Future of UAE’s circular economy - GulfToday

Future of UAE’s circular economy


Staff Reporter, Gulf Today

Over 150 participants including sustainability and CSR experts, business leaders and academics came together for the Dubai Dialogue 2021 conference, which was organised by Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The annual conference, held under the theme Accelerating the Transition to a Circular Economy, examined opportunities and challenges of investing in the circular economy, which is projected to create $4.5 trillion in economic benefits over the coming decade.

Among the speakers and panelists who took part in the event were:  Hamad Buamim, President & CEO, Dubai Chamber; Professor Dr. Dima Rachid Jamali, Dean, College of Business Administration, University of Sharjah; Dr Kamel Mellahi, Senior Manager — Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business; Samira Al Rais, Senior Director, Policy & Strategy, Sustainable Development, The General Secretariat of The Executive Council, Government of Dubai; Omar Channawi, CEO - Middle East, Sub-Sahara Africa and Global Entrepreneurial Markets, Procter and Gamble; and Dr Udo Huenger, Vice President Middle East, BASF.

The Dubai Dialogue Conference 2021 aims to explore new prospects and opportunities on the horizon as the UAE’s implements its circular economy policy, which is a comprehensive framework outlining ambitious targets for achieving sustainable management and managing efficient use of natural resources and reducing waste.

In his welcome remarks, Buamim said that the circular economy is necessary to protect the environment, improve the integrity of the distribution and supply network of raw materials, enhance competitiveness, foster innovation and stimulate sustainable economic growth.

Dubai Chamber’s President and CEO highlighted the importance of adopting smart and sustainable ways to manage the operational processes of enterprises, considering that they improve economic efficiency and reduce negative impacts on the environment.

“Sustainability is a key pillar of Dubai’s vision and Dubai Chamber is committed to supporting this vision by encouraging companies to adopt responsible and sustainable business practices. The Centre for Responsible Business, established by the Chamber 17 years ago, plays a vital role in fostering a culture of sustainability within business communities,” Buamim added.

During the panel discussion, business leaders and industry experts shared their strategic plans for capitalising on growth opportunities created by the circular economy, as well as recommendations implementing best practices and solutions in this area.

Dr. Udo Huenger, Vice President Middle East, BASF said: “By 2030, we, at BASF, want to double our sales of solutions for the circular economy to €17 billion and already by 2025, we aim to process 250,000 metric tons of recycled and waste-based raw materials in our production plants annually, replacing fossil raw materials. We are actively looking into partnerships with our Middle Eastern customers to bring innovative technologies that better use and reuse existing materials to the region.”

“P&G’s Ambition 2030 goals aim to reduce our footprint and strive for circular solutions, and so we are constantly innovating, collaborating and taking action to contribute to the circular economy across our portfolio of brands,” said Omar Channawi, CEO — Middle East, Sub-Sahara Africa and Global Entrepreneurial Markets, Procter and Gamble.

“Events such as Expo 2020 and Dubai Dialogue 2021 will play an instrumental role in exploring new business models & multi stakeholder partnerships to drive circularity on climate, water and waste now and for the long term. We use innovation which is our cornerstone, to empower our supply chain to rethink ways of doing business across the Middle East region, along with partnerships in order to build a coalition for positive change. There is no doubt a circular economy is a key building block to an economy that grows while protecting the planet,” Channawi added. “We cannot privatise profits and publicize losses. Today’s business equation is quite simple: Let us disrupt the old ways of doing business and move beyond incremental progress through new circular economy models, innovative technologies and collective effort” said Dr Jamali.

Sameera Mohammad Al Rais, Senior Director of Policy and Strategy, Sustainable Development said: “Circular Economy is aligned with the Dubai future plans as it plays an essential role in building a stable and sustainable future for our city. As policy makers, we have a duty to not just constantly review and revise existing systems but also ease the way for impactful change to take place. Through Dubai Dialogue, we are looking at how building a circular economy can help businesses grow sustainably, find synergies that work and help our cities flourish while having the best interests of our people and planet at heart. This is an essential conversation and I am immensely gratified and humbled to be part of it”.

Established in 1965, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a non-profit public entity, whose mission is to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai by creating a favourable business environment, supporting the development of business, and by promoting Dubai as an international business hub.

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry provides an integrated system of smart and electronic services that cover all the requirements of the business community, enabling businesses to complete all their transactions remotely easily, easily and according to the highest international standards. The Chamber is one of the pioneer provider of smart services, with smart transformation of 98% of its core services, which can be accessed using the smart application of the Chamber or by visiting the website.

Meanwhile, Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC), met with Wolfgang Sobotka, President of the Austrian National Council, and his delegation, on the sidelines of the 11th International Astronomical Federation (IAF) International Meeting for Members of Parliaments, which organised by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, in collaboration with the IAF, at the Dubai World Trade Centre until 29th October, 2021.

During the meeting, the sides discussed strengthening their parliamentary cooperation, in line with the ongoing strategic partnership and relations between the UAE and Austria, which are witnessing significant development in various areas.

Ghobash welcomed Sobotka and his delegation and thanked him for visiting the UAE while commending the outcomes of their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 5th World Conference of Speakers of Parliament held in September 2021.

He also lauded the strategic relations between the UAE and Austria and their efforts to upgrade them, most notably following the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Austria in July 2021, as well as the signing of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement.

The UAE’s policy for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be effective during the recovery planning stage, he added, highlighting the successful strategic balance achieved across vital sectors, which ensured the return to normalcy across tourism, transport and other industries. He also noted the UAE’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is among the highest globally.

Ghobash praised Austria’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, stressing that the Austrian pavilion highlights the links between people, technology and the environment.

Sobotka commended the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement signed by the two friendly countries, covering key areas, including politics, parliamentary relations, the economy, security, education and technology.

The meeting was attended by Hamad Al Rahoumi, First Deputy Speaker of the FNC, Dr. Omar Al Nuaimi, FNC Secretary-General, and several other FNC members.

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