Residents across the UAE and the GCC have reaffirmed their commitment to live more sustainably, especially in light of the challenges posed by climate change, new research has shown.
A new report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) titled ‘Are Consumers in the Gulf States Ready to Go Green?’ found that 81 per cent of UAE consumers are largely aware of climate change and how the issue negatively affects the environment – a figure that shows the UAE to outperform the rest of the GCC in terms of awareness. In addition, 65 per cent of consumers with knowledge of the implications also perceive it to have a negative impact on the global environment, with 36 per cent already believing that climate change is having a significant influence on personal lives, and around three-quarters anticipating it will impact future generations.
“Climate change concerns in the UAE have increased due to greater access to information and successful government and corporate-backed initiatives, most notably the UAE Vision 2021 and the inclusion of sustainability in Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Simon Birkebaek, partner at BCG Middle East.
Cristiano Rizzi, MD and partner, BCG Middle East, added that public concerns around climate and sustainability do bode well for the future. “Many people believe that environmentally sustainable lifestyles will play a bigger role in the future, and an encouraging number of people wish to make, or are making, progress with eco-friendly behavior and purchases.”
The research showed that while 65 per cent of UAE consumers have reaffirmed their preparedness to incorporate more sustainable actions into their daily lives, challenges still remain such as the lack of infrastructure, investments, and services that would assist in accelerating change.
“If public and private sectors were to do even more to facilitate awareness initiatives, encourage green infrastructure investments, and offer a wider choice of affordable eco-friendly goods and services then more people will choose to pursue even more sustainable lifestyles,” Birkebaek said.
Rizzi noted that there are growing calls for more recycling and renewable energy information, as well as guidance on how to live more sustainably, and reduce energy consumption. At the same time, people also want to see more investment geared towards sustainable infrastructure – particularly in recycling, renewable energy, public transportation, and eco-tourism.
“Because demand for sustainable goods and services have increased, companies in UAE would experience potential growth opportunities if they adapted their go-to-market strategies to more effectively cater to customers changing demands, specifically better options, more accessible price points, and better promotion of the benefits of sustainability,” Rizzi said.
One area of change, where the UAE has taken a leading role, has been in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). When it comes to sustainable mobility, the UAE has set its sights on big targets, with 30 per cent of the fleet to be electrified by 2030. The government has also put significant effort and investment into EV’s through bringing in dealers such as Tesla, pushing for charging infrastructure through local utilities, and buying incentives.
“Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time and road transportation is responsible for 24 per cent of emissions globally,” said Kevin Chalhoub, founder and CEO at EV Lab. “There is an urgent need to move towards a fully electrified transportation system. With the second-highest ratio of public charging stations per EVs in the world, the UAE is a perfect place to own an electric car. The faster acceleration, the ease of charging, the extended range, the increased power, and the advanced technology are some of the reasons why EVs are the future of mobility.”
With a 40 percent global year-on-year increase in EV sales, Dubai is just one of the cities in the region working on making its roads viable for electric cars.
“The demand for environment friendly cars is increasing significantly and the overall demand for hybrid cars has grown by 50 per cent year-on-year,” said Craig Stevens, CEO of Dubi Cars International. “EVs are also showing a very positive outlook, for example, Tesla is at 76 per cent demand increase year-on-year. We expect this trend to continue, for various reasons such as manufacturers developing more affordable models. The demand for used hybrid cars is growing, as pioneers upgrade to newer models or different brands, resulting in a diverse range of options for car models and specs.”
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