The world is at a pivotal moment to act on environmental sustainability. So how can countries in the Middle East position themselves to take the lead?
The region stands to unlock more than US$3 trillion in economic growth and create more than 1 million future-proof jobs by 2030. Governments and corporate leaders realize that such opportunities presented by sustainability initiatives outweigh any limits on economic development. They can leverage the region’s abundant renewable resources to manufacture carbon-neutral and carbon-negative industrial products for exports, or to diversify their energy mixes to include sources like solar and low-environmental-impact hydrocarbon. As the world shifts towards a greener future, the Middle East stands ready to play a leading role in shaping the sustainability agenda.
We work with clients to chart a course to a sustainable future, establishing holistic strategy-through-execution programs based on our expertise, deep industry knowledge, and — as the longest-serving consulting firm in the Middle East — our proven track record in driving change in the region.
Our team has built a unique set of capabilities that enable successful design and implementation of national sustainability programs, and we’re currently at the forefront of adapting international frameworks for environmental solutions to the specific circumstances of the GCC.
We work with government agencies to ensure that sustainability is an integral part of all sector strategies and initiatives. Our work focuses on encouraging public and state-owned enterprise decision-makers to seek opportunities for operational efficiency, cutting costs, and capturing growth created by green markets.
We ensure that sustainable investments have a clear business case, based on robust methodology to quantify their economic, environmental, and social returns. This allows decision-makers to compare policy options across sectors during budgeting processes and to efficiently allocate scarce financial resources.
We build transparent, standardized, and comprehensive reporting systems to assess the performance of sustainability initiatives. As environmental returns can be difficult to measure, systematic regulation and validation by independent third parties can help governments maintain credibility for their sustainability agenda.
When a public environmental agency in the GCC needed to refresh its five-year strategic plan and conduct analyses of nine sectors (including water, air quality, soil, land, biodiversity, and climate change), while also assessing its internal management structure, Strategy& was asked to help.
The Strategy& team developed a structured methodology to assess the agency’s performance against its past five-year strategic plan. The process was facilitated by engagement with international and regional environmental experts and decision-makers, in addition to relevant external stakeholders from the agency’s GCC territory.
Upon completion, Strategy& provided the agency with a comprehensive five-year strategic plan, including 200+ detailed initiatives aligned to respective strategic objectives and measurable KPIs. The strategic plan reflected a focus on achieving conservation and environmental sustainability, and was ultimately cascaded to an annual business plan, followed by a final risk analysis to identify potential gaps that could impede success.
A GCC country was undergoing an energy price reform that would lead to increasing electricity costs, while the power sector was transitioning towards replacing liquid-based generation with gas and renewable energy. Strategy& was retained to assist in the implementation of the country’s reform by providing recommendations for efficient deployment of resources and introduction of renewable energy.
To identify efficiency opportunities, the Strategy& team baselined the cost structure of electricity and was able to identify opportunities for improvements in dispatch, reduction in T&D losses, reduction in headcount, and fuel efficiency. In addition, the team developed multiple long-term capacity and generation mixes that would accommodate infrastructure and policy constraints.
Strategy& was able to deliver projections of short and long-term cost savings of electricity, and an “Optimal Energy Mix”, which reduced carbon emissions by half while lowering the cost of electricity and ensuring system reliability. The team’s recommendations are currently being implemented in the country’s national strategy.
Strategy& was retained by a GCC country looking to develop its renewable energy sector through the establishment of a centralized governmental body. The team was asked to support the development of the new office and to advise on what segments of the wind and solar PV manufacturing chain could be localized.
To deliver accurate recommendations, Strategy& conducted in-depth interviews, workshops, and working sessions with energy sector stakeholders to design the operating model for an integrated policy and planning function. To identify opportunities for manufacturing localization, the Strategy& team visited industrial cities across the country and collected information pertaining to infrastructure readiness — and then prioritized the cities through a comprehensive evaluation.
As a result of Strategy&’s engagement, a new office was established with 60 staff members and two industrial cities were shortlisted to host each of the solar and wind manufacturing clusters. Accordingly, the country will be able to source a total of 9 GW of renewable capacity by 2024.
In an effort to preserve the country’s natural endowments and promote increased tourism, the government in a GCC country announced the establishment of a number of national “crown-jewel” nature reserves which would be open to the public. Strategy& was asked to develop the concept and business plan for two of the reserves.
To tackle the project, the Strategy& team conducted a current state assessment and identified key development opportunities and restraints. This allowed the team to apply a pioneering approach in Integrated Landscape Management (ILM), developing a clustering scheme that reflected different conservation requirements. The learnings from the exercise became a pivotal element in creating a five-year strategy for the project.
Strategy& helped the country launch the “Royal Nature Reserves” initiative, covering the area of a medium-sized European country. The project aims to attract more than 400,000 visitors per year to the two natural reserves, and will involve infrastructure investments of US$350 million by the year 2030.