DUBAI — October 18, 2023 — Bain & Company, the leading global management consulting firm, together with the World Economic Forum launched a new sustainability report ‘Closing the Climate Action Gap: Accelerating Decarbonization and the Energy Transition in MENA’, providing an in-depth analysis tailored to the MENA context. It assesses the multifaceted risks climate change poses to the region's environment, economies, and businesses. Importantly, it also identifies specific opportunities across sectors, to turn risks into competitive advantages.
The report finds that MENA countries have demonstrated growing commitment to climate action through net-zero targets, however current pledges fall short, business adoption lags global peers, and consumers underestimate regional vulnerabilities. Successfully transitioning to a sustainable future will hinge on bold measures from policymakers and companies, raising public awareness and establishing multi-stakeholder partnerships.
For businesses, the report outlines that this entails setting science-based targets, decarbonizing operations, deploying resilient planning, and mobilizing sustainable finance. For policymakers, it is imperative to establish clear climate regulations, enable access to technology and infrastructure, expand access to sustainable financing solutions, and facilitate access to education to grow talent. Together, strategic climate action can strengthen economic diversification, exports and employment across MENA.
Bain conducted new in-depth research on the MENA region, including a broad sustainability consumer survey encompassing consumer product categories and demographic sectors across countries. Measuring MENA consumer sentiment about environmental and social responsibility and providing an in-depth understanding on how it impacts everyday purchasing behavior, Bain’s research identified distinct demographic consumer attitudes towards environmental and social responsibility and provides a clear picture of how consumer segments exhibit different ways of engaging with ESG.
The report explores how a sustainable future depends on bold initiatives by policymakers, businesses and collaborative platforms. Clear regulations, access to financing, technologies and training, setting science-based targets, extending influence across value chains and public-private partnerships are pivotal.
Sustainability transition brings risks but also opportunities to build competitive advantage, with committed efforts from all stakeholders, MENA can lead globally.
“While MENA countries have made commitments to climate targets, current pledges fall short. More ambition is required, especially from major emitters. Corporates also lag global peers in setting net-zero goals and outlining clear roadmaps. Raising consumer awareness is another pressing priority,” said Akram Alami, Partner and Middle East Head of Aviation, Utilities, and Sustainability & Responsibility Practices, Bain & Company. “The time for climate ambition is now and the window for decisive action is narrow. Collective action can secure an equitable and prosperous future for the region and the planet.”
"The MENA region will need to pave its own decarbonization pathway that will need to balance energy transition with growth and socio-economic development requirements,” said Raja Atoui, partner at Bain & Company Middle East. “Key emitting sectors such as utilities, heavy-industry, oil & gas, and transportation require targeted measures which include improving efficiency, harnessing renewable energy, and adopting new technologies such as CCUS and clean hydrogen. In addition, MENA’s solar and wind potential could help position the region as a key exporter of clean energy to other global regions.”
Maroun Kairouz, Head of the Middle East and North Africa at the World Economic Forum remarked, “In this report, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Bain & Company, identifies targeted approaches to transform risks into competitive advantages across various sectors. Clear regulations, access to financing, technology, and training, along with the establishment of science-based targets, extending influence along value chains, and fostering public-private partnerships, are identified as pivotal elements.
Bain, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, launched Leaders for a Sustainable Middle East and North Africa Forum to accelerate corporate climate action in a part of the world set to be among those most affected by climate change. The MENA region is estimated to be seeing warming at twice the global rate, the Forum believes businesses can play a key role in helping to slow the effects of global warming with quickly actionable measures, including embracing the transition to more climate-friendly practices, adopting global best practices, setting clear objectives, raising consumer awareness, and partnering with governments.
Editor's Note: For any questions or to arrange an interview, please contact April Zaw at April.Zaw@bain.com or +971 522012267.