Bank Survey Reveals UAE Firms Surpass Mena Peers in Sustainability Plans

According to a study funded by Emirates NBD, organizations in the UAE surpassed their peers in the Middle East and North Africa region in embracing a comprehensive strategy towards sustainability.

The study, which throws light on the practices of sustainability and corporate responsibility management in the region, observed that the UAE has the highest number of respondents asserting that they have a comprehensive sustainability strategy, with 64% of respondents being based in the UAE.

The finding of the study that the UAE is way ahead with its sustainability drive is a proof to the different federal and local strategies that are in place that lay clear goals for the nation to shape its future to be more sustainable. These sustainability drives include the UAE Vision 2021, the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, and the UAE Centennial 2071, which establishes a 50% target for clean energy in the nation, among others. These drives have already accepted several sustainable development goals in the UAE and represent a guiding principle for most forthcoming projects.

As per the experts, dealing with sustainability-related challenges could protect the global economy up to $30 trillion and assist in averting millions of people being displaced due to climate change.

The Emirates NBD study, which was carried out by Sustainable Square, a boutique advisory firm specialized in responsible investment, sustainability and social impact, inspected 638 organizations across 18 Mena nations. Out of all respondents, 31% asserted to have a holistic sustainability strategy, which included topics related to social, environmental, and governance management

While 27% of organizations have only a CSR strategy, stressing mostly on social and local community topics, 6% of organizations have only an environmental strategy. The survey also showed that the top driving force for regional firms to spend in sustainability are upgrading organizational reputation. In terms of focus areas when it comes to local communities, 16% of participating organizations stated that education was their primary focus, while environment came second, with 11% recognizing it as their top concern. Health and youth empowerment came third, with 9% pinpointing both of these areas as their crucial focus.

Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Emirates NBD stated that the bank is strictly devoted to embedding a culture of sustainability across its business and instilling a shared sense of environmental and social responsibility among staff members.