DUBAI- CEOs, senior executives and sustainability experts from various national and international companies stressed the importance of cooperation and joint action between government, the private sector and society, to promote transition to a sustainable circular economy in the country and around the world, and to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.
This came during a special panel discussion on Circular Economy that was held as part of the Global Goals Week activities taking place at Expo 2020 Dubai, from 15th to 19th January.
Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Holding, and Antonia Gawel, Head, Climate Action, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum in Switzerland participated in the discussion that was moderated by Ruqayya Al Balushi, Director of International Relations at the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs.
The session, which was attended by a number of government officials in the UAE and globally, and members of the National Committee for SDGs, highlighted the UAE’s circular economy approach and efforts by working closely with the private sector, as well as a number of topics related to accelerating the transition to a circular economy.
The session also touched upon collaboration between circular economy stakeholders, harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the means in which circular economy can support Goal 12 that calls on countries to "ensure sustainable consumption and production." Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi said, "As pioneers of sustainability in this region and building on our promise to rethink how we use resources, the launch of our circular economy strategy is a significant milestone in the sustainability journey.
By 2030, it is our ambition that all operating companies have circularity at the core of their operations, actively engaging with our suppliers, customers and the wider business and government communities, to bring about systemic change and impact." In her remarks conducted remotely, Antonia Gawel elaborated on how the relation between production, consumption and the global economy been based on Linear Growth, due to industrialisation, economic development, urbanisation and failing waste management.
"The Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation will be key to changing the way our economy works in order to mainstream circularity. Our vision is for innovators in every city and every country to have the support, network, and insight they need to build a circular economy; with the support of all stakeholders, we are making that happen," noted Gawel in her presentation.
As per the World Economic Forum, Circular Economy is projected to contribute up to $4.5 trillion in economic benefits in 2030. However, while only 8.6 percent of the world is circular, it will require a collective approach from Governments through legislation and laws to clear roadmap implemented jointly with the private sector and understand the economic, behavioural aspects of consumers.
UAE and the Circular Economy Participants also discussed the various Circular Economy initiatives and programmes that the UAE government has announced, notably the ‘UAE Circular Economy Policy’, a comprehensive framework for determining the country’s approach to achieving sustainable governance and the ideal use of natural resources, by adopting consumption and production methods that ensure wellbeing for current and future generations.
The policy comprises of several key objectives, including promoting environmental health, supporting the private sector in adopting clean production methods, and reducing natural environmental stress, to achieve the country’s vision to be a global pioneer of green development.
The policy is a framework for identifying the priorities in terms of consolidating the concept of the circular economy within several priority sectors, most notably green infrastructure, sustainable transport, sustainable manufacturing, sustainable food production and consumption, in addition to other areas, such as technology, innovation and research and development while raising awareness, building capacities, establishing partnerships and cooperation platforms, and achieving comprehensive waste management.
The policy and its outcomes are expected to generate considerable economic proceeds for the country, mitigate environmental pressures, ensure the supply of raw materials, increase competitiveness, motivate innovation, strengthen economic growth and create job opportunities.
Worth noting that under the same framework, UAE Circular Economy Council was set up aiming to oversee implementation of the strategy, in coordination with relevant authorities, as well as approve performance indicators related to the strategy’s adoption, harmonise federal and local strategies within the policy’s requirements, suggest the general foundations of sectoral plans and project, encourage the participation of the private sector in projects and initiatives related to the circular economy, promote partnerships between public and private sectors, as well as advance scientific research in related areas.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2022.