Safeguarding Jordanians’ future means acting on climate change today
Throughout the Middle East, temperatures have been rising higher than the global average and water scarcity continues to be a real issue, with Jordan ranking as the world’s second water-poorest country. Even more alarming is the fact that the cumulative impact of these environmental changes only grows as time passes, meaning that swift action can make the difference between success and failure.
This is why Umniah, as a leader within Jordan’s ICT sector and a strong advocate for environmental causes, has decided to take meaningful steps to help address the most pressing climate-related challenges that Jordan is facing.
Research conducted over the past several years shows that Jordanians are primarily concerned with unemployment, poverty, and social inequality, while concerns about environment are being pushed to the back burner despite their lasting impact on virtually all aspects of life. In Jordan, future generations are at risk of becoming environmental refugees as record-breaking heatwaves become the norm. With Jordan ranked as one of the most water scarce nations in the world according to UNICEF, access to drinking water will become even more difficult. According to the Ministry of Environment, the Kingdom is facing extreme temperatures, droughts, flash floods, landslides, as well as issues with soil erosion with more frequency, all of which is having detrimental effects on key sectors like agriculture and healthcare. Climate change and deforestation have also negatively affected the country’s native habitats and animal species, with 33 species classified as threatened including the wild Arabian oryx, the striped hyena, and the caracal.
Safeguarding the planet for future generations means that we should take an active role in creating a long-term sustainable change that can alleviate the impacts of climate crisis. Umniah was founded on the very idea of serving the interests of young people and helping them build the future they want. Such a vision requires investing in solutions to the most pressing problems facing young people, whose futures are undoubtedly being placed at risk by climate inaction.
Through our sustainability program, we are working diligently to create awareness and empower the local community to become an active part of the solution. We hope to achieve this by placing greater emphasis on the environment, generating social engagement through various initiatives and programs, and committing to the highest standards of corporate governance in terms of transparency, accountability, flexibility, and compliance with local and international regulations. We will widen the scope of our partnerships with local organizations working to safeguard Jordan’s natural heritage, in addition to empowering young people to create innovative, impactful projects that contribute to a greener future. We will also continue to encourage meaningful change by rewarding our customers when they make greener choices, such as when they choose to recycle or use old devices, opt for e-SIMs, shop through our eShop, use the Umniah app and utilize our loyalty program to donate their time and money to sustainability-focused organizations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further underscored the importance of ICT in overcoming large-scale crisis, and the climate crisis is no different. The greater the demand for online and digital services, the greater the energy requirements of the ICT industry as a whole, which means ICT companies should be among those leading the charge in terms of devising new approaches to limit their reliance on non-renewable sources. On a global scale, the sector has intensified it sustainability practices, with companies increasingly turning to renewables to meet their own energy demands while harnessing their technologies to slash emissions, address climate change problems, and monitor environmental changes.
Caring for the environment was always a top priority for Umniah and it was by no means a spur of the moment decision. In 2019, we have inaugurated our solar energy farms in Mafraq, Al-Dulail, Hallabat, and Azraq, a move that is in line with Jordan’s plans to reduce the release of greenhouse gases resulting from the burning gas and oil by shifting towards clean energy sources. Our solar energy farms now generate around 50 percent of our electrical needs. And in 2021, we were able to increase our reliance on renewable energy sources by 70 percent compared to the previous year. Beyond that, Umniah’s services are run on green, sustainable energy and our company headquarters are operated by solar power. Biodegradable bags, no paper cups, internal recycling and offering our employees work from home alternatives are all also part of the plan’s framework. Moreover, by adopting a sustainability-focused governance strategy, we were able to set energy reduction targets that are aligned with the global 1.5°C limit — a target that will become even more achievable when we launch our more efficient 5G network.
When it comes to climate action, the big picture is all that matters. The unprecedented level of global coordination needed to overcome this crisis can only be achieved with the genuine and active participation of the private sector, and we at Umniah are fully committed to being part of the solution. We must ensure that the well-being of Jordan’s young and future generations is made a key priority, which means taking action to limit climate change today.
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