The United Arab Emirates has mapped out its ambitious yet much-needed sustainability goals through its comprehensive UAE Net Zero by 2050. And to help advance these objectives, the government acknowledges the pivotal role that the media plays.
In this interview, H.E. Mona Al Marri, director general of Government of Dubai Media Office, tells us how the media helps raise sustainability awareness. Moreover, she discusses what “green media” is and how industry players can integrate green practices into their operations.
Economy Middle East: How can UAE media effectively raise public awareness about sustainability issues?
Mona Al Marri: The UAE leadership has always considered the media a vital partner in advancing the nation’s sustainability development. The term “Green Media” has emerged to reflect the media’s responsibility to promote greater awareness about sustainability and environmental preservation. Both are critical to our future prosperity and well-being.
The media is a key vehicle to convey to the public the messages and aspirations embodied in strategic initiatives. In particular, these strategies include the UAE Net Zero by 2050, Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050. By presenting a clear picture of the nation’s strategy and advancements in renewable energy, green infrastructure and conservation efforts, the media can create a shift in environmental awareness levels.
To have a strong impact on its outreach, media outlets need to adopt a multi-pronged approach. Firstly, they should harness the power of creative storytelling. By sharing engaging stories of individuals, businesses and communities embracing sustainable practices, the media can portray sustainability in engaging and inspiring ways for the public and other stakeholders.
Furthermore, the media can also help raise sustainability consciousness through collaborations with key stakeholders. The partnership between Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and Dubai Media (which represents the main communication channel for the local audiences) announced in September this year is an excellent example of how media in the UAE can forge partnerships to promote sustainability. Dubai Media is working to raise the visibility of DEWA’s efforts to promote the use of clean and renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable natural resource use, eco-friendly electric vehicles and other sustainable practices.
Economy Middle East: How do UAE media organizations leverage the digital world?
Mona Al Marri: In this context, embracing digital platforms and social media is crucial. The UAE has a high internet penetration and a tech-savvy population. And this makes online platforms the most effective means to disseminate sustainability-related content to a wider audience. By using engaging content, media can tap the power of online platforms to exponentially increase awareness levels about sustainability.
The Government of Dubai Media Office has been at the forefront of providing a wide range of traditional and digital content on sustainability to the media. The media’s response to this outreach has been encouraging, resulting in extensive and in-depth coverage. We are committed to enhancing the capabilities of the Arab media to cover sustainability by providing training and learning opportunities.
Economy Middle East: What steps can media organizations take to embrace sustainability in their operations?
Mona Al Marri: Media in the UAE have a unique opportunity to lead by example in sustainability. They should start by assessing their own carbon footprint. Implementing energy-efficient technologies and sustainable office practices, such as reducing paper usage and minimizing the use of plastic will contribute to the effort to reduce their environmental impact.
Media outlets can prioritize sustainable sourcing for supplies and equipment, selecting suppliers with strong environmental and social responsibility practices. Furthermore, investing in renewable energy sources like solar panels to power their facilities will contribute to the nation’s sustainability goals. It will set an example for other companies and the broader public.
Economy Middle East: How can media outlets innovate in reporting to promote sustainable practices?
Mona Al Marri: Innovation in sustainability reporting is essential to engage the audience and inspire action. Media outlets should explore various formats and technologies to make sustainability reporting engaging and impactful.
Data visualization and infographics can simplify complex sustainability data, making it more accessible to readers. Using interactive features and multimedia storytelling, media outlets can create immersive experiences that resonate with their audience.
Human-interest stories should be a focal point. Sharing personal narratives of individuals and communities affected by sustainability issues can evoke empathy and drive change. Media can also encourage readers to contribute firsthand accounts and other content related to local sustainability issues.
Economy Middle East: What challenges do you foresee in integrating sustainability into media, and what solutions do you propose?
Mona Al Marri: The effort to shift the audiences’ mindset regarding sustainability always brings unique challenges for the media, but there are effective solutions. One key challenge lies in audience engagement and education. To address this, it’s essential for UAE media entities to employ innovative approaches. These include producing creative and informative content, utilizing social media platforms and incorporating community initiatives to make sustainability more accessible to the audience.
Resistance to change is a common obstacle encountered by media outlets when promoting sustainability. To overcome this, it’s crucial to build a compelling case for sustainability by demonstrating its long-term benefits. Providing concrete examples and evidence of positive outcomes can help sway skeptics and resistant stakeholders toward a more sustainable mindset.
Sustainability encompasses a wide range of topics, from climate change to biodiversity conservation. Media outlets should prioritize topics that are most relevant to their specific audience, ensuring that the information resonates with their interests and concerns.
For more news interviews, click here.