As world leaders prepare for the climate summit Cop26 in Glasgow next month, there is an impetus for countries to act now to avoid a climate catastrophe. The race for countries and the global business community towards net zero is on, for the health of the planet as well as for the sake of future generations.
In keeping with the theme of sustainability, the UAE aims to deliver one of the most sustainable world fairs ever. Expo 2020 Dubai demonstrates how concern for the environment and the climate is at the centre of plans undertaken by the Emirates. For instance, at least half of the energy power of the Expo 2020 Dubai's site will be derived from renewable energy sources and water for irrigation, cooling and waste is to be recycled water.
These are just a few of the measures being carried out, contributing to the UAE's vision of what can be achieved through clean technologies.
Expo 2020 Dubai exemplifies the changes required to move towards a more sustainable future. With the global spotlight on the UAE, the expo can inspire better choices that would reduce the carbon footprint. It is also an opportunity to showcase real-life solutions. Combined with policy changes, such innovation will drive businesses and governments to be more responsible with resources.
As the world aims for net zero emissions, the transition to low carbon has become a defining force for business. For Irish companies, this means opportunities to compete and grow. But it also creates the need to comply with regulations and the demands of investors and customers for credible sustainability impact and reporting.
It is important that these disclosures are clear and accessible so that lay people can know the overall carbon footprint of a company and the responsible environmental actions these companies are taking in doing business.
Ireland is a fast-growing hub of innovation in the cleantech industry, with a large number of start-ups, small and medium enterprises and large companies that are helping countries become more energy efficient. This is done in a number of ways. These companies solve complex technical challenges, deliver sustainable and low carbon solutions to make renewable energy viable, reduce energy waste in our cities with smart technology, reduce agricultural waste and make construction cleaner.
The aim is to solve challenges and co-operate so the right solution is available at the right time. By acting together, we are stronger in what we can achieve. Our future, it is clear, will be built on greater collaboration.
The governments of Ireland and the UAE share an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy tremendous co-operation across sectors. One example of this is the partnership with the Road and Transport Authority in Dubai. Through an agreement between the RTA and Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government’s agency for trade and innovation, we aim to collaborate on several projects in the future rooted in sustainability, as well as sharing best practices from across the public and private sectors.
Ireland is already helping to realise the many goals of the government of Dubai. Irish innovation in the sustainability sector, such as the solar expertise of the Amarenco Group, will contribute to achieving the targets laid out in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, an agenda which aims to increase the contribution of clean energy to UAE's total energy mix, from 25 per cent to 50 per cent by 2050.
By linking sustainability with business opportunity, we can drive substantial progress now for greener, more sustainable practices. We see this through the rise in ESG – environmental, social, and governance – green investment bonds, the ramping up of investments into alternative energy and cleantech.
With the global clean energy technologies market size and revenue share at an estimated $284 billion, it is expected to expand to over $420 billion by 2026. Recognising the business potential for those operating in these sectors is critical. Doing so will enable the green transition to occur.
Over the next six months of Expo 2020 Dubai, several planned visits to the UAE by Irish companies and ministers from the Irish government will forge even greater collaboration between the two nations. As we reconnect in person after the pandemic, there will be opportunities to meet with local partners in the UAE and introduce them to Irish companies and demonstrate Ireland’s heritage of ingenuity, imagination and innovation.