Sustainable Development

The Chairman and Founder of the Al-Attiyah Foundation, His Excellency Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah is among the few to ever serve as Chairman/President of two United Nations Bodies, on two major issues confronting humanity. His Excellency Al-Attiyah served as both the Chairman of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in 2006 and the President of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 18), in 2012. The Foundation is ideally positioned to unify, leverage and lead action, not only within Qatar but amongst the international community. The Foundation focuses on actions that are part of the global quest towards climate-resilient sustainable development, to ensure that all human beings have universal access to a healthy environment.

The sustainable development work program of the Foundation builds upon two universal agreements: the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 UN Agenda for sustainable development. Together these agreements demand action in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet and provide a baseline for the Foundation’s work.

A Circular Economy

As the world transitions towards a sustainable future, the use of finite resources is in question. The current model of take-make-waste could be replaced by a circular model – a circular economy - that aims to decouple economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, whilst taking waste out of the system. The concept of a ‘circular economy’ is not the latest buzz word for sustainability, it applies thinking that has been around for centuries focused on a methodology for reducing consumption of non-renewable resources. This is, of course, in contrast to a linear economy - which represents most economic models today - that deliver goods to the consumer by simply following the process of take-make-dispose. The circular economy is underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, based on three principles: to design out waste and pollution; to keep products and materials in use and to regenerate natural systems. Please watch our latest 1-minute video which explains the concept and its benefits for society.

Key Focus of the Foundation Sustainability Activities

In line with its vision and mission, the Al-Attiyah Foundation seeks to provide information, programmes, independent research and publications on sustainability matters relevant to the energy sector and for the development of the State of Qatar and the region.

These include issues such as; climate change, sustainable access to energy, security of supply, sustainable consumption, energy efficiency, renewable energy, socio-economic development, and corporate social responsibility. The figure below visualizes the approach for integrating the priority activities and work areas across three main pillars.

Climate Change

There is no need to look too far into the future, to realize that responding to climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the global energy industry. Hence, it is appropriate that aspects of the work of the Foundation should focus on this.

Now that the world has shifted from talk to implementation, it is important to reflect how the energy industry, as a significant sector, could contribute to the global effort to combat climate change. Under the Paris Agreement, each country has to set forth a climate action plan (a Nationally Determined Contribution – NDC), which describes how they will meet their targets. These NDCs are now front and center of the attention by any sector, company, and organization, wishing to understand what role they can play, and how the new climate policies will impact them.

The Paris Agreement and the NDCs of many countries, signal that real transformation of the energy sector is the will and undertaking of all world’s governments. Nobody understands what it would take to transform the energy sector better than the oil majors and key players. It is heartening that the energy industry is stepping up to be counted among the leading actors. The Al-Attiyah Foundation is ready to be an active partner on this important issue.

Publications and Independent Studies

In consultation with members, the Al-Attiyah Foundation identifies the strategic themes for research and independent study which form the basis of the Foundation’s Monthly Sustainability Newsletter, Research Papers, and Handbooks. The topics are then addressed through the Foundation’s regular, closed-door CEO Roundtables, and provide content and talking points for high-level engagements at national and international fora.