The conference will take place under the theme ‘Plastics Reimagined: A Circular Future Awaits’
Saudi Arabia will host the 11th edition of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association Plastics Conference for the first time at the Fairmont Hotel in Riyadh on 25-26 May, attracting senior industry leaders to discuss the future of plastics in the Arabian Gulf region and beyond.
The conference will take place under the theme ‘Plastics Reimagined: A Circular Future Awaits’ and provide a platform to exchange ground-breaking ideas to transform the plastics industry and bring the circular economy to the Arabian Gulf.
A new GPCA report reveals that regional plastic production capacity reached 28.2 million tons in 2020, growing by 3.6% CAGR since 2010, higher than the global average for the same period.
The report, entitled ‘The Plastic Conversion Opportunity in the GCC: Moulding a Sustainable Future’, examines Saudi Arabia’s status as the largest polymer producer in the region, and home to the most diverse product portfolio in the whole of the GCC, accounting for 68% of total output in the Arabian Gulf. According to the report, in 2019 the Kingdom was producing about 30 value-adding products, the highest in the region.
In an effort to build a circular economy in the country and address plastic recycling, Saudi Arabia established the Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC) as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) in 2017. Another key development is the adoption of the first recycled plastic standard–GSO 2545.2021 by the Gulf Standardization Organization aimed at advancing circular economy efforts across the plastic manufacturing industry.
An indispensable material in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, plastics have come under increased scrutiny for their environmental profile and the way in which they are disposed. New government regulations and increasingly sophisticated customer demands are creating both a challenge and an opportunity for Arabian Gulf petrochemical players to carve out a new future for plastics or risk staying behind.
Top level participation
Welcoming delegates on day one, Naser Aldousari, CEO, EQUATE, and Chair of the GPCA Plastics Committee, will deliver the welcome address at the conference to set the stage for the two-day event.
His address will be followed by an executive panel featuring Mutlaq Al-Morished, CEO, TASNEE, and Marwan Frem, President, Napco National. A must attend plenary address about best practices in waste management from the upcoming FIFA World Cup will be presented by Eng. Bodour Mohammed Al-Meer, Sustainability Director, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Qatar.
Reducing plastic waste in oceans
With the shift to a circular economy estimated to reduce plastics entering oceans by over 80% and save governments $70 billion by 2040, the next session, led by Ronald Richa, General Manager, Veolia, and Mark Vester, Global Leader, Circular Economy, SABIC, will examine whether circularity is the answer to addressing the plastics waste challenge.
Delivering the welcome address on day two will be Nadia Al Hajji, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Projects and Business Development, PIC, and Vice–Chair, GPCA Plastics Committee. Chemical recycling will also come under the spotlight too in the keynote address on day two presented by Tim Stedman, CEO, Agilyx.
“The issue of plastics circularity continues to be top of mind for industry leaders, legislators and society with scores of new green initiatives being announced in the region in 2021. There has never been a more opportune time to examine the future of plastics and discuss how to adopt a more circular approach,” noted Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA.