In keeping with its sustainability strategy, SABIC was the sponsor of the 6th International Conference on Water Resources and Arid Environments (ICWRAE 6) held under the patronage of Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, at the King Saud University in Riyadh on December 16 and 17.
SABIC’s sponsorship of this global event demonstrated its commitment to promote the concept of sustainability and address such vital issues as water conservation. SABIC understands that sustainability megatrends will drive the need for change in business and national vision, and thus seeks to contribute to the Kingdom’s efforts to address present-day and future water challenges.
Speaking on behalf of SABIC on the inaugural day, Fahad A Al-Sherehy, General Manager, Technology Management, Chemicals SBU, said that water scarcity is a major global challenge. “It represents one of the foremost challenges faced by the Kingdom even as it embarks on its ambitious development plans. The rapid depletion of groundwater resources, and the expensive desalination process, which consequently creates a lack of fuel monetization, are significant challenges. Saudi Arabia has the third largest water consumption rate in the world with an average use reaching 280 liters per person per day,” he said.
On SABIC’s efforts in facing this big challenge, Al-Sherehy said, “SABIC is integrating change in its business strategy to position the company and the nation to meet the water challenges faced now and in the future. SABIC believes that our vision and actions today play a significant role in ensuring the success of future generations. It requires us to innovate, to conserve, to collaborate, and to develop an inspired workforce. It requires us to demonstrate the values and behaviors that aim at securing the future. Sustainability is the effective combination of economic success, environmental protection and social responsibility.”
Al-Sherehy gave an overview of SABIC’s efforts to conserve water, which focus on four areas: Firstly, water savings is one of SABIC’s corporate sustainability goals, besides energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction, and materials loss prevention. Secondly, SABIC seeks to raise awareness about water conservation. Thirdly, SABIC’s contributions to the water saving effort are achieved through the development of sustainable solutions that help reduce water consumption. Fourthly, SABIC’s collaboration with the Water Research Center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), has resulted in joint research programs that focus on water management and improvement of process water efficiency.
Al-Sherehy called for serious collaboration between governments, institutions, companies, and universities to face the challenge. “This challenge can only be faced through scientific and effective channels, such as innovation and sustainability, and through practical measures such as conservation steps directly connected to agriculture, civic bodies, and industry.”
ICWRAE 6 is organized by the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW), the King Saud University, represented by the Prince Sultan Research Center for Environment, Water and Desert, and the Ministry of Water and Electricity. Before the conference, an award ceremony was held for the distribution of the 6th PSIPW, which is awarded on a bi-annual basis to scientists, inventors, and organizations interested in water studies from all over the world in recognition of their scientific achievements in this field.