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Fri 21 Oct 2016 10:48 AM

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GCC needs to do more to tackle youth unemployment, CO2 emissions

New report says private and non-profit sectors in the Gulf remain far from where they need to be to drive sustainability

GCC needs to do more to tackle youth unemployment, CO2 emissions
A model of Dubai Sustainable City. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Private and non-profit sectors in the Gulf region remain far from where they need to be in order to be effective partners to governments in driving sustainability, according to a new report.

A survey by consultants Oliver Wyman showed that shows 86 percent of regional business leaders strongly agree that immediate action is required to tackle the region’s challenges, particularly when it comes to youth unemployment, CO2 emissions and water depletion.

The survey of more than 60 business leaders in the region looked to explore the role governments, international organisations and support networks can play in supporting and driving the growth of this critical new area of focus in the GCC.

“The findings presented in the report suggest that the region is ripe for real, lasting change,” said Greg Rung, an Oliver Wyman partner in the Middle East and the author of the report.

“Awareness about these issues has been growing over the past decade, and the current situation has created a growing sense of urgency and crisis. The journey to effective social and environmental impact is long and too many organisations have yet to take meaningful steps in the right direction.”


Tthe survey showed that a large majority (68 percent) of organisations feel sustainability is a top priority for their senior leadership while only 30 percent said they believe corporations, foundations and NGOs are currently doing enough to address the issues.

Less than half (41 percent) said they have reassessed the focus and scale of their sustainability programmes in the past two years.

The survey also showed that less than a third (27 percent) have increased their dedicated budgets for sustainability, and as a result, only 40 percent feel that current budgets are sufficient.

“The overwhelming consensus regarding the urgency of the region’s social and environmental challenges is concerning, but it also signals an opportunity for meaningful change,” said Rung.

To address the issues facing the GCC, the report outlined how ‘regional pioneers’ will be crucial, and how private sector leaders need to show that sustainability can contribute to growth and add a competitive advantage.

Collaboration between governments and the private and non-profit sectors also needs to improve, according to the report.

“Despite the launch of important governmental reform initiatives in the past two years, it has become increasingly apparent that governments cannot be expected to tackle the region’s social and environmental challenges alone”, added Rung.