Banking on Sustainability: Visa reveals Qatar consumers seek banks help in understanding environmental impact of spending

  • Study released during COP28 reveals forty-two percent (42%) of surveyed consumers in Qatar expect their bank to guide them in making sustainable choices for their finances.
  • Fifty-five percent (55%) of consumers believe both higher cost of sustainable products and lack of awareness are the top barriers to adopting sustainability in daily life 
  • Interviews with SMBs and experts reveal desire to adopt sustainable practices but often hindered by lack of technical know-how.

Doha, Qatar, 6 December, 2023:  Visa, a world leader in digital payments, released the Qatar results of their '2023 Sustainable Commerce' study today during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). The study scrutinizes consumer and business behaviors, and the readiness of infrastructure to support sustainable commerce. The survey reinforces the urgency for all industry stakeholders to take decisive collective action to promote sustainability through responsible innovation for the benefit of consumers, businesses and the economy. 

Key Findings for Qatar: 

  • Consumers are aware and doing something about sustainability: 
    • Over two-thirds Qatari consumers believe that decarbonization is not limited to corporate entities, and individuals can make a difference. More importantly, in Qatar, survey respondents view climate change as a leading societal challenge (53%), followed by the rising cost of living (47%), and plastic pollution (39%).
    • In terms of environmental practices, Qatar consumers are leading in both water conservation and reducing paper usage (85%) and rank first in ethical sourcing by supporting local farmer’s market (73%) across the GCC. Additionally, Qatar takes the lead in reducing single-use plastics with a rate of 82%, surpassing the GCC average of 72%. Qatar shows robust awareness and support for NGOs promoting sustainability (63%), exceeding the GCC average of 53%, and excels in repurposing and sharing products within the community at 76%, compared to the GCC average of 68%.
  • Future bank customers: making sustainable choices 
    • A significant 72% of individuals have expressed their willingness to recommend banks that provide sustainable payment options. 70% of consumers stated that they chose a bank with strong green credentials. Moreover, 42% of the surveyed consumers expect their banks to guide them in making sustainable financial choices.
    • Interestingly, 52% of consumers also look to their banks to help them understand the environmental impact of their purchases. 
  • Sustainability among the next generation
    •  In Qatar, parents of young consumers (8-18 years old) noted their children demonstrate a heightened receptiveness to sustainable practices and a greater environmental consciousness. Their adopted habits include switching off electrical appliances not in use (42%), washing dishes or laundry with cold water (37%), sharing products with others in community (35%), walking or cycling to places (26%), and opting for organic products (26%).
    • The primary influencers driving sustainability habits among the youth include family members encouraging sustainable behaviors (62%), social media (57%), and school mandates (51%).
  • Sustainable benefit becomes a feature attraction: the key to becoming a primary card
    •  Rewards for sustainable behaviors are a significant attraction, with 45% of consumers willing to make such a card their primary one.
    • Sustainability evaluations of bank providers are still mainly focused on known initiatives like reducing paper and byproduct usage.
    • Factors considered while evaluating a bank provider on sustainability include going paperless (49%) and promoting cashless payments (53%).
  • Barriers to sustainability
    • A significant barrier for the majority of Qatari consumers (55%) lies in the perceived higher cost of sustainable products and lack of awareness regarding sustainability. As societal consciousness regarding social and environmental issues expands, the study indicates a rising preference among consumers for businesses that actively demonstrate sustainable practices.

Businesses and Sustainability

Qualitative interviews revealed that MSMEs and KOLs have a fair understanding of sustainability but lack a holistic and contextual comprehension of the concept. This gap is influenced by several barriers, including cost implications for both businesses and consumers, fear and resistance to change, pressures from competition and profitability, and resource constraints. However, there are also enablers that can foster sustainability. These encompass regulatory policies and frameworks that create the right ecosystem, sustainable financing that provides a 'push' effect, and the necessity for collaboration among stakeholders to drive sustainability. Visionaries, typically medium-sized businesses, grapple with significant pressure from global partners to adopt sustainability standards. However, they are often hindered by a lack of technical knowledge.

Shashank Singh, Visa’s General Manager for Kuwait and Qatar, said: "Over 42% of consumers in Qatar are turning to their banks for guidance in making more sustainable financial choices, highlighting the increasing demand for financial institutions to take an active role in promoting sustainability. In response to this need, Visa, in partnership with ecolytiq and QIB, has introduced the Eco Benefits Bundle. We are confident that these initiatives mark positive strides towards fostering sustainability through responsible innovation." 

Visa is committed to facilitating sustainable commerce and contributing to the transition to a net-zero economy. Visa leverages digital payments to promote environmentally responsible consumption, sustainable transport, and Electric Vehicle adoption, while also reducing its own environmental footprint with a goal of net-zero emissions by 2040. In GCC, Visa recently launched the Eco Benefits Bundle, a groundbreaking climate banking platform in collaboration with ecolytiq and Mashreq in the UAE, followed by a launch with QIB in Qatar. This innovative solution integrates eco-friendly features into card payments, enabling users to track their environmental impact and contribute to carbon offset initiatives.  

Conducted by 4Sight Analytics in Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, the '2023 Sustainable Commerce' surveyed 415 consumers in Qatar and interviewed business owners and key opinion leaders (KOLs) in August-September 2023.  The study was designed to gather opinions and engage in meaningful discussions with a diverse range of participants. 

About Visa Inc.

Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at About Visa, and @VisaCEMEA.

Media Contacts

asda’a bcw, Dubai, UAE
Danaisha Gulabani
E-mail: [email protected] 
Tel: 971-4-450-7600