The Red Sea Development Company announces exceptional results in ESG assessment

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Flagship tourism project achieves top marks following assessment by GRESB, the global ESG-benchmark organization

Riyadh: The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), the developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism project, has achieved an overall score of 84 out of 100 in its first ever ESG-assessment and benchmark exercise by Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB). 

GRESB assessed The Red Sea Project against standardized targets for Environmental, Social and Governance. It awarded the high score in recognition of TRSDC’s strong environmental governance structure and measures introduced to integrate environmental protection and enhancement. 

As part of the overall score, GRESB awarded TRSDC an outstanding 49 out of 51 in the Environmental category. This greatly exceeds GRESB’s average score of 34 out of 51 and recognizes the robust measures in place to improve the integration of environmental considerations at TRSDC. The developer was also awarded a Green Star for achieving a score higher than 50% in both the Management and Development components of the evaluation. 

“Since the project’s conception, sustainability has been our guiding principle for design and development, informing every single decision that is made. This award is a real testament to all our hard work and unwavering commitment to become the world’s first truly regenerative tourism project”, said John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC.

GRESB Assessments are guided by the material issues in the sustainability performance of real asset investments, and are aligned with international reporting frameworks, such as The Paris Climate Agreement. Its mission is to assess and benchmark the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and other related performance of real assets, providing standardized and validated data to the capital markets.

These scores recognize some of the pioneering techniques TRSDC has adopted to offset the environmental impact of the destination. Within specific sub-categories the Project scored top marks (100 out of 100) for areas including Materials, Water Use and Waste Management as a result of the innovative solutions TRSDC has put in place to minimize the potential environmental impacts.

Raed Albasseet, Head of Corporate Environment and Sustainability at TRSDC, said: “We strive to be completely transparent about the measures we are taking to really integrate environmental protection and enhancement measures, and therefore we welcome multi-level assessments from third-parties like GRESB. Critical evaluation of the construction and delivery of the project holds us to account at every step and ensures we are going above and beyond to not only protect the environment but enhance it for generations to come.” 

“This achievement is particularly important to us because it underpins our steadfast commitment to the environment and recognizes the enormous steps we have already taken in our quest to set new standards in sustainability,” added Pagano.

The Red Sea Project will welcome its first guests by the end of 2022. The first phase of the development will include 16 luxury hotels offering 3,000 keys across five islands and two inland locations. It will also include entertainment facilities, an airport, and the necessary supporting logistics and utilities infrastructure.

Upon completion in 2030, The Red Sea Project will comprise 50 hotels, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and around 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. 

About The Red Sea Development Company

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC – www.theredsea.sa) is a closed joint-stock company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. TRSDC was established to drive the development of The Red Sea Project, a luxury, regenerative tourism destination that will set new standards in sustainable development and position Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map.

The project is being developed over 28,000 km2 of pristine lands and waters along Saudi Arabia’s west coast and includes a vast archipelago of more than 90 pristine islands. The destination also features sweeping desert dunes, mountain canyons, dormant volcanoes, and ancient cultural and heritage sites. It is designed to include hotels, residential properties, leisure, commercial and entertainment amenities, as well as supporting infrastructure that emphasizes renewable energy and water conservation and re-use, as well as a circular waste management system to achieve zero waste to landfill.

Activity for the first phase of development is well underway and is on track to be completed by the end of 2023. The project has surpassed significant milestones, with over 500 contracts signed to date, worth over SAR 15 bn ($4bn).

The 100-hectare Landscape Nursery, which will provide more than 15 million plants for the destination, is now fully operational. There are more than 7,000 workers currently on-site and 80km of new roads are now complete, including the new airport road, to better connect the destination. The Construction Village, set to house 10,000 workers, is now open and development is progressing well at the Coastal Village, which will be home to around 14,000 people who will eventually work at the destination.