COP 28 and the UAE: Paving the Way for Green Business in the Middle East

COP 28 and the UAE: Paving the Way for Green Business in the Middle East

October 09, 2023

Green Business

You've probably heard the buzz around COP 28 and the United Arab Emirates hosting the international climate conference for the first time in the Middle East. The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was held in the UAE, not only reaffirmed the global commitment to combating climate change but also heralded a new era of business opportunities. The UAE, known for its ambition and innovation, is now a magnet for companies seeking to contribute to a more sustainable future. In this article, we look at how COP 28 has opened up new opportunities in the UAE for businesses involved in energy projects, energy efficiency consulting, greenhouse and green building, and green gas production, as well as the importance of logistics services, transportation solutions, and other related sectors.

This blog covers:

How the UAE Is Leading Sustainable Business Practises in the Region

The UAE has emerged as a leader in sustainability and eco-friendly business in the Middle East. Some of the ways the UAE is paving the way are:

Investing in renewable energy sources like solar and wind: The UAE aims to generate half its energy from renewable sources by 2050. This push for clean energy is attracting green tech companies and sustainable startups.
Developing sustainable cities: Sustainable urban planning is inspiring multiple projects across the region.

Adopting eco-tourism: The UAE's natural landscapes, from deserts to beaches, attract eco-conscious travellers. The UAE is promoting sustainable tourism by preserving habitats and limiting pollution.

Improving waste management: The UAE is a leader in waste-to-energy technology, with many new facilities turning waste into electricity. Better recycling and composting programmes are also reducing waste sent to landfills.
Encouraging green building: Innovative building standards aim for net-zero energy use. Retrofitting existing buildings and using sustainable materials are also gaining traction, especially in Dubai.

Supporting SMEs to Adopt Sustainable Practises: The government's provision of assistance in these domains reflects their dedication to promoting sustainable development at a national level. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) endeavours to facilitate the transformation of businesses in many sectors into environmentally sustainable entities by providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with enhanced expertise, funding, and credibility. This strategic approach intends to foster a greener future by empowering SMEs to become environmentally-friendly powerhouses. In general, these projects offer a positive perspective on the contribution of businesses to addressing climate change.

Opportunities for Growth in the UAE for Green Businesses

Energy Projects
The UAE government has been actively investing in renewable energy projects, particularly solar and wind, following the COP 28 climate change conference. The country is attracting local and international companies with the construction of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the world's largest single-site solar park, set to generate 5,000 megawatts of clean energy and significantly reduce carbon emissions. The UAE aims to have 50% of its energy come from renewable sources in the next 30 years, attracting companies involved in manufacturing, installing, and maintaining solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal systems, and biofuel production. Opportunities exist for companies involved in solar panel manufacturing, installation, and maintenance, as well as wind farm development.

Energy Efficiency Consultancy
The UAE aims to boost energy efficiency by 40% by 2050, presenting opportunities for businesses specialising in energy audits, retrofitting, and optimisation. These businesses can identify inefficiencies and implement solutions like insulation, smart metres, and LED lighting to reduce costs and environmental impact. Energy efficiency consultancy firms can assist in optimising energy usage, while waste collection, recycling, and waste-to-energy technologies can find markets.

Energy efficiency consultancies play a pivotal role in helping businesses optimise their energy use, reduce costs, and minimise environmental impact. These consultancies offer services such as energy audits, analysis of energy consumption patterns, and recommendations for implementing energy-saving measures. By partnering with energy efficiency consultancies, companies in the UAE can not only contribute to the country's sustainability goals but also benefit from long-term cost savings and improved operational efficiency.

For example, a manufacturing company in the UAE may enlist the help of an energy efficiency consultancy to conduct an energy audit of their production facility. The consultancy would analyse the company's energy consumption patterns and identify areas where energy-saving measures can be implemented, such as upgrading to more efficient machinery or improving insulation. By implementing these recommendations, the company can reduce its energy costs, lower its carbon footprint, and align with the UAE's sustainability goals.

Green Building Design
The UAE has numerous green building projects and initiatives. Companies specialising in sustainable architecture, green building materials, and LEED certification consulting can succeed in this market.

There is high demand for architects, engineers, and contractors with expertise in sustainable building practises like passive solar design, smart glass, and green roofs in the UAE now. The Emirates Green Building Council offers accreditation and training in areas like water efficiency, waste management, and indoor environmental quality. Obtaining credentials in these specialties would be attractive for employers.
Companies involved in greenhouse and green building solutions are thriving as the UAE pushes for eco-friendly and energy-efficient infrastructure. These companies offer innovative technologies and materials that help reduce carbon emissions and minimise the environmental impact of buildings. By adopting these solutions, companies can not only meet regulatory requirements but also enhance their reputation as environmentally responsible organisations. Additionally, the demand for green buildings is expected to continue growing as more investors and tenants prioritise sustainability in their decision-making processes.

Green Gas Production in the UAE
Green gases, such as hydrogen and biogas, are considered key elements in the global effort to reduce carbon emissions and transition to clean energy sources. Producing green gases like hydrogen and biogas is becoming increasingly attractive in the UAE. Here's an overview of green gas production in the UAE:

Hydrogen Production

Green Hydrogen:
The UAE is actively investing in green hydrogen production. Green hydrogen is produced through the electrolysis of water using renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. The UAE's abundant sunshine and wind make it an ideal location for green hydrogen production. Projects are underway to develop green hydrogen plants and integrate them into the country's energy mix.

Blue Hydrogen: In addition to green hydrogen, the UAE is also exploring blue hydrogen, which is produced from natural gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. This process reduces carbon emissions associated with traditional hydrogen production from fossil fuels.

