Don't miss any update with Africazine.

― Advertisement ―


France’s support for better management of electricity distribution network

The Government of France granted the Government of Serbia financial resources for the introduction of general automation of power distribution network management, as well...
HomeNewsUAE among the top two Middle East, Africa Sustainability Leaders

UAE among the top two Middle East, Africa Sustainability Leaders

Emirates ranks high in five of six key environmental areas, new Agility report says

Tarek Sultan, Vice Chairman, Agility

South Africa and the United Arab Emirates are doing the most to combat climate change in Africa and the Middle East, followed by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, according to a new report that compares government and business sustainability policies, investment and actions.

The recently released Middle East and Africa Environmental Sustainability Scorecard, is the most detailed examination to date of country performance in environmental sustainability outcomes, government policies, and corporate practices in the two regions.

The report concludes that the 17 countries covered are relative ‘late comers’ to global sustainable development but at the same time represent regions that are rapidly stepping-up their sustainability strategies, programs and investments.”

The report was commissioned by Agility, a global supply chain services company based in Kuwait. It was compiled by Horizon Group, a Geneva-based firm that specializes in research and analysis for governments, international organizations, and leading businesses worldwide.

Pillar categories

The UAE ranks among the leaders in five of six pillar categories in the report. It is 2nd in Green Investment, Innovation & Tech; 1st in Sustainable Infrastructure & Transport; 2nd in Governance & Reporting; 1st in Environmental Ecosystems; and 4th in Circularity, the pillar measuring materials footprint and waste management practices.

Like other energy dependent GCC economies, UAE trails African countries in the Energy Transition pillar, which looks at fossil fuel production and consumption.

The scorecard uses 48 performance and progress indicators to compare countries. The indicators include data, regulatory frameworks, policy assessments, incentives and corporate practices across six pillar areas: green investment and technology; sustainable infrastructure and transport; governance and reporting; energy transition; environmental ecosystems; and circularity. To capture corporate practices and progress, Horizon surveyed 647 business executives in 17 countries.

One through 17, here’s how the countries rank: South Africa, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Morocco, Qatar, Tanzania, Nigeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Cote d’Ivoire, Oman, Mozambique.

Vertical Farming

The report singles out the UAE for a vertical-farming project, the world’s largest, which is intended to save 250mn liters of water, as well as its investment of US$ 50bn in clean energy projects in 70 countries. A UAE-US partnership intended to accelerate the clean energy transition is intended to raise US$ 100bn to deploy clean energy globally.

The UAE is hosting COP28, the UN-led global climate change conference, in Dubai from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12. The country is committed to becoming a key player in decarbonization, the report says.

The UAE’s goal is to have net-zero emissions by 2050. ADNOC, Abu Dhabi’s state-owned energy giant, is investing US$ 15bn in lower-carbon solutions and has developed a roadmap to achieve net zero by 2045.

It has a detailed carbon capture strategy and is creating a carbon trading platform. Its goal is to triple the share of renewable energy by 2030 and obtain half of its primary energy from clean sources by 2050.

In addition, the UAE has applied green and sustainable building standards since 2011 and expects them to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030,” the report says.

Key findings

Businesses aren’t paying attention to COP: Eighty-two percent of African businesses and 49% of Middle East businesses are not aware of the UN-led COP process that nations are using to push and measure efforts to tackle climate change. Few companies use COP to set their sustainability targets.

Climate change is hurting businesses: Ninety-seven percent of companies say their business has been affected by climate change, and 49% say climate change has caused “severe damage” or has a “significant and growing” impact on them.

Governments are leading as businesses play catch up: When it comes to climate action, governments are outpacing the private sector in both the Middle East and Africa.

No one size fits all: Different countries have different sustainability priorities based on income, economic strengths, energy dependency, and other factors. High-income, energy-producing Gulf countries invest more in sustainable infrastructure and ecosystems. African economies perform best in energy conservation and consumption.

Green investment is expensive: High- and middle-income countries are investing the most: Qatar, UAE, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

Africa is focused on green transport: African countries top the scorecard in the move to non-fossil fuels for transport. Hydrocarbon producing Gulf countries are focused more on green buildings. For Gulf countries, the transition to cleaner energy is complicated by energy-intensive national priorities: the desire to boost manufacturing and the need for desalinated water.

Waste management and consumption are tied to wealth: High-income countries are doing more to manage waste sustainably. Poorer ones do more to constrain consumption. Overall Egypt, South Africa, Bahrain and UAE perform best in ‘circularity’ – cutting waste, encouraging recycling and sustainable production, and lowering consumption.

“As a supply chain operator and investor in the Middle East and Africa, we want to know what governments and businesses are prioritizing, and where they’re putting resources in the climate change battle,” asserted Tarek Sultan, Vice Chairman, Agility.

“We want to know who we can partner with in green infrastructure and transport, alternative fuels, and supply chain services that reduce environmental impact without sacrificing performance,” he added.

Horizon, which compiled the scorecard report for Agility, said its intent was to look “beyond the selective characteristics of the Middle East being fossil fuel-dependent with high greenhouse gas emissions per capita, and African countries being low emitters of greenhouse gases but taking relatively little action on the environment.”

The scorecard report comes on the eve of COP28 in Dubai. Its findings largely echo those in a World Economic Forum (WEF) report, issued in October, on decarbonization and energy transition in the Middle East and North Africa.

The WEF report concluded that MENA countries trail behind comparable regions in terms of their sustainability progress. While local governments have pledged in the past 24 months to bring 60% of MENA’s emissions under the net zero ambition, businesses overall have yet to follow suit and bridge the gap with comparable global markets –12% have set up a net zero target and 6% have established a roadmap to reach net zero.