30 Nov 22Lab Chat
70% of UAE Residents Ready for Urgent Climate Action
11 November 2022Enviro Chat
Seven in 10 people living in the Emirates believe that action must be taken within the next five years in order to avoid the most damaging consequences of climate change and secure a sustainable tomorrow for future generations. Those are the findings of a nationwide survey conducted by global consultancy experts Kearney.
The study is a significant one, given that the UAE is set to host the COP28 Climate Summit in 2023. Indeed, this year’s COP27 conference is taking place in Egypt during the month of November and it’s hoped that the location of both venues will help to crystallize governmental policy on climate action, as well as attract external investment and raise awareness among local populations.
Not that the population of the UAE needs much education on that front, according to the Kearney study. 81% of respondents said that climate change was an urgent issue that had a tangible effect on people’s everyday lives all over the planet, while over two-thirds (68%) expressed the opinion that addressing climate issues on a global scale could help to narrow the divide between the developed and developing worlds.
Those views are mirrored in the Emirati government’s approach to sustainability, too. The UAE became the first country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to publish its strategy for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, known as the UAE Net Zero 2050 plan. Half of all those questioned believed that the country is on track to achieve this goal.
Onus on business
Almost three-quarters of the survey participants said that they believed the corporate world would have a substantial role in achieving the Net Zero objectives, with more than half (56%) saying that companies do not currently do enough to address their environmental footprint. Alongside profits, businesses should also make the people they employ and the planet they impact key priorities in their modus operandi.
There’s a monetary incentive to doing so, as well, with over two-thirds (68%) of respondents saying they are more attracted to products and services supplied by businesses which have environmental and social governance (ESG) at the forefront of their policies. Obtaining green accreditations from respected bodies, offsetting carbon emissions and switching to renewables where possible are just some of the measures that Emiratis would like to see more companies adopt.
Individual efforts still important
While a top-down approach is believed to be extremely important to the success of becoming carbon neutral, Emiratis are not ignorant that they will also have to make individual sacrifices of their own. Indeed, well over half (59%) stated that they would be willing to pay a premium for products and services which prioritized sustainability.
70% were aware that the individual will also have their own part to play in curbing national emissions, while over three-quarters (77%) said they would be happy to make big changes to their daily lifestyle in order to fight against climate change. However, 73% also believe that it is incumbent on the government to implement initiatives and measures aimed at incentivizing sustainability and punishing profligacy or pollution.
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