ADSW Web- ADSW Talks COP28 hosting is vote of confidence in UAEs climate leadership

08 JAN 2022

ADSW Talks: COP28 hosting is “vote of confidence” in UAE’s climate leadership


The UAE being selected to host COP28 in 2023 is “a vote of confidence by the international community in the UAE’s climate leadership,” Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, says in the first episode of  our new ADSW Talks series.

HE also shares her thoughts on how Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) can help drive global cooperation in climate action, acting as “a springboard for climate-friendly innovation and breakthrough projects that can help us build a better future for humankind.” To see more, please click here.

The ADSW Talks series hosts influential figures from across the sustainability sector to share their perspectives on the most pressing sustainability challenges facing the world and the collective willpower and solutions needed to build a more sustainable future for all.

ADSW 20222, a global platform for accelerating the world’s sustainable development, will be taking place from Saturday January 15 – Wednesday January 19, 2022 To register click here.

27 JAN 2022

Addressing climate change with better food systems

By Eugene Willemsen, CEO Africa, Middle East and South Asia, PepsiCo

It comes as no surprise that climate change directly affects the future of security. A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) clearly outlines the role that the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather-related disasters, such as droughts, cyclones, and wildfires, play in multiplying threats for the low-income demographic, particularly the undernourished. Combined with the global pandemic and ongoing regional conflict, climate change has devastating effects on food production and availability. Amongst the most significant of its effects, asides from reducing crop yields, is the havoc it wreaks on quality and nutritional value, stability of food systems, water availability, livelihoods and access to food.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a global temperature rise of 1.38 to 5.55 degrees Celscius is forecasted in the next century. And as temperatures increase, yields for the world’s most essential crops, which provide over 66% of the world’s calories, will take a nosedive. A NASA studypredicts a projected decline of maize yields to 24% as early as 2030 under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario. Currently, one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the rising temperatures, come from the global food system. So, if we want sustainable food security for our children and generations to come, it’s high time we come together to find far reaching solutions and take large-scale action.

At PepsiCo, our business relies on a stable and healthy climate to grow nutritious ingredients that go into our food. Therefore, we cannot afford to sit idle waiting for climate change solutions – we need to act. We are doing our part through pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) – PepsiCo’s end-to-end transformation with sustainability at the center of how we create shared value. 

The resurgence of sustainable agricultural practices has shown that the ability to transform global agriculture while making a positive impact on our climate ambitions to reach net zero is within reach. As a result, one of our key pep+ pillars – Positive Agriculture – is grounded in advancing regenerative agriculture across our entire footprint, approximately seven million acres. We estimate this effort will eliminate at least three million tons of greenhouse gases by the end of the decade, and help improve the livelihoods of those in our global agricultural supply chain. 

An example of this work in action that’s especially close to my heart is She Feeds the World (SFtW), a program we developed together with the PepsiCo Foundation and CARE to teach, equip, train and advocate for sustainable agriculture, women’s empowerment and gender equality in agriculture across the world. SFtW helps women gain access to land rights, financing, and markets; acquire quality inputs and equipment; implement sustainable agriculture practices; and supports women in growing more with less so they can feed their families themselves and grow their incomes. The program supports food security and economic opportunity in the long-term and helps communities respond to systemic shocks like COVID-19. It is anchored in PepsiCo’s pep+ goal to spread regenerative practices across all our land, support women small-scale producers, and strengthen farming communities. As of 2020, the program has provided more than 700,000 women small-scale producers and their families in Egypt, Peru, and Uganda, with the tools and training they need to foster sustainable, long-term growth. 

The farmer is the center point for regenerative agriculture, and the voices of farmers must be at every table when developing policy, regulations, and financial incentives. We are doing this because we know that regenerative agriculture can protect farmers from catastrophic climate change effects – and therefore sustain their livelihoods for long-term food security and also reducing environmental impact. 

