Saudi Grains Organization buys $194mn of wheat from local farmers 

Saudi Grains Organization buys $194mn of wheat from local farmers 
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Updated 14 October 2021

Saudi Grains Organization buys $194mn of wheat from local farmers 

Saudi Grains Organization buys $194mn of wheat from local farmers 

RIYADH: The Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) has purchased wheat from local market this year with a total value of SR729 million ($194.4 million).

SAGO started receiving local wheat from farmers for the current season from April 4, 2021, and the total quantity received from farmers to date has reached 573,739 tons from 2,072 farmers, Saudi Press Agency reported.

 


US records second-highest deficit of $2.77tn 

US records second-highest deficit of $2.77tn 
Updated 17 sec ago

US records second-highest deficit of $2.77tn 

US records second-highest deficit of $2.77tn 
  • In September, the budget deficit hit $62 billion, compared to a $125 billion deficit a year earlier and market expectations of a $60 billion gap

The US budget deficit in the fiscal year 2021 recorded the second-highest deficit ever compared to $ 3.132 trillion recorded in 2020, where the deficit for 2021 reached $ 2.772 trillion.

Revenue jumped 18.3 percent to $ 4.046 trillion amid higher income taxes on individuals and businesses due to the economy's recovery. In contrast, expenses rose by 4.1 percent to $6.818 trillion due to continued spending to counter the devastating effects of the global pandemic.

In September, the budget deficit hit $62 billion, compared to a $125 billion deficit a year earlier and market expectations of a $60 billion gap. 

The smallest budget gap since January 2020, with revenue growing 23.1 percent to $460 billion while expenses only increased 4.7 percent to $521 billion.

Too early to raise US interest rates 

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said it is early to increase borrowing rates risking slow economic recovery, in spite of a risk that high inflation in the United States could persist. 

"it would be premature to actually tighten policy by raising rates now with the effect and intent of slowing job growth," he said 

Policymakers are forecast to proclaim the slowdown of bond buying at the central bank's policy meeting next month. Still, the benchmark lending rate is forecast to continue at zero to the latest next year at the very least.

SAMA books $1bn net profit 

Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) recorded a net profit of SR3.8 billion ($1 billion ) at the end of the quarter, above the same period last year, by 0.6 billion. More than the average analysts' expectation on Refinitiv Eikon data of SR3.6 billion.

Russia raises interest rate

Russia's central bank increased the key interest rate above what was expected by 75 bps to 7.5 percent, from a forecast of a 50 bps increase, the highest since June 2019. That increased in the rouble and signaled increases as inflation showed little sign of slowing.

Japan’s Inflation up slightly

Japanese inflation rose for the first time in 13 months to 0.2 percent annually in September 2021 from a negative 0.4 percent in August 2021.

Eurozone inflation hit by supply shocks

Significant supply chain problems in factories have caused prices to rise that they did not see in the Eurozone twenty years ago.


US body seeks to explore more ‘green’ opportunities in KSA

US body seeks to explore more ‘green’ opportunities in KSA
Updated 25 October 2021

US body seeks to explore more ‘green’ opportunities in KSA

US body seeks to explore more ‘green’ opportunities in KSA
  • US Green Building Council plans collaboration with Saudi institutions to reduce carbon emissions

JEDDAH: The US Green Building Council plans to support the Saudi Green Initiative in terms of its goals in reduction of carbon emission, global warming, and carbon footprint, and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. 

The USGBC certifies projects in Saudi Arabia under the LEED operating system (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), an internationally recognized certification system that certifies buildings that achieve innovation in sustainability and energy efficiency, water efficiency and better indoor environment quality and better quality of life.

The system also recognizes best-in-class buildings, cities and communities “to reduce carbon emissions through the built environment, which contributes to climate change especially in carbon emissions by almost 40 percent,” Mohammed Al-Surf, regional manager of the USGBC in the Kingdom, told Arab News.

FASTFACTS

• The USGBC certifies projects in Saudi Arabia under the LEED operating system.

• The system also recognizes best-in-class buildings, cities and communities to reduce carbon emissions.

• The council is also looking toward collaborating with different institutions such as financial institutions to establish green bonds.

“Our goal is to collaborate with the SGI through different platforms and different projects like the giga-projects to help minimize their emissions and mitigate climate change,” he added.

He said the council is also looking toward collaborating with different institutions such as financial institutions to establish green bonds and green loans to stimulate the economy as well. “These green projects will have investors investing in these projects to make the environment more sustainable,” he said.

