A TALENT SHORTAGE IS LIMITING THE SCALABILITY OF THE KINGDOM'S RECYCLING STARTUPS
The global shift towards sustainability and associated focus on developing sustainable, innovative green solutions across various industries has placed a great emphasis on recruiting a specialized human capital resource pool to support ambitious national goals. While this presents numerous opportunities for those entrepreneurs with the knowhow, a shortage in local talent could hinder progress.
The Kingdom's strong targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2060, and Saudi Green Initiative, which lays out key objectives in order to reach these goals, provide a key framework, with one of the key areas of focus being to increase recycling. This is an area which requires significant development and investment not only in Saudi, but across the region.
The Public Investment Fund's Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC) has announced a target of recycling 81 percent of municipal waste by 2035, with significant investment commitments to meet this target. To achieve these goals, current waste management activities within the Kingdom require a sustainable and integrated approach, which establishes regulated and industry standard processes. This must be supported by strong private sector entities, opening the door for startups and presenting a critical need to attract and nurture specialized talent which will drive a change towards a circular economy.
Speaking to startups in this sector, concerns have been raised around the recruitment of the required expertise and talent needed to support strategies and potential growth. While there are numerous examples of startups which have succeeded in this sector, such as Tadweer Food Recycling, Saudi Daz Electronic Waste Recycling Company, and Biofuels Limited Company, there is a dire need to increase education initiatives which instill the urgency and skills required to enable Saudi's green society opportunities. Not only will such an exercise encourage environmental business thinking from a young age, but also spread awareness and knowledge sharing across local communities and industries.
Until this scenario is realized, there is an opportunity for existing entrepreneurs to encourage one another by providing free seminars which aim to share knowledge and experience among the ecosystem and could support attracting talent to the sector.
Whichever course of action is taken, it is clear that there is a drastic need for the implementation of economically and technically viable, innovative, recycling solutions across the Kingdom. While the current scenario In Saudi Arabia is in the early stages, there is potential for a sustainable and integrated approach with implementation of waste segregation at source, waste recycling, and valuable material recovery. There have been developments within the Kingdom in the recycling field, with some strong waste management activities, but in order to meet the 2030 vision, encouraging people into relevant training fields needs to be encouraged so that the sector has a healthy talent pool to enable the establishment of support networks needed to achieve a circular economy.