Sustainability is the new buzzword. In the larger scheme of things, the word broadly means the ability to maintain a method or process that is relevant over time. In terms of business and commerce, it aims to develop ways of working that prevent the depletion of available resources to leave a livable world for today, and for generations to come.
The Dawood family has been one of the few drivers and enablers of business and trade in Pakistan. With an ensemble of businesses spanning all over the country and across the globe, The Dawood Global Foundation (DGF) spearheaded by TU Dawood as President, stands strong on the legs of business, women and sustainability. TUD’s brainchild, LADIESFUND, that primarily focuses on women and encourages young women entrepreneurs to make themselves financially independent and sustainable, held the 7th Sustainability Luncheon at the prestigious British Deputy High Commission, Karachi.
Brimming with intellect, like-minded entrepreneurial women, and crème de le crème of the business world and corporate landscape, the event acknowledged, appreciated, and awarded the endeavours of businesses that remained committed to any or all of the 17 United Nation Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDGs). The day was not only a networking exercise for all the women, but it also went a mile extra to train businesswomen in how they can further align their business operations with UNSDGs.
The trainers and orators belonged to UNIDO and UNDP. There was Peter Hurst from the UK, Qasar Wasique Ahmad from UNIDO Pakistan, and Rida Amjad Mirza and Hameeda Kaleem from UNDP, all of whom trained and prepared the young professionals who led small and medium enterprises, homechefs and several rural women whose craft needed polishing as their talent was not only priceless but contributed positively to income perpetuity and driving Pakistan’s economy at large.
The businesses cherry-picked for staying true to the commitment to sustainability were National Foods, EY, Glow & Lovely, Sam International, Womenpreneur, Roots Millenium School, HBL Asset Management and Toni & Guy among others. The top 10 celebrated LADIESFUND Women of Inspiration 2023 were recognised for their contribution to the same – Nargis Rehman, Sharmila Farooqui, Shaniera Akram, Dr. Ishrat Lindblad, Naz Khan, Hena Sadeq, Nighat Misbah, Dr. Mahnaz Shah, Niilofur Farrukh and Frieha Altaf.
Uplifting the Cause
Teamwork is essential for any successful effort to materialise. Training the young professionals and sustaining their businesses in fierce competition is no mean feat. Support is not only beneficial but vital to keep the ball rolling in the right direction. Depilex, Enchante Silver, White Biryani, Hanif Rajput, Nestle, Salad Tox, Igloo, Cups N Cakes, Bakers Inn, Oriental Cake, Warm Delights, Herbamed, Delicacy, Sam Bakes, and Maccaroon, all stood strong in support of the cause.
Women in the Jigsaw
LADIESFUND President, Tara Uzra Dawood, asserted that the cohort of LADIESFUND emphasizes standing strong with the women working for and towards economic and financial empowerment, and ensures that they are heard and voiced out. The luncheon further stepped another ladder in cementing it with the certification of sustainability. Aligning women’s businesses with UNSDGs and acknowledging those who stay true to the same is a much-overlooked cause and must be prioritised if we are to achieve UNSDG Goal 5: Gender Equality.
The British Deputy High Commissioner, Sarah Mooney, shared an anecdote about her childhood – she was obligated to learn how to iron a man’s shirt, in school. She broke the chain of social disorders and necessitated changes in the school, going on to become an incredible leader, a force to be reckoned with. Peter Hurst, UNIDO Global expert, also gave a keynote speech where he highlighted the importance of women empowerment and equity, especially in Sindh.
Furthermore, the UNDP gender experts Rida Amjad Mirza and Hameeda Kaleem also took the stage for training on UNSDGs. The mentorship was also led by LADIESFUND UNSDG Specialist corporate trainer Xenab F. Ansari, who took the liberty of walking the attendees through the 17 UNSDGs with a comprehensive and systematic plan.