Forbes Middle East has revealed its inaugural list of sustainability leaders, spotlighting the Middle East’s biggest players making the most impactful commitments and forward steps toward sustainable business goals.
The list highlights 11 key corporate sectors. Forbes Middle East evaluated the companies in relation to their positive environmental impact, ESG commitments, levels of transparency and collaboration, sustainability initiatives in the past year, and their roadmap to net zero. For banking and financial services, the facilitation of sustainable finance was also considered.
The list features 100 companies, with 44 leaders from the UAE, 22 from Saudi Arabia, ten from Qatar, and 12 global companies with 11 regional offices in the UAE. Five entries are from Egypt, three are from Kuwait, and two each are from Bahrain and Oman.
We also highlight ten leaders in government in the Middle East who are using their influence to create positive change. From the UAE, this includes Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate, UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology; Razan Al Mubarak, Managing Director of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD); Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; and Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade.
From Saudi Arabia, the featured leaders are Adel Al-Jubeir, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Climate Envoy, and Abdulrahman AlFadley, Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture. Other listees recognized are Bahrain’s Minister of Oil and Environment and Special Envoy for Climate Affairs Mohamed Bin Mubarak Bin Daina; Egypt’s Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad; Oman’s Chairman of the Environment Authority Abdullah Al Amri; and Qatar’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Faleh Bin Nasser Al Thani.
“We have to understand that we cannot accept the current status,” Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, told Forbes Middle East in an exclusive interview featured in the October magazine. “We have to move away from the blaming mindset. It’s a problem, and we have to work together. The biggest threat is not taking any action.”
Established in 1933, Saudi-based Aramco is the oldest-standing local company on the Sustainable 100 list, having launched its environmental plan in 2001. Among the global companies with regional presence, Swedish telecom firm Ericsson ranks as the oldest running business, established in 1876. In October 2022, Ericsson partnered with e& to use the latest Ericsson Radio System portfolio, which resulted in a 52% reduction in energy consumption. The three youngest companies on the list were founded in 2020: real estate developers SEE Holding and ROSHN Group and agri-food firm Silal.