HE the Minister of State and Chairman of QFZA Ahmad al-Sayed has participated in a panel discussion at Doha Forum 2022 to discuss the collaboration of governments and the private sector in developing free zones in pursuit of local, regional, and global sustainability.
The panel discussion titled ‘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.
The panellists from leading global organisations and companies included Amir Husain, founder and CEO of Spark Cognition; Steve Glickman, president of International for Aspiration; Ketan Patel, chairman of Force for Good and co-founder of Greater Pacific Capital; and 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, as well as the role that development and economic diversification institutions are playing worldwide in supporting sustainable development by delivering a diverse set of solutions, products, and 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.
The speakers also discussed ways by which governments and the private sector can co-operate 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.
Al-Sayed said, “Our aim is to create diversified economies by 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 to 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, 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. The second is by Qatar Free Zones ensuring that both physical and legal infrastructure are environmentally and socially sustainable.”
Husain said, “The rise of robotics and AI will allow productivity to be de-linked from large labour pools in the near future. By leveraging these emerging technologies, Qatar has an immense opportunity to advance its prosperity and competitiveness.”
Glickman said, “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 programme and nature-based carbon credits portfolio.
“Every tonne of carbon emitted by private tenants in Qatar Free Zones will be offset by one tonne 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.”
Patel said, “Investing for sustainable impact is imperative because it is the right thing to do, morally and commercially. It allows us to drive mass inclusion of the world’s people in education, technology, the workplace, healthcare, and the financial system, and our work shows that 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 10bn people expected to be living in the world.”
Staton said, “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.”