GBM Sustainability Report: 52% of regional organizations consider technological barriers biggest challenge in achieving environmental sustainability


Comprehensive ESG management platform ‘GBM Istidama’ introduced at IDC Middle East CIO Summit in Dubai

  • 13% of regional organizations have sustainability deeply rooted across operations.
  • 60% plan to invest between $250,000 and $2 million on sustainability initiatives in 2023.
  • 52% identify technological barriers as biggest challenge due to limited access to or knowledge of relevant technologies.
  • GBM Istidama launched as an ESG management platform to enable organizations to manage their sustainability programs. 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Gulf Business Machines (GBM) revealed top insights from its first sustainability report, where it explored how sustainability has risen to the top of organizations’ agendas, and how companies across sectors are resetting their corporate strategy to cater to this. With the UAE announcing 2023 as the Year of Sustainability, and being the host country for COP28, the focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) has quickly accelerated within the government’s agenda this year. 

The GBM sustainability survey, in partnership with the International Data Corporation (IDC), was conducted among C-suite executives across multiple sectors in UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt. The findings of the survey were released in GBM’s ESG report at the IDC Middle East CIO Summit, which took place in Dubai earlier this week, with GBM as the Host Partner of the summit.

According to the findings in the report, only 13% of regional organizations have a sustainability practice that is deeply rooted across their operations. 16% of the surveyed organizations are still in the planning phase of their sustainability programs and 57% are at the early stages of their sustainability journey. 76% of regional organizations also identified environmental impact as the top driver of their organization’s sustainability strategy, while growing regulatory requirements were also becoming crucial to the strategy. 

Regional companies are also starting to focus on sustainability metrics, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of the surveyed companies measuring their direct emissions and nearly half setting clear targets for carbon neutrality. 60% of the survey respondents plan to invest between $250,000 and $2 million on sustainability initiatives in 2023, highlighting the increased role of sustainability in the budget planning process. With the focus on sustainability regionally, these figures are expected to further increase, with 28% of the surveyed organizations expecting to invest between $2 and $10 million. 

The report further highlighted the key challenges organizations faced in achieving environmental sustainability, with more than half of the surveyed organizations (52%) identifying technological barriers due to limited access to or knowledge of relevant technologies that can help reduce their environmental impact. However, digital technologies for facilitating sustainability transformation are fast evolving, with the implementation of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Predictive Analytics, Cloud, among others.

The report also highlighted the need for regional organizations to further invest in their data management capabilities to maximize the value they can derive from sustainability initiatives. 58% of the surveyed organizations in the region seek support of technology providers in identifying the right software tools for driving sustainability initiatives and to develop a data driven sustainability strategy as an integral part of the broader digital transformation strategy. 

Based on the needs of the market for technological expertise around driving sustainability, GBM has launched GBM Istidama, an environment, social, and governance (ESG) management platform that brings together the different technology components from business workflow, analytics capabilities, asset management and green IT solutions to enable organizations to manage their ESG program in an effective and holistic manner. Through its partnership across the technology ecosystem, GBM offers comprehensive sets of sustainability solutions and combines them with its consulting, implementation, and life cycle management capabilities.

Cherif Morcos, Vice President of Digital Business Solutions at GBM said, “As the world accelerates efforts to uphold the Paris Agreement and limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we are seeing diverse sectors bring sustainability to the heart of its operations. With the COP 27 hosted in Egypt in 2022 and now UAE hosting COP28 in 2023, regional organizations are recognizing the imminent need to turn their sustainability ambitions into reality. As we have learned in the GBM sustainability report, these organizations are no more seeing ESG programs as a nice-to-have, but instead as a key priority for the year.

“We have developed GBM Istidama to help companies across the region design and build strategic ESG roadmaps, by aligning internal processes and IT architecture with sustainability goals. The platform can help build a comprehensive sustainability technology solution and measure them, utilizing the full potential of technology by providing end-to-end decoupled solutions allowing them to achieve their goals.”

GBM Istidama, which was launched at the IDC Middle East CIO Summit, will offer a phased approach to ESG management, starting with client consultations to understand their sustainability requirements, identify key sustainability-related performance indicators, and build transformation road maps. Thereafter, GBM collects data from different sources, such as third parties and IT and supply chain divisions and facilities, to ensure ESG goals can be monitored, reported, and measured against key performance indicators. GBM can also deliver the technology needed to help improve companies’ current landscape with their ESG ratings through its information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT).

About Gulf Business Machines (GBM):

With more than 30 years of experience, 8 offices and over 1500 employees across the region, Gulf Business Machines (GBM) is a leading end-to-end digital solutions provider, offering the region’s broadest portfolio, including industry-leading digital infrastructure, digital business solutions, Cloud, Security and services. We have nurtured partnerships since 1990 with the world’s leading technology companies and invested in a talented, skilled workforce to implement solutions that cater to customer’s specific, complex and diverse business needs. 

Some of our strategic partners in the Gulf include IBM as their sole distributor throughout the GCC (excluding Saudi Arabia and selected IBM product and services), Cisco as a Gold and Master Partner (the highest level of certification at Cisco). 

About International Data Corporation (IDC):

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,300 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For 50 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company.