GBM finds only 13% regional organisations have sustainability practice across operations

GBM finds only 13% regional organisations have sustainability practice across operations

Gulf Business Machines, GBM revealed top insights from its first sustainability report, where it explored how sustainability has risen to the top of organisations’ agendas, and how companies across sectors are resetting their corporate strategy to cater to this. With the UAE announcing 2023 as the Year of Sustainability, and being the host country for COP28, the focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance, ESG has quickly accelerated within the government’s agenda this year.

The GBM sustainability survey, in partnership with IDC, was conducted among C-suite executives across multiple sectors in UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt.

According to the findings in the report, only 13% of regional organisations have a sustainability practice that is deeply rooted across their operations. 16% of the surveyed organisations are still in the planning phase of their sustainability programmes and 57% are at the early stages of their sustainability journey. 76% of regional organisations also identified environmental impact as the top driver of their organisation’s sustainability strategy, while growing regulatory requirements were also becoming crucial to the strategy.

Regional companies are also starting to focus on sustainability metrics, with nearly two-thirds, 64% of the surveyed companies measuring their direct emissions and nearly half setting clear targets for carbon neutrality. 60% of the survey respondents plan to invest between $250,000 and $2 million on sustainability initiatives in 2023, highlighting the increased role of sustainability in the budget planning process.

With the focus on sustainability regionally, these figures are expected to further increase, with 28% of the surveyed organisations expecting to invest between $2 and $10 million.

The report further highlighted the key challenges organisations faced in achieving environmental sustainability, with more than half of the surveyed organisations, 52% identifying technological barriers due to limited access to or knowledge of relevant technologies that can help reduce their environmental impact. However, digital technologies for facilitating sustainability transformation are fast evolving, with the implementation of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, AI, Internet of Things, IoT, Predictive Analytics, Cloud, among others.

The report also highlighted the need for regional organisations to further invest in their data management capabilities to maximise the value they can derive from sustainability initiatives. 58% of the surveyed organisations in the region seek support of technology providers in identifying the right software tools for driving sustainability initiatives and to develop a data driven sustainability strategy as an integral part of the broader digital transformation strategy.

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