Home » A look back at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023

A look back at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023

by Mohammad Ghazal

As Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week closes, ESG Mena reflects on some of the highlights from the event you might have missed, pinpoints the key announcements, and shares insights from innovators and thought leaders in the sustainability space.

2023 declared the ‘Year of Sustainability’

Following the last day of ADSW, UAE President HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced that 2023 will be the ‘Year of Sustainability’. According to the announcement, the year will see the introduction and holding of initiatives, activities and events that draw upon the country’s values of sustainability. Further to this, throughout 2023, there will be a focus on inspiring collective action through a nationwide commitment towards sustainable practices.

The year-long initiatives will be overseen by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court; and Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, culminating in COP28.

In a statement on social media, the UAE President said: “2023 is the Year of Sustainability in the UAE. Effective climate action requires a shared vision and collective will. As host of Cop28, we are committed to fulfilling our role as a global convener and will continue to support action and innovation in the field of sustainability.”

Further to this, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said in a statement: “Sustainability has been a fundamental principle in the United Arab Emirates since its unification. The nation continues to serve as an exceptional model for environmental conservation and resource management. The late Sheikh Zayed was a global leader in environmental and climate action, leaving behind a legacy that we continue to follow today.”

Adding: “Today for Tomorrow embodies the UAE’s approach and commitment to sustainability and its responsibility to protect the future. By working, making efforts and initiating actions today, we are ensuring that we leave behind a legacy of stewardship for future generations, just as our ancestors did for us.”

Meanwhile, commenting on the announcement, COP28 President-designate and the UAE’s special envoy on climate change, H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, said: “The UAE has long maintained that the principles of sustainability must be incorporated into every sector of the economy. The country’s commitment to sustainability was led by its founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and this commitment remains a guiding light for the current leadership.”

Elsewhere, in a piece for The National, Her Highness Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan outlined that the Year of Sustainability is an opportunity to “reconnect with the planet and reignite our relationship with the natural world.”

Responses to the announcement show receptiveness across the board. The education sector has expressed its support, sharing the initiatives and best practices they have in place that align with the Year of Sustainability. The same has been seen throughout the business world, with business leaders expressing that it inspires continued innovation and the creation of climate-focused solutions.

Masdar and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) sign three-year partnership agreement for ADSW and WETEX

On Thursday 19th, Masdar and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) announced the signing of a three-year partnership agreement to sponsor ADSW and DEWA’s annual Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) and Dubai Solar Show.

Signed at ADSW 2023 by H.E. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of DEWA, and Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, DEWA will be the ADSW Opening Ceremony Associate Partner from 2023 to 2025, while Masdar will be the WETEX Jubilee Sponsor during the same period.

ADNOC Distribution and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company to work together through mobility joint venture, E2GO

During ADSW, ADNOC Distribution and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) unveiled the signing of an agreement to create the Joint Venture (JV) E2GO, through which they will build and operate electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE.

UAE plans the first food-grade plastic recycling plant

Veolia Middle East subsidiary Repeet, BEEAH Group, and F&B conglomerate Agthia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), overseen by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) for a new plastic recycling facility in the UAE.

The plans are for a 12,000 tons per annum polyethene terephthalate (PET) recycling plant spanning 40,000 square metres, which will recycle PET found in food packaging. Projections are that the facility could create 100 jobs, saving 18,000 metric tons of CO2 annually at full operating capacity.

Repeet would be responsible for operating the recycling plant through the project, while BEEAH Group would supply a seven-year feedstock of plastics. Agthia’s role would be to provide a seven-year offtake for products, with the feedstock becoming post-consumed PET bottle bales and the offtakes, food-grade recycled PET resin.

The MoU for the feasibility of the project was signed in the presence of Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Executive Director of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators, His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

ESG Mena in conversation with Dr. Seppe Verheyen

ESG Mena sat down with Dr. Seppe Verheyen from the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, who, while attending ADSW, moderated a panel at EcoWaste, and spoke about the academy’s work in training UAE diplomats.

Verheyen explained that, regarding the academy’s work in the realm of sustainability, one of its research programs is focused on sustainability. It also regularly produces sustainability research and has been closely engaged with the COP28 team to develop training for them.

Speaking about ADSW, Verheyen said that this year’s event and the different companies and organisations in attendance show that the focus on sustainability has ramped up in recent years.

ESG Mena speaks with Vasyl Zhygalo, Managing Director RX Middle East

Speaking with ESG Mena’s Chief Editor, Fawzia Yassmina, Vasyl Zhygalo, Managing Director RX Middle East, said this year’s event was record-breaking in regard to attendance. He spoke of the wide range of organisations and companies in attendance and the impressive number of MoUs signed.

Commenting on future events that are being held, Zhygalo explained the company has an expansive portfolio and referenced an upcoming energy week in Japan.

ESG Mena sits down with Brian Cox, CEO, GMA Garnet

ESG Mena’s Chief Editor, Fawzia Yassmina, met with Brian Cox, GMA Garnet, to learn more about the company and its participation in the World Future Energy Summit. Cox explained that GMA Garnet has now been operating in the MENA region for over twenty years and is looking to expand its offerings in recycling in the region and play its part in the circular economy.

Currently, the company offers a waste disposal solution to its customers, which allows them to divert garnet from landfill to repurpose it where it can be used in different applications.

ESG Mena speaks with Ibrahim Sultan, Director, Food to Fertilizer

ESG Mena’s Chief Editor, Fawzia Yassmina caught up with Ibrahim Sultan, Director of Food to Fertilizer, to gain insight into the company’s participation in the World Future Energy Summit and learn more about the company’s technology.

Sultan explained that the company’s technology tackles the food waste in the Middle East at the source. Targeting clients from a wide cross-section of sectors, including education, food production, and business, the company transforms food into fertiliser through a process of dehydration. Aside from organic fertiliser, its only other by-product is green water, which can be used for irrigation or disposed of without further treatment.

Stay tuned

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week might be over, but we still have more upcoming content from associated events that took place across the week. This includes interviews with Emmanuel Givanakis, the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Mercedes Vela Monserrate, Head of Sustainable Finance at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). So, make sure you check in with ESG Mena for all the latest.

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