Sustainable practices could generate $637 billion in value by 2030 for Mena businesses

Goals could help create 12.4 million jobs in the region

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Adopting sustainable business policies in the Middle East and North Africa region can generate US$637 billion in economic value and help create 12.4 million jobs by 2030, according to a new study.

The majority of economic benefit will be achieved in the energy and materials sector with $229bn, followed by cities with $183bn, health and well-being with $133bn and food and agriculture by $92bn, according to Better Business, Better World Mena, part of a series of reports first published in January this year.

The report is published by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, which was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January last year, with the aim of identifying the economic value of the 17 objectives of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to companies and how they can contribute to achieving them.


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“As countries in the Middle East and North Africa rise up to open new opportunities for women, welcome refugees and diversify their economies, there remains a long road for the region as a whole to become inclusive and sustainable,” said Mark Malloch-Brown, chair of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission who formerly served as the deputy-secretary of the UN.

"Better Business, Better World MENA shows there is a compelling economic incentive for business and government to accelerate, embracing sustainable solutions and rolling out innovative strategies to ensure that the region exploits fully its potential."

The top five opportunities for unlocking value from the four sectors identified by the report are improved energy efficiency in buildings ($52bn), affordable housing ($50bn), circular models in the automotive industry ($37bn), resource recovery ($33bn), and risk pooling in healthcare ($31 bn).

“The Sustainable Development Goals offer a coherent framework to effectively address fundamental societal challenges,” said Arif Naqvi, group chief executive at Dubai-based private equity firm The Abraaj Group, and commissioner of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission. “The goals are relevant to the Middle East and North Africa where we see a young dynamic population, motivated to seize opportunities and make positive contributions to the wider society.”

Around 12.4 million jobs in the Mena region could be created through business models aligned with the Global Goals. These include: 6 million jobs in developments in urban construction, mobility, and infrastructure, 3 million jobs related to energy and materials, 2.1 million in health and well-being, and more than 1.5 million in food and agriculture.