Tailored Learning Experiences with NYUAD
5 April 2020
Eedama’s Live Workshops
6 May 2020

StartAD LIVE Mentoring Sessions by Eedama: Environmentally Responsible Businesses

Eedama provides professional training for different age groups and initiatives, raising awareness on various important topics of sustainability with every step they take. Eedama is currently collaborating with StartAD - NYU through training and mentoring, an Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator steering seed-stage technology startups to launch, develop, and scale their ventures.

As part of startAD’s wide range of training for early-stage entrepreneurs, Eedama’s co-founder and CEO, Ounsi El Daif spoke to the teams at the Youth Entrepreneurship Program, currently being held as a virtual workshop. The training session led by Ounsi focused on sustainable business development, and demonstrating how to provide value to stakeholders without depleting natural resources. One of the first points here is to understand that stakeholders are not shareholders and that an environmentally and socially responsible business cannot put profit before people and the planet… At some point in the near future, no business should.

Eedama’s slogan is Realize, Rethink, and React, and represents a three stage process of recognizing environmental issues, understanding new ways to deal with them, and implementing an appropriate action plan to handle it: That applies to companies.

Therefore, while a business provides new or alternative solutions to new or existing problems. It has to take into account the impacts on all the sides of the environment in which they work: Downstream and upstream, along the supply chain, but also on its social community, on its geographical surroundings… This is called system thinking. Once identified, businesses should favor alternatives that interact positively and constructively with their environments, a minima, not harming them, and in the best case scenario improving the situation. Example: An alternative some take is using tablets instead of printing paper, and the issue in this solution is that the environmental cost of producing the tablet can create more negative impact than using the paper.

This shows the importance of thinking of all the chain of the implications which our business initiatives put into place; in order to make sure the solutions that are implemented are actually offering an environmental and social benefit. Being a responsible business and considering the whole value chain, thinking about where the product comes from, and ultimately where the product will go.

It is often assumed that creating social or environmental impact wouldn’t make a profit, however, it can bring economic impact, be that for businesses or countries. Possibilities to create social change as a business are everywhere. It is possible to create the change through products and services provided (external impact), in addition to recruitment policies or other alternative practices (internal impact) that focus on being socially responsible.

Ounsi ends the session with important questions that each business should consider in order to evaluate their environmental and social impact: Have you considered both internal and external processes?
- Where does it come from? (Where = not only the country!
& It = anything you’re thinking about selling… Goods, services...)
- Where does it go - after use?
- Energy: What type of energy? How much? Spending? Saving?
- Energy and Resources: Where is it stored? How much?
- Social: How is it used?
- Social: Who is Making? How?
-Social: Who is the consumer? How is it impacting their behavior? Consequences of a behavioral change?
- In case of software: Is there data involved? A lot?
What are all the dimensions (besides the simple supply chain and sales processes) and who are all the stakeholders (beyond the obvious ones like partners, clients, employees… Think about the neighbours, the environment, the culture, natural resources, disposal of goods…). And finally, now that you know… What will you do now? What’s the plan? How will you take these results into consideration?
Mariam Radwan
Mariam Radwan
Sustainability Instructor at Eedama.