DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s push toward sustainability has evolved as large corporations aim for regeneration in the Red Sea, according to the person in charge of one of the Kingdom’s giga-projects.
During a panel discussion at the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, John Pagano, CEO of Red Sea Global, highlighted how the company has shifted from sustaining its natural landscape to healing and recovering what has been damaged.
“When we started our journey six years ago, we talked about setting new standards in sustainability and we came to realize fairly quickly that sustainability is no longer enough, and we coined the term regeneration,” Pagano said.
He further underscored that maintaining the status quo is no longer adequate, stating: “We are on a terrible trajectory.”
Moreover, Pagano urged global leaders to take action and “change course,” emphasizing the current bleak outlook of the future.
Accompanying Pagano, Carlos Duarte, professor and marine scientist at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, supported the call for action.
“We have a commitment to our youth not to hand over a planet that is crippled, but a planet with oceans and a Red Sea that can support generations to come,” Duarte said.
“The bold decision that we are taking globally is that we are no longer content with conservation; we need to go into regeneration,” he added.
Both speakers highlighted the concept of “natural capital” and how this will be used as a global metric for investors to measure a country’s economic performance. Natural capital refers to the stock of renewable and non-renewable natural resources that aid citizens. The term highlights the importance of maintaining and managing ecosystems and their services for the long-term benefit of society.
“The private sector is key to the future of biodiversity and the future of climate and without the involvement from the private sector, we will not meet our goals. That is where concepts like natural capital are very important. Now, natural capital is the new real estate,” Duarte said.
Pagano further added that aside from a country’s gross domestic product, investors will use natural capital as a measure for investment analysis.
RSG has become one of Saudi Arabia’s leading sustainable tourism developments with projects that bring together luxury and clean energy.
“We’ve delivered on the promises that we made dating back to six years ago but we’re doing it sustainably. Six Senses Southern Dunes is totally renewable energy-powered, 24 hours a day, completely off-grid,” Pagano said during the panel discussion.
“We are able to literally push the boundaries of what is possible today,” he added.