But we also know that embracing regenerative practices comes with a cost for farmers. It usually takes farmers about two to four years of using regenerative agriculture practices before they start to see a benefit to their profit and loss sheet. So, we need to help them bridge the gap.One thing we have tried is cost-sharing up to $10 per acre. This gives farmers the resources they need to implement cover crops that increase soil health and resilience to climate change. We’ve had farmers in this program tell us that their fields are green, while their neighbours’ are brown, or that they now grow the best soybeans they’ve ever had. Not only has this put more money in the pockets of farmers, but it has also demonstrated a 38% reduction in greenhouse gasses.

We are very proud of pep+ and believe it is the future of our business. However, no sector can do this alone; addressing climate change requires a systems approach. Action is absolutely vital, now more than ever. Infact, we have vowed to increase scrutiny over our business’ climate policies and have offered learnings in decarbonization through our participation at the UN Climate Change Conference  (COP26). By working together—private sector, governments, development agencies, farmers, consumers — we can unlock climate solutions at the scale that is needed, drive systemic changes in energy and food systems, and have a sustainable meaningful impact on people’s lives. 


27 JAN 2022

Building sustainable and resilient food systems is essential to regional food security

The events of the last two years placed extraordinary stresses on food supply chains around the world. According to the OECD there were bottlenecks in farm labor, processing, transport, and logistics, as well as shifts in consumer demand , but policymakers and industry quickly responded to minimize the impact of these disruptions, and the world managed to avert a global food crisis.

Nonetheless, the pandemic might have pushed up to 132 million additional people into chronic hunger and the number of undernourished may have increased to as many as 811 million people in 2020 according to the FAO , a staggering 10.4% of world population. The FAO cite the devastating effects of the pandemic on jobs and income, especially in developing countries, as one of the main drivers for this increase.

This is a deeply concerning trend. But couple this with the risks posed by climate change and its impacts on the agriculture sector – for which we are still woefully underprepared according to a recent report by the Stockholm Environment Institute  – the resulting impact on livelihoods, food prices, and global food security could be extremely severe.

Global investment firms, like Investcorp, must be a part of the solution to avoid widescale global food insecurity, by looking to deploy capital to support innovative farming techniques, technological innovation in food production, deeper supply chain integration, and widespread adoption of digital technologies and platforms. These will be key to providing food security and sustainability across the GCC region. 

FreshToHome, an Investcorp portfolio company, and one of the world’s largest fully integrated fresh fish and meat e-groceries – with fast expanding farming, supply chain, and processing capabilities in Abu Dhabi – is an impressive example of how the use of cutting-edge technologies is furthering the availability, access, and quality of food in a sustainable manner in India and across the GCC. 

Approximately 14% of all food globally is lost along the supply chain before it even reaches the consumer. According to the FAO, reducing food loss and waste is therefore critical to improving the food security situation of vulnerable groups all over the world. 

By investing heavily to build a large cold chain infrastructure operation in India, FreshToHome has cut out several layers of middlemen to source directly from local farmers and fishermen from more than 125 harbors, reducing what was a multiday supply chain to less than 36 hours, and resulting in a waste yield of only 1.5%, approximately ten times lower than the global average.

Furthermore, by leveraging predictive planning and precision agriculture and aquaculture technologies to optimize supply and demand more accurately, the company is not only able to reduce food loss and waste, but also ensure that fishermen and farmers gain higher utilization of their harvests, and therefore receive higher incomes. 

Through its extensive online presence across more than 80 cities in India and the GCC, and an increasing number of “offline” stores, the company can ensure the continuous availability of fresh food, with higher nutritional value, to greater numbers of people.

While the world may have demonstrated successes in global coordination in response to successive lockdowns and movement restrictions, it is ventures like FreshToHome that can serve as an example of the sorts of companies that together could mean the difference between life and death for millions of people globally.

It is incumbent upon investors to recognize the contribution that such companies can make to local economic development, better livelihoods, and to the resiliency of both regional and global food systems.

