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Mohammed Bin Zayed attends Esty's lecture on "Green to Gold"

Jul 28, 2010 - 06:03 -

WAM ABU DHABI, July 28th, 2010: H.H General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces has attended a lecture by Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University.

Esty's lecture "Green to Gold: Environmental Sustainability in a Changing World" was also attended by Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education '&' Scientific Research, Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al-Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), senior officials, , dignitaries and ambassadors accredited to the United Arab Emirates.

He is also the Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy as well as the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale.

Esty hailed the efforts being made by the UAE, and the emirate of Abu Dhabi in particular, to conserve the environment.

He cited Masdar as a competitive model project aimed at generating electricity in an economic and environmentally clean way.

Esty said the big contribution to environmental preservation by Abu Dhabi and Dubai reflect a clear vision and a real relevant strategy.

Established in April 2006, Masdar (the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company) is a multi-faceted company advancing the development, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy solutions and clean technologies. Masdar integrates the full renewable and clean technology lifecycle - from research to commercial deployment - with the aim of creating scalable clean energy solutions. Masdar works with global partners and institutions to integrate new research with proven technologies to produce efficient systems and processes that can be replicated globally.

Masdar builds on Abu Dhabi's position as a leading global energy player, with an aim to develop renewable energy and low-carbon technologies at a global level; whilst contributing toward the UAE's economic diversification through the development of a knowledge-based clean energy sector in the UAE. It seeks to be a leading renewable energy and clean technology player by providing a test bed for the world to develop commercially viable, sustainable energy solutions.

In his lecture, Esty proposed the establishment by the UAE of the world's first college of environmental sustainability to further boost environmental preservation.

Professor Esty is the author or editor of nine books and numerous articles on environmental policy issues and the relationships between environment and corporate strategy, competitiveness, trade, globalization, governance, and development.

Esty's recent prizewinning book is titled "Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage." In his lecture which is based on his book "Green to Gold", Esty explored what every executive must know to manage the environmental challenges facing business and society.

Esty discussed how companies generate lasting value, cut costs, reduce risk, drive new revenues, and create strong brands - by building environmental thinking into their core business strategies.

Esty provided clear how-to advice and present concrete examples from companies across the world that are achieving both environmental and business success. He showed how these companies are establishing an "eco-advantage" in the marketplace by examining all aspects of their business from production to marketing through an environmental lens. He also presented strategies and tools that help companies find their way in a world of resource constraints and pressures from all sides.

Esty argued for the adoption of rules that provide for a sustainable environmental future, similarly to what is being done to lay the foundation for a more sustainable economy.

He also argued in favor of overhauling the traditional approach to environmental regulation, which tolerates externalities by offering "permits" up to a certain level of harm. Lastly, he will support broadening the push to make polluters pay for all the harm they cause, thus creating incentives for care and conservation, efficiency and resource productivity.

Esty described well-designed reporting rules that make it easier to spot externalized risks and harder to hide malfeasance, as well as widely available metrics that facilitate benchmarking across companies. These rules and metrics offer a mechanism for assessing performance, highlighting leaders and laggards, and spurring competitive pressures that drive all toward better results. He supported studying the leaders, which offer an important way to identify best practices in everything from corporate strategy to pollution control. Likewise, outliers (such as those who make 10% returns year after year without fail) can be isolated for special review and scrutiny, according to Esty.

Esty contended that businesses are beginning to see the environment not as a matter of risk management but of opportunities not to be missed, and that business attitudes towards the environment have undergone a big change in the past year. He claimed that companies big and small, in manufacturing and services have begun to see the environment as not just about regulations to follow, costs to contain, and risks to manage. Instead, they have recognized that big market opportunities exist for companies that can provide solutions to problems such as climate change, water scarcity, chemical exposures, air pollution, and declining natural resources from fisheries to forests.

Finally, Esty asserted that environmental concerns have moved up the public agenda, and that environmental factors have become a matter of core business strategy. He claimed that no company or industry can afford to ignore higher energy prices, pollution control requirements and costs, and natural resource management pressures. Instead, companies that carefully think through these issues and develop thoughtful ways to address them are likely to be advantaged in the marketplace. And those who solve the environmental problems of others will find opportunities to drive revenues, build markets, and enhance their corporate brands and reputation.

Esty closed by saying that there can be no doubt that a green wave is sweeping the business world. Those who learn to ride the wave and fold environmental thinking into all aspects of their business, stand to profit. Those who fail to take note of the wave are likely to be swept under by it, Esty added.