The Top 7 Environmental Movers and Shakers of Saudi Arabia

saudi arabia flag green

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not particularly known for its commitment to conservation of the environment. Instead, being the world’s largest producer of petroleum products it faces a number of related dilemmas. From oil spills to decline in sensitive marine habitats, to plain old oil pollution, the kingdom has its feet firmly grounded as the evil demigod of eco-disaster.

Then there’s the omnipresent oil guzzling monstrous four-wheelers, it seems no one wants to ride a small(ish) car. Fuel is so cheap I will buy the most gigantic vehicle out there as my ride of choice and feel like I own the world! I really wish someone, someday, writes a book about the relationship between the size of an automobile and a person’s self-worth!

That said there are now obvious changes in the way companies in Saudi Arabia are viewing environmental challenges with more and more local companies putting conservation on their agenda. It is an uphill task and the level of consumer awareness is still at an elementary level but the role of these companies deserves applause. Below, I give a list of entities that are supporting this rather infantile green movement:

1. Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME):
PME is responsible for all environmental matters in Saudi Arabia, including planning for the conservation of natural marine and coastal resources. The presidency also serves as the regulator for local environmental regulations.

2. Saudi Aramco:
Saudi Aramco, the state owned oil Company has taken the lead in contributing to environmental protection through project environmental assessments, air and water quality standards, occupational health regulations, safe disposal of hazardous material and vital oil spill contingency plans. Aramco’s Environmental Conservation Policy emphasizes that the company not create undue risks to the environment, and that operations be carried out with concern for protection of the land, air, and water.

3. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC)
SABIC devotes substantial effort to protecting the environment by building their plants to minimize environmental impact, enforcing stringent pollution-control measures, regular monitoring of groundwater levels and safety measures to protect marine life.

4. Saudi Electric Company (SEC):
SEC in November 2011 took a momentous step towards green energy by inaugurating Saudi Arabia’s first solar power plant on Farasan Island. According to this interview, it is a 500 KW Solar Power Plant Project using technology from Solar Frontier of Japan. The plant is directly connected to SEC’s distribution system.

5. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
KAUST serves as a living example that environmentally responsible methods of energy use, materials management, and water consumption are viable in the region. In June 2010, the KAUST campus earned a Platinum rating on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) scale, produced by the U.S. Green Building Council. Also, a collaborative project between the University of California at Berkeley, KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology), and Dar Al-Hekma College is underway to support the development of a sustainable engineering infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and Middle East.

6. Saudi Gulf Environmental Protection Company (SEPCO)
SEPCO was established in 1997 as a company specialized in biological Waste Management. They provide biological waste disposal services to majority of healthcare service providers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

7. Saudi Environmental Society (SENS)
SENSE was founded as a national non-profit society according to a decision of the Ministry of Social Affairs mainly to promote and enhance environmental conservation in the kingdom. SENS is also expected to strengthen the role of the private sector to contribute to environmental protection and conservation of natural resources and wildlife

According to an estimate, 600,000 new cars are sold in Saudi Arabia every year and a very small minority of these cars are fuel efficient.

The car companies at the moment have no focus on providing greener options and the consumer in general is not sensitive to environmental concerns. The car dealers when presented with fuel efficient cars of same horsepower but fewer cylinders are not optimistic about the sale potential of such cars in the kingdom since people don’t favour such cars due to prestige issues.

That may seem like a bleak picture but with the concerted efforts of the movers and shakers above, coupled with the governments concern over depleting oil resources; I am hopeful that things will take a turn for the better in years to come. Here’s to the start of a green Saudi Arabia!

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9 thoughts on “The Top 7 Environmental Movers and Shakers of Saudi Arabia”

  1. Randy Jumaquio says:

    Hi guys, I’d like to know who can offer or who are the training providers for “Environmental Protection Regulations (i.e. Air pollution, Water/Land pollution) & Environment Testing” topic? I’d like to recommend in my company to get it… here in Jeddah.

    Either In-house (for group of employees) or for 1 – 2 selected employees.

    Can somebody assist me on this? Kindly email me [email protected]

    Thanks a lot.

  2. Mohammed says:

    Thank you for this article and good summary as well as sheelagh’s discussion. Great information, but as sheelagh looking for recycling companies ASAP. Here I could say the market needs to be more organized to help recycling sector to grow. Putting in mind the economic and envirmental benefits of it. restrictions and limitations of wastes need to be created to encourage this sector to grow.

  3. Bushra says:

    Hi Sheelagh

    No you haven’t bored me one bit; in fact I think it will be a good idea for us to talk a bit more. My email is [email protected]. Feel free to contact so we can talk more.

    Best

    Bushra

  4. Thanks for the responses. We started out with a big idea ……long before its time, that we would bring organic, eco and natural products to KSA. Two years later after many disappointments during which we concentrated all of our efforts in promoting 100% organic beauty products and household cleansers, Miessence from Australia. (see our website, http://www.MiessenceMe.com) and aromatherapy patches from Vermont. Now at last we are starting to see the light of recognition and have reverted back to our original plan, to promote and provide alternative products for those who choose to follow the eco. route. ALTERnatifs is the name of our company and presently our webite, http://www.ksa-ALTERnatifs is undergoing a new look so will not be up and going for a few more days but our Facebook page is just up ALTERnatifs along with MiessenceMe on Facebook. The expo. will be invite only on March 10th and Open House on March 11th, females only apart from between 1 and 3 on 11th. when males are welcome. We have our own line of 100% soy candles, soon to be made in Saudi, providing training and employment for local women, organic foods produced in Saudi, Watania, Cotton Pestemals, Hand made cotton clothing, along with !00% organic cotton baby clothing. Jewellery made from recycled items along with re-usable BPA free water bottles. Beauty products and hopefully, alternative remedies. We are desperately searching for companies who will pick up paper/glass/plastic for recycling with no luck so if you know of any, please let us know asap. Love to have you there and help spread the word. All info. is on the ALTERnatifs facebook page and we have done a lot of advertising in the expat. community along with invites to local dignitaries and groups. Hope I have not bored you with all the info.

  5. Bushra says:

    Thank you for your kind words Tafline.
    Sheelagh: I completely agree with you regarding the need to take baby steps. I also fully acknowledge that the “big guys” are not the greatest when it comes to collaboration and/ or recognition of other smaller but effective initiatives. I will surely check out the Green Expo and if I am in Riyadh, maybe I will drop by 🙂
    And since we are talking about attention, can you give me more information about your company and initiatives; It does sound very promising!

  6. Adib says:

    Dear Sheelagh,
    I will be in Riyadh in March and would like to have some more information about the GREEN EXPO as I couldn’t find much online
    Thank you for your help in linking me to the appropriate site

  7. Love this article but think you fail to recognise all the “little folk” who are attempting to do their bit in order to GREEN up Saudi. Jeddah has a great program going with lots of active groups and businesses. We in Riyadh need to catch up and I think you will find, if you look, their is so much awareness. Now it is just a matter of educating as to the right choices and products. We as a company are holding our very first GREEN EXPO in March. We have so much attention from other like minded companies and individuals but nothing from the Big Guys mentioned in your article. Its the little steps that make all the difference, getting people, en masse, to use eco friendly products, services and practice recycling and saving water etc.
    What about some attention on us!!!!

  8. This is a really excellent summary! Thanks so much.

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