PwC and Dar join forces to take on the sustainability challenge in the Middle East built environment

  • Press Release
  • July 12, 2023
  • The built environment contributes to almost 40% of annual global GHG emissions. With over $2 trillion USD worth of construction and infrastructure projects planned and under execution in the Middle East, there is a distinct opportunity for the region to establish itself as a global hub for sustainable solutions.

  • PwC's first-of-its-kind regional partnership with Dar Al-Handasah Consultants (Shair and Partners) will  address critical aspects of speed, affordability, sustainability, liveability and localisation in the built environment, to redefine regional industry norms. 
  • The partnership will combine PwC Middle East's advisory expertise with Dar’s experience in high-impact planning, building, and infrastructure projects across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. 

12 July 2023; Dubai, United Arab Emirates – With a shared vision to support the Middle East’s net zero agenda, PwC and Dar Al-Handasah Consultants (Shair and Partners) – Dar – have announced a strategic collaboration to drive sustainable solutions in the regional built environment. 

The partnership will leverage PwC Middle East's advisory expertise across sustainability, finance and emerging technology, alongside Dar’s global expertise as a leading built-environment and engineering consultancy, to deliver climate-ready development solutions for their clients. Together, the firms will seek to provide solutions that bend the carbon curve in the built environment, enhance the liveability of cities and accelerate economic performance for regional investors, governments and communities.  

Commenting on the strategic collaboration, Hani Ashkar, Middle East Senior Partner, PwC Middle East, said: "At PwC, we believe connected and well-functioning buildings are at the heart of any leading cognitive and sustainable city's goals and aspirations. Our partnership with Dar Al-Handasah, who have led numerous award-winning sustainability projects globally across key horizontal and vertical infrastructure, will tap into their unique expertise to deliver innovative solutions for the most complex engineering and design needs in the region."

The urban built environment contributes to 75% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, with buildings and conventional construction alone generating nearly 40% of the sector’s solid waste. Insights from regional projects tracker MEED Projects shows that more than $2 trillion USD worth of construction and infrastructure projects are planned and underway in the Middle East, providing a significant opportunity to instil greater sustainability in the region’s built environment.

Dr. Yahya Anouti, Partner and ESG leader, Strategy& Middle East, said: "The new wave of regional investment in the industry over the coming decade represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move away from traditional labour-intensive techniques and reimagine the region into an innovation and start-up hub in the field of sustainable construction, with the potential to pioneer new material and construction technologies that empower the region as an export hub.

He added: “The region shows great promise in this field. With countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Egypt announcing net zero related commitments, we strongly believe the Middle East is well-positioned to lead a paradigm shift in the built environment. Yet, given the scale of the spend, decision makers in the region will need to drive a balancing act of five objectives: fast, affordable, sustainable, smart, wellbeing centric, and localised developments."

Anchored to regional specificities, the partnership will spotlight best practices, overarching governance, future technologies, sustainability and circular economy principles with businesses and governments across the Middle East. It will also cover solutions relating to sustainable construction methods and materials, with a particular focus on future green field developments.

In the lead-up to and during this year’s COP28 summit, the collaboration will bring together leading urban planning and smart cities experts through workshops and panels to highlight sustainability opportunities across the infrastructure and real estate industry.

Commenting on the MoU signing, Danny Aoun, Regional Director, Dar, said: "We are on a clear mission; to support the built environment – both buildings and infrastructure – on its path to decarbonize by 2050 with significant progress being made by 2030. As a signatory to the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, Dar promotes pragmatic sustainability strategies for our built environment, driven towards a zero-carbon future. 

“We are committed to working with PwC Middle East to help clients in the region attain net zero operational carbon by 2030 and ensure that all new buildings and major retrofits within direct control attain net zero whole-life carbon by 2030. Our work with PwC will also tackle our industry’s major trends that strongly align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals."

Balsam Nehme, Head of Sustainability, Dar, said: "The overall built environment sector demands clear climate and sustainability targets, frameworks, methodologies, and greater alignment. As a leading built environment consultancy, we promote a low whole life carbon approach and net-zero carbon pathways in our work to clients. We also actively collaborate with industry partners to advance thought leadership on sustainable infrastructure and policy activation. We believe that an integrated approach to the whole built environment is essential to deliver change in line with the commitments of the Paris Agreement."

Guided by its strategy The New Equation, PwC continues to support the region’s government and public sector clients to respond to the rapid changes taking place globally, while building public confidence and trust – delivering outcomes for organisations, stakeholders and communities with a positive and lasting sustainable impact. 

Notes to the editor | The Built Environment in the Middle East: Key highlights

  • According to a recent Strategy& study, already, some two-thirds of the MENA region’s population of around 322 million live in urban areas, and the numbers are expected to increase. Urban development has resulted in substantial CO2 emissions; the building and construction sector accounts for about 37 percent of energy-related emissions (a record high in 2021).

  • Recently, PwC Middle East launched its latest paper, titled "Buildings of the future", to explore the regional impact of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) in moving past traditional innovation in buildings to the development of cognitive buildings; 'conscious' buildings that are sensitive to the needs, emotions and requirements of the occupants and the environment – to enhance the human experience in the built environment rather than merely improve efficiency and reduce costs. 

  • The growth of smart cities, as well as IoT adoption on a global scale, is driving the development of cognitive buildings, including smart homes, smart offices, smart industrial facilities and many other sub-domains. The growth in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East is expected to be even greater, mainly driven by access to reliable, low-cost connectivity, favourable government regulations, and the launch of mega-projects.

  • According to the report, the blueprint of smart cities is changing drastically and exponentially, tilting the development model towards human-centred design, energy efficiency and sustainable living. For example, The NEOM, AMAALA and Al Ula developments are just a few of the multiple projects built around improved quality of life, economic growth and social responsibility. All of which are supported by a cohesive system of cognitive buildings and safety and communication systems. 

  • Qatar has also used cutting-edge technology solutions such as digital twins, cognitive lighting control, smart crowd management, safety and surveillance systems and advanced building management solutions to manage events and enhance visitors' experience during the FIFA World Cup 2022. Furthermore, Dubai's Expo 2020 functioned as a snapshot of cognitive buildings, creating a template for global smart cities on a sustainable, human-centric basis with optimised operations and reduced carbon emissions.

About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 152 countries with nearly 328,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at

Established in the Middle East for 40 years, PwC has 24 offices across 12 countries in the region with around 8,000 people. (

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details.

© 2023 PwC. All rights reserved

About Dar Al Handasah (Shair and Partners) 

Dar is one of the world’s leading consultancies, providing design, planning, engineering, and project management services for a wide variety of market sectors, including buildings and cities, transportation and civil infrastructure, and water and the environment. We are a global community of talented and innovative engineers, planners, economists, architects, designers, project management specialists, construction management professionals, and multidisciplinary experts. We take on some of the world’s most exciting and ambitious projects in order to nurture sustainable development, empower and connect communities, create more and better opportunities, and enhance lives.

Established in 1956, Dar has over 7,850 employees in five major design centres and 52 permanent local offices across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe (prominently in London and Warsaw). Our teams have successfully delivered more than 4,500 projects, collectively worth more than US$540 billion for over 950 clients. Dar has signed both the World Green Building Council Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and the United Nations Global Compact, committing to business that better serves people and planet. 

Contact us

Jade Hopkins

Middle East Marketing & Communications Leader, PwC Middle East

PR Team

Get in touch with the PR team, PwC Middle East

Follow us