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UAE rallies private sector to realise 2050 net-zero pledge

Turtle, Sea Life, Animal Emirates Nature-WWF
Emirate Nature–WWF (World Wildlife Fund) is among the 20+ UAE organisations in the Climate-Responsible Companies Pledge
  • Initiative from Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment 
  • Sectors involved include banking, cement, steel and real estate

The UAE has launched its first ‘Climate-Responsible Companies Pledge,’ in a bid to boost the private sector’s role in helping the country achieve its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – dubbed the Net Zero 2050 Strategic Initiative. 

More than 21 UAE-based companies have so far signed up to the pledge, unveiled by the Emirates’ Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment (MoCCAE). 

Drawn from across key sectors, including banking, cement, aluminium, steel and real estate, all the signatories to the pledge are listed below. 

The launch took place as part of the fourth stage of the National Dialogue for Climate Ambition (NDCA), a series of sector-specific assemblies aimed at establishing a national sustainability culture.

“This pledge will build rapport with all sectors to support their climate ambitions and turn them into active partners in our net zero drive,” commented Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, speaking at the launch. 

“It will see the companies involved draft ambitious, but transparent science-based plans to reduce their carbon footprint, and sharing these with the UAE government to help it fulfil the Net Zero 2050 Strategic Initiative.”

They have also pledged to consider climate change mitigation and adaptation in their business and operational models. 

“The UAE’s net zero pledge is hugely ambitious. Given the tight time frame, the government is right to be moving quickly to get the private sector on board. This is a great step in the right direction,” Jim Krane, energy research fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, told AGBI. 

“Government policy will create the framework for climate action, but it will be private companies and individuals who make the needed changes in behaviour and technology.

Clean energy giant Masdar is signed up to the cause

“Now that the leaders have emerged, other firms will follow with their own carbon mitigation plans. Nobody wants to be left behind.” 

On the same day that the MoCCAE announced its pledge, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) announced that it had selected 15 companies to participate in a new scale-up programme.

It will support the growth of impact-driven businesses that align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Five out of the 15 companies are focused on combating climate change including environmental issues, tackling food waste, GHG emissions, sustainability reporting, and waste management. 

DMCC currently offers up to a 30 percent discount on licences to any company that becomes a member of the UN Global Compact to fight climate change. 

The programme is the first of its kind in the UAE and is being operated in partnership with C3 (Companies Creating Change), a UAE-based social enterprise that specialises in helping impact-driven entrepreneurs. 

According to the DMCC, the business founders will kick off their training with C3 in September, where they will receive expert support on various pillars including impact, strategy for scaling, business, governance, talent and doing business in the UAE.

The selected companies will be prepared to meet investors and potential partners from C3’s network of 4,000 senior experts, clients from blue-chip companies, as well as over 150 investment firms.

Pure Harvest Smart Farms signed up to the UAE government initiative

“C3 and DMCC have invested two years in developing the concept and launching this programme focused on supporting impact-driven companies to grow their businesses in the UAE and beyond.”

“It will provide them with the necessary business and impact training support,” Evgeny Granin, DMCC’s manager for sustainability and public affairs, told AGBI. 

Commenting on the partnership, Medea Nocentini, Founder of C3, said: “DMCC was a natural partner, with its 22,000 member companies and as the largest free zone in the UAE.”

The programme targeted a wide range of sectors and covered a global scope when it came to attracting applications; gathering the interest of 152 companies, 82 complete applications were received.  

UAE companies signed up to the pledge

Beeah, Emerson, Emirates Nature-WWF (World Wildlife Fund), Majid Al Futtaim Group, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Masdar, Emirates Global Aluminium, Emirates Steel Arkan Group, Aldar Properties, Emirates Environmental Group, Strata, Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), Chalhoub Group, Pure Harvest, AESG, Taka Solutions, Lafarge Emirates Cement, EY, EV Lab and TotalEnergies.