As the UAE gears up to host COP28 in December, a recent survey conducted by SAP has shed light on the country’s resolute dedication to sustainability. The survey reveals that investment in environmental strategies has surged significantly over the past five years, with the majority of businesses now actively monitoring their ecological footprint and planning further sustainability initiatives.
A Groundbreaking Shift towards Sustainability
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The SAP survey, aptly titled “SAP Survey Shows Significant Uptick in UAE Companies’ Sustainability Investments and Environmental Data Collection,” underscores a transformative shift in the UAE’s corporate landscape. Over the years, sustainability has evolved from a mere buzzword into a cornerstone of corporate strategy.
According to the survey results, a staggering 98 percent of participating companies acknowledged that they integrate measurement and reporting on environmental issues into their strategic and operational decision-making processes. Of these, 51 percent do so to a strong degree, reflecting a profound commitment to sustainability objectives.
A Data-Driven Approach to Environmental Responsibility
The UAE has not only embraced sustainability but has also embraced data-driven environmental responsibility. The survey highlights a notable surge in environmental data collection efforts among UAE companies. In fact, the majority of companies embarked on this journey within the past five years, with 40.4 percent collecting data for two to fewer than five years and an additional 19.2 percent collecting data for less than two years. Astonishingly, 2 percent of companies have been collecting environmental data for two decades or longer.
Robust Plans for a Sustainable Future
Looking ahead, the survey indicates that UAE companies have robust plans to further their sustainability agendas. A substantial 73.5 percent of respondents are planning to increase their investments in sustainability strategies over the next three years, while only 2 percent intend to reduce their existing investment. This reflects a confident outlook for reaping the rewards of sustainable practices.
Optimism and Positive Outcomes
Respondents in the survey appear optimistic about the rapid benefits that sustainability investments will bring. When asked about the time frame for expecting positive financial returns, 30.1 percent anticipate results within one to less than three years, 34.9 percent within three to less than five years, and 28.8 percent within five to less than ten years. This optimism underscores the belief that sustainability pays off both environmentally and economically.
Environmental Issues on the Radar
Energy consumption and emissions emerged as the most significant environmental issues affecting businesses, with 100 percent of respondents acknowledging their impact. Air pollution and fresh water availability were also recognized as major concerns, with approximately 85 percent seeing these issues as having a moderate or strong impact. Interestingly, the survey reveals that not all companies are currently measuring data for these concerns, highlighting potential areas for growth.
Challenges and Solutions
While the survey highlights the significant strides made in sustainability, it also unveils key challenges, such as data quality and collection methods. Only 35.8 percent of respondents expressed complete satisfaction with the quality of collected data, suggesting a need for improved data collection methods. SAP is well-positioned to address these challenges by embedding sustainability metrics and AI capabilities into its portfolio.
A Global Perspective
The SAP survey in the UAE is part of a broader global initiative, gathering insights from 4,750 respondents across 21 nations and 29 industries. It was conducted in February-March 2023 to identify trends and challenges in sustainability strategies and the role of technology in advancing these efforts.
Sergio Maccotta, Senior Vice President of SAP Middle East and Africa – South, commented on the findings, stating, “The impressive strides already made in tracking the environmental impact of companies’ operations through technology will be further bolstered by plans to invest heavily in sustainability strategies over the coming three-year period.”
The UAE’s commitment to sustainability is not just a matter of environmental responsibility but also a sound business strategy, as evidenced by the survey results. As the nation prepares to host COP28, it stands as a shining example of sustainable progress.