UAE and Canada reconfirm support to circular economy - GulfToday

UAE and Canada reconfirm support to circular economy

UAE, Canada

Top officials during the virtual meeting.

The virtual UAE-Canada High Level Event on Circular Economy was organised by the UAE Circular Economy Council in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, to showcase examples of Emirati and Canadian leadership in the circular economy.

The event was chaired by Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Peter Schiefke, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, and moderated by Ms. Antonia Gawel, Head of Circular Economy & Innovation, World Economic Forum.

Dr. Thani underlined the UAE’s commitment to become one of the most circular economies in the world.  The UAE is the first signatory of the World Economic Forum’s Scale360° Partnership which brings together global partners to fast-track the shift towards a circular economy by embracing Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and innovation.   

“The circular economy offers global leaders an enormous opportunity to build a transformative post-COVID future that will pave the way for more resilient, equitable, and sustainable economies around the world. The UAE is proud to be leading on this front through the WEF Scale360° initiative, our close partnerships with countries like Canada, and our deep collaboration with private sector companies such as Majid Al Futtaim-Holding, which has prioritised the circular economy across its value chains,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi said.

In his remarks, Peter Schiefke underlined the excellent bilateral relationship that Canada and the UAE enjoy.  He said that Canada and the UAE “both understand the enormous opportunity that the transition to a more circular economy offers us.”  Schiefke highlighted how Canadian companies are innovating to bring effective and innovative clean technologies to market to solve environmental problems.    

Schiefke welcomed strong UAE participation at the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) 2021, hosted by Canada in September 2021.  The WCEF2021 will bring dynamic new voices to the global conversation and take an in-depth look at circular opportunities in the North American and global context.  It will also explore the “game changing” actions and systemic changes needed to accelerate the global circular transition.  

Ms. Antonia Gawel stressed that public-private cooperation is essential in shaping global, regional, and industry agendas efficiently, effectively and sustainably.  Ms. Gawel also acknowledged the leadership of the UAE and Canada in advancing the adoption of the circular economy and commended the UAE for their initiative to bring together a bilateral dialogue.

Ibrahim Al Zu’bi, Chief Sustainability Officer at UAE based Majid Al Futtaim introduced the company’s robust circular economy strategy. Under the recently launched strategy, all Majid Al Futtaim operating companies will embed circular economy principles into business operations to minimise harmful impacts on the environment and generate new revenue streams. Al Zu’bi said, “Majid Al Futtaim appreciates the opportunity to be included in this high-level exchange and recognises the importance of multilateral cooperation in moving toward a more sustainable future. The launch of our new circular economy marks an exciting milestone in Majid Al Futtaim’s sustainability journey.”  

It may be mentioned that a circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life

As per the concept, in a circular economy, economic activity builds and rebuilds overall system health. The concept recognises the importance of the economy needing to work effectively at all scales – for large and small businesses, for organisations and individuals, globally and locally.

Transitioning to a circular economy does not only amount to adjustments aimed at reducing the negative impacts of the linear economy. Rather, it represents a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience, generates business and economic opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits.

The notion of circularity has deep historical and philosophical origins. The idea of feedback, of cycles in real-world systems, is ancient and has echoes in various schools of philosophy. It enjoyed a revival in industrialised countries after World War II when the advent of computer-based studies of non-linear systems unambiguously revealed the complex, interrelated, and therefore unpredictable nature of the world we live in – more akin to a metabolism than a machine. With current advances, digital technology has the power to support the transition to a circular economy by radically increasing virtualisation, de-materialisation, transparency, and feedback-driven intelligence.

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