Climate change poses an existential threat and while global initiatives and policies have emerged in response, the risks of climate action failure remain prominent in the coming decade. To avoid irreversible damage to both people and the planet, urgent and concerted actions for a green transition are imperative.
In this crucial endeavour, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a pivotal role. Accounting for approximately 90% of firms worldwide and consuming 13% of energy used by businesses, SMEs possess significant influence in the pursuit of sustainable practices. Though their individual environmental footprint may appear modest, their cumulative contribution to industrial pollution is substantial, highlighting the immense potential of SMEs for driving green growth.
A recently released Tejarah Talks report titled “Oman’s Journey to Net Zero: An Environment for Enterprise?” emphasizes the critical role SMEs play in Oman’s transition to a low carbon economy – highlighting the importance of eco-innovation, eco-adoption and eco-entrepreneurship in harnessing the potential of SMEs to contribute to green growth.
With heightened awareness of their carbon footprint, an increasing number of Omani SMEs are proactively transforming their business models to embrace sustainable practices explained Maymuna Al Adawi, Director, Public Private Partnerships at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Investment Promotion and organizer of Tejarah Talks.
“Their approaches include the provision of climate and environment-focused services, as well as the innovation of new technologies and green products. By aligning operations with sustainability goals, local SMEs are positioning themselves as frontrunners in Oman’s journey towards achieving net-zero emissions”.
Al Adawi went on to add, “eco-innovation offers Omani SMEs an opportunity to leverage their entrepreneurial spirit and develop ground-breaking solutions that address today’s pressing climate change challenges. These efforts yield substantial benefits, not only in terms of protecting the environment but also through the creation of new revenue streams and enhanced competitiveness. And by spearheading eco-adoption, local SMEs that develop sustainable technologies and practices can establish themselves as pioneers in the low carbon economy. This approach not only contributes to reducing industrial pollution but also delivers economic advantages, such as cost savings, increased operational efficiency and stronger brand recognition.”
Embracing eco-entrepreneurship, pointed out Al Adawi not only leads to commercial success but also reinforces Omani SMEs as agents of positive change, amplifying their influence and impact on Oman’s journey to net zero.
However, to fully unlock the potential of SMEs in the green transition, collaboration among government organizations, industry associations and financial institutions is necessary to create an enabling environment that supports and incentivizes SMEs to adopt sustainable practices. While targeted policies, financial assistance and capacity-building programs will equip SMEs with the necessary resources and knowledge to thrive in the low carbon economy.
The release of the Tejarah Talks report, “Oman’s Journey to Net Zero: An Environment for Enterprise?” further underscores the significance of SMEs in driving sustainable practices and contributing to a net-zero future. By embracing eco-innovation, eco-adoption and eco-entrepreneurship, SMEs can power Oman’s transition towards a sustainable future.
Addressing climate change demands a collective commitment and SMEs are essential actors in this effort. “Together, we can transform the challenges posed by climate change into opportunities for investment, job creation and growth. The time for action is now,” concluded Al Adawi.
“Oman’s Journey to Net Zero: An Environment for Enterprise?” is available for download at: https://tinyurl.com/mrxtthec