Biogas Production

Waste-to-Energy: The UAE is increasingly focusing on converting organic waste, such as agricultural residues and food waste, into biogas through anaerobic digestion. This process not only produces biogas but also helps manage waste sustainably.
Landfill Gas: Landfills in the UAE are also sources of biogas. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is captured and converted into energy, reducing emissions and harnessing a valuable energy source.

    Logistics Services, Transportation Solutions, and Related Sectors in Green Business Landscape

    For businesses operating in the sectors mentioned above, logistics services, transportation solutions, and related services are critical and there a re plenty of opportunities for companies in this market. Here's why:

    Logistics Services: Efficient logistics services ensure the timely delivery of materials and equipment for energy projects and green building initiatives. Logistics companies are integral to the success of such ventures.

    Transportation Solutions: Sustainable transportation solutions, such as electric and hybrid vehicles, are vital for reducing emissions in the transportation sector. Businesses offering these solutions align perfectly with COP 28 goals.

    Freight Forwarding and Supply Chain Management: Companies specialising in freight forwarding and supply chain management play a crucial role in ensuring that sustainable products and materials reach their intended destinations efficiently.

    Shipping Companies and Cargo Transport: Green shipping practises, including fuel-efficient vessels and carbon offset initiatives, are essential for reducing the environmental impact of international freight and cargo transport.

    Warehousing Solutions: Sustainable warehousing solutions, such as energy-efficient storage facilities and eco-friendly packaging, contribute to greener supply chains.

    Import and Export Businesses: Businesses involved in importing and exporting sustainable products and materials are well-positioned to benefit from the growing demand for eco-friendly goods and services.

    Courier Companies: Green courier companies that prioritise energy-efficient vehicles, route optimisation, and eco-friendly packaging materials are aligned with the UAE's sustainability goals and can cater to businesses and individuals seeking eco-conscious delivery options.

    The Road Ahead: Achieving Green Business Growth in the UAE with UAQ FTZ

    The Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ FTZ) is one of the free trade zones in the UAE that can provide various benefits and support for setting up a business in areas such as energy projects, energy efficiency consultancy, greenhouse/green building, and green gas production. Here's how UAQ FTZ can assist you in establishing and running your business in these sectors:

    Licencing Options: UAQ FTZ offers a wide range of licences suitable for different business activities, including energy projects, energy efficiency consultancy, greenhouse/green building, and green gas production. They can help you obtain the specific licence required for your chosen business activity.

    Prime Location: UAQ FTZ is strategically located in Umm Al Quwain, one of the seven emirates of the UAE. This location provides easy access to key markets in the UAE and the broader Gulf region, making it an attractive choice for businesses involved in energy and sustainability projects.

    Infrastructure and Facilities: UAQ FTZ offers state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities to support businesses. Depending on your specific business needs, you can choose from a range of office spaces, warehouses, and land options to set up your operations.

    Tax Benefits: One of the significant advantages of setting up in a UAE free trade zone like UAQ FTZ is the tax benefits. Businesses established in these zones are typically exempt from corporate and personal income taxes for a certain period, and there are no import or export duties within the free zone.


    Are there incentives for green businesses in the UAE?
    Yes, the UAE government offers incentives, including grants, tax benefits, and access to green financing, for businesses that adopt sustainable practises and technologies.
    Companies that establish themselves in the UAQ Free Trade Zone benefit from numerous tax breaks, including corporate tax exemption, customs duty exemption, no currency restrictions, and 100% profit repatriation..

    What are the regulatory considerations for green and sustainable businesses in the UAE?
    The UAE government encourages sustainability through various initiatives and regulations. Be sure to stay informed about these policies and consider seeking certification from relevant sustainability standards and organisations.
    UAQ FTZ offers comprehensive support to their investors for business setup, which includes guidance through the entire setup process and helping with paperwork, licencing, and permits. You can rely on their expertise to navigate the complexities of starting a business in the UAE.

    How can I establish a green import and export business in the UAE?
    Start by identifying sustainable products and suppliers. Focus on reducing your carbon footprint through efficient transportation and environmentally conscious packaging. Leverage certifications like ISO 14001 for environmental management.
    Once you have decided to venture into this market, you can join a free zone like UAQ Free Trade Zone, which offers a wide range of financial and operational benefits, like affordable licences, low operating costs, and countless tax benefits.

    What are the sustainable warehousing solutions available in the UAE?
    Sustainable warehousing involves energy-efficient lighting, cooling, and heating systems, as well as eco-friendly packaging materials. The UAE government encourages green building practises, providing incentives for sustainable warehouse construction.UAQ FTZ offers some of the most affordable land leasing and warehouse options, which you can customise for your sustainable warehousing business.


    COP 28 has not only raised awareness about the urgent need for climate action but has also opened up a world of opportunities for businesses in the UAE. To succeed in the UAE's green business sector, it's essential to understand local regulations, policies, and market dynamics. Additionally, building strong partnerships and collaborations with government entities and local businesses can be advantageous. Keep in mind that the UAE's commitment to sustainability is likely to create ongoing opportunities for green businesses in various sectors.

    Energy projects, energy efficiency consultancy, greenhouse and green building, green gas production, and related sectors are at the forefront of this green revolution. The importance of logistics services, transportation solutions, freight forwarding, supply chain management, shipping companies, cargo transport, warehousing solutions, import and export businesses, and courier companies cannot be overstated, as they form the backbone of sustainable business practises. The UAE's commitment to sustainability and innovation makes it an ideal destination for businesses looking to thrive in a greener future.

    Connect UAQ

    Subscribe to our e-Newsletter