Dubai Economy pioneers circular economy in response to Covid-19

This is an economic approach designed to ensure consumption and production patterns make efficient use of resources and minimise waste

Dubai non-oil private sector economy returned to growth at the end of 2020. Reem Mohammed / The National
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The Covid-19 pandemic, which upended the global economy, presented an opportunity to Dubai to excel in the circular economy, optimise available resources and minimise waste, the director general of Dubai Economy said.

The pandemic has become an opportunity for Dubai to learn from adversity and "added new momentum to the digital transformation", Sami Al Qamzi said.

“We are now moving to the next level, engaging with key industry sectors to build on existing opportunities to expedite the circular economy transition,” he added.

A circular economy aims to reduce waste, ensure consumption and production patterns make efficient use of resources. It also aims to reduce pollution and carbon emissions by leveraging renewable energy. Unlike a traditional linear economy, it focuses on re-use, sharing, repair, regeneration, re-manufacturing and recycling.

A shift towards circular economies could generate up to $4.5 trillion in annual economic output by 2030, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

Growth of circular business models will require “structural and technological change”, according to UNEP. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The transition to a circular economy could also help realise sustainable development goals to ensure the health of ecosystems, according to a report by the UNEP.

Dubai’s circular economy initiatives gained further momentum with Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, recently approving the 2021 agenda of the Executive Council. Among its objectives is the creation of a digital and circular economy and the introduction of innovative initiatives to enhance government services and further raise Dubai’s competitiveness.

“The circular economy plan not only seeks to contribute towards the agenda but also positions Dubai towards sustainable progress and prosperity over the next 50 years,” Dubai Economy said.

Dubai Economy launched a series of workshops (hacks) last year on the circular economy transition, related challenges and opportunities. They focused on market readiness, innovation, funding and capital, skill development, regulatory readiness, manufacturing, real estate and food and agri-business.

“Dubai has a great opportunity to invest and benefit from all the efforts of stakeholders to implement initiatives that will propel us to the next level of economic growth based on the circular economy model,” Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, chief executive of corporate strategic affairs at Dubai Economy, said.