As the UAE gears up to host the second of two consecutive UN Climate Change Conferences to be held in the Arab world, the focus on advancing the regional sustainability agenda has never been stronger.
Global natural resource consumption currently exceeds 1.8 times the planet’s regenerative capacity. The alarming rate at which Earth’s natural resources are depleting demands immediate action and reiterates the need for the private sector to convene and drive sustainability action.
As the urgency to protect our planet’s resources grows, embracing a circular economy model rooted in waste reduction, resource efficiency, and sustainability can help businesses contribute to a sustainable future.
By transitioning from a linear economy to a circular one, we can reduce our environmental impact while creating economic opportunities. The benefits of circularity extend beyond environmental conservation - they encompass cost savings, improved efficiency, and the cultivation of new revenue streams.
Today’s consumers are increasingly environmentally conscious. In fact, 49 per cent of UAE consumers say they are willing to pay more for sustainable products. By prioritizing circularity, businesses can meet these evolving customer expectations while reaping long-term environmental and commercial benefits.
Sustainable design for a conscious consumer Research shows that consumers in the UAE consider practices such as sustainable sourcing a top priority in their purchase decisions. Consequently, designing products with the environment in mind, including ethical and sustainable sourcing policies, is crucial to meet evolving consumer behaviors and move towards a circular economy.
Packaging is also a key consideration. Dubai is committed to completely diverting waste from landfills by 2030, and the emirate has significantly increased costs of disposing non-recyclable waste in landfills. Businesses can drive progress by exploring alternatives to conventional packaging materials and embracing sustainable solutions. By leveraging advancements such as compostable materials and 3D-printed moulded fiber tooling, we can achieve eco-packaging at scale.
At HP, for example, all brand paper comes from recycled or certified sources. This now extends to paper-based packaging for home and office printers and supplies, PCs, and displays.
Boosting device lifespan
Energy usage remains a significant factor in electronic devices, and providing consumers with clear information and comparison tools can guide them towards energy-efficient choices. Additionally, by offering extended warranties, companies can reduce the demand for new raw materials and contribute to a circular economy.
Employing ‘as-a-service’ models can revolutionize the customer experience while promoting circularity through take-back programs led by companies. By encouraging customers to return their devices for refurbishment or recycling, we can ensure that valuable resources are not wasted and that materials are reintegrated into the production cycle.
Collaboration that sclaes up impact
Collaboration is vital for lasting and transformative change. Continued and accelerated action from leading businesses, public bodies and investors will see a snowball effect with an increasing number of stakeholders joining forces to grow the circular economy and secure a sustainable future for our region.
Through responsible sourcing, extended product lifespans, and collaboration, we can deliver significant economic and environmental benefits. It is estimated that by 2030, circularity could contribute up to $4.5 trillion to the global economy. The transition to a circular and sustainable future is not an option, but a necessity.
Businesses, large and small, must embrace circular practices and play their part in this transformative journey.
By embracing circularity, businesses in the UAE have the opportunity to help position the nation as a global leader in sustainability, fostering innovation, and ensuring a thriving future for generations to come.