RIYADH: The number of Saudi nationals in the private sector rose 10.5 percent in the second quarter of 2023 to reach 2.2 million, a report by the National Labor Observatory showed.
It revealed an average quarterly growth of about 42,000 citizens in the private sector until the current year's second quarter.
The rise was attributed to a strong economic rebound that led to an increase in the workforce.
The report also reviewed industry changes and Saudization figures for jobs in private sector establishments based on different regions across the Kingdom.
It showed that the number of Saudi employees recorded the most significant increase for both genders, with males standing at 1.3 million, compared to about 900,000 females, bringing the total Saudization rate to 22.3 percent.
The Eastern Province took the lead, recording the highest Saudization rate of 27 percent, followed by Makkah at 24 percent and Riyadh and Madinah at 21 percent each.
The information and communications sector also achieved a strong participation rate for male citizens, reaching 60 percent, while education achieved the highest engagement of female citizens at 53 percent.
In May 2022, the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development announced that it was focusing on a skills strategy to improve professional standards for workers and those entering the labor market, according to Abdullah Abuthnain, the vice minister.
Abuthnain noted that the initiative would benefit more than 200 professions, with councils establishing employment standards and on-the-job training programs in critical economic sectors.
“We, at HRDF, will work to develop and implement labor market policies by creating a sustainable national workforce, developing human cadres’ skills, providing them with knowledge and qualifications, and aligning them with labor market and job needs,” he said at the time.
ACWA Power aiming to triple the size of company, says CEO
Updated 18 sec ago
Ranvir Nayar MANAL AL-BARAKATI
DUBAI: ACWA Power is aiming to triple the value of its assets to $250 billion, the company’s CEO Marco Arcelli told Arab News on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference.
The leading energy firm in Saudi Arabia, which has been expanding at a breakneck speed, has set itself an ambitious target of increasing the value of its assets under management from the $80 billion it currently has on its books.
Speaking from the COP28 forum in Dubai, Arcelli noted that a number of projects being undertaken by the company are in emerging areas of renewable energy, which he deemed as important for the company in order to achieve its targets.
Outlining the Kingdom’s potential and role within the Saudi renewable sphere, the CEO highlighted that the company will be responsible for delivering the Public Investment Fund program of 70 percent of the renewable energy that will be installed in the country.
‘‘We have a goal of tripling the size of the company to about $250 billion of assets under management, up from less than $80 billion when I joined at the beginning of the year,’’ said Arcelli.
The CEO flagged up the Red Sea Global project in Saudi Arabia as one of the key developments it is involved in, and said: “We just completed the first phase of the Red Sea Global, which is going to be one of the best and biggest tourist attractions in the world.
“We are providing the utilities there to these resorts and that one is 100 percent powered by green electricity. That means not only the power generation, but also the desalination and the wastewater that we are using there.
“That will go through a process where we are going to create mangrove wetlands so that basically that’s going to be part of the Saudi Green Initiative to plant the 1 billion trees by 2030.’’
Arcelli also underscored the various milestones and achievements registered by the company in 2023, saying: “I just joined in March this year. So, I have been here for eight months and the speed of growth and of activity in the company is just phenomenal. In the past eight months, we signed agreements for almost 10 gigawatts of power between Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and other countries.
“We have signed water agreements for 1.4 million cubic meters per day in Saudi Arabia and in the Emirates. We just broke ground this week on the second green hydrogen project that we participate in. All together we are growing in renewables and we’re growing in water by 20 percent this year.”
He also talked up the firm’s position as a “leading player” in the green ammonia industry, and its moves in transitioning facilities away from fossil fuels.
“For instance, recently in the Emirates, we converted a power plant that was built for using coal and we converted it to gas,” he said.
ACWA Power also converted a water desalination plant that was running on oil to reverse osmosis power by electricity. This has led to a saving of 22 million barrels of oil per year, informed Arcelli.
