GCC must embrace circular economy, leverage opportunities: Speakers


DUBAI — The chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf region must embrace the circular economy, which if correctly leveraged, can generate huge economic and environmental benefits, said speakers during the 9th GPCA PlastiCon, taking place on March 14-15 at the Oberoi Hotel, Business Bay, Dubai.

Stakeholders would need to work together to increase the circularity of plastics by making sure that plastic waste is adequately recovered and that it does not end up in landfill or in the environment. The industry would also need to develop its innovation capabilities and work closely with regulators to formulate the right framework for plastic waste management, build an adequate infrastructure and adopt world-class standards, speakers said.

Ahmed Omar Abdulla, CEO, Borouge, and chairman, GPCA Plastics Committee, opened the event with Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh, EVP – Petrochemicals, SABIC, delivering a keynote address on the role of plastics in a circular economy.

Abdulla said, “More and more, polymer producers are strongly advocating commitment towards plastics circular economy which anticipates that plastics do not end up in our oceans or landfill, but rather contribute to an effective after-use economy. Governments in the GCC and around the world should start to enforce the policy of plastics circular economy to be a driving force in the efforts to enhance plastics sustainability.”

Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, commented, “The chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf is lagging behind other parts of the world, particularly Europe, which is taking steps in the right direction to transition from a linear to a circular economic model. The industry needs to do more to improve the circularity of its products. This will entail changing its business model from just selling products to selling high performing products over their lifecycle.”

“In the GCC, as the largest producers of plastics resins in the world, there is considerable potential to develop the recycling industry to go the extra mile towards generating further economic value while contributing to business and job creation and mitigating environmental impact. Supporting economic diversification, as many as 10 new jobs can be added in the region for each ton of plastic waste generated.”

Highlighting the role of innovation in advancing the chemical industry in the GCC, GPCA held its 5th Research and Innovation Summit between March 11-13 at the Oberoi Hotel, Dubai, under the theme ‘Capitalizing on innovation: A growth imperative.’

GPCA will recognize talent and ingenuity in the polymer and plastics conversion industry during its 8th GPCA Plastic Excellence Awards, sponsored by SABIC on the sidelines of PlastiCon.

The GPCA was established in 2006 to represent the downstream hydrocarbon industry in the Arabian Gulf. Today, the association voices the common interests of more than 250 member companies from the chemical and allied industries, accounting for over 95 percent of chemical output in the GCC. The industry makes up the second largest manufacturing sector in the region, producing over $108 billion worth of products every year.

GPCA supports the petrochemical and chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf through advocacy, networking and thought leadership initiatives aimed at helping member companies to connect, share and advance knowledge, contribute to international dialogue, and become prime influencers in shaping the future of the global petrochemicals industry. — SG