Qatari companies stand to gain from embarking on a sustainability journey, which, in recent years, has found a firm place on the top management agenda, according to a recently-published study of Roland Berger strategy consultants.
Speaking on Qatar’s current sustainability initiatives, Joerg Klasen, principal at Roland Berger, said Qatar's Sustainable Development Agenda is outlined in the Second National Development Strategy (2018-2022).
“In accordance with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the goals and objectives of the UN 2030 Global Sustainable Development Agenda, Qatar’s focus is on water, energy, cities and human settlements, consumption and production patterns, as well as on environmental protection,” he noted.
According to Klasen, the goals and initiatives include, for example, the installation of 800MW of new renewable energy capacity, an average “8%” reduction in electricity consumption or a “15%” reduction in per capita water consumption.
“Progress made in areas, such as urban and rural life or environmental protection will be enhanced. Initiatives such as ‘TASMU’ support the further use of intelligent technologies to build a digital economy in the country and are an important factor in the effective implementation of further national sustainability measures,” Klasen explained.
Stephan Essig, partner and managing director at Roland Berger in Qatar, said growing public concern has resulted in a tightening of regulations across many regions in areas, such as CO2 emissions, closed-loop recycling and gender inequality.
“The pressure does not stop there either. Sustainability has long since reached the financial markets, with investors urging businesses to make ambitious commitments,” Essig pointed out.
He said new opportunities for boosting sustainability may materialise along the way as a result of new technology, fresh business models, changes in society, and environmental events. Companies would be well-advised to develop an effective radar for spotting these options early on, Essig stated.
On sustainability’s role for corporate strategies, Essig said: “It is our strong belief that any corporate strategy over the next five years will be developed in the light of sustainability. Companies improving their sustainability and climate performance will be able to secure or even increase their long-term competitiveness e.g. by maintaining access to markets with stricter regulation or by actively addressing changing customer behaviour.”
Essig further said, "Sustainability is an issue that will last, and companies that do not take it into account in their strategies could be running substantial risks, for example the risk of damage to their reputation, problems in their supply chains, risks to the environment, and loss of talents/employer attractiveness.
“By contrast, businesses that choose to tackle the sustainability issue proactively may find that it can be very rewarding. Companies across industries have increased their aspirations with regard to sustainability and begun announcing measurable targets.”
Klasen added: “In addition to a joint understanding of the need for sustainability levers in the corporate strategy, the vague future in regulation and market demand must be modelled accordantly. This we do in scenarios – pictures that help imagine potential futures. Ideally, these scenarios should be slightly exaggerated and provocative in order to stimulate reflection and debate.
“The different scenarios will be analysed using the widely-established ESG framework, which looks at the three core dimensions of sustainability: environmental, social, and corporate governance issues. The implications for businesses differ for each of the scenarios and affect a wide range of areas, from competition to differentiation, and from innovation to recruiting.”