Press Release: The ESG Power 50 Announces the Middle East’s 50 Most Influential ESG Leaders of 2022
The ESG Power 50 is an initiative launched to recognise the trailblazers in the Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) function who are embedding the ESG culture and sustainable practices into their corporate strategies and driving sustainability forward in the GCC region.
The initiative strives to reinforce the importance of a strong ESG culture, not just depending on the strength of the ESG team but on the vision and the efforts that are taken to embed ethical practices into the day-to-day business operations. This is something that Middle Eastern businesses are striving to achieve.
The ESG Power 50 comprises accomplished ESG professionals across the GCC and various sectors. Some organisations featured include ADNOC, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, UAE, Chalhoub Group, Tatweer Petroleum, TAQA, Soudah Development, Saudi Arabian Mining Company, Emirates Steel Arkan, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Zurich Insurance, Saudi British Bank, and Majid Al Futtaim Holding.
The initiative is driven by The Carbon Collective Company, a global environmental consultancy firm that works with companies to create and plan decarbonisation goals and strategies for their clients to achieve their objectives at the various stages of their decarbonisation journeys.
“We see a rapid increase in the awareness of ESG Risks in business and their impact on their employees, consumers, investors, the environment, and the society they operate in. Implementing an ESG strategy comes with various challenges, ones we haven’t seen before. ESG professionals come with different titles in different companies and, in my opinion, are the superheroes who protect the stakeholders, the environment and society. The ESG Power 50 is a need-of-the-hour initiative for ESG professionals in the Middle East and our attempt to recognise and thank these superheroes.” said Gokul Shekar, Head of ESG and Climate Change, The Carbon Collective Company.
According to the ESG Power 50 survey that was conducted to all those who were nominated for the ESG Power 50 2022, respondents noted that by the end of 2023, over 89% of large corporations in the Middle East would be reporting their ESG activities with 57% of Middle Eastern organisations finding it extremely important to disclose their sustainability-related activities.
Like many regions, businesses in the Middle East have faced challenges in recent years, making it a challenging time for ESG professionals working towards getting their businesses to adopt globally recognised ESG reporting frameworks and initiatives.
The challenges faced are not uncommon for ESG professionals, the first being how to drive and include board members and shareholders to include ESG in their strategy. The ESG Power 50 survey found that investors are the 3rd most important stakeholder to consider in their ESG journey.
Secondly, is raising awareness of the ESG ecosystem and educating organisations and all its employees on the ESG initiatives and solutions that have been adopted and implemented, further enforcing the importance of procuring tools and software that follow the approved guidelines and policy frameworks.
40% of survey respondents noted that the lack of a professional software solution to monitor or report their business’ ESG performance was a common challenge faced within their role.
The third challenge is creating a fair and transparent environment for companies to have guidelines and mandates in place as well as regulatory advancements for the widespread adoption of ESG across all businesses in all sectors.
46% of survey respondents noted that one of the most common challenges faced in while implementing ESG in their organisation was finding clarity of government guidelines or frameworks to adhere to.
Roles within ESG are set to increase further in the coming months and years as conversations surrounding decarbonisation and climate change continue to gain momentum, and the UAE sets out its plans for hosting COP28 in 2023. The Middle Eastern countries have laid the foundation, with all major economies issuing guidelines for organisational ESG & Sustainability disclosures. While more mandates are expected, large and responsible organisations have already started their ESG journey following international frameworks and standards such as the GRI and SASB.
The full list of the Middle East’s 50 most influential ESG leaders of 2022 is available at http://esgpowerlist.com/
Photo courtesy Edward Howell.