Circular Economy in GCC: Potential, Prospects and Challenges

The concept of a circular economy has been gaining a lot of momentum on the agenda of many countries in recent years. In its core, it describes an economic model which opposes the current so-called linear economy, where output is produced, used and disposed at the end of its lifespan. In contrast, circular economy advocates suggest a model in which raw materials used during the life cycle of a good are completely reintegrated into the production process. Circular economy, therefore, means more than just to recycle your old appliances, but includes considerations about how to redefine products and services in … Continue reading

Renewable Energy in the Middle East

The Middle East energy sector has played and will continue to play an important role in the regional as well as global economy. The oil and gas sector is the largest economic sector in the region. In addition to satisfying energy needs for economic and social development, it is the source of oil and gas export revenues contributing to economic development. Regional countries are heavily dependent on oil and gas to meet their domestic energy demand. Oil contributes more than half of the total energy demand in the Middle East while the rest is contributed by natural gas. Widespread use … Continue reading

CSR Perspectives for the Middle East

Corporate Social Responsibility has moved beyond philanthropy, and is rapidly undergoing integration into the company’s core business strategy. However, in the Middle East, we can find companies that are still perceiving CSR as philanthropy and yet to view it as a “core business strategy “. Is it because of the culture and religion that we should give to the poor (Zakat or charity) so they consider it as their CSR? Should it be obligatory so companies will start thinking about CSR more strategically? Over the past few years, the interest has literally exploded in regional media and business community with … Continue reading

Breathing Life into Sand

Dake Rechsand’s innovative and transformative solutions are proactively contributing to the creation of a more sustainable and abundant world. The company’s breakthrough breathable sand technology utilizes low-value desert aeolian sand, to create a constantly evolving portfolio of high value products. The solutions offered by Dake Rechsand include applications in water purification, desert farming, water harvesting, construction, sand casting, sand oil and more. The company is transforming food and water security in water stressed regions and is currently engaged in an ambitious plan to enable farming and greenery for at least 10,000 acres across UAE or for half a million trees … Continue reading

Recycling of E-Waste in GCC: Challenges and Opportunities

The growing amount of e-waste is gaining more and more attention on the global agenda. In 2017, e-waste production is expected to reach up to 48 million metric tons worldwide. The biggest contributors to this volume are highly developed nations, with the top three places of this inglorious ranking going to Norway, Switzerland and Iceland. In Norway, each inhabitant produces a massive 28.3 kg of e-waste every year. Not far behind the top ten of this ranking lie GCC member states, with both Kuwait and UAE producing each 17.2 kg e-waste per capita per year. Saudi Arabia with its many … Continue reading

Dake Rechsand’s ‘Magic Sand’ Aims to End UAE’s Food and Water Deficit Within 5 Years

Addressing the UAE and larger MENA regions’ sustainability challenges of water conservation, green cover and food security, Dake Rechsands’ breakthrough sand technology can harvest and store rainwater to create a new water source for the region as well as transform deserts into lush tropical forests and organic farms. Dake Rechsand, a collaboration between South Africa’s Dake Group and the Rechsand Technology Group from Beijing, today announced the launch of their revolutionary ‘magic sand’ technology and its affiliated sand-made product range in the Middle East region. The joint venture is the result of their mission to take these innovative technologies to … Continue reading

Food Waste and the Spirit of Ramadan

In recent years, enormous generation of food waste during the holy month of Ramadan has been a matter of big debate in Muslim countries and elsewhere. As per conservative estimates, around one-fifth of the food purchased or prepared during Ramadan finds its way to garbage bins or landfills. This translates into thousands of tons of precious food which could have been used for feeding tens of millions of hungry people in impoverished countries of Asia, Africa and elsewhere. The staggering amount of food waste generation during Ramadan urgently demands a strong strategy for its minimization, sustainable utilization and eco-friendly disposal. Gravity of … Continue reading

Energy Efficiency Perspectives for UAE

With Abu Dhabi alone on track to generate more than 10,000 megawatts of electricity for the first time, discussion about improving energy efficiency in the United Arab Emirates is taking on a more critical tone. Daytime energy use in the hot summer months is still experiencing rampant year-on-year growth, with peak demand this year growing by 12 per cent. Lying at the heart of these consumption levels is the need for air conditioning, which accounts for about half of total electricity demand. Business and Government Action At the commercial level, considerable steps are being taken to reduce the Emirate’s carbon … Continue reading

Solid Waste Management in the Middle East – Major Challenges

Middle East is one of the most prolific waste generating regions of the world. Solid waste management in the Middle East is bogged down by major challenges like lavish lifestyles, ineffective legislation, infrastructural roadblocks, indifferent public attitude and lack of environmental awareness. High standards of living are contributing to more generation of waste which when coupled with lack of waste collection and disposal facilities have transformed ‘trash’ into a liability. Major Hurdles The general perception towards waste is that of indifference and apathy. Waste is treated as ‘waste’ rather than as a ‘resource’. There is an urgent need to increase … Continue reading

Women Entrepreneurship in MENA: An Analysis

Women entrepreneurship is an important unexploited source of economic growth in almost all parts of the world. Unfortunately women in MENA have the lowest rates of Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) at merely 4% of the population. The highest rates, globally, are in sub-Saharan Africa, at 27%. Latin American and Caribbean economies also show high levels (15 percent). In just seven economies (Panama, Thailand, Ghana, Ecuador, Nigeria, Mexico, and Uganda), women had equal or slightly higher levels of entrepreneurship than men. For the rest, women represented a smaller share of the entrepreneur population. Current Situation The recent interest in women entrepreneurship in the Middle … Continue reading

An Interview with Paper Bag Boy of Abu Dhabi

Abdul Muqeet, also known as the Paper Bag Boy, has risen from being just another ordinary boy to an extraordinary environmentalist spearheading the fight against climate change in United Arab Emirates. Ten-year old Abdul Muqeet has demonstrated remarkable commitment to saving the environment and has won numerous awards including the prestigious Abu Dhabi Award. Here the Paper Bag Boy (PBB) talks to Salman Zafar, Founder of EcoMENA, about various aspects of waste management scenario in UAE: SZ: You are considered as the ‘recycling face’ of Abu Dhabi because of your wonderful achievements. Can you give an idea of the prevalent waste management … Continue reading

Plastic Waste Management in UAE

Plastics are an inseparable part of modern society. However, their safe disposal is a big and highly challenging issue. A typical UAE resident uses 450 plastic water bottles on an average in a single year1. With the equivalent of 43 gallons on an average per person in 2011, the United Arab Emirates had the fourth-highest level of bottled water consumption in the world. A whopping 11 billion plastic bags are used annually, according to statistics from UAE’s Ministry of Environment and Water. This goes on to add up to an annual overall waste of 912.5 kilogram per capita2, 3, and 4. These … Continue reading