Press releases

The forum is taking place this week from 7-9 December at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 8 December – The chemical and petrochemical industry in the Arabian Gulf region and globally must put sustainability at the heart of everything it does in order to secure its future, agreed speakers at the 15th edition of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) Annual Forum taking place today at the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE.

Delivering the welcome address on day one, 8 December, Yousef Al-Benyan, Vice Chairman and CEO, SABIC, and Chairman, GPCA, highlighted the need to decouple GDP from greenhouse gas (GHG) in order to ensure economies can develop without putting the planet in jeopardy. He further pointed to growing customer and investor expectations from businesses today to embed sustainability, environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their purpose and DNA.

Echoing his remarks, Dr. Ilham Kadri, CEO and President of the Executive Committee, Solvay, and keynote speaker on day one, warned the audience that if humanity continues to consume, travel, and produce at its current rate, it will need 1.7 Earths to provide the necessary resources and absorb the associated waste from its activity. The industry must therefore reinvent progress by collaborating with all stakeholders, including investors, employees, customers, suppliers, regulators, communities, and other industries in the value chain in order to carve out a future where sustainability and growth go hand in hand, she remarked.

The reinvention of the chemical industry should also draw upon non-digital technology, such as alternative feedstocks, new catalysts, and renewable electricity sources which will enable the industry to develop recyclable or bio-based products and to decarbonize its chemical plants, Al-Benyan told delegates. Beyond the chemical sector, the entire regional economy would need to transform itself and “circularize” its value chains, leaving no loose ends through which carbon can escape, he concluded.

The issues of sustainability, hydrogen development, ESG, supply chain resilience, and the role of technology were put firmly under the spotlight as part of four masterclass sessions at the forum on day one, 7 December.

The forum hosted the 3rd edition of the GPCA Legacy Award “Al-Rowad” (الرّواد), which this year recognized H.R.H. Prince Faisal Bin Turki Bin Abdulaziz AI-Saud, Advisor to the Royal Court, Saudi Arabia and Former Advisor to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, as well as H.E. Yousef Bin Omair, former Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources, UAE, former Group CEO, ADNOC and Chairman, Borouge. The two leaders were honored in a special award ceremony for their contributions to the growth and development of the chemical industry in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, respectively.

On 7 December, GPCA held the 15th edition of its Leaders of Tomorrow program, as part of which students sponsored by GPCA member companies immersed themselves in a highly interactive and insightful program designed to equip them with the skills they need to advance in their career.

Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA, commented, “Despite facing tremendous challenges in 2020, the GCC chemical industry showed the highest growth globally and was among few regions globally with a positive trajectory. This is an indication of its resilience, agility, and commitment to serving its customers in a reliable manner. Today the industry is at a pivotal stage of its transformation but in order to thrive in the post-pandemic reality, it must redefine, reshape, and reinvent itself.

“ESG, sustainability, circular economy, consolidation, and asset optimization are among the key imperatives that will govern growth in the next decades and beyond. GCC chemical companies would need to continue pivoting towards renewable energy to secure clean, reliable, and competitive power sources. They would need to raise their investments in research and innovation, pursue long-term strategic partnerships at home and abroad, optimize their business and drive portfolio diversification. There is no better platform than the Annual GPCA Forum to discuss and debate the strategies needed to overcome the challenges and capture the opportunities that the future will bring. This year’s program and speaker line-up are particularly insightful, and I wish all delegates a productive time at the forum today and tomorrow.”

The Annual GPCA Forum is being held under the theme ‘Redefine. Reshape. Reinvent. The Chemical Industry in a Post-Pandemic Reality’. The forum will conclude on Thursday, 9 December, at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai.

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