A commitment to Sustainable Development in Pakistan’s Business Sector

A commitment from the top is seen to be an essential role in implementing sustainable development. Leadership’ on the Board of Directors, in the C-Suite, and on executive teams, is instrumental in articulating vision of the company’s role in sustainable development. This benefits in reducing reputational and future compliance risks. Companies will be able to develop a holistic picture of both opportunities and risks in future if they pursue long term sustainable development.

CERB hosted two practitioner workshops on the 30th November, in Karachi and on the 6th November in Lahore, titled “Transforming Business Culture in the Business Sector of Pakistan” with support from its knowledge partners A. F. Ferguson and Co. (A member firm of PwC Network).

The main focus of the workshops was to identify how any business can manage and position as a transformational company by adopting a sustainable strategy. This was in line with CERB’s third baseline survey, “Transforming Business Culture in the Business Sector of Pakistan” conducted among PBC members only. This survey covered best practices of the businesses that create value and ensure long-term business sustainability. TCS Express & Logistics, SICPA Inks Pakistan, Artistic Milliners, Interloop Limited, JS Bank, Akzonobel Pakistan, Bulleh Shah Packaging, ACCA Pakistan, Fast Cables and Unilever Pakistan were invited to share their best practices in the areas of sustainable development.

In both sessions, participants received valuable insights from the motivational speaker for the workshop in Karachi, Mr. Khalid Nawaz Awan, Chairman of TCS Express & Logistics, emphasized on ‘the aspect of practicing transformation within oneself as an individual looking after the leadership of an organization’. Mr. Arif Masud Mirza, Head of Policy MESA – ACCA Pakistan, when speaking in the workshop in Lahore, highlighted, ‘leadership roles in businesses should recognize the importance of managing non-financial performance for the greater good of the planet and people’.

At both workshops, companies presented business case studies and were engaged in a panel discussion on ‘Corporate Positioning and Strategy for Sustainability’. Aman Ghanchi, Executive Director Legal & Company Secretary of Unilever Pakistan, highlighted in the workshop in Karachi, ‘sustainable sourcing is a key pillar of Unilever’s agenda and the company continuously measures the performance of its suppliers and sustainability of its products and services’. Syed Tanviruddin Ahmad, from SICPA Inks, presented on and spoke about Lean Manufacturing showing results in improved efficiency, effectiveness and profitability of the company. Commitment, communication and training the right people are the three strengths required to maintain this transformation. Faiza Jamil, representing Artistic Milliners, a LEED certified Textile Company, emphasized on ethics, which goes a long way, plus educating the suppliers on the terms, making expectations clear and engaging with them as a partner to achieve sustainability. JS Bank’s Yawar Herekar spoke of the banking perspective, where the bigger part is governance enforced by SBP’s regulations, implementing Green Banking Guidelines (GBG) to reduce vulnerability of the bank from risks arising from the environment.

In the panel discussion in Lahore Faryal Sadiq, from Interloop, spoke on how her company ‘is compelled to identify sustainable development factors material to its strategic vision and central to this is managing people through ensuring equal opportunities, empowering them, meeting their human rights and creating a culture of sustainable business’. Usman Hafaz from AkzoNobel, a multinational company, highlighted on how adopting the global sustainable performance practices of its parent company has enabled the company to offer sustainable solutions to its customers.

Mustafa Ahmed, representing Bulleh Shah Packaging, identified how the company has mapped all its non-financial issues that are material to its future prosperity and long-term success, most importantly how it has managed the recycling process which includes third party recycling waste collectors, the use of ground water and how to steward waste water to a high safe standard to be used by local farming. Fast Cables spoke of having safe standards in the product life cycle and also emphasized establishing coherent communication strategy in the local language to get the entire workforce and their supply chain aligned to the strategic goals of sustainable development.

F. Ferguson and Co. provided the relevant tools and assistance to make participants understand the organization’s sustainable development context, basic skills in strategy formulation and target setting on sustainable development by taking a leadership role.