Rahul Sharma (Frost & Sullivan) on GCC’s sustainability transformation

09 October 2023 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read
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The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region is currently undergoing a significant ESG transformation, driven by the region’s strategy to align with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Rahul Sharma, Vice President at Frost & Sullivan, explores some of the steps that need to be taken to achieve the ambition.

In the GCC, amid Vision 2030 plans, there is a critical need to strike a balance between economic growth and sustainability. This includes ensuring there is economic diversification beyond the traditional oil and gas sector, with more focus on clean and sustainable energy.

As an illustrative example, Saudi Arabia's economy heavily relies on oil, with 80% of its export income derived from the sector. Furthermore, over 40% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP is dependent on petroleum exports, making it the third-most oil-reliant country globally, following Kuwait and Libya.

Rahul Sharma, Vice President, Frost & Sullivan

The goal of the GCC’s sustainability transformation is to move away from oil & gas, achieve self-sustainability across as many sectors as possible, and slash emissions.

To facilitate efficient and seamless progress, it is imperative to establish well-defined processes that are digitally supported, enabling operational scalability and enhancing transparency within the system.

Key areas of focus include:

In-Country Value (Localization)
Focuses on make in the region, upskilling and reskilling of the workforce, Innovations originating from the region, start-up ecosystem, etc.

Diversification in the region
Diversifying in the region away from oil and gas sector and investing in sectors such as manufacturing (process, discrete, batch and hybrid), entertainment, etc.

Backing the processes of various sectors digitally
Digital solutions and interventions to ensure that various processes can scale and make it easier to reach a wider audience.

Embedding sustainability
Crafting a sustainable journey to ensure that the progress happens in environmentally and socially accepted norms. 

As per analysis by Frost & Sullivan, key activities that need to be followed up during the sustainability journey include:
• Placing and passing regulations on various dimensions of SDGs
• Collaborating with public and private enterprises
• Carbon and Cost calculations
• Carbon-related financial disclosures
• Creating awareness about sustainability among the population
• Ensuring there is a collaborative effort to uplift the community where the businesses operate
• Gender Equality
• Good health and well-being

With countries committing to sustainability goals aimed at achieving carbon neutrality between 2050 and 2070, the GCC region’s focus on these themes is not only timely but also essential for its future competitiveness and the wellbeing of residents.

About the author: Rahul Sharma is Vice President at Frost & Sullivan and Global Head of the Manufacturing Transformation practice. He recently relocated to Dubai to reflect Frost & Sullivan’s commitment to the region.