June 15, 2011 02:01 AM
By Tamara Qiblawi
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Lebanon will soon arrive at an “awakening” when it comes to greening business, said Nemat Frem, president of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists at the launch of Lebanon Opportunities’ Green Business Initiative Tuesday.

“As long as we are conscious of the importance of eco-friendliness, we need to create the infrastructure so that we are ahead of the greening trend,” said Frem. “The private sector must lead Lebanon in becoming greener.”
The Green Business Initiative consists of a series of workshops, lobbying efforts and petitions that aim to foster a more eco-friendly economy.

At the heart of the campaign is the “Green Pledge” where signatory companies agree to undertake some extra operational measures including minimizing waste and toxic emissions, measuring environmental impacts of operations, and carrying out awareness-raising among staff members.

Lebanon Opportunities aims to gather 1,000 signatures.

“In Lebanon and the Arab region, we have noticed a blossoming of a market niche and the booming of green business,” Roula Majdalani, a director at UN-ESCWA, wrote in Lebanon Opportunities’ Green Business edition this month.

According to the Economy and Trade Ministry, national trade activity in environmental goods totaled $382 million in 2009, representing an increase of 33 percent between 2006 and 2009.

“Green economy has become mainstream and it will also evolve and mature,” said Nader el Naqib of G for Good, the first NGO in Lebanon to promote green construction, during a talk about green marketing.

During his talk, Naqib spoke about the dangers of “green washing,” or the phenomenon where a company acts eco-friendly only for the sake of garnering more sales, but has little to show for this façade in practice.

He listed a number of measures Lebanese companies can take to avoid becoming green washing “sinners.”

Green Party chief Philip Skaff was also present during the talk, taking the opportunity to implore attendees to combine their marketing prowess with the adoption of green technologies.

“It’s not enough to tell your customers that your product is green,” said Skaff, explaining that a product’s greeness should not be its main selling point but rather an additional benefit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 15, 2011, on page 4.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Business/Lebanon/2011/Jun-15/Green-awakening-coming-soon-to-Lebanon.ashx#ixzz1Pr5SlnRi
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)