The first-of-its-kind survey to gauge public opinion on issues like climate change and pollution has found that 59% of people in Saudi Arabia are convinced that climate change is real, and 56% believe that the risk of climate disruption is serious and immediate.
Led by Veolia in partnership with the research and consulting firm Elabe, the survey called Ecological Transformation Barometer also shows that 59% of the respondents feel that the future is still in our hands and that climate disruption and pollution can be limited. It also found that 64% think that costs caused by climate disruption and pollution will be more significant than the investments needed for ecological transformation – which is defined as working to radically change patterns of production and consumption.
The study's main aim was to get people's views on the social, economic, and cultural changes the world would experience while implementing solutions against climate change and pollution.
It further illustrates that most people in Saudi Arabia believe that ecological transformation leads to a better world – which encompasses better health, cleaner air, food and water security, and a high standard of living overall.
The survey further shows 57% of respondents find it difficult to imagine what daily life could be like if we achieved the ecological transformation, and 56% believe that we do talk enough about the solutions that need to be implemented to mitigate pollution and climate disruption.
What's more, 53% consider the risk of lacking and poor-quality food a serious and immediate risk, and 54% were affirmative to reducing meat consumption.
Ahmed Gashlan, Chief Executive Officer, Veolia Arabia, said: "This survey is quite significant not only for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but also for the entire world. It offers deep and cutting insights and comes at a time when the world braces for an ecological makeover, with many nations becoming environmentally conscious and joining global efforts for promoting decarbonization, biodiversity, and food security."
"As the world makes leaps in finding solutions and implementing them for climate adaptation and mitigation, we felt there was a knowledge gap regarding understanding people's perception of these changes. For this reason, Veolia conducted this extensive survey in different countries. I want to thank everyone for taking part in this much-needed study, and we are happy to report that the Kingdom showed a positive attitude for embracing changes as part of the ecological transformation," Gashlan added.
The study was part of a global survey that used a sample reflecting the voice of more than half the world's population covering 25 countries across Europe, Asia, The Americas, Africa, the Middle East, and Oceania. It showed that 7 out of 10 people globally feel vulnerable to environmental risk and 89% of the world's population is convinced that climate change is happening, with 67% convinced of the need for change.
The survey in Saudi Arabia involved more than 1,000 respondents who were asked a series of questions themed under risks, solutions, acceptability, and conditions.
The survey aligns with Veolia’s strategic partnerships in the Kingdom, particularly the recent collaborations signed in 2021 that coincided with the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Saudi Arabia. It included winning the management contract for water and wastewater services for the Riyadh region, signing a partnership in the water sector for the whole country with the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia and Water Transmission and Technologies Company, as well as forming a partnership with Saudi Aramco for the management of its industrial waste.
Overall, the study supports over 36 years of Veolia’s presence in Saudi Arabia and contributes to its broader goals including Saudi Vision 2030, which drives collective commitment to meet current and future energy and climate challenges creatively and responsibly. The survey will play an essential role for the Kingdom as it aims to reach Net Zero by 2060 and is working on increasing its reliance on clean energy, offsetting emissions, improving quality of life, and protecting the environment.