Dubai, UAE: 8 in 10 UAE survey respondents cite climate change as a serious crisis with 70% believing urgent action should be taken within the next five years to minimize its impact and secure a more sustainable future. This is according to a survey by leading global management consultancy firm Kearney that explores UAE residents’ outlook towards sustainability initiatives.

The study comes ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP 27 later this month, where climate change will take center stage, globally. A key theme of the conference will be to address how the global community can work together to advance national interests and help achieve global climate goals to safeguard the word’s future under the tagline of ‘Together For Implementation’. The majority of UAE residents believe that addressing climate change will have a positive impact on cultural and social issues around the world, with 81% believing that climate change has a deep impact on the livelihoods of people in different countries. 68% highlighted that social imbalances could be corrected to a certain degree by countries taking collective action towards combatting climate change.

“In the past decade, countries in the Middle East region have made sustainability and energy transition a national priority. We’ve seen commitments such as the UAE Net Zero 2050 and the KSA Net Zero 2060 come into place to combat climate change at a national level, and a number of clean energy initiatives. With COP 27 and COP 28 to be hosted in Egypt and the UAE respectively, we anticipate an increase of the expectations of regional nations to take leadership to reach CO2 global objectives. It will also international investor attention into the region, and there’s an opportunity to capture this momentum to accelerate sustainable development by design in the Middle East,” commented Mauricio Zuazua, Partner at Kearney Middle East

The UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative is a national drive to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, making the Emirates the first Middle East and North Africa (MENA) nation to do so. 50% of residents believe the country is on the right track to achieving this target, with 73% highlighting that corporates have a significant role to play in driving this. Over half (56%) believe corporations need to do more to slow down climate change, and 72% state that new technologies should be implemented to mitigate the climate crisis.

“Consumers, investors and regulators are pushing businesses to adopt the triple bottom line. It is no longer an option not to consider people and planet, in addition to profit. Integrating the principles of People and Planet into products and services will be impossible without technological investments and integration across value chains. By investing in and adopting new technologies such as AI, IOT, Big Data, and renewable energy sources, corporations can come up with new ways to meet their increasing and changing customer demands of faster delivery, more tailored, more innovative products and services, plus reduce their impact on the environment. This be for key for businesses to maintain the trust of consumers,” added Zuazua.

While corporates have a big task on their hands, 70% highlight that individual contributions are also key role in supporting national sustainability goals. 77% are willing to make notable changes in their lifestyle in efforts to slow down climate change. 68% claim to gravitate towards products and services of companies, which have substantial ESG practices and protocols in place such as sustainable products, green certifications, as well as transparent reporting on emissions. 59% are willing to pay a small premium more for sustainably produced products - a sentiment consistent amongst all income groups surveyed.

While the general intention to live more sustainably exists with individual citizens, 73% reveal they would be even more inclined to act on this if there were stricter rules implemented by governments in encouragement, including stricter regulations in areas such as car emissions, plastic usage, green labelling on white goods, retrofitting old appliances, and others.

“With net zero being a priority, transforming the community’s behaviors to reduce the environmental footprint of individuals is crucial – in parallel to government and business efforts. These changes need to all work together to maintain a sustainable and high quality of life. The UAE has been making tremendous efforts in setting up strict regulations and regimes to meet the country’s sustainability goals like limiting single-use plastic bags, and launching the ‘Dubai Can’ initiative to install water filters across the city to reduce single use plastic water bottles. However, much more needs to be done in consumption and CO2 intensity of energy and materials,” concludes Zuazua


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