New report shows that both regions are committed to the environment, although they are “laggards”
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , November 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ —
South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the most active countries in the fight against climate change in the Middle East and Africa, according to a new report that compares government and corporate sustainability policies, investments and actions.
The Middle East and Africa Environmental Sustainability Scorecard , published on Thursday, is a detailed examination of country performance in environmental sustainability, government policies and corporate practices in the two regions.
The report concludes that the 17 countries considered “are relative laggards in terms of global sustainability, but at the same time represent regions that are rapidly scaling up their sustainability strategies, programs and investments.”
The report was commissioned by Agility , a Kuwait-based global supply chain services company. It was compiled by Horizon Group , a Geneva-based company specializing in research and analysis for governments, international organizations and major corporations worldwide.
The scorecard uses 48 performance and progress indicators to compare countries. Indicators include data, regulatory frameworks, policy assessments, incentives and corporate practices in six areas: green investment and technology; sustainable infrastructure and transport; governance and reporting; energy transition; environmental ecosystems and circularity.
To find out about company practices and progress, Horizon surveyed 647 business leaders in the 17 countries concerned.
Here are the country rankings (from best to worst): South Africa , United Arab Emirates , Egypt , Saudi Arabia , Rwanda , Kenya , Uganda , Ghana , Morocco , Qatar , Tanzania , Nigeria , Bahrain , Kuwait , Ivory Coast , Oman , Mozambique .
– Businesses don’t pay attention to the COP. 82% of African businesses and 49% of Middle Eastern businesses are unaware of the UN-led COP process, which countries use to encourage and measure efforts to combat climate change. Few companies use the COP to set their sustainability targets.
– Climate change affects companies. 97% of companies say their business has been affected by climate change, and 49% say climate change has caused “serious damage” or is having a “significant and growing” impact on their business.
– Governments are ahead of the game, while companies are catching up. When it comes to climate action, governments are ahead of the private sector in both the Middle East and Africa.
– Corporate spending on sustainability is set to increase. Over the next 12 months, 73% of African companies and 62% of companies in the Middle East plan to devote more than 5% of their capital expenditure to achieving environmental objectives.
– One size does not fit all. Sustainability priorities vary from country to country, depending on income, economic strength, energy dependence and other factors. High-income, energy-producing Gulf countries tend to invest more in sustainable infrastructure and ecosystems. African economies are better at conserving and consuming energy.
– Green investments are costly. High- and middle-income countries invest the most: Qatar , United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
– Africa is focusing on green transport. Uganda , Nigeria , Rwanda , Kenya and South Africa lead the way in energy savings and the use of non-fossil fuels in transport. The Gulf States, which depend on hydrocarbons, give priority to green buildings.
For Gulf countries, the transition to cleaner energy is hampered by energy-intensive national priorities, such as their desire to boost manufacturing and their need for water desalination. In general, more companies in the Middle East and Africa are investing in greening their fleets than in greening their premises.
– Waste management and consumption are linked to wealth. High-income countries make greater efforts to manage their waste sustainably. Poorer countries make greater efforts to limit their consumption. Overall, Egypt, South Africa, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates achieve the best results in terms of “circularity”. They reduce waste and consumption and encourage recycling and sustainable production.
Agility was recently named by Forbes Middle East as the third “sustainability leader” in the Middle East in the field of transport and logistics. Vice President Tarek Sultan said that corporate strategy and investment decisions are increasingly influenced by the urgency of tackling climate change.
“We act as a supply chain operator and investor in the Middle East and Africa. So we want to know what governments’ and companies’ priorities are, and where they’re putting their resources in the fight against climate change,” said Sultan. “We want to know who we can partner with in green infrastructure and transportation, alternative fuels and supply chain services that reduce environmental impact without sacrificing performance.”
Horizon, which compiled the report for Agility, said its intention was to look “beyond the selective characteristics of the Middle East, which is dependent on fossil fuels and emits a lot of greenhouse gases per capita, and African countries, which emit few greenhouse gases but take relatively few measures in favor of the environment.”
The report is published on the eve of COP28, the United Nations-sponsored global conference on climate change, to be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12. Its conclusions amplify those of a World Economic Forum (WEF) report, published in October, on decarbonization and the energy transition in the Middle East and North Africa.
The WEF report concludes that “MENA countries are lagging behind comparable regions in terms of progress towards sustainable development. While local governments have committed over the past 24 months to reducing 60% of the region’s emissions to net zero, companies have yet to follow suit and close the gap with comparable global markets -12% have set a net zero target and 6% have established a roadmap to achieve net zero.”
Agility is a global leader in supply chain services, infrastructure and innovation, with more than 45,000 employees on six continents. As a multi-business operator and investor, Agility specializes in the growth and development of operational businesses.
The Agility businesses include the world’s largest aviation services company (Menzies Aviation), a global fuel logistics company (Tristar), a leading developer and operator of logistics parks in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa (Agility Logistics Parks), and a commercial real estate company developing a mega mall in the United Arab Emirates (UPAC). Other Agility companies offer customs digitization services, remote site infrastructure services, defense and government services, as well as digital logistics and e-commerce optimization services. Agility invests in supply chain innovation, sustainability and resilience, and holds minority stakes in a growing portfolio of listed and unlisted companies.
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