Together with the Saudi Electricity Co., ACWA Power has also recently bagged the deal for setting up a 3.6 gigawatts combined cycle plant.
Arcelli highlighted that though Saudi Arabia is the largest country for his company, it is rapidly developing in Central Asia and East Asia.
“Right now, the single biggest country is Uzbekistan for the new activity and all of Central Asia we see coming up with a lot of potential. The next target for us is China. And I am confident that within a few months we will be able to announce the first deal in China,” Arcelli said.
Elaborating on the recently signed memorandums of agreement with Chinese firms, the CEO highlighted the firm has three main objectives when it comes to expanding into the Asian country.
The first is to keep working with the Chinese in regional and global projects, the second is to expand investments in the country itself, while the third is closer working on research and development.
Arcelli added: “We’re working a lot, particularly in the Shanghai area and with a lot of suppliers. To give you some idea of the activities we are working on. You know that here in the Gulf, temperatures are very high. The efficiency of the solar panels decreases.
“We are working with suppliers on how we can make the panels more suitable for installations to our region. It is going to benefit us, but it is also going to benefit all the industry in the end.”
He further outlined that ACWA Power is discussing ways for Chinese companies to “localize in Saudi Arabia” by demonstrating the “solid program” they have integrated in the Kingdom.
According to the CEO, the company is also in talks with other nations from Central Asia in hopes that they will develop the needed equipment locally, thus facilitating growth and creating a strong ecosystem from growth in Saudi Arabia.
Like many companies emerging from a legacy of fossil fuels, ACWA Power was “practically producing 100 percent electricity from fossil fuel until six or seven years ago,” said Arcelli.
Today, 43 percent of the company’s capacity, 53 GW, is coming from renewables, and the CEO expects that number to rise to between 70-80 percent.
As part of its mission to be an enabler of energy transition in countries that primarily only have access to coal or more polluting fuels, the company does not intend to entirely stop working with gas-fired combined cycles, Arcelli said.
Operating in the Global South, Africa, South East Asia and Central Asia, as it stands, does not allow for a complete, 100 percent transition of the needed energy in the region to renewables.
“We will do as many renewables as we can and complement that together with the goals and the plans of the local government to some combined cycles. We have a deadline for achieving net zero by 2050. Again, one of the reasons is that there is now a period where gas will still be required there – basically to fuel – but as we continue to add more renewables and more capacity over the long term, that is the goal,” he said.
ACWA Power is also looking at other emerging dimensions of renewable energy, like the large capacity battery storage. “We believe that as you introduce more renewable energy into a system, the more you need to think about how to stabilize the grid,” Arcelli said.
He added: “There are multiple ways. One is the system itself. So, if you have combined cycles, flexible generation, as we call it, then you can use that as a backup solution in other areas where you are blessed by a lot of sun.
“One of the greatest technologies is concentrated solar power. We do it here in the Emirates, so we do it in Morocco, we do it in South Africa, and we are exploring other countries.
Arcelli said having “the power of the sun 24 hours a day” would be of huge benefit as he talked up Acwa Power’s battery storage program, which he claimed is equivalent to the whole battery storage capacity installed in all of Europe in 2022.
For ACWA Power, the biggest such project is the RSG, which has grids that detach themselves from the main grid. Since it is solar, the project needed to have battery storage. Arcelli said that it is a massive 1.2 GWH for 400 megawatts of solar, so that one can have it all the time.
Arcelli was full of appreciation for the rapid transitions in energy provision being made by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, claiming the two countries are “leading the pack” in the transition.
“Both have, you know, very significant targets, Saudi Arabia to reach 50:50 renewables and combined cycles by 2030. That’s only seven years away. So that’s a massive programme. And the Emirates, they want to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030,’’ he said.
He pointed out that ACWA Power was a big player in both countries, adding: “That is how we bring our contribution, by bringing all the technologies and the financing from around the world, choosing the best and applying it so that we can offer the most competitive rates. Europe started really 20 years ago.