The council’s collaboration with the SGI is on a project scale; individual projects, city projects or community plan phases, as well as in terms of education and awareness and capacity-building, he said.

“We’re going to see reports from different projects on how they have achieved the objectives of the SGI through LEED certification which is the main aim of the collaboration with the USGBC,” he added.

The council has certified over 1,500 projects in the Kingdom, including well-known ones such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah, Princess Noura University campus, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Ithra museum and the masterplan for the Red Sea Development project.


Saudi Arabia prioritizes tourism sector net zero target

Saudi Arabia prioritizes tourism sector net zero target
Updated 25 October 2021

Saudi Arabia prioritizes tourism sector net zero target

Saudi Arabia prioritizes tourism sector net zero target
  • With the global travel and tourism sector responsible for 8 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, Saudi Arabia is giving priority to achieving net-zero emissions in the sector

RIYADH: The Sustainable Tourism Global Center launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum on Saturday aims to modernize the sector with a focus on preserving nature and fighting climate change.

With the global travel and tourism sector responsible for 8 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, Saudi Arabia is giving priority to achieving net-zero emissions in the sector.

Referring to the global emissions at the SGI event, Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said: “This is expected to grow if we do not act now.”  

“Tourism is also a highly fragmented sector. Eighty percent of the tourism businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises that rely on guidance and support from sector leadership. The sector must be part of the solution,” he said.

Sustainable Tourism Global CenterThe center will support travelers, governments, and the private sector to ensure that tourism enables growth and creates jobs, while playing its part to achieve the climate goals laid out in the Paris Agreement, including contributing to keeping the global temperature rise to under 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The facility aims to be the “north star” for the tourism sector as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and transitions toward a sustainable future.

Globally, tourism supports more than 330 million livelihoods – and pre-pandemic, it was responsible for creating one in four new jobs globally.

Al-Khateeb said: “Saudi Arabia, following the vision of the Crown Prince, is answering this vital call by working with partners to create a multi-country, multi-stakeholder coalition, that will lead, accelerate, and track the tourism industry’s transition to net-zero emissions.”

Details of the center and its functions will be  unveiled at the COP26 in Glasgow.

Gloria Guevara, the chief special adviser to the tourism minister, said: “For years and years, multiple players across the tourism sector have been working on different initiatives to accelerate the race to zero (emissions) — but we have been working in silos. The impact of the global pandemic on the tourism sector highlighted the vital importance of multi-country, multi-stakeholder collaboration. And now, Saudi Arabia is stepping up to bring stakeholders together to make tourism part of the solution to climate change.”


Saudi startup joins in national efforts promote green building

Saudi startup joins in national efforts promote green building
Updated 25 October 2021

Saudi startup joins in national efforts promote green building

Saudi startup joins in national efforts promote green building
  • Large number of people in the Kingdom are moving toward sustainable solutions

LONDON: As global leaders converge at the Middle East Green Initiative Summit on Oct. 25, the focus will be on new ideas and proposals to replace the wasteful and polluting ways in favor of environmentally-friendly methods. 

Meanwhile, there are set to be profound changes at the grass-roots level, in terms of sustainable living environments. A number of “green” startups have emerged in the Kingdom in recent years, offering products and services that aim to reduce carbon emissions while improving the quality of life for ordinary citizens.

One such company is Riyadh-based EIA Energy. Founded in 2020 with support from Monsha’at, the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, EIA Energy is a 12-employee firm with a turnover of SR1.2 million and projected growth up to SR7.5 million by Q4 2022.

“EIA Energy was founded as an energy services company (ESCO) and has developed into a provider of end-to-end energy management services and solutions to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency in client facilities,” CEO Abdullah Al-Othman told Arab News. 

As a certified ESCO, EIA Energy provides three kinds of service: First, energy consulting and energy monitoring in order to reduce costs; second is the obtaining of “green certification” for facility owners and managers; and third is guidance regarding green building techniques in terms of architecture, efficient water use, landscaping and eco-friendly transport solutions. 

EIA Energy describes its energy efficiency strategy as the “SMARRT Approach” – an acronym for Surveying, Monitoring, Analyzing, Reducing, Reviewing and Targeting.  

There will be a growing demand for this kind of consultancy in Saudi Arabia as builders and developers conform to new green regulations while satisfying the demand of modern families for a healthier and better way of life. 

