Climate change in the MENA region presents not only risks but also opportunities. The task is complex and multifaceted, yet the potential rewards position the region to emerge as a global leader in a world that must adapt to a new environmental reality.
Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm, together with the World Economic Forum, launched a new sustainability report, ‘Closing the Climate Action Gap: Accelerating Decarbonization and the Energy Transition in MENA’ providing an in-depth analysis tailored to the MENA context. It assesses the multifaceted risks climate change poses to the region's environment, economies, and businesses. It also identifies specific opportunities across sectors to turn risks into competitive advantages.
The report finds that MENA countries have demonstrated a growing commitment to climate action through net-zero targets, however, current pledges fall short, business adoption lags global peers, and consumers underestimate regional vulnerabilities. Successfully transitioning to a sustainable future will hinge on bold measures from policymakers and companies, raising public awareness, and establishing multi-stakeholder partnerships.
For businesses, this entails setting science-based targets, decarbonizing operations, deploying resilient planning, and mobilizing sustainable finance. For policymakers, it is imperative to establish clear climate regulations, enable access to technology and infrastructure, expand access to sustainable financing solutions, and facilitate access to education to grow talent. Together, strategic climate action can strengthen economic diversification, exports, and employment across MENA.
Bain conducted in-depth research on the MENA region, including a broad sustainability consumer survey encompassing consumer product categories and demographic sectors across countries. Bain’s research identified distinct demographic consumer attitudes towards environmental and social responsibility, providing a picture of how consumer segments exhibit different ways of engaging with ESG.
"The MENA region will need to pave its own decarbonization pathway that will need to balance energy transition with growth and socio-economic development requirements,” said Raja Atoui, partner at Bain & Company Middle East. “Key emitting sectors such as utilities, heavy-industry, oil & gas, and transportation require targeted measures which include improving efficiency, harnessing renewable energy, and adopting new technologies (such as CCUS and clean hydrogen). In addition, MENA’s solar and wind potential could help position the region as a key exporter of clean energy to other global regions.”
Bain, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, launched Leaders for a Sustainable Middle East and North Africa Forum to accelerate corporate climate action in a part of the world set to be among those most affected by climate change. The MENA region is estimated to be seeing warming at twice the global rate. The Forum believes businesses can play a key role in helping to slow the effects of global warming with quickly actionable measures, including embracing the transition to more climate-friendly practices, adopting global best practices, setting clear objectives, raising consumer awareness, and partnering with governments.