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Dubai businesses stepped up sustainability ahead of Cop28

A quarter of Dubai businesses surveyed took environmental initiatives ahead of delegates arriving at Cop28 Cop28/Kiara Worth
A quarter of Dubai businesses surveyed took environmental initiatives ahead of delegates arriving at Cop28; water conservation was identified as a key concern
  • A quarter of Dubai firms took climate action
  • Companies embrace sustainable design
  • Half of respondents ‘already at pace’

Dubai companies accelerated their sustainability initiatives in the run-up to the UAE’s hosting of the Cop28 summit, which commenced on Thursday.  

According to a survey of Dubai companies conducted by AGBI and the British Business Group (BBG), more than one quarter (26 percent) of the BBG’s 72 members said they had ramped up their sustainability initiatives in the run-up to the climate summit. 

Examples of these initiatives included achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification by making their company’s site more environmentally friendly. It is the world’s most widely used green building rating system.

One company said it had developed an artificial intelligence-driven matchmaking platform between investors and projects looking to raise funds, with an emphasis on social and impact investing

Another had become a member of the UAE Alliance for Climate Action and the UN Global Compact, a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability initiatives. 

“While we have a growing number of environmental, social, and corporate governance [ESG] experts joining the BBG, we also have long-term members who have been tirelessly promoting and innovating in this sector, either with a sole proposition or as an element of their business operations and offering,” Katy Holmes, general manager of the BBG in Dubai, told AGBI

“These ESG-focused companies stand out as a passionate, informed and vocal demographic in our membership.”

Nearly half (45 percent) of respondents noted that their company had not accelerated its sustainability initiatives before Cop28 because they were “already at pace’”

Around a fifth (18 percent) reported that they had not changed policy as ESG is not high on their agenda.

The British businesses were also surveyed about what criteria are needed to deliver a successful Cop28. Some of the notable responses included the need to participate and engage with superpowers such as the US, China and India; the creation of a climate investment fund; and consensus on target emission reduction goals, with full engagement of regional CEOs.

“Members also stressed the need for clearer channels of communication, with considered but fast action on the high-impact initiatives that will benefit the local community and the planet,” said Holmes. 

Optimistic outlook

The survey showed that a high number of respondents are optimistic that Cop28 will have a beneficial impact on the UAE’s efforts to combat climate change. 

Seventy percent of survey respondents think that Cop28 will have a positive long-term effect on ESG initiatives in the UAE, while 59 percent think it will have a positive long-term effect on decarbonisation policies in the Gulf.

Recycling, water conservation and protecting nature were also identified as the top priorities for tackling climate change, according to the respondents. 

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