Monthly HighlightsSustainability Star

Sustainability Star of the Month – Najia Qazi

8 Mins read

Tell us about yourself

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A sustainability advocate, designer, consultant, and founder of Sustainable Narrative with a clear vision on a sustainable, circular economy and the new role of business, addressing how 3 P’s – people, planet and profit can make positive impact. At Sustainable Narrative, we are conceptualizing sustainable and impactful green solutions to various businesses in the UAE. I work with clients to lead a wave of innovation and economic growth that safeguards our planet and advances sustainability. Catering to all the industry sectors to transform to reach net zero by 2050, balanced with the sustainable development goals. My aim is to take ideas as well as concepts from the natural world, turn them into accepted business models with the approach ‘business today from the perspective of tomorrow’.

What inspired you to embrace eco-friendly practices and make a shift towards sustainability?

In 2018, I was introduced to the current gap in the market in the UAE market wherein the concept of sustainability was practically missing. Having worked with various brands and businesses, I began to question how the entire system works and decide to find a solution for glaring issues such as the unfair pay gap, high rate of production leading to over consumption, excessive wastage of resources etc.

As we go forward on our path, the aim of my business, Sustainable Narrative, is to embrace sustainability as a mandatory choice instead of a corrective action and to live it fully. Personally, this also means for me to continue becoming conscious about my lifestyle, reducing my own footprint and in turn being a role model in helping create a green impact through local and international collaborations. I would also add on a personal note I vouch to continue learning and informing myself about evolution of sustainable efforts across the world, since this is something, we simply cannot ignore.

What are the primary steps you take to integrate eco-friendly practices into your lifestyle?


There are several reasons why I choose to embrace eco-friendly practices and shift towards sustainability.

1) Environmental Factors – Climate Change: One of the primary motivations for embracing eco-friendly practices is the recognition of the urgent need to address climate change. By adopting sustainable practices, we can reduce our personal and company’s carbon footprint and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

2) Social Factors – Well-being and Ethical consideration: I do believe that eco-friendly practices often promote healthier living conditions by reducing exposure to harmful pollutants and toxins for example, using organic products. Also, sustainable initiatives often involve collaboration among community members, leading to a sense of shared responsibility, collective action and ethical considerations, recognizing the moral obligation to protect the environment for the future generations. Embracing eco-friendly practices aligns with my personal values such as stewardship, fairness, and intergenerational equity.

3) Economic Factors – Market Demand: After the pandemic there is a growing market demand for eco-friendly products and services. We are becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of our choices and prefer sustainable options. Embracing eco-friendly practices has further helped businesses to tap into UAE’s market and gain a competitive advantage as a result.

Share some of the most effortless yet impactful eco-friendly changes you’ve made in your daily routine.

By adopting simple yet impactful habits, we can contribute to a more sustainable future. Here are some effortless yet impactful eco-friendly changes that I have incorporated into my daily routine:

1) Reducing Single-Use Plastics: One of the easiest and most effective changes we can make is to reduce our consumption of single-use plastics. Instead, opt for reusable alternatives like cloth bags, stainless steel water bottles, and bamboo cutlery. By doing so, I think we can significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans.

2) Eating a Plant-Based Diet: By incorporating such meals into my diet and reducing meat consumption, can further help mitigate these environmental impacts and have numerous health benefits as well.

3) Using Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products: Switching to eco-friendly alternatives, such as vinegar, baking soda, and plant-based cleaners, has helped reduce my exposure to toxins and minimize environmental impact.

4) Opting for Sustainable Transportation: Transportation is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Whenever possible, I choose sustainable transportation options like walking, or using public transportation.

5) Supporting Local and Sustainable Businesses: I collaborate or partner with businesses that use renewable energy, source locally produced goods, or have environmentally-friendly initiatives in place. By making these small adjustments, we can collectively make a big difference in preserving our planet for future generations.

What difficulties have you encountered while striving to live in an environmentally conscious manner?

Dubai has been making significant strides in sustainability in recent years. However, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed to become more sustainable. Residents in the UAE have grown accustomed to certain behaviors that contribute to environmental degradation, such as excessive consumption, and wasteful practices. For example, transitioning from a meat-based diet to a plant-based or vegetarian diet can be challenging for individuals and similarly, reducing reliance on private vehicles and opting for public transportation or cycling may require adjustments in daily routines and schedules.

In the UAE, there is a lack of widespread support for eco-friendly practices, which can make it challenging to sustain efforts. For instance, fast fashion has become a norm in many parts of the world, leading to excessive consumption and waste generation. Choosing sustainable fashion clothing options may be more expensive or less accessible, making it difficult to make environmentally conscious choices without compromising their budget or style preferences.

Also, lack of awareness and education in understanding of the impact of our actions on the environment, people may not realize the need for change or know how to make sustainable choices. By raising awareness about environmental challenges, promoting sustainable practices, and providing information on available resources and alternatives, I believe that we can be empowered to make informed decisions that align with their environmental values. Collectively as a society, we can create a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations as well.

