“Sustainability is a really broad scope of dealing with conflicts or with issues or challenges that you come across,” says Efrat Peled, the Chairman and CEO of Arison Investments, a financial firm driven by making a positive impact through sustainability. “We embrace the environmental issues into these ideas, but in a very soft way.”
The needs of sustainability vary depending on the local communities. Teaching basic hygiene, Peled points out as an example, may be a critical issue in some rural parts of the world and not in others. “So there is a big difference for sustainability in a developed or in the third world countries and in the developed world,” she says.
In the Bahamas, Arison Investments is working on a $90 million project on reducing leakage in the water system. “Over a ten-year period, we will reduce the water leakage from 50 percent to 25 percent,” she says. “And we’ve been doing a lot of work around education of people, working with schools, working with children about the importance of water, about the importance of saving water, about creating the awareness of why water is so crucial in our life.” The educational program is built specifically around the needs of people in that part of the world.
“So you can combine the message according to what you do and according to what the people on the ground need,” says Peled. “And these things have been very successful. You can save a lot of money, not only water, but a lot of money for these schools and for these families if you make and create the awareness and education programs around that.”
Smarter sustainability is all about thinking and acting locally.