“This is a good time for ESCOs right now,” says Al-Othman, “because we’re catching the beginning of the whole transformation that’s taking place, the cultural shift. There are a lot of government initiatives – Vision 2030, SGI, Green Riyadh — which stimulate the entire market and create a lot of opportunities.”

In the 1960s and 70s Riyadh and other cities in the Kingdom became the so-called “supergrids” of intersecting highways, filled in with buildings and concrete surfacing with only a small allowance for green spaces. Concrete absorbs and radiates heat in the summer months, while preventing ground absorption of rainwater during the winter — causing severe and sometimes fatal flooding. 

“We say no to concrete,” says EIA Energy GM Hamza Khan. “We prefer gravel because there has to be porous ground that allows rainwater to go back into the earth and replenish the groundwater sources.”

Builders, developers and facility operators have no choice but to move from words to action. “We are getting a lot of inquiries from apartment and compound owners, supermarkets, retail outlets and restaurants,” says Khan. “They all want to reduce their costs and their emissions – to offer something more sustainable and to stand apart from the competition.” 

Much of EIA Energy’s efforts are dedicated to enabling LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification from the US Green Building Council. This certification promotes a higher quality of life for building occupants in terms of energy and water efficiency and improvement of the living environment. It follows the principle of the triple bottom line of the 3Ps: People, planet and profit. This certification can be applied to any built-up area: residential facilities, office buildings, educational institutions and hospitals.

EIA Energy relies on hardware and software supplied by its UK partner Best Energy. “But it is clear that the technologies we bring to Saudi Arabia should be manufactured or at least assembled here,” says Al-Othman. “And that would solve a major issue that we are facing now with the destruction of the global supply chain due to COVID-19 and other factors.” The company also has ambitions to develop its own proprietary solutions as it grows and expands. 

“Saudi Arabia is going green and is moving towards energy efficiency and reducing its carbon emissions,” says Al-Othman. “Green tech startups and ESCOs have a major part in this. We are benefiting from new government initiatives, and we just want to keep improving and introducing more services — in line with Vision 2030, which says that SMEs should play a key role in the future Saudi economy.”


MGI: Charting a regional road map for sustainable living

MGI: Charting a regional road map for sustainable living
Updated 25 October 2021

MGI: Charting a regional road map for sustainable living

MGI: Charting a regional road map for sustainable living
  • Saudi initiatives demonstrate Kingdom’s willingness to address environmental challenges

JEDDAH: The final event of the Saudi Green Initiative, the Middle East Green Initiative, is taking place today to create a sustainable road map for the region and highlight green transition, green policy solutions, the finance sector’s contribution to the goals of the SGI as well as insight from an international perspective.

It will be attended by several heads of state, with key speakers including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, UN Deputy Secretary Amina Mohammed,  BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, HSBC Group Chief Executive Noel Quinn, and André Esteves, senior partner, BTG Pactual, Brazil.

Earlier this year, the crown prince highlighted that the Saudi and the Middle East green initiatives are a continuation of the environmental efforts in the Kingdom over the past few years in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

The two initiatives demonstrate the Kingdom’s strong willingness to address the environmental challenges it has faced, from increase in temperatures and dust waves to low levels of rain and desertification.

The SGI and MGI are also aiming to collectively plant 50 billion trees as well as propel the Middle East region toward achieving more than 10 percent of global carbon emissions reduction targets.

The SGI aims to reach net zero emissions of greenhouse gases, mostly produced by burning fossil fuels, by 2060.

Saudi Arabia said the transition to net zero carbon emissions “will be delivered in a manner that preserves the Kingdom’s leading role in enhancing the security and stability of global energy markets.”

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Announcing a plan to reach “net zero” in carbon by 2060, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday said the move was in line with the Kingdom’s development plans, “while preserving and reinforcing its leading role in the security and stability of global energy markets.”

The Kingdom has pledged to double the amount of carbon it will cut in its domestic economy, removing 278 million tons of the pollutant per year by 2030.

“As a region, we have always had to live with harsh climate conditions and we will have to continue to innovate in both mitigation and adaptation,” said Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al-Jaber, at a forum on COP26 in Riyadh.

“The UAE highly commends the leadership and the people of Saudi Arabia, particularly the youth, for such a landmark, bold and long-term strategic initiative. It represents a paradigm shift in ambition for this region,” the minister said.

The SGI aims to raise vegetation cover, reduce carbon emissions, combat pollution and land degradation, and preserve marine ecosystems.