Qatar’s ESG efforts pit them top of the GCC

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As global temperatures rise, Qatari enterprises are increasingly embracing sustainability, according to QNB Financial Services. They also highlighted that MSCI has ranked Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund above its regional counterparts in terms of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) performance.

QNB’s impressive ESG rating, ranking first in Qatar and among the top two among GCC banks, along with its substantial presence in the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), positions Qatar prominently on the sustainability landscape.

With its sights set on becoming an advanced society by 2030, Qatar’s Vision is founded on  four key pillars: human development, social progress, economic growth, and environmental sustainability. QNBFS suggested that three of these pillars are closely associated with ESG considerations. The environmental aspect, or E-factor, involves the creation of an Environmental Sector Strategy (ESS) to align with Qatar National Vision 2030, aiming to preserve the environment for current and future generations.

This commitment led to the establishment of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in 2021, as Qatar boldly pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030, aligning with global climate goals and the Paris Agreement.

In a 2023 PwC survey on ESG, over 60% of Middle Eastern respondents indicated that their organizations have integrated ESG concerns into their strategic planning. Among these respondents, Qatari companies constituted the third-largest group.

In December 2016, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) introduced ESG reporting guidelines and launched the QSE Sustainability Platform, enabling listed companies to track their sustainability progress. This platform functions as a comprehensive scorecard, assessing factors such as energy consumption per employee, average employee training hours, and the proportion of independent directors. The intention was to gradually transition to mandatory ESG reporting.

The regulatory landscape in Qatar is evolving to integrate ESG principles. Key developments include the 2015 Companies Law and its 2021 Amendment, QFMA Corporate Governance Codes from 2014 and 2016, QSE ESG Guidelines from 2016, and various labor reforms introduced as recently as 2022.

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