"The region here, of course, had abundant fossil resources. So there was maybe not as much urgency 20 years ago as there is today.”
Arcelli continued: “But I see basically all the countries here in the region taking that direction. And as I mentioned, it is just a matter of when, not if. Some started earlier with the visionary leaders that, you know, we were blessed with, and others are certainly coming along very positively.”
Looking at the state of the global energy businesses, Arcelli said that he felt the industry had taken to renewables as a whole for a variety of factors, but most notably due to its economic reasoning.
“I think that in power generation I don’t even talk anymore about renewables because that’s what everybody wants to do. The only time where we are not installing renewables is because you need to either grow a lot quickly and so you need also other types of generation or you want to complement your system,” he said.
Arcelli added: “For instance, you may have some solar, some wind, some nuclear, some gas fired generation, but let’s not debate that because renewables are not built by ideology today, they are built because they are the most efficient, they are the most secure, and that they are the most affordable type of energy that you can install.’’
Day 5 of COP28: Saudi Green Initiative Forum begins
The 3rd edition of the forum will discuss critical sustainability, primarily energy transition, protecting the seas, and unlocking climate finance
Updated 2 min 10 sec ago
DUBAI: The Saudi Green Initiative Forum (SGI Forum) kicked off on Monday as COP28 continues to mobilize world leaders towards serious action against climate change.
Held under the slogan “From Ambition to Action”, the 3rd edition of the forum will discuss critical sustainability, primarily energy transition, protecting the seas, and unlocking climate finance to enable climate action at the UN climate Summit.
Bandar Alkhorayef, Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, reaffirms to Arab News the Kingdom’s commitment towards energy transition.
“We are starting from zero. We have no legacy. We have nothing to undo. And that’s a blessing, but a big responsibility.”
“First, we want the nature reserve to govern how NEOM will be done. We then immediately decided to make 95% of this whole region untouched nature reserve, which left us only 5% of the whole area to build on to house 9 to 10 million people in it.”
“We need to build the city or this NEOM by having it all energized by renewable energy, which is the base of NEOM.”
“International arrivals grew from around 680 million international arrivals to 1.5 billion, and that number is only going to increase to 1.8 billion by 2030.”
“We are going to put a $92 billion investment in Expo to make real one of the most sustainable cities by 2030.”
“Those are the types of commitments that we need to start proactively doing, and it starts from a role as individuals, all the way to the rules of the communities, to the roles of government and the roles of private sector alike.”
“My key point about sustainability is economic sustainability, and that’s where I think investment comes in.”
“We have global policies, and we’re at COP. This is where global policies are being written and architected.”
“The future is about responsible climate action in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
“We’re building the world's largest and most ambitious and cleanest green hydrogen project in Neon with a partnership from our leading renewable company, ACWA Power.”
“The Ministry of Energy is keeping Aramco and its trajectory of being the world's lowest emitting company.”
“The Saudi government is a top three on every metric that allows industries and consumers to be as efficient and least emitting as possible.”
“We are under no illusion that that fossil fuels will be switched off, constraining it and allowing us to preserve our hydrocarbons for the future, I think is a gift for us.”
“The kingdom has great endowments. One of them is our hydrocarbon endowment. The next is our location solar wind renewables converging together. Being able to produce green hydrogen blue hydrogen at a fraction of what would it cost at high consumption rates. The third endowment is our young great people who are the most innovative, the most productive, the most loyal, the most patriotic people and the fourth endowment is our private sector.”
“As we move forward, we believe that scaling would be more economical. This is why we have already announced that we are planning to get to 44 megatons of CO2 by 2035, which is almost equivalent to the total capacity in existence today.”
On balancing out carbon management: “What dictates what solution takes place depends a lot on the circumstances because at the end of the day when you select a solution it has to be the most economical for this location. There is no one path for every one.”
