Going green is a valuable investment that benefits the world
By Jim Katzaman
Women lag behind during good economic conditions and suffer more during downturns. That is especially stark amid ever changing and stress-filled climates.
Combating climate change while promoting a green economy offers challenges and opportunities, especially for women. This is where Bare Necessities Zero Waste Solutions hopes to make its mark.
The company seeks to create environmental and social impact by offering zero waste solutions to empower local communities and to change mindsets on sustainability.Eco-Friendly Offices Give People and Plants All the PowerWorking from home saves energy and brings peace of mindmedium.datadriveninvestor.com
During a #SayftyChat with self-love coach Subuhi Safvi, corporate representative Sahar Mansoor talked about women and the green economy.
“We create zero-waste products, workshops and online courses,” Mansoor said. “We emphasize the employment of women and work toward addressing the often-ignored yet growing problem of waste.”
A green economy means different things, depending on who you ask.
“It reduces environmental harm, fostering a circular economy,” Mansoor said. “It’s regenerative and supports community health and justice.
“It is an economy where all participants — humans, animals, plants and the surrounding ecosystem — coexist sustainably within the resources they’re provided with,” she said.
The concept is simple.
“It’s something all of us can do in our own homes and neighborhoods,” Mansoor said.
“We need to ensure that we have a safe planet for all inhabitants,” she said. “Profits won’t make any difference if there is no sustainable living space.”
Most meaningful changes start close to home.
“Buy local,” Safvi said. “Sustainable products explicitly state they are made from recycled materials. I also follow a vegan diet and try to take public transport when possible — paying for more sustainable products and services.
“Understanding the impact is one thing,” she said. “Deciding to make small changes to prevent further environmental degradation is another.”
All Must Join In
Gender plays a key role in creating a green economy.
“It’s really important to have gender equality to advance the green economy mission,” Mansoor said. “The mission requires everyone in society to participate and tackle climate resilience, poverty reduction and more.
“We need to have a more significant percentage of women in the sustainable development sector,” she said. “There are multiple aspects in businesses itself like operations, production, design, business development and marketing.”
That addresses several problems at once.
“Green jobs and the promotion of the green economy among women are fundamental,” Mansoor said. “We can pursue economic and social development while striving to achieve gender equality and equity as a society.
“Ensuring increased employment of honest, hardworking women recognizes the role they can play in developing a green economy in societies across the world,” she said.
According to a paper from 2019, economic losses because of climate change exceeded $300 billion. It is also driving 26 million people into poverty every year. Of the 75 countries studied, in 41 of them, women were more likely to be poorer than men.
“Research has shown that gender equality and the economic advancement of women in the green economy is integral to sustainable development and reduction of poverty,” Safvi said. “Yet, green policies usually neglect to include measures to increase gender equality and inclusiveness.
“A 2021 report stated that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries could increase their gross domestic product by over $6 trillion by increasing their female workforce to match Sweden’s,” she said. “Women’s work becomes more visible with mainstreaming in greener economies.”
Begin With Pay Gap
In that way it makes sense to make inclusive policies.
“There is the pay gap,” Safvi said. “There are also policies not framed to encourage more participation from women. Women will also almost always face the brunt of economic and environmental issues more than men.”
One of the economic sacrifices is that environmentally friendly products tend to be more expensive.
Creating a green economy incurs several obstacles.
“Many deserving businesses are now developing in this sector,” Mansoor said. “A fundamental challenge a lot of green businesses face is access to capital
“We need to change the way we think about metrics,” she said. “Right now, spreadsheets and financial returns often dictate the success of a business. Quite often other pillars of a sustainable business — like environmental and social benefits — aren’t reflected on a spreadsheet.
Follow the money to find who carries the most weight.
“Stakeholders who hold the power to invest need to change the way it’s done,” Mansoor said. “The landscape needs to evolve and be more inclusive of green businesses that strive to do things different from the conventional way several fast-moving consumer goods companies thrive on.”
Safvi gave many of the top green challenges:
- New efficient technologies and compliance to these
- Developing cooperation between industry for efficiency in circular economy
- Gearing policies toward inclusive, sustainable growth
- Compliance by masses
- Individual changes
“This makes it more important to enforce policies to encourage green economies aligned with gender equity,” she said. “There is also a perceived threat to safety in spaces where the gender ratio is skewed, further promoting underrepresentation.”
Sustainable and Stable
Reversing the current scene starts with making the green economy more inclusive for women.
“A lot of simple fundamental changes will have to be made to ensure gender equality in employment in the green sector,” Mansoor said. “To start with, we can work on creating sustainable, stable green jobs. Provide medical care and generous maternity leave to women.
“It’s important to provide ample opportunities for women to enter the workforce in the green job sector,” she said. “Invest in upskilling the women workforce in their desired areas.”
Mansoor offered her company as an example.
“At Bare, we love to seek out and provide opportunities for our manufacturing women to up-skill themselves in their areas of interest,” she said. “That includes computer skills, language skills, sustainability education and more.
Begin by highlighting women’s normal accomplishments.
“Recognize women’s contribution to the economy and sustainability,” Safvi said. “Create more inclusive policies to encourage participation of women in greening economies.
“So many of us forget that it is dumb luck — on the face of it — that we were born to privileges,” she said. “It is important to educate those who have had different circumstances.”
As a reference, Forbes has compiled a list of the 100 most sustainable companies.
“We’re so grateful and honored to be in a position where all our partners are helping further the vision of a green economy,” Mansoor said. “Right from our vendors, we have donation partners like Hasiru Dala plus corporate social responsibility partners like Cognizant and Cisco.
“We’re also really fond of the movement toward climate action by several organizations,” she said. “They include Count Us In, Break Free from Plastic, Fridays for Future, Daily Dump, Okhai, SELCO Foundation and Kabadiwalla Connect.