Sustainable Development in the Gulf Amid Global Transition for Low Carbon Energy

H.E. Ahmad Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) participated in a panel discussion at Doha Forum 2022 to discuss collaboration of governments and private sector in developing free zones in pursuit of local, regional and global sustainability. Doha Forum was held in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – the State of Qatar, with the theme this year “Transforming for a New Era”.

The panel discussion “Creating Sustainable Growth in the Gulf as the World Transitions to Net Zero”, was moderated by Lord Mandelson – Co-founder and Chairman of Global Counsel. Panelists in the discussion session from leading global organizations and companies included; Mr. Amir Husain – Founder and CEO of Spark Cognition, Mr. Steve Glickman, President of International for Aspiration, Mr. Ketan Patel – Chairman of Force for Good and Co-founder of Greater Pacific Capital and Ms. Ying Staton – Head of Corporate Development at Plastic Energy. The session was also attended by leading stakeholders and experts from local, regional and global entities and companies.

The panel session explored issues related to economic diversification in the GCC. This is in addition to the role that development and economic diversification institutions are playing worldwide in supporting sustainable development by delivering a diverse set of solutions, products & services. The panel also discussed the importance of the role that governments in the GCC and the world should play in developing and promoting policies related to sustainability, and encouraging the participation of the private sector in this role and its dissemination through the proper responsible institutions. On the other hand, the speakers also discussed ways by which governments and private sector can cooperate and work together to assist free zones in achieving this global and local sustainability, and therefore, contributing to efforts of reaching net zero by 2050.

H.E. Ahmad Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), said in his remarks in the panel session: “Our aim is to create diversified economies, through developing the right business partnerships for Qatar and the GCC countries. We intend to do this by facilitating for potential global and local investors to be on board with us and contribute for this purpose”.

“Qatar Free Zones Authority can support the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles in its approach to attract investors on two different levels; first by businesses to become more sustainable themselves, through enforcing minimum ESG standards for them within the free zones, providing access to supportive technologies and establishing reporting requirements and minimum compliance standards with regards to key areas such as data protection, the health and safety of individuals working in the free zones, and corporate governance. Second, by Qatar Free Zones ensuring that both physical and legal infrastructure are environmentally and socially sustainable ”, H.E the Minister of State added.

Mr. Amir Husain – Founder and CEO of Spark Cognition said during the discussion describing the role that emerging technologies are playing in primary sectors; “The rise of robotics and AI will allow productivity to be de-linked from large labor pools in the near future. By leveraging these emerging technologies, Qatar has an immense opportunity to advance its prosperity and competitiveness.”

Mr. Steve Glickman, President of International for Aspiration, commented when talking about Aspiration’s partnership with QFZA to create leading fully carbon neutral free zones: “Qatar has exhibited unprecedented global leadership in ensuring all of the electricity and gas consumed in the Free Zones are made carbon neutral through Aspiration’s global reforestation program and nature-based carbon credits portfolio. Every ton of carbon emitted by private tenants in the Qatar Free Zones will be offset by one ton of high-quality, verified carbon credits that correspond with the carbon removal capacity of forests that will be restored in Sub Saharan Africa, an unprecedented and high-integrity commitment to reducing the carbon impact of the Free Zones.”

Mr. Ketan Patel – Chairman of Force for Good and Co-founder of Greater Pacific Capital said in his remarks about the role of investing for impact; “Investing for sustainable impact is an imperative because it is the right things to do, morally and commercially, it allows us to drive mass inclusion of the world’s people in education, technology, the work place, healthcare and the financial system and our work shows imaginative and innovative businesses do it well for profit. It is therefore a critical investment to prepare for the transition we need to make to a new digital sustainable era for 2050 and the nearly 10 billion people expected to be living in the world.”

Ms. Ying Staton – Head of Corporate Development at Plastic Energy said during the panel discussion: “Advanced recycling creates an opportunity for end-of-life plastics to be recycled back into the plastic value chain, contributing to a circular economy and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The energy industry has an important role to play in supporting these new technologies and business models to make the transition to net zero”.

Qatar Free Zones, provide a comprehensive and integrated platform for the Qatari private sector and international companies, which can take advantage of by expanding their businesses and partnerships to enter new markets regionally and globally, and therefore, aim at approaching local and global sustainability.

Watch the full discussion panel by clicking here.