Author: sEaNERGIA Baltic Cluster

 Circular innovation is both a necessity and an opportunity. Waste is a major challenge for the country as the average The United Arab Emirates (UAE) resident produces approximately 1.8 to 2.4 kilograms of waste per day, which is about three times higher than the global average and predominantly disposed of in landfills. Looking ahead, however, the UAE has a

target of diverting 75% of waste from landfills by 2021 via waste-to-energy and other approaches and has already launched sustainability and innovation strategies that are well-aligned with multiple forms of circular innovation. For instance,  Dubai 3D Printing Strategy is focused on making Dubai a world leader in 3D printing by 2030 with focus on 3D printing for construction, medical products and consumer products. In fact, the strategy calls for 25% of Dubai’s buildings to be 3D printed by 2030.[1] According to the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid, 70% of UEA current GDP is independent from oil. UEA goal is to have a new equation for economy where they neither depend on oil nor market fluctuations. UEA plan to add new economic sectors, and leverage efficiency and productivity in current sectors.[2] The year 2015 marked the first significant milestone in the UAE’s long-term journey towards a Green Economy since the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative was launched in 2012. In January 2015, the UAE Cabinet issued a decision to approve and to implement the UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030 as an overarching framework of actions for this initiative.[3]

Citing the United Arab Emirates Country Commercial Guide[4] a key driver of the UAE national economy is the construction market. Today, the U.A.E. is home to some of the most ambitious mega projects underway in the world, with Abu Dhabi and Dubai propelling most of the sector’s growth.  According to Business Monitor International (BMI), Dubai will be the outperforming market in the coming years in the run up to the Dubai World Expo 2020. According to Timetric’s Construction in the UAE – Key Trends and Opportunities to 2019 Report, the U.A.E. construction industry is projected to grow at a 6.5 percent compound annual rate through 2019.  Investment in infrastructure, commercial, residential and energy projects are expected to fuel this growth. Nonetheless, the UAE’s construction firms have a challenge to deal with:  the country’s plans to implement value-added tax (VAT) of 5 percent for the first time beginning in January 2018.  Contractors active in the UAE could find they are liable for VAT given that some of the current projects in their schedules may not be completed until after 2018. This means passing on higher costs to clients in advance of the implementation, which is likely to be resisted, particularly in the current financial climate.  There will be growing pressure on the UAE. authorities to do more to help construction companies with their payment issues.  A cause for optimism is that major developers are seeking out new debt facilities in order to help fund new building projects. This should ensure injections of much-needed liquidity into the construction sector.  Several market segments are expected to experience increased green construction activity in the UAE, including the new institutional segment (government office buildings, hospitals and schools), the new commercial buildings segment (retail, office, hotels) and the community projects segment.  Because of the high level of new construction activity, retrofits are not generally expected to be prominent in green building forecasts, apart from buildings being extended and renovated.  Nonetheless, the topic of retrofitting is increasingly being raised by government officials, especially after the fire incident at the Address Hotel in Dubai in December 2015.

[1] The UAE’s Circular Innovation Opportunity, Steve Griffiths:

[2] UNITED ARAB EMIRATES STATE OF GREEN ECONOMY REPORT by UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment

[3] Ibidiem

[4] United Arab Emirates Country Commercial Guide:

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons