Red Sea Project developer achieves high score on green investment benchmark

Elements of the first phase of the flagship scheme are due to open in 2022

  
An Asian labourer looks on as he works at the construction site of a building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image for illustrative purposes.

An Asian labourer looks on as he works at the construction site of a building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
 
RIYADH: The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), the tourism developer wholly owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, announced on Tuesday it had achieved an overall score of 84 out of 100 as part of an environmental assessment used as a benchmark by global investors.

The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) assessed the developer and the Red Sea Project — its flagship development — on a number of environmental governance measures. Within the environmental category, GRESB awarded TRSDC a score of 49 out of 51. The average score achieved is typically 34.

The developer was also awarded a Green Star for achieving a score higher than 50 percent in the management and development components of the assessment.

“Since the project’s conception, sustainability has been our guiding principle for design and development, informing every single decision that is made. This award is a real testament to all our hard work and unwavering commitment to become the world’s first truly regenerative tourism project,” John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC, said in a press statement.

Amsterdam-based GRESB is aligned with industry standards such as the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Last year, the benchmark assessed 1,200 real estate and property companies, and around 120 institutional and financial investors use the findings to rate and monitor their investments.

Speaking at Dubai’s Arabian Travel Market last month, Pagano said the biggest challenge the developer has is not “messing up the place” and avoiding the “over-tourism” that has traditionally compromised nature-based tourist sites. “At the end of the day, our environment is our most valuable asset. It’s making sure that we balance the desire to build, and build it in a timely fashion, but never to the extent where we put at risk the very thing that will make this place so special,” he said.

The Red Sea Project was announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in July 2017. Elements of the first phase of the flagship scheme are due to open in 2022. Upon full completion in 2030, the project will comprise 50 hotels offering up to 8,000 rooms and 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

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