“When you are planning your power sector, you need a baseload and sometimes renewable energy could not provide that baseload and we have to be realistic about it what we’re planning moving forward. We do not see any competition, we believe that all these solutions are necessary moving forward, but what dictates the mix would be different from on country to another.”
On carbon capture scaling: “We understand that different technologies are in different stages of their life right now, but we believe also in paving a level playing field in these technologies. We do not play favorites; we do not say one technology is better than the other. We understand what we need to solve for, and it reduces emissions regardless what technology works.”
“I believe we can work in terms of carbon capture and sequestration. I believe we can do a lot in terms of how we manage our lives and how we live, how we design our cities to reduce commuting time and to reduce pollution.”
“I believe our approach has to be comprehensive, not just in specific areas, there is room for reducing waste.”
“There is room for increasing efficiencies there is room for planting trees. There is room for combating desertification, there is room for combating plastics, there is room for carbon capture and sequestration.”
“I would say that the approach that we have used in Saudi Arabia is a whole of government all of society approach we don't believe that you can segment different areas we have to work, so to speak on all cylinders.”
“I believe that there's a need to provide resources to countries that have a lack of resources, and also providing them with expertise.”
“I believe we have the financial resources, I believe we're developing the political will in order to put in place ambitious policies and ambitious pathways towards achieving the objectives that we all aspire towards.”
“We have launched more than 80 programs and committed almost $200 billion, 186 to be precise on programs this far. We will continue to see what else we can do.”
“I would say the key elements are open dialogue and trust. And if we have an open dialogue and we have trust, and we can have a rational conversation about how they solve the problems and how we tackle the challenges that we're facing. We can come up with credible pathways forward.”
“The key is to express different opinions and the key is to see how we can all combine our collective wisdom to move forward.”
Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme
- “I want to celebrate the fact that Saudi Arabia put it on the G7 agenda. Desertification and land degradation is an issue that is affecting millions of people and billions of hectares of land.”
- “It is a real issue and we have to also accept that we need land to have agriculture to have urbanization etc. So how are we going to ensure that our lands are as fertile as possible.”
“The Middle East green initiative that is also Saudi-led is something to celebrate. There are resources, obviously, from the GCF, the Green Climate Fund, etc. But these are small resources, the bigger resources will come from communities themselves.”
Dr. Khaled Alabulqader, CEO, National Center For Vegetation Cover Development And Combating Desertification, said Saudi Arabia is taking climate change “very importantly and seriously”.
“The Kingdom has taken big initiatives in the world stage and the local stage and on the regional stage.”
“We have done a very good job in the Kingdom in the last few years, where we reduced the [climate] impacts, especially in the coastal areas, vegetation cover and the rangelands. And now we have a policy to also manage the grazelands where we can convert to organized grazing practices with some incentives given to the local community and people.”
“We encourage the development of NGOs. NGOs are really increasing in numbers in the kingdom. For example, when we started the initiative for a plantation in the Kingdom, in the last two years, we have reached to a number 150,000 volunteers.”
“Land degradation is responsible for the 40 percent of global emissions.”
“We just finished the study and the roadmap for the Kingdom to take on the initiative of planting 10 billion trees from 2024 to 2100.”
Jukka Petteri Taalas, Secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, said this year would be the warmest year on record, and we have also broken records of main greenhouse gas concentrations of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.
Taalas added that sea level rise is affecting this part of the world. “We are seeing more weather extremes, more droughts. This part of the world is very sensitive, people are facing more risks in this part of the world.”
“We know that the biggest problem with climate mitigation is consumption of fossil fuels. That’s two thirds of the problem. Then about 20 percent of the problems related to release of methane, especially from tropical wetlands, from rice paddies and from cattle. And about 10 percent of the problem that we have having in climate is related to deforestation, especially deforestation of the tropical rain forests in Africa, and sub parts of Southern Asia.”
“And we should stop this deforestation and instead, plant more trees is a way to absorb carbon dioxide from the from the atmosphere.”
