According to the 15th annual Asda’a BCW Arab Youth Survey released on Thursday, 58 percent of Arab youth plan to boycott environmentally harmful brands. In the Gulf region, this number rises to 65 percent, reflecting the increasing awareness of global climate change issues.
Moreover, 66 percent of Arab youth express significant concern about climate change, marking the highest level in five years.
Sunil John, president of Mena at BCW and founder of Asda’a BCW, finds it encouraging that the region’s youth grasp the consequences of climate change and are willing to support the boycott of environmentally damaging brands.
He emphasizes the importance of businesses aligning their values with the aspirations of the region’s youth to reduce their environmental impact.
The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is a significant climate change hotspot, warming twice as fast as the global average. If greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate, temperatures in the region are projected to rise by at least 4℃ by 2050, leading to more frequent heatwaves.
Only a few countries in the region, such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Iraq, have set Net Zero targets. According to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization, extreme weather events have caused 2 million deaths and $4.3 trillion in global economic losses over the past 50 years. A report by the Lancet Countdown and Climate Vulnerable Forum predicts 3.4 million annual deaths due to unabated climate change by the end of this year.
The survey, conducted by SixthFactor Consulting, involved face-to-face interviews with 3,600 individuals aged 18-24 in 53 cities across 18 Arab states.
Lives being affected by global warming.
“The Middle East hosts some of the globe’s leading energy producers and possesses substantial reserves of oil and gas. This pivotal role places the Arab world at the forefront of discussions surrounding global climate change,” remarked Sunil John.
“Yet, what often goes underreported is the significant impact of climate change on the Mena region. Heatwaves and sudden floods are not only disrupting lives but also posing threats to societal stability, compelling people to seek refuge in new territories,” he added.
The results indicated that 71 percent of Arab participants stated that they are already experiencing the effects of global warming in their daily lives, with figures of 76 percent in North Africa and 74 percent in the Gulf states.
Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of Arab youth, comprising 87 percent, believe that their governments are actively addressing climate change in a positive manner. Nevertheless, a significant proportion, 56 percent, feel that their governments should establish clear, accountable goals for achieving Net Zero emissions.
Approximately 80 percent of young individuals in the Gulf region acknowledge that their daily actions contribute to climate change, in contrast to 60 percent in the Levant and 58 percent in North Africa.
In the ongoing discussion regarding the responsibility for addressing global warming, approximately 42 percent of youth in the region contend that Arab nations should be taking more substantial steps to combat climate change compared to other countries.