Building a sustainable future in the Middle East

Lindsey Malcolm

Middle East Sustainability Lead

Our new Middle East sustainability report looks to gauge and shape the understanding of sustainability in construction in the region, ahead of Dubai hosting COP28 later in the year. The data is taken from a survey of a selection of senior stakeholders and decision-makers, across the construction industry in the Middle East, with both strategic and delivery responsibilities.

Sustainable construction: an ever-evolving target

According to the survey, over 70 percent of respondents, including most developers, investors, consultants, and government respondents, are discussing sustainability requirements at the project briefing stage. Although these considerations are being made from the outset, fewer than half of the survey respondents are continuing to take these considerations from design through to operation.

The majority of respondents stated that their current projects do not exceed minimum regulatory requirements, highlighting the potential importance of regulation as a driver of market change.

In addition, the report emphasises the growing importance of regulatory evolution in improving sustainability standards over time.

Whole life cycle assessment

Developers are increasingly considering the wider impacts of construction work in the region, a trend driven by increased awareness and interrogation of Scope 3 emissions – those caused indirectly through a company’s supply chain, rather than directly through its own operations. This is leading to higher rates of life cycle assessment and increased levels of multi-factor decision-making informed by more than just cost.

Expo City in Dubai is an example of a project in the region demonstrating this trend. Our report features an interview with Expo City’s Chief of Sustainability, Matt Brown, as he shares insights on how sustainability lives on at the future-centric city that first hosted Expo 2020 Dubai.

COP28 as a catalyst for regulatory change

Almost 90 percent of respondents felt that government-led carbon targets would help steer businesses towards sustainable practices that are in line with the national policy position. Such an approach to cascading requirements through a regulatory framework mirrors an approach that has worked well in other markets, such as the EU and parts of North America.

With industry awareness of COP28 high among respondents, the global climate change conference is expected to accelerate change in regulation and act as a catalyst to fast-track national and regional ambitions around sustainability.

Businesses in the construction sector now need to shift their focus to sustainability and prioritise net zero.

For further information contact:

Lois Ackerley
Business Generation Middle East