“Then there’s a second challenge that we are having. It’s the fact that we have started seeing growing amount of dust and sand storms also in your parts of the world and these tree plantation to be one positive act against this growing amount of sand and dust storms. And this as you all know, sand and dust storms are having negative impacts on human health.”
During his opening speech, the Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the Kingdom will work with international partners to develop tech-based initiatives to advance the implementation of effective climate action.
He said the Kingdom’s concrete action on implementing renewables are reflected by its ability to quadruple its capacity from 700 megawatts last year to two gigawatt with more than eight gigawatts of renewable under construction and around 13 gigawatts in various development stages.
“We are also planning to tender an additional 20 gigawatt by 2024 as part of our commitment to accelerate the development to renewable energy project.”
The Kingdom, the minister said, aims to become a key exporter of green hydrogen.
The NEOM green hydrogen project, he said, has successfully completed its initial phase securing investments of about $8.5 billion to produce 1.2 million tonnes per annum.
The forum will highlight Saudi Arabia’s projects and initiatives to promote sustainability and mitigate climate action under SGI, which was launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2021.
More than 80 initiatives are being implemented to contribute to achieving the SGI’s goals of the Saudi Green Initiative.
SGI Forum is an annual platform convening policy makers, thought leaders and climate experts from around the world to share insights, and discuss the best solutions to reach a more sustainable regional and global future.
It comes this year as the UN climate summit continues with key pledges from world leaders to mobilize efforts to combat the rising threats.
The annual United Nations Conference of the Parties, known as COP28, in the UAE featured about 150 presidents, prime ministers, royals and other leaders who are presenting their plans to cut heat-trapping emissions and mostly seek unity with other nations to avert climate catastrophe that seemed to draw closer than ever in 2023.
US pledges $3 billion for Green Climate Fund at COP28
The fund, with more than $20 billion in pledges, is the largest international fund supporting climate action in developing countries
Updated 04 December 2023
DUBAI: The United States has pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, Vice President Kamala Harris said on Saturday in Dubai at the UN COP28 climate summit.
The fund, with more than $20 billion in pledges, is the largest international fund dedicated to supporting climate action in developing countries.
The latest pledge, which Reuters was first to report, would be additional to another $2 billion previously delivered by the US.
Sources said the pledge was subject to the availability of funds. The politically divided U.S. Congress needs to authorize the funding.
Harris announced the pledge in her address to the summit.
"Today I am also proud to announce a new $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund which helps developing countries invest in resilience, clean energy, and nature-based solutions,” she said.
The fund's facilitators said in October that the current second round of replenishments had brought in about $9.3 billion in pledges to fund projects in climate-vulnerable counties between 2024 and 2027.
Even so, pledges so far represent a fraction of roughly $250 billion that developing countries would need every year by 2030 just to adapt to a warmer world, according to the United Nations. In addition to supporting climate adaptation, the fund also finances projects to help countries shift to clean energy.
Harris, who was representing the US at COP28 in place of President Joe Biden, was part of a US delegation that also includes climate envoy John Kerry and dozens of senior administration officials and cabinet members.
“It was important for both the president and vice president to ensure that a leader from the United States was at COP,” an official said, adding that Harris wanted to “make sure we are telling the world the story of progress that we have made in the US.”
US stock rally could wobble if tensions spike after Red Sea attacks
The developments risk inflaming fears that the Israel-Hamas war could widen into a broader conflict encompassing the US and regional players like Iran
Updated 04 December 2023
NEW YORK: An attack on an American warship and commercial vessels in the Red Sea on Sunday risks reigniting investor worries about a widening of the war between Israel and Hamas, potentially complicating the outlook for a rally that saw US stocks crest a fresh closing high for the year last week.
The Pentagon said it was aware of reports regarding attacks on an American warship and commercial vessels in the Red Sea on Sunday, while Yemen’s Houthi group claimed drone and missile attacks on two Israeli vessels in the area.
