Propelling Human Progress: Sustainability & Giga Projects in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is ushering in a new era as the Kingdom aims to reach Net Zero by 2060.

The country’s planned Giga Projects highlight the Kingdom’s efforts towards cultural, social, and economic diversification and are the crown jewel of Vision 2030. They are accelerating the energy transition, achieving sustainability goals, and driving a new wave of investment to align with this ambitious vision.

Environmentally, The Kingdom is vulnerable to numerous climate threats. By 2040, it has been estimated by a Californian-based climate risk data firm (Four Twenty Seven) that Saudi Arabia will be one of the countries most exposed to heat stress, behind Singapore, UAE and Iran, and the fourth most exposed country to water stress.

Renewable energy initiatives are expected to be a key focus, as Saudi Arabia plans to generate 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

With the UK breaching record-breaking temperatures (40.2C recorded at Heathrow on 19 July 2022) and significant incidents declared in London and Europe as fires burn, climate change is an astounding realisation.

Some of The Kingdom’s bold and audacious Giga Projects include Amaala, The Red Sea Project, Green Riyadh (water reuse network), and water desalination projects using solar power to meet the challenge of water sustainability.

NEOM is partnering with KAUST to create the world’s most extensive coral garden. Saudi Arabia is committed to protecting 95% of nature, and the 100-hectare Shushah Island Coral Reefscape will showcase reef restoration innovation and accelerate solutions for conserving coral reefs in a changing climate. Algae can be up to 400 times more efficient than trees at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Are Giga Projects spurring human progress?

We asked a couple of Sustainability specialists for their comment:

Miami-based Elizabeth Wheaton, has been instrumental in injecting new opportunities and solutions into the communities across the United States, including over 13 years working as the Director of the Environment and Sustainability Department, for City of Miami Beach. She says: “Water and energy are inextricably linked. Utilizing a One Water management approach to sustainably and inclusively design water systems that integrates renewable energy to treat and manage water resources is essential for countries to meet their climate commitments. It’s exciting to see how these Giga Projects are driving innovation and accelerating technology that will transform not only the way the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia manages water and energy, but the world.

Holistic planning from the onset allows these Giga Projects to not only transform the energy and water nexus, but also to create communities in harmony with the natural environment. The urban fabric of these cities is being designed to provide residents and businesses with unparalleled quality of life. These projects will be the blueprint for all future cities,


Martin Gettings, currently Head of ESG Europe Real Estate at Brookfield Asset Management and previously Group Director of Sustainability for Canary Wharf Group Plc discusses how technology and innovation can combine to drive sustainable progress: “Advances in off-site digitisation and fabrication methodologies, enable us to dramatically re-imagine, and re-tool the way we design, create, and maintain our cities of the future. This vision is now becoming a reality in KSA, where state-of-the-art facilities, which bring together people and technology, are set to enable large-scale delivery of ultra-high-performing sustainable buildings and infrastructure. Establishing giga-factories for Giga Projects provides a significant acceleration of technology and progress for not only Saudi Vision 2030, but also the planet.

Saudi Arabia is undergoing some profound, positive changes, and each of these projects will open new areas of economic activity, drive economic development, and create employment. The Kingdom is accelerating the transition to a more sustainable relationship between people and the planet.


Interested in discussing sustainability and Giga Projects further? Get in touch with Nicola Harrison for an informal chat.

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