UAE: Companies encouraged to join fight against climate change as country gears up for COP28

Firms have the option of several local and global campaigns they could join, to contribute towards UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 initiative


Nasreen Abdulla

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Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Published: Mon 29 May 2023, 7:30 PM

With just six months and one day to go for COP28, private companies and organisations were encouraged to join the race against climate change at an event held in Dubai on Monday. The ‘Road to COP28’ event gave companies the options of several local and global campaigns they could join, to contribute towards UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 initiative.

For UN Climate Change High-Level Champion Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, at the top of her list of priorities is to get more companies to join the global Race to Zero and the Race to Resilience campaigns. The largest and most credible global alliance of non-state actors currently has over 11,000 members.

“I want to bring the race closer to the region,” she said at a media roundtable. “If you look at it now, there [is] not enough representation or participation from the region. I want to find why aren’t they engaging and why aren’t they participating.”

It was in January this year that Razan was elected as the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion. A position which originated with the Paris Agreement and has become a hallmark of each COP meeting, the champion must engage with non-state actors to help achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The term of a champion is for two years, during which she will work for a year with the previous year’s champion, and then the following year’s champion.

Razan also said that her among her priorities was to have a capacity building hub in the UAE. “I want a climate change hub to provide information but also to train and ensure that we have the right skills for our current employees across sectors,” she said.

Changes needed

The event served as a platform for local businesses to understand how they can join the Net Zero initiative in a series of presentations as well as panel discussions. A presentation by Muna Alamoodi, director of climate change at the Ministry Of Climate Change And Environment, outlined several measures that companies could take.

Transitioning to clean and renewable energy sources, utilising climate-friendly substitutes, reducing waste generation and intensifying energy efficiency in all sectors were highly recommended. Muna introduced the National Dialogue for Climate Ambition (NDCA), which is a monthly assembly led by UAE government departments for priority sectors like Cement, Energy, Mobility, Industries and manufacturing and Waste, among others.

She also encouraged participants to take the UAE Climate-Responsible Companies Pledge to help the country achieve net zero by 2050. The pledge calls on companies to commit to measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions, factoring climate change mitigation as a core business principle, encouraging stakeholders to take part in climate action, and engaging with all segments of society to develop net-zero plans.


Razan admitted that there are several challenges when inviting private companies to contribute to net zero. According to her, there are three levers that need to be considered: technology, regulation and finances.

“Sometimes the technology is not there or is not cost effective,” she said. “We also have to create the right regulatory environment to provide the incentives to invest in the needed technology. We have to ensure that the right environment encourages that financing goes to the right places and discourages going to the places that are most damaging.”

Meanwhile, companies also admitted that they were facing challenges in their endeavour to be sustainable. “You don’t want to be the first mover and lose business,” said Susanna Elias-Stulemeijer from Talabat, while adding that the company’s move to switch to e-bikes was being slowed down by the lack of a sufficient number of electric charges in the country.


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