COP28 Presidency launches new SME climate hub

The COP28 Presidency, in partnership with the SME Climate Hub and the We Mean Business Coalition, has initiated a specialised programme aimed at supporting the adoption of net-zero strategies among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

COP28 Presidency launches new SME climate hub

The MENA branch of the SME Climate Hub will enable companies with fewer than 500 employees to participate in the internationally recognised Race to Zero campaign, endorsed by the UN.

It will also grant them access to free tools and resources to integrate emissions reduction measures throughout their operations, report annually on their advancements, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.

COP28’s chief executive officer Mr. Adnan Amin said: “SMEs comprise up to 90% of all businesses in the Middle East and North Africa, hence they form a major part of the region’s economy and have an integral role to play in accelerating MENA’s transition to net-zero.

“Expanding the SME Climate Hub’s regionalisation in MENA will help us to deliver the most inclusive COP to date, support SMEs with their climate goals and ensure they are a vital part of our collective efforts to keep 1.5C within reach.”

In the MENA region, SMEs, much like their counterparts worldwide, encounter obstacles despite the burgeoning startup landscape.

These hurdles encompass issues like securing financial support, grappling with escalating operational expenses, addressing systemic disparities, adapting to the digital age, enhancing capacities and skills, and gaining entry to vital resources and networks.

These challenges become more pronounced when the shift towards sustainability is taken into consideration. The Climate Hub aims to support businesses in the region to retain their competitive edge in a fast-changing economy.

The program will be run in partnership with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company – Masdar, with support from First Abu Dhabi Bank and the Abu Dhabi Chamber.

Abu Dhabi Chamber’s chief executive officer Mr. Al Qubaisi said: “This program represents a crucial step in efforts to enhance the success of SMEs while promoting sustainability and aligning with the UAE’s ambitious Green Agenda 2030 and Net-Zero commitments.”

More from COP28 Presidency

In related news, COP28 president-designate Dr. Sultan Al Jaber has this week urged the fossil fuel industry to rally around ambitious decarbonisation targets as part of the COP28 Presidency’s Action Agenda, in a bid to accelerate energy transition and keep 1.5C attainable.

Fossil fuels are the predominant source of climate change, with their value chains being responsible for more than 75% of worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and nearly 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

Nonetheless, the total amount of fossil fuel subsidies provided globally almost doubled year-on-year in 2022, reaching an all-time high of $1trn, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Dr. Al Jaber reiterated calls on the industry to “step up, align around net-zero by or before 2050, zero-out methane emissions, and eliminate routine flaring by 2030”.

“The world must reduce emissions by at least 43% over the next 7 years to keep 1.5C within reach. And that is our north star. It is our destination. It is simply respecting the science,” he added.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie