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Top 4 sustainable real estate trends in the MENA region

Article-Top 4 sustainable real estate trends in the MENA region

Recent initiatives in the MENA region highlight the relevance of sustainable real estate in the region.

Climate action is a “powerful engine of economic growth,” Special Envoy for Climate Change and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Dr Sultan Al Jaber recently said.

Speaking at discussions on the environment prior to the upcoming COP 26 climate conference, Al Jaber highlighted the role of the UAE as a regional leader. The ambassador pointed towards the UAE being the first Arab country to ratify the Paris Agreement, as well as its drive to reduce emissions by 2030.

Meanwhile, Al Jaber also reiterated the opportunity to host COP 28 in 2023 in the UAE at the London talks.

The UAE is among several Middle East countries undertaking initiatives to address climate change amidst a region-wide diversification away from oil.

Here are the top four sustainable real estate trends in the Middle East.

  1. Green buildings
    Green buildings have been gaining increasing precedence in the region as a sustainable real estate approach. Energy management and retrofitting programmes, sustainable construction materials, green rooftops, and smart buildings, have all been adopted in some form. Earlier this year, Majid Al Futtaim’s 13-property hotel portfolio became the first conglomerate in the world to receive a LEED Platinum certification. Elsewhere, the UAE became the only GCC country to feature in the top 30 for sustainable buildings in a survey.
  2. Sustainable tourism
    Sizeable sustainable real estate projects to boost sustainable tourism are underway in the MENA region. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, projects such as the Red Sea Project have garnered global attention for their approach to sustainability. Meanwhile, the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah announced a USD 500 million ecotourism plan in May this year.
  3. Sustainable cities
    The MENA region is also in focus for its sustainable cities. Key sustainable cities in the region include Saudi Arabia’s flagship USD 500 billion zero carbon city Neom, and the UAE’s Masdar City. Further, indoor and vertical farming initiatives in Kuwait, and Doha’s Downtown Doha project, lean towards making existing cities more sustainable as a means to expand the scope of sustainable real estate.
  4. Green financing
    ESG and sustainable investments have grown in popularity in the Middle East. Earlier this year, for instance, the UAE launched its first sustainable real estate investment trust, managed by Emirates NBD Asset Management. Elsewhere, Aldar’s sustainability-linked loan in July this year became the first such loan facility to have been raised in the MENA region.

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