Middle East and Africa Environmental Sustainability Scorecard

November 16, 2023
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The MEA Environmental Sustainability Scorecard measures progress towards achieving environmental sustainability in the Middle East and Africa.

The report shows that South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are leading efforts to combat climate change in the Middle East and Africa.
Read the report

We are grateful to have been commissioned for this report by Agility, a global supply chain services company based in Kuwait. This is the inaugural edition of the Middle East and Africa Environmental Sustainability Scorecard.

This initiative is designed to assess the environmental sustainability performance of 17 carefully selected countries from the Middle East and Africa, utilising a unique set of indicators that include quantitative data, insights from business executives' surveys, and evaluations of national policies.

The objective is to provide valuable insights for decision-makers in both government and business sectors, enabling them to identify strengths and challenges and fostering proactive measures towards environmental sustainability.

Key Findings

  • "Business isn’t paying attention to COP. 82% of African businesses and 49% of Middle East businesses are not aware of the UN-led COP process that nations are using to push and measure efforts to tackle climate change. Few companies use COP to set their sustainability targets."
  • "Climate change is hurting businesses. 97% of companies say their business has been affected by climate change, and 49% say climate change has caused “severe damage” or has a “significant and growing” impact on them."
  • "Governments are leading as businesses play catch up. When it comes to climate action, governments are outpacing the private sector in both the Middle East and Africa."
  • "Business spending on sustainability is expected to increase. Over the next 12 months, 73% of African businesses and 62% of Middle East businesses expect more than 5% of their capital expenditure business to go to achieving environmental targets."    
  • "No one size fits all. Different countries have different sustainability priorities based on income, economic strengths, energy dependency, and other factors. High-income, energy-producing Gulf countries generally invest more in sustainable infrastructure and ecosystems. African economies perform best in energy conservation and consumption."  
  • "Green investment is expensive. High-and middle-income countries are investing the most: Qatar, UAE, Morocco and Saudi Arabia."    
  • "Africa is focused on green transport. Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa are tops in energy conservation and non-fossil fuels for transport. Hydrocarbon-dependent Gulf countries are focused more on green buildings. For Gulf countries, the transition to cleaner energy is complicated by energy-intensive national priorities such as their desire to boost manufacturing and their need for desalinated water. In general though, across both the Middle East and Africa, more companies are investing in greening their fleets compared to greener premises."    
  • "Waste management,  consumption are tied to wealth. High-income countries are doing more to manage waste sustainably. Poorer ones do more to constrain     consumption. Overall, Egypt, South Africa, Bahrain and UAE perform best in “circularity” – cutting waste, lowering consumption, and encouraging recycling and sustainable production."

The report's conclusion asserts that the 17 covered countries are considered "latecomers" in the global sustainable development arena. However, it also highlights that these nations are swiftly intensifying their efforts by implementing sustainability strategies, programs, and investments. Read the full report.

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