The Circular Packaging Association (CPA), a public-private partnership across the packaging value chain, has officially launched in the UAE, with the launch timed to precede Global Recycling Day on March 18th. The event was officiated by Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, alongside representatives from the Circular Packaging Association’s 14 founding organisations, at Dubai Chambers' headquarters.
Additionally, representatives from the Executive Committee of COP28, Dubai Chambers, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, GPCA, Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, and Emirates Nature-WWF were in attendance.
The minister highlighted that packaging is a crucial resource to protect food, prolong product shelf life, and reduce environmental impact by reducing waste. She further stated that the Circular Packaging Association is a vital step toward implementing the UAE’s ambitions to promote sustainable practices across different sectors. She emphasized that the UAE is committed to implementing a circular economy to ensure the sustainable management and effective use of natural resources. She added that the circular economy plays an important role in the UAE's plans to reduce carbon emissions and pollution and accelerate the country's progress towards climate neutrality by 2050.
The Circular Packaging Association aims to integrate the principles of a circular and green economy into the packaging value chain in the UAE, transforming the current linear system, which is based on the concept of buying, using, and disposing of products, into one that considers post-consumption packaging waste as a valuable resource which can be reused. The Association aspires to raise awareness among consumers and provide recommendations on legislation and policies related to circular packaging, through a data-driven and multi-stakeholder approach.
Faisal Juma Khalfan Belhoul, Vice Chairman of Dubai Chambers, highlighted that the Circular Packaging Association is a key business group which promotes Dubai’s circular economy and sustainability agendas. He stated that the Association is focused on raising awareness about sustainable packaging and clean production methods while supporting sustainable environment policies and regulations. He added that this is timely and relevant as Dubai prepares to host COP28 this year.
Priya Sarma, Chairperson of the Circular Packaging Association and Head of Sustainability & Corporate Affairs at Unilever Middle East, commented that members of the Circular Packaging Association are committed to diverting packaging waste from landfill and contributing to the UAE’s waste-free ambitions utilizing a data-based, multi-stakeholder approach. She added that the official launch builds on their ongoing efforts and is reflective of a collaborative approach which aims to generate innovative solutions to eliminate packaging waste from the environment, while recovering its value as a resource.
The Circular Packaging Association is the result of work initiated in 2019 by founding members of the Circle Coalition for innovation in recycling towards a circular economy. Circle was formalized under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment via the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a circular economy for packaging across the GCC. In 2019, the members of Circle funded a study to investigate the barriers and enablers of a circular economy for post-consumer packaging in the UAE.