The Circular Economy Model and Industry in the Kingdom

 

  • Keynote speaker: Mr. Ibrahim Nazer
  • Speaker 1: Nouf Al-Ghamdi
  • Speaker 2: Khaled Al-Othman
  • Speaker 2: Jamal Mala’ekah

Summary

The circular economy is a new economic model, concerned with changing all production methods and patterns of consumption that are not sustainable. It aims at optimizing the utilization of natural resources and sustainable development, saving the value of products, materials, and resources in the economy for the longest possible period of use, and reducing waste significantly. It also contributes to enhancing efficiency and reducing power consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. It also modernizes the existing economic system, creates sustainable job opportunities, preserves natural resources, protects the environment, enhances responsibility towards the place in which it invests, achieves environmental sustainability and reduces the utilization of natural resources and their impact on climate change. It also leads to the sustainable growth of the national economy (in terms of achieving interdependence between industries, providing and protecting natural resources). In itself, this model is more sustainable in the long run and creates new job opportunities. Besides, it is based on the recycling of waste and the circular and sustainable design of product development by extending the life of use and recyclability, reducing waste of all kinds. It focuses on mining and industry, and the resulting pollution. It also concentrates on localizing the necessary technologies, stimulating scientific research and innovation, and disposing of wastes (in the long run), maximizing interest (benefit to the investor and consumer) instead of maximizing profit. It promotes values of sustainability and transparency through more partnerships in supply chains.

There are many initiatives and companies launched by the government, as well as plans for sustainability and environmental protection, and started by the implementation of large companies such as Aramco, Sabic, Ma’aden, and some cement companies. However, they remain separate plans without being united under one strategy. The circular economy is a holistic business model that needs long-term infrastructure, technologies and plans for implementation, and the concerted efforts and responsibility of all stakeholders, including investors, suppliers, consumers, and legislators. This model of the economy is a catalyst for innovation and encourages environmentally-friendly production and rational consumption, with the recycling of all types of municipal, industrial, medical, and agricultural waste, including carbon dioxide emissions.

It is necessary to work on a national plan to increase the efficient use of resources in the industry. It would be vital to advocate for reshaping and modernizing the Saudi and Gulf culture in general in relation to the circular economy. Thus, the blue economy will be considered a new branch of economics that goes in tandem with environmental economics. It supports environmental sustainability and dealing with its outputs as dealing with the industrial economy or real estate economy. This leads us to go beyond the inferiority complex in working in its sectors and investing in its projects, especially in light of the saturation and stagnation of other investment sectors.

There is an almost complete absence to understand the idea of circular economy, not to mention adopting its application and embracing it when preparing development plans and programs. There are only some expressions scattered here and there. Such expressions include terms such as sustainability, value, and efficiency without a real reflection on programs and implementation plans. The impact of circular economy applications is getting wider, and these circles integrate with other circles in other sectors that communicate and intertwine to achieve the widest possible impact on the entire development map and its different sectors.

Contributions made on the issue included the following themes:

  • Definition and dimensions of circular economy.
  • Social behavior and circular economy.
  • Policies and measures to be taken to develop the circular economy.

For more information on the issue, please refer to the link:  https://bit.ly/2V4I1wg

Recommendations:

  1. Issuing an official statement by the Ministry of Economy and Planning that adopts the circular economy for basic development and as an element of the Saudi Vision 2030.
  2. Establishing a higher council or a committee for supervising the application of circular economy as part of the Vision’s different programs and initiatives.
  3. Developing a national strategy for circular economy and linking it to the proposed Higher Council.
  4. Expediting the issuance and operation of a comprehensive law and executive rules for managing waste and developing and incorporating the present laws related to some waste categories. These laws need to be overseen by the proposed higher agency.
  5. Expediting the operation of the National Center for Waste Management, subsiding it with the necessary human and technical resources and cadres.

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