By HE Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri
Minister of Climate Change and Environment

27 JAN 2022

The UAE’s Net Zero Advantage

Authored by:
H.E. Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation 

Global energy leaders, policy makers, business, innovators and industry are set to converge in Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) this week to discuss strategies and solutions that support a global transition to clean energy. 

In what has widely become known as the ‘decade of action’ for climate change, pressure on governments and business has been mounting, and over the course of 2021, we reached a significant tipping point in global attitudes towards climate change. Now more than ever before, citizens are demanding that government and business leaders deliver meaningful action on climate change. Action being the key word. 

Impatience, particularly among youth, is growing as they become increasingly frustrated at targets being set for the distant future, often decades ahead, when tangible solutions are needed today. This is further compounded by indecision on the best way forward, and few recognizing that collaboration, not competition, is key to winning this race against the climate clock.

While many countries continue to debate the best way forward, focused more on political preferences than data-driven decisions, the UAE is decisively leading the way towards a more sustainable future. In particular, its proactive and evidence-based approach to energy, adopted more than a decade ago, means the nation is quietly carving out a role for itself as a global clean energy leader.

This position would have been unthinkable just a decade ago, when an oil rich nation such as ours enacted an energy policy that selected renewables and peaceful nuclear energy as the paths to diversification, security of supply and sustainability. Yet, as the first country in the region to sign the Paris Agreement in 2016 and more recently to release its national Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, the UAE has consistently chosen to prioritize a holistic, realistic and data driven approach to its energy sector. 

This has given us a distinct advantage as we urgently work together to avoid the worst extremes of a climate disaster and navigate our way towards a cleaner energy future. We are already reaping the benefits of our clean energy investments – with thousands of megawatts of zero-carbon electricity being generated across the country every day, accelerating us towards our Net Zero goals. 

At the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), we are proud to contribute to the UAE’s clean energy vision with an abundant supply of clean electricity, generated 24/7 at our Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant. Set to produce 25% of the UAE’s power needs, the Barakah Plant will also prevent the release of 21 million tons of carbon emissions every year, equivalent to the removal of 3.2 million cars off our roads. This proven ability to produce abundant, 24/7 clean electricity underpins the UAE’s growing intermittent renewables power supply today, and for the next 60 years.  

Clean electricity is also a powerhouse for economic opportunity and competitive advantage. With the launch of its clean energy certification mechanism in September 2021, Abu Dhabi became the first market worldwide to recognize the role of nuclear as a form of clean energy – granting UAE companies new access to the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) certification through the purchase of clean energy certificates. By doing so, these organizations are committing to a more sustainable future, while also improving their ESG reporting abilities, earning a competitive advantage with regional and global peers and opening up priority access to ESG-conscious markets around the world.  

This clean electricity is not only rapidly decarbonizing the power sector, but also enabling hard-to-decarbonize companies access to clean electricity to power their operations. The announcement from ADNOC and the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), outlining how the organization will power itself with clean electricity, is a perfect example of how the clean energy we currently have available as a nation is contributing to a better, more sustainable future. 

This is only one of many aspects where we are starting to see the competitive advantages of delivering abundant, reliable and commercially competitive clean electricity. In recent years, the UAE has transformed itself into a clean energy hub, where world leading solar plants and zero emission nuclear energy have increased the contribution of clean energy sources in the power generation mix. 

This inclusive approach to the clean energy transition is why the UAE continues to invest in and deliver important platforms like WFES, and COP28 in 2023, offering opportunities to share our lessons with the world, and partner with other nations to drive further innovative climate solutions. This unprecedented challenge requires unprecedented collaboration – between nations, within and across industries and amongst clean technology providers. Events such as WFES are essential to this. 

Ultimately, as we swiftly accelerate towards Net Zero—setting new and more ambitious goals and making clean electricity even more relevant in decarbonizing our economy—we call on our fellow governments, alongside businesses, industry, and organizations, to do the same. Together, we can collectively drive the transition and bring about the long-lasting change we need today.