Energy Ministry, KAUST spotlight circular carbon economy

International scientists and innovators presented the concept and components of the circular carbon economy at COP25 in Spain.
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Updated 25 December 2019

Energy Ministry, KAUST spotlight circular carbon economy

International scientists and innovators presented the concept and components of the circular carbon economy, including nature-based elements, technological underpinnings and its potential as a solution to the climate challenge, at an event held on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25), held recently in Madrid, Spain.

Organized by the Ministry of Energy of Saudi Arabia and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the event took place in the Gulf Cooperation Council Pavilion at the COP25.

“Recognizing the urgency to act on the climate while ensuring access to clean and affordable energy for all, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is promoting the circular carbon economy model as a sustainable, pragmatic and cost-effective approach for achieving ambitious climate goals,” said panel moderator Dr. Khalid Abuleif, chief UNFCC negotiator for Saudi Arabia.

Environmental architect William McDonough, of William McDonough & Partners, said: “Carbon has been demonized but carbon is not the enemy. The current problem is one of mismanaged carbon resulting from design failures. We need a new narrative of carbon that recognizes the benefits of carbon and addresses the risks in a responsible manner. This leads us to a narrative of how we can redesign our products, buildings, systems, and cities in a circular carbon economy to improve the health of our planet.”

KAUST is catalyzing the circular carbon economy by contributing scientific advances in the development of engineering, chemical and biological technologies in addition to clean and traditional energy solutions, which include hydrogen fuel and advanced materials.

Discussing opportunities for CO2 utilization, Professor Jorge Gascón, director of KAUST Catalysis Research Center, said: “We, catalysis researchers, are modern alchemists, we look for the philosopher’s stone, the one that will help us turn waste (CO2) into value. We are about to have another revolution in the way we use our resources and in the way we produce and store energy, and I believe catalysis will play a huge role. At KAUST, we are in an excellent position to contribute strongly to that transition.”

The circular carbon economy is a system where carbon emissions are reduced, reused, recycled and removed (4R). Such a closed-loop system, inspired by how nature works, may help restore the balance of the carbon cycle.

Dr. Carlos Duarte, professor of marine science at KAUST, said: “The biosphere established a finely tuned global carbon cycle that moves enormous amounts of carbon while maintaining climatic stability. We need to learn from how nature does this and embed society’s processes within the circular carbon economy of the biosphere.”

We need to unveil the many processes that support the global carbon cycle, from microbes to whales, and translate these into technologies that allow humans to manage carbon in a manner consistent with the global carbon cycle.”

Middle East’s top 50 workplaces revealed

Updated 26 September 2020

Middle East’s top 50 workplaces revealed

SAS has, for the second consecu- tive time, been officially recog- nized as one of the Middle East’s best workplaces for 2020, by global workplace culture authority Great Place to Work Middle East. Taking place for the first time in the region, Great Place To Work recognized 50 organizations in the Middle East.

The recognition is based on SAS’ adoption of a workplace ethos that focuses on employee engagement and empowerment. This com- mitment is demonstrated by SAS’ continued investment in modern collaborative workspaces and at- tractive employee benefits.

SAS’ corporate principles embrace the right mix of innovation, creativity, inclusivity and work/ life balance to create a work environment that motivates employees toward cementing the company’s status as a leader in analytics.

Shukri Dabaghi, regional vice president, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, SAS, said: “We are honored to be named one of the Great Places to Work in the region, ratifying that our talented employees feel supported and challenged to reach their full potential. The ranking confirms our continuous effort and focus on cultivating an organizational culture that emboldens and motivates creativity and fosters a collaborative work environment where our employees can learn, grow, and prosper.”

All certified organizations were considered for the list, but the 50 best workplaces were selected by focusing on the Trust Index survey averages, along with the number of countries where the organization is certified in the Middle East and local population.

Ibrahim Mougharbel, managing director, Great Place to Work UAE, said: “We are very proud to be launching for the first time in the region the Middle East’s top 50 best workplaces, and in line with our 2020 strategy of recognizing organizations across the region that sustain a high trust, high performing culture for employees; our objective remains to evolve the work culture in the Middle East countries and the GCC by offering insights to leaders in order to make data-driven people decisions.” “Rebuilding mutual trust and creating an innovative, positive and happy workplace in these challenging times should be at the top of the agenda for organizations; being a great workplace helps GCC entities quantify their culture and produce better business results,” said Tanzeel Rahman, managing director, Great Place to Work Saudi Arabia.

Mazen Harb, managing director, Great Place To Work Middle East, said: “To be considered in the list, organizations had to meet the Great Place to Work-Certified standard with a minimum score of 85 percent based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and ability to reach their full potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do, along with the number of countries where the orga-nization is certified in the Middle East and local population.”