Describe a rewarding moment on your sustainability journey


At Sustainable Narrative, we have also been able to mark ourselves as one of the leading voices of the conversation. At EXPO 2020, we partnered with LO’real Middle East on Garnier’s One Green Step campaign. This was a digital educational campaign, followed by a physical event, encouraging people to move towards green living and share the steps they are taking in their day-to-day lives to help the environment.  Sustainable Narrative has also collaborated for The World Green Economy Summit and MENA Climate Week hosted by the Government of the UAE and jointly co-organized by the UN entities on climate change, environment, and development. This platform was utilized to build consensus around the potential of technologies, policies, and youth as engines of a green economy transformation. Also, with Dubai Chambers of Commerce for the green initiative, this was a fit as Sustainable Narrative’s core mission emphasizes educating and encouraging businesses to take ownership of their journey towards a more responsible and sustainable future. Overall, the rewarding moments that includes partnership with various business ( serves as a testament to the company’s commitment to sustainability and demonstrates that our efforts have made a tangible impact on implementing sustainable business practices and contributing to a positive change across industries.

What are some misconceptions about being eco-friendly that you’d like to debunk?

There are several misconceptions about being eco-friendly that are important to debunk to promote a better understanding of sustainable practices. These misconceptions often arise due to misinformation, lack of awareness, or misunderstanding of the concept of eco-friendliness.

Individual actions don’t make a difference: However, every small action counts when it comes to sustainability. Collectively, individual choices can create significant positive change. For instance, if every household reduced their waste by a small amount, it would result in substantial waste reduction on a larger scale. Moreover, individual actions serve as examples and inspire others to adopt eco-friendly practices, creating a ripple effect that can lead to broader societal changes.

Eco-friendly products are less effective and expensive:  This misconception stems from the assumption that environmentally friendly alternatives cannot match the performance of traditional products. However, advancements in technology and innovation have led to the development of eco-friendly products that are just as effective, if not more so, than their non-sustainable counterparts. By addressing these misconceptions, we can encourage individuals and communities to make more informed choices and contribute to a healthier planet.

From your perspective, how does technology contribute to the promotion of sustainable practices and attitudes?

Technology plays a crucial role in promoting sustainable practices and attitudes by offering innovative solutions to address environmental challenges. It provides tools, knowledge, and platforms that enable individuals, businesses, and governments to adopt sustainable practices and make informed decisions. From renewable energy sources to smart cities and digital platforms for environmental education, technology offers a wide range of opportunities to create a more sustainable future.

Furthermore, technology plays a significant role in raising awareness and educating individuals about sustainable practices. Digital platforms such as our own, Sustainable Narrative provide accessible information and offer tools various tools. For example, it allows for the dissemination of information on sustainability initiatives and encourage collective action by delivering online strategies, online workshops, and sessions on sustainability-related topics, reaching a broader audience globally.

By leveraging technology, we can create a more sustainable future for generations to come.

How do you plan on continuing your sustainability journey? What other aspects do you plan to change?

As I continue my sustainability journey, I plan to focus on several key areas to reduce my environmental impact and improve my sustainability practices. Here are some of the aspects I plan to change:

1. Energy & water conservation: I will continue to reduce my water and energy consumption by using energy-efficient appliances and lighting, and by turning off lights and electronics when not in use.

2. Food & Waste reduction: : I will continue to eat a plant-based diet to reduce my carbon footprint and support sustainable agriculture. Also, reduce my waste by composting food scraps, recycling, and avoiding single-use plastics. I will also consider implementing a zero-waste policy in my home by avoiding purchasing products with excess packaging and choosing products made from sustainable materials.

3. Transportation & travel : I will continue to reduce my carbon footprint by using public transportation, biking, or walking whenever possible. Also, choose sustainable travel options, such as staying in eco-friendly accommodations, using public transportation, and supporting local businesses and communities.

4. Education and advocacy: I will continue to educate myself on sustainability issues and advocate for sustainable practices in my community. I will also consider supporting organizations and initiatives that promote sustainability and environmental protection.

Overall, my sustainability journey is an ongoing process, and I will continue to make changes and improvements as I learn more about sustainable practices and technologies. By taking a holistic approach to sustainability, I hope to make a positive impact on the environment and create a more sustainable UAE.

Lastly, how do you think we can ensure that eco-friendly options and choices are available and attainable for a diverse range of individuals?

To ensure that eco-friendly options and choices are available and attainable for a diverse range of individuals, there are several strategies that can be employed. These include:

1. Affordable pricing is one of the biggest barriers to adopting eco-friendly products and practices is their perceived high cost. To overcome this, companies can offer discounts, promotions, and affordable pricing for eco-friendly products and services. For example, many companies now offer discounts for customers who bring their own reusable bags or containers for takeout and groceries.

2. Education and awareness campaigns can help individuals understand the benefits of eco-friendly products, practices and how to adopt them. These campaigns can be targeted to specific UAE communities and can be delivered through various channels such as social media, print media, and community events. Access to information is critical in promoting eco-friendly options and practices. Companies and governments can provide information on the benefits of eco-friendly products and practices as well.

3. Government policies and incentives can play a crucial role in promoting eco-friendly options that encourage their adoption. For example, governments can offer tax credits for individuals and businesses that invest in renewable energy, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient appliances.

4. Community engagement within UAE is essential in promoting eco-friendly options and practices. Community-based initiatives such as recycling programs, clean-up events, and sustainability fairs can help raise awareness and encourage individuals to adopt eco-friendly practices.

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