Emirates Environmental Group reviews the best technologies and policies in the packaging industry

The fourth-panel discussion of Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) for 2022 was held under the topic “Taking Packaging, Full Circle” at the Sheraton Mall of the Emirates Hotel in Dubai on the 22nd of August. The panel discussion highlighted the efforts of the UAE to apply technologies and the best innovations in the packaging industry towards sustainable actions.

The session was conducted in association with Arabia CSR Network and supported by EGBC, WPO, CEBC, and the Swiss Business Council.  Al Bayader International and McDonald’s UAE were the main sponsors of this event. Jotun and Tagleef Industries were the co-sponsors, while Majid Al Futtaim provided the venue for the discussion. The representative and head of each organisations had the following to say regarding the topic and the discussion.

Mr. Nidal Haddad, Founder and CEO, of Al Bayader International said: “Businesses are part of the global ecosystem, and ecosystems, by definition, require balance and diversity. At Al Bayader International, we are aligned with The UAE Circular Economy Council that is implementing policies that focus on accelerating the circular economy model in the country, as we continue to develop products, strategic partnerships, and programmes that help consumers and businesses contribute to the planet’s future, thereby supporting an inclusive, sustainable economy.”

Similarly, Walid Fakih, CEO at McDonald’s UAE stated that “At McDonald’s UAE, we are committed to creating a better future for generations to come within the UAE. We work closely with suppliers and partners to find innovative ways to reduce emissions and keep waste out of nature. The perfect example of this is our long-standing collaboration with EEG. Whether it’s supporting reforestation programmes, educational initiatives, or resource sharing, we are committed to continuing our fruitful partnership and creating a more sustainable future for all.”

Kjetil Urheim, General Manager, Jotun U.A.E. Ltd (L.L.C.) said “As society shifts towards a circular economy, brands need to adopt a holistic approach across the value chain. Jotun believes that every asset needs protection, and this is what we do best: Protecting property against degradation and corrosion, that improves longevity, reduces resource consumption, and preserves the environment. Only together can we create a truly sustainable and circular economy.”

Dr. Detlef Schuhmann, CEO of Tagleef Industries quoted “Sustainability is at the core of our operations. We are dedicated to make every kilogram of polypropylene count by ensuring that it is used, recycled, or repurposed within our facilities. We are proud to own Dynamic Cycle, an initiative that allows us to deepen our relationships with industry stakeholders and to focus on innovation and sustainability for future generations”.

The critical topic of “Taking Packaging, Full Circle” was strategically covered in full scope, addressing a plethora of issues encompassing packaging technologies, applications, best practices, policies, and the transition to sustainable packaging design. The expert panelists included experts from various sectors. Ms. Nerida Kelton (Vice President – Sustainability & Save Food – World Packaging Organisation), brought to the table international policies and practices that serves as best example to follow suite.  Ms. Samah Mohamed Al Hajeri (Director of Co-operatives & Strategic Reserve Department, Ministry of Economy UAE) on the other hand shared vital policies, regulation and implementation that is being rolled out now by government of UAE and the plans for the future. Finally, Mr. Jamil Haddad (Head of sustainability and Business Development – Al Bayader International), Mr. Abdul Rasheed (Regional Sales Manager – Taghleef Industries), and Mr. Santosh Kumar, Manager (Quality Control and R&D – Falcon Pack) contributed to the discussion by sharing industry innovations, sustainable actions, struggles and corporate goals towards environmental sustainability. They represented their entities and shared their expertise and knowledge from both regional and international perspectives.

The panel discussions, earlier known as ‘community lectures’, were originally rolled out in 1992 and have successfully conducted 203 such sessions to date. EEG is proud to continue these sessions in 2022 covering important topics, with an impressive line-up of speakers and a strong attendance.

The panel discussion was moderated by Mrs. Habiba Al Mar’ashi, EEG Co-Founder and Chairperson who in the opening speech quoted “In the current anthroposphere dominating world of accelerated economy and amidst the exceptionally rapid production–disposal cycle in a supply chain, the volume of waste plastic on Earth has surpassed the measure of any known material waste. To illustrate the growth of what we’re talking about, have a look at these staggering statistics: (1) UNEP study shows that global plastic production now averages more than 400 million metric tons per year, which is an astounding increase compared to the 1.5 million metric tons produced in 1950. (2) Currently it is estimated that 8-12 million tonnes of plastic leak into the seas. (3) Plastic waste is found in the guts of more than 90% of the world’s sea birds, in the stomach of more than half of the world’s sea turtles and is also found to choke whales. (National Geographic)”

She added “Developing a circular economy and limiting pollution requires multilevel actions by different stakeholders. Building a concerted and collaborative initiative that includes all relevant stakeholders (packaging producers, food companies, retailers, and consumers) is the need of the hour.  Our hope is that together, we can support policies that provide a foundation for evidence-based action to stimulate innovative and circular solutions across the life cycle of packaging products from source to the grave.”

The meaningful panel discussion explored how UAE is leading the talk on the implementation of technologies and innovation in the packaging industry. The presentations were followed by a lively interactive session where the experts and audience members shared information, discussed queries, pondered on the challenges, and opportunities at hand, and uncovered the truths and complexities of the future of the planet. The audience members were also very keen on the topic and asked to the panel varying view questions by university students, media, corporate representatives, government bodies and international organisation personals.

In EEG’s continuous effort to minimise the environmental impact of its activities, the 2.50 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions produced as a result of this event were offset, by making a sustainable contribution to voluntary climate protection, in collaboration with EEG’s devoted corporate member, Farnek. Thus, this event concluded as a carbon neutral event.