Minister of State and Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) Chairman HE Ahmad Al Sayed 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 “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. Panellists in the discussion session from leading global organisations and companies included Spark Cognition Founder and CEO Amir Husain, Aspiration President of International Steve Glickman, Chairman of Force for Good and Co-founder of Greater Pacific Capital Ketan Patel and Head of Corporate Development at Plastic Energy Ying Staton.
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 the 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.
Speaking on the occasion the QFZA chairman said, “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,” the minister said.
Describing the role that emerging technologies are playing in primary sectors, Amir 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.”
Talking about Aspiration’s partnership with QFZA to create fully carbon-neutral free zones, Steve 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 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.”
Ketan 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 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.”
Ying 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”.
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.