Irish Cleantech Businesses Transforming UAE’s Environmental Ambitions

Irish Cleantech Businesses Transforming UAE’s Environmental Ambitions

By Róisín White Barrett, Senior Market Advisor at Enterprise Ireland MENA

It is undeniable that climate change is the single greatest challenge the world faces, and global progress is not moving fast enough.

Last week, COP27 brought together representatives from Governments, business, civic society, and academia for the biggest and most important annual climate-related conference.

After the many pledges made at COP26 in Glasgow, COP27 focused on enhancing implementation and raising the ambition on a broad range of issues related to climate change.

With the effects of climate change already being felt by people through extreme weather conditions, we must act now to protect people and the environment, and it is vital that we act together.

Governments, businesses, and wider societal groups across the world recognise the need to pursue and implement practical sustainability initiatives if we are to turn back the tide of damage to our planet.

Nestlé Wheat Plan, a Sustainable Farming Initiative

Businesses are increasingly rethinking their approaches and actions around sustainability to fully embed it at the heart of their agendas, given the known environmental and economic opportunities it presents.

To remain competitive, it is integral to their future direction, their perception by the public and investors, and their company’s long-term success.

In KPMG’s 2022 CEO Outlook survey, more than 70% of CEOs reported that they were being held personally responsible for making the changes that will be needed in the years to come – by reducing emissions, sourcing renewable energy and adopting policies that make companies better corporate citizens.

Discussions held during COP27 will now pave the way for the first global stocktake at COP28 hosted by the UAE, which in 2023 will assess the global collective progress on mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The UAE is shaping its position as a global leader in tackling climate change. For example with its UAE Energy Strategy 2050 which aims to increase its clean projects’ share to 50% by 2050, reduce the carbon footprint, and increase consumption efficiency of individuals and corporates by 40%.

The UAE during COP28 will also leverage its track record as a cleantech innovator to deliver solutions for truly sustainable development that maximizes social and economic benefits for all. Innovation does have a big role to play in adapting our communities to be greener.

Ireland, like the UAE is playing a leading role in creating new cleantech solutions. There are over 250 Irish companies operating across the sector, and over the last twenty years Enterprise Ireland-backed companies have been bringing disruptive technology to businesses across the region.

Three things that responsible companies should consider as they endeavour to drive the MENA region’s sustainable agendas and work together with local partners:

Embed new innovative digital solutions to increase sustainability

Huge opportunities on sustainability can be found through digital solutions and transformations. As the world has drastically shifted towards a more connected landscape, many businesses are pursuing practical innovations to help make their sustainability objectives a reality.

IoT platform, Davra, is one such example that combines sustainability and technology cohesively to pursue new, climate positive solutions.

Their ‘Internet of Things’ platform can be integrated across Smart Cities to monitor air pollution and detect water leakage. Data that will play a significant role in enabling a green future.

The public expect action and it must be driven by both leadership and employees

Customers, employees, and investors alike are now expecting and demanding action and initiatives from organisations, otherwise they will go to a competitor with a stronger sustainability strategy.

It is key that green initiatives are driven by the action of leadership and its employees, but crucially it must be honest, authentic, and trusted.

Research shows nearly half of all consumers (46%) now tie sustainability into social and economic issues, and so it is a business imperative for organisations to “walk-the-walk” when it comes to implementation.

If a company spectacularly fails on protecting their environment, it is big news and impacts on their sales with customers switching to competitors.

Irish companies Hanley Energy and ESB International recognise the need for action and offer cutting-edge solutions in the MENA region. Hanley Energy promotes green innovation through sustainably sourced, energy-efficient power.

Their innovative approach extends across its value chain to energy monitoring and analysis, green packaging, and a growing fleet of electric vehicles.

While ESB International invests in the development of onshore and offshore wind and solar energy, to increase the amount of renewable generation connected to national grids.

Stand out in your industry and offer something unique on sustainability

For forward-thinking companies focused on sustainable practices, they are best placed to capture the interest of consumers and fully embed it in the DNA of the company. It mustn’t just be a surface level and a superficial change.

Irish company GridBeyond is driving the adoption of a diversified energy mix by helping balance intermittent renewables with energy demand, providing scalable and real-time solutions to managing the energy system for tomorrow.

Their award-winning platform, backed by AI, helps connect, control, and automate energy demand using machine learning technology.

Under the sea, Cathx Ocean specialises in the gold standard of subsea surveying technology for environmental scientists and researchers, using unique ways of collecting and processing high-resolution data through fast digital imaging through autonomous underwater vehicles.

What is clear is that it has never been more important for businesses to implement a sustainable agenda. It is good for business, but also crucial to the environment. The MENA region will continue to be at the forefront of this drive as it presses ahead to COP28 in the UAE.

Now is the time to transform ambition into practical real-world application, time is running out to make the changes required. If we fail, future generations will pay a heavy price.

By working together across all parts of society, we can bring real change as the world works to deliver a net-zero carbon reality.

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