussions on renewable energy, waste management, and sustainable agriculture, shedding light on the challenges Pakistan faces in achieving sustainability. Encouragingly, these discussions also underscored the momentum building for change, as various businesses showcased their green initiatives.

For example, Hamdard Laboratories, under the leadership of Tahir Mirza, has adopted eco-friendly practices, such as harnessing solar power, recycling water, and initiating tree-planting campaigns. Similarly, businesses led by Danish Iqbal, Chairman of Metro Power Group and Gul Ahmed Energy Group, are investing in renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

These endeavours serve as beacons of hope, but more innovation, investment, and support from both the government and society at large are necessary.

EcoSummit 2023 must not remain a standalone event but rather a catalyst for ongoing action. We must continue the dialogue and implement concrete measures to promote sustainability in Pakistan. Every individual can contribute to this movement by volunteering with local organisations, supporting sustainable businesses, and adopting eco-friendly practices in their daily lives.

To gain deeper insights into the alternative practices shaping sustainability in Pakistan, ‘What’s the Alternative’ offers a wealth of information and resources. Their website and social media channels provide valuable tools for everyone interested in playing a part in securing Pakistan’s environmental future.

The grim reality of the climate crisis in Pakistan cannot be ignored. As one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, ranking fifth on the Global Climate Risk Index 2020, Pakistan faces disproportionate impacts despite contributing less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Water scarcity, food insecurity, biodiversity loss, health risks, and social unrest are among the severe consequences Pakistan contends with. It is incumbent upon us all to rise to the occasion and transform EcoSummit 2023’s vision into a reality – one where sustainability takes centre stage in securing a brighter and greener future for Pakistan and its people.

The writer is a Pakistani-Canadian content creator and writer who has written extensively about Pakistan for Pakistani and North American publications, and creates content with a particular focus on sustainability

 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2023.

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