The Red Sea Development Company’s inaugural Sustainability Report reveals environmental and socio-economic achievements


The report demonstrates the integration of sustainability across all areas of The Red Sea Project and outlines future plans

Riyadh: The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), the developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism project, has unveiled its inaugural Sustainability Report detailing its pioneering approach to sustainable development and achievements to date, and commitment to transparency and accountability. 

The report, titled ‘Laying the Foundation for a Sustainable Destination’, contains a comprehensive overview of how TRSDC is taking a regenerative approach to development of The Red Sea Project. This includes details on its:

  • Environmental commitments, including a pledge to deliver a 30 percent net conservation benefit by 2040, only developing 22 of more than 90 islands, and powering the destination with 100 percent renewable energy, validated by the Utilities PPP awarded to a consortium led by ACWA Power last year
  • Socio-economic contributions, by increasing the employment and training opportunities for local Saudis, demonstrated by its Elite Graduate Program, which provides young Saudis with practical experience for roles in the tourism sector plus conducting the Future Faces of Tourism study to understand attitudes towards hospitality and tourism careers
  • Maintenance of safe construction efforts amidst the COVID-19 pandemic including Zero Lost Time Incidents (LTI) during the construction of marine jetties, Coastal Village and Base Camp
  • Wide range of external certification standards and awards achieved, including an ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management System certification.

The report was developed in accordance with the internationally recognized Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) sustainability reporting framework and demonstrates the project’s alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goal’s. It includes TRSDC’s first formal stakeholder engagement and materiality assessment which has led to identifying the material sustainability topics and focus areas for TRSDC.

“Sustainable development requires a three-dimensional approach that combines environment, economic and societal considerations. As we set out to develop the world’s most ambitious regenerative and innovative tourist destination, this report brings our sustainable ethos to life and is a public commitment to doing things differently,” said John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC.

TRSDC’s trajectory towards 100 percent carbon neutrality is described within the report, including the exploration of innovative carbon sequestration techniques, such as the removal of carbon through large-scale Marine Microalgae Production Farms.

The project master plan was informed by a marine spatial planning exercise delivered in partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. The ground-breaking application of conservation and development planning supports efforts to enhance biodiversity and conservation-priority species distributions across almost 1,300 square kilometres of pristine lagoon

TRSDC has partnered with Al Falah Ready Mix on the supply of low carbon “green” concrete as well as Saudi Amana Contracting for the delivery of pre-finished modular units. These innovative approaches are supporting TRSDC to meet its strict sustainability targets and providing a blueprint for other developments with regenerative ambitions. 

The report also highlights TRSDC’s socio-economic commitments which include the company’s Sustainability Stewards initiative. This initiative provides local talent with bespoke training to raise their awareness on the need to preserve the environment, and build an understanding of the fauna and flora, and the importance of biodiversity for our planet. Beside its importance for the environment, this initiative is also in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its commitment to developing local talent who can compete internationally. 

Carlos Duarte, Professor of Marine Science at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), said: “TRSDC is creating a development that goes beyond all previous measures of sustainability and is leading the industry to a greener and bluer, more equitable future. Pushing boundaries is the essence of science and innovation and together, TRSDC and KAUST are raising the bar by creating new industry standards in sustainability.”

The Red Sea Project has already passed significant milestones and work is on track to welcome the first guests by the end of 2022, when the international airport and the first hotels will open. Phase one, which includes 16 hotels in total, will complete in 2023.

Upon completion in 2030, The Red Sea Project will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. The destination will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment and leisure facilities.

The Red Sea Development Company  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. The destination 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.

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 more than SAR 16 bn ($4.2bn).

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. The Construction Village which is set to house 10,000 workers will be fully open by the end of Q1 this year and development is progressing well at the Coastal Village, which will be home to around 14,000 people who will work at the destination.