The Green Spoon: Sustainability Reporting Trends In The UAE Food Sector
Sustainability Reporting: The UAE Landscape presents The Green Spoon Management Consultancies’ findings on the sustainability reporting landscape in the UAE, an analysis spanning six months with over 250 sustainability report reviews and over a hundred client interviews. In this paper, you will find an overview of:
- Fundamentals of sustainability reporting
- The mandate of sustainability reporting in the UAE
- A brief look into the most commonly used sustainability reporting frameworks
- Sector-specific analysis of current sustainability reports issued by UAE companies.
SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING TRENDS IN THE UAE FOOD SECTOR
Our sample for the food sector comprises agribusinesses (4), food and beverage manufacturers (F&B) (5),
and hotels, restaurants, and cafes (HORECA) (9), with a total of 18 companies (6 publicly-listed, 12 non-listed).
While the rate of sustainability reporting was 100% among publicly-listed food sector companies in 2018-2021, this number stagnates at 50% as of July 2022. This means 50% of the publicly-listed food sector companies in the UAE are behind schedule for publishing their 2021 sustainability reports
We found that the quality of sustainability reporting in the food sector depends largely on the company's take on sustainability. While some organisations have started to implement sustainability as a business practice, some still struggle with the leadership's "buy-in".
During the period of 2018-2020, 13 out of 18 companies in the food sector sample reported on sustainability, which corresponds to a reporting rate of 72.23%. Whereas for 2021- 2022, this rate stands at 38.9%, with 7 out of 18.
1. The message is received
Companies and organisations responded to the call to action as more of them choose to align their strategies and reports with the national sustainability visions and plans. Reporting in the country is only projected to grow exponentially.
2. The lack of strategy establishment is clear
Clear sustainability strategies are missing in many reports. The impact of this lack of concreteness can be seen in companies struggling with relating to the ESG narrative or lacking prioritisation of the "material issues”.
3. Action plans are on the way
Organisations with a record of sustainability reporting are keen to move forward, establishing action plans with relevant KPIs to address their specific sustainability issues.
4. Sustainability/ESG teams are on the rise, but the knowledge gap is significant.
In the UAE, more and more companies are developing their in-house Sustainability/ESG teams in charge of implementing sustainability and improving the reporting process. However, these teams usually consist of professionals busy with their everyday tasks, making it difficult for them to specialise in the ESG field, and driving the sustainability transformation at the needed pace