MENA and the Circular Economy

Date Posted:Wed, 10th Jul 2024

MENA and the Circular Economy

The circular economy (CE) is emerging as a powerful and sustainable solution to the traditional linear economy, otherwise referred to as the "take, make, dispose'' economic model.


What is CE? 

CE focuses on prolonging the life cycle of products, extracting maximum value from them, and regenerating materials at the end of their life. This model promotes a regenerative system where waste is minimised, and resources are continuously reused.

Why is it so Important? 

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, characterised by its rapid urbanisation, high consumption rates, and limited natural resources, stands to benefit significantly from the transition to a CE model. 

Food recycling, for instance, will be a game-changer for MENA, offering a sustainable solution to both food waste and resource scarcity. By converting food waste into valuable resources like compost and biogas, the region can enhance soil fertility, reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as methane, and help combat desertification. With innovative food recycling practices, the MENA region can turn food waste into an invaluable asset.

Reasons to be Optimistic 

Several MENA countries have recognized the potential benefits of CE and have initiated various projects and policies to support its implementation:

1. United Arab Emirates: The UAE has launched initiatives aimed at promoting CE, such as the Dubai Integrated Waste Management Master Plan 2021-2041, targeting zero waste to landfills by 2030. Investments in renewable energy and sustainable urban development are also underway.

2. Saudi Arabia: As part of its Vision 2030 plan, Saudi Arabia focuses on reducing waste, increasing recycling rates, planting billions of trees as well as investmenting in renewable energy.

3. Egypt: Egypt has introduced policies to encourage waste management and recycling. The country is working on integrating CE principles into its economic development plans, including promoting sustainable agriculture and resource efficiency.

4. Morocco: Morocco leads in renewable energy adoption, with significant investments in solar and wind power. The country is also implementing waste management and recycling programs to support its CE goals.

How to Bring Everyone with You? 

The journey towards a circular economy requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders, including governments and businesses. If you can encourage whole populations to change their behaviours as well, then you have a movement: 

Research Your Audience: Understand their values, fears, and motivations and craft messages that speak directly to their experiences and concerns.

Craft Clear and Compelling Messages: Use simple, straightforward language and focus on the key points you want to communicate.

Use Creative Approaches: Think of innovative ways to present your message. Use visuals, stories, and metaphors that capture attention and make your message memorable.

Challenge and Reframe: Identify and address common assumptions and help the audience see things from a new perspective.

Build Trust Through Credibility: Be sceptical and demand proof in your strategies. Ensure your messages are backed by credible evidence and conveyed by trusted figures.

By embracing CE principles, the region can create a resilient and sustainable future, ensuring efficient resource use and minimising waste.

IN2 is an innovative, socially responsible, award-winning communications and research company dedicated to driving positive change in hard-to-reach communities, particularly in rapidly changing environments, such as conflict zones and areas most vulnerable to the climate crisis.

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