Also on Sunday, a US military official told Reuters the United States carried out a self-defense strike in Iraq against an “imminent threat” at a drone staging site.
The developments risk inflaming fears that the Israel-Hamas war could widen into a broader conflict encompassing the US and regional players like Iran. Such worries flared after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack into southern Israel but subsided in recent weeks.
Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at LPL Financial, said a widening conflict could push some investors to take profits on the recent rally in stocks. The S&P 500 rose nearly 9 percent in November on signs of easing inflation and hopes the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates. The index is up almost 20 percent on the year after notching a 2023 closing high on Friday at 4594.63.
“The market is sensitive to any expansion of this conflict,” she said. “I think active managers in any event are more likely to lock in their gains if this is a harbinger of a deeper military conflict that involves the US.”
Past spikes in geopolitical tensions have made investors head for popular havens such as gold, Treasuries and the US dollar. Signs of an intensifying Middle East conflict could also boost oil prices, which have slumped in recent weeks.
Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Hermes, said rising tensions in the region could send West Texas Intermediate crude prices up to between $80 and $90 per barrel. Prices on Friday stood at $74.07.
The developments come as investors eye factors that could sway stocks in coming weeks. A US employment report due on Friday could bolster the case for those arguing that a cooling economy will keep the Fed from raising interest rates further and possibly loosen monetary policy sooner than expected.
Other potential catalysts include the Fed’s monetary policy meeting on Dec. 12-13, as well as seasonal factors such as tax-loss selling and the so-called Santa Claus rally.
Orlando said a spike in geopolitical tensions could drop the S&P 500 by “one or two hundred points.”
“There’s no question this represents an opportunity for investors to take profits,” he said. “However I’m still convinced the index ends the year at 4,600.”
Experts laud Saudi private sector’s efforts in advancing sustainable development
Updated 03 December 2023
Ranvir Nayar MANAL AL-BARAKATI
DUBAI: Experts on Sunday highlighted the positive role the private sector is playing in advancing sustainable development in Saudi Arabia.
The progressive picture emerged through a series of panel discussions held at the Saudi Pavilion on the fourth day of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP28, currently underway in Dubai.
The talks examined diverse subjects, including carbon removal, corporate sustainability, and domestic market mechanisms. Speakers from government organizations, companies, and international organizations, as well as think tanks and consultancies, provided insights into the current situation. The talks extended beyond carbon emission goals as agreed under the Paris Agreement, delving into conversations surrounding Vision 2030 as set out by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Private sector participation
As a core component of the Saudi Vision 2030 and a means by which to diversify the economy, Hajar Al-Gosair, sustainability head at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning, noted while speaking on a panel on corporate sustainability that environmental efforts within the Kingdom cannot be restricted to the public or governmental sector alone.
Among the driving forces is a steering committee chaired by Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim, with the participation of over 20 entities from private and governmental bodies, she outlined.
Al-Gosair cited key players such as the Capital Market Authority, the Ministry of Energy, and the Ministry of Investment, as well as private sector members, such as food company Al-Marai and renewable energy firm Desert Technologies, for their efforts in driving change.
At the panel, officials from Al-Marai and Desert Technologies outlined the actions taken by their respective companies to cut carbon emissions.
Saudi Aramco recently announced the launch of a $1.5 billion venture capital fund to invest in technology that will accelerate the net-zero initiative. “This is one of the things that one of the leading companies is doing,” Al-Gosair said.
Experts emphasize that the shift toward achieving net zero is not exclusive to large corporations, especially as the Saudi government is keen to promote the growth of small and medium enterprises. Therefore, adopting sustainable practices and the accessibility of green finance must extend to SMEs, aligning with the broader goal of promoting environmental responsibility across diverse business sectors.
