As governments in the GCC actively promote green projects and sustainability initiatives, with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 and the UAE's Ministry for Climate and Environment leading the way, the private sector is taking note. Companies are increasingly seeing the untapped potential of green business, giving them a first-mover advantage – and the opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable future.
We take a closer look at some of the companies advancing the region’s sustainability agenda.
Etihad Airlines, which recently received the "Environmental Airline of 2023" award for the second time, has made sustainability part of its core business. The Abu Dhabi-based airliner is focused on addressing the climate crisis by reducing carbon emissions, improving waste management, and implementing sustainable fleet management practices.
In London, Dubai, and San Francisco, Hydro Wind Energy is spearheading the development of ground-breaking solutions for power generation, energy storage, and water desalination. The tech startup designs solutions to address some of the region's most pressing sustainability challenges. Hydro Wind Energy is currently developing QuenchSea, a handheld device that can instantly convert seawater into freshwater, which can be used in regions grappling with water scarcity.
Avani Eco Middle East, headquartered in Dubai, is at the forefront of the battle against plastic pollution. Recognizing the need for eco-friendly alternatives to traditional plastics, Avani focuses on replacing them with cost-effective bio-based solutions like Polylactic Acid (PLA). Avani’s compostable bioplastic bags, which are produced locally in the UAE, are derived from cassava starch and biodegrade in less than six months, leaving no toxic residue behind.
With a footprint extending to more than 40 countries, Masdar is a major player in the development of renewable energy projects in the Middle East. Their flagship project, Masdar City, stands as one of the world's most sustainable urban communities and a hub for renewable energy innovation. Masdar plays a crucial role in the UAE's ambitious transition from fossil fuel- to a knowledge-based economy.
Nomadd, headquartered in Saudi Arabia, specializes in the efficient maintenance and cleaning of solar panels in harsh desert conditions. Nomadd operates without water, ensuring that the sensitive surfaces of solar panels remain unharmed during cleaning.
Established in Dubai in 1964, Averda is a leader in waste management, offering comprehensive waste removal services for cities and households. Averda aims to recycle more than 80 percent of the waste it handles and has ambitious plans to introduce circular recovery options across all 34 of its locations in the Middle East, Africa, and India.
Based in Sharjah, Bee’ah has evolved into a holding group for a range of sustainable ventures, all united under the Bee’ah brand. Their services encompass waste collection, clean and renewable power, digital solutions, green transport, and environmental consulting, among other things.
Enviroserve, which started out as a small enterprise that specialized in dismantling used mobile phones in 2004, has grown into one of the world's largest electronics recyclers, with a client list that includes governments, multinationals, and industrial consumers. Its services include recycling refrigerant gas, IT refurbishment, and special waste disposal for premium brands.
Liquid of Life is on a mission to reduce the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfills by offering customers alternatives. Liquid of Life provides households and businesses with water filtration products that make eco-friendly drinking water accessible. Their under-the-sink filters allow users to enjoy tap water without the need for containers, helping to reduce plastic waste.
Neutral Fuels is working to make reducing carbon emissions a commercial venture by converting cooking oil into biodiesel. Their approach includes the use of sensors and apps to optimize fuel consumption, saving time and money in fleet management.
Founded by Omar Al-Jundi in 2016, Badia Farms was the GCC's first vertical farm. Badia Farms employs sustainable farming methods that eliminate the need for sunlight, soil, or pesticides, helping to overcome the challenges of desert farming. Today, Badia supplies high-end restaurants and supermarkets with herbs and microgreens, demonstrating that sustainable agriculture is possible, even in the most challenging environments.
Desert Control specializes in climate-smart agritech solutions to combat desertification, soil degradation, and water scarcity. Its liquid natural clay enriches desert sand, transforming it into fertile soil in less than seven hours, creating the potential to increase agricultural production in arid regions.
Pure Harvest Smart Farms is challenging the status quo by making local fruit and vegetable production possible in a country that has traditionally imported more than 80 percent of its food. Using high-tech greenhouses, Pure Harvest’s hydroponic farming methods are seven times more efficient than traditional greenhouse farming in the UAE, and 30 times more efficient than field farming.
Saudi-based Red Sea Farms specializes in sustainable agricultural solutions for water-scarce areas. Its innovative use of saltwater and sunlight allows it to grow food sustainably in arid environments. With plans to expand beyond MENA, its breakthrough technologies promise to revolutionize traditional farming.
UAE-based Al Bayader Group has come up with a green product range that provides sustainable food packaging solutions, using paper and sugar-cane pulp to manufacture food packaging. The group has also included composting, energy conservation, and recycling in their manufacturing process, making it more sustainable and environmentally friendly.