“It has to come down from the very big projects into the middle of the market and the SME sector. As you would know, Saudi has a very strong ambition to build the SME sector as part of its economy. So, complementing that will be SMEs that are building technologies or involved in the ecosystem around ESG-compliant lending. So yes, it’s very important. We have quadrupled our commitments to the SME sector in the last 12 months, and much of that will be in ESG-compliant lending or ESG-compliant products, asset management products, or deposit products.” Tony Cripps, CEO of the Saudi British Bank, told Arab News.
When discussing sectors of the economy where green finance has been or could be applied in the future, Cripps expressed optimism for its impact on emerging technology and green transportation.
“Building green buildings is obviously important and our new head office is gold standard. But I think in the technology space is where it becomes very interesting. If you look at electric vehicles, if you look at battery storage, these are areas that will transform the environment … You’ve got technology providers from around the world looking to establish businesses in Saudi Arabia and build regional manufacturing infrastructure or even global manufacturing infrastructure around electric vehicles, around batteries. The data storage industry is exploding. So these are just some of the sectors that are very exciting,” Cripps said.
In her speech, Al-Gosair said that in early 2024, the Kingdom intends to launch sustainable development reporting standards for companies, making Saudi Arabia the first of the G20 countries to have a reporting standard aligned with international best practices.
A comprehensive approach
By framing the climate conversation as a silo, we cannot achieve anything, outlined Princess Nouf Al-Saud, CEO of the King Khalid Foundation, during her participation at the Saudi Green Initiative talks.
It must instead be acknowledged as a comprehensive issue with socioeconomic, health, and developmental ramifications and thus addressed in a comprehensive manner that intersects business, philanthropy, and government, she said.
The CEO underscored that businesses must be the driving force for change within societies, adding that companies must consequently take responsibility for the communities they benefit from.
She said: “We need governments to be contributing, businesses to be contributing properly and taking responsibility for their communities or the communities that they benefit or extract from.”
The CEO added: “Especially in this year, we’re seeing business and philanthropy at COP, so bringing the two pillars of society that are very important, along with the third that is government. It’s very important because it is business that elevates people out of one economic strata.”
Princess Nouf underscored that by 2030, there will be 38 million green jobs. Thus, the transition into the new economic model rooted in sustainability requires the integration of the youth in order to “re-skill” the workforce.
As it stands, green jobs are “very much tied with the megaprojects,” the CEO said, noting companies such as NEOM and Red Sea Global, which have been at the forefront of sustainability initiatives within the Kingdom.
Carbon capture & removal
In another session held at the Saudi Pavilion on Sunday, experts discussed the latest developments in the field of carbon capture, removal, and storage, which is being touted as one of the ways to get to net zero and mitigate the global temperature rise.
The executive director of the Oxford Net Zero Initiative and CO2RE Research Hub, Steve Smith, launched the discussions with a detailed status report on this sector, which has begun to attract interest from companies and governments. He said that though carbon capture has started to hit some traction, it is still minimal.
“The main problem we have that’s causing climate change at the moment is that we are emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We’re putting about 40 billion tons per year into the atmosphere and that’s causing the global warming that we’re experiencing. But we’re actually doing a little bit of carbon dioxide removal. That’s taking it back out through our activities. We’re taking about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year out of the atmosphere and that’s mainly through planting trees in certain parts of the world.” Smith told Arab News.
As the technologies are still being tested and tried, Smith says that of the various regions, the Middle East and, notably, the GCC nations may have an edge due to numerous factors.
“There’s a lot of work to be done actually to work out where the best places might be. But we can look at some general factors that give us an indication that if we take the Middle East region, for example, we know that there could be very plentiful resources of renewables, low carbon energy, and that is going to be really important for processes that require energy, for instance, direct capture machines or maybe even kind of processing rock, which we can mineralize through capturing CO2.
"And we know that the Middle East region has plentiful geological resources to store carbon. Indeed, that carbon has actually been stalled for a million years in the forms of oil and gas. And so we know these geological formations on the ground are pretty good at storing things for millions of years. And as they are depleted, depleted with oil and gas, maybe we can actually fill them up with our waste CO2,” said Smith.