When the Saudi Vision 2030 was launched in 2016 by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The Kingdom placed a focus on sustainability which was followed by major investment allocated to environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Since then, countless initiatives have been launched that look toward a greener future and also provide countless professional opportunities in the sector.
The implementation of Saudi’s push toward sustainability began in 2017 with the launch of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative. This initiative aims to maximize Saudi’s production of renewable energy. It was then followed by the establishment of the Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC) which is building recycling capabilities and a circular economy to achieve a sustainable future for the Kingdom. It didn’t end there - The Kingdom continued its exemplary progress when King Salman issued a royal order establishing an environmental protection program to ensure the protection of the environment and its resources.
These initiatives were followed in 2020 by the Environment Protection fund established to protect nature in Saudi. This research fund aims to support the environment through investing and supporting environmental programs, studies, and initiatives, that in turn support environmentally friendly technologies.
The Saudi Green Project, launched in 2021, champions climate action at home and abroad. As a global energy producer, Saudi Arabia is committed to advancing the fight against climate change. The Kingdom is already engineering innovative solutions to help combat the climate crisis with an aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060. Furthermore, it aims to protect 30% of land and sea, planting 10 billion trees across Saudi and reducing carbon emissions by 278 mpta by 2030.
We can’t discuss sustainability in Saudi without mentioning NEOM. This smart city will be revolutionary, and portrays a model for how we can use energy in better ways. NEOM will utilize solar power, wind technology, green hydrogen, smart energy grids,
and more to create a sustainable environment. Sustainable concepts are at the core of NEOM, from its design and mobility concepts to how it's leading the way and changing the future of food.
Types of Sustainability Projects:
There are many misconceptions about working in sustainability from it only being about the environment, that it’s only a strategy and does not entail tangible actions, to it being very expensive or just being a phase that will fade away. On the contrary, many types of sustainability projects offer promising career paths, such as the following:
Carry the responsibility of protecting the environment by reducing the usage of the elements that cannot be recycled to ensure a healthy and clean environment.
Environmental sustainability helps create a clean atmosphere free of carbon emissions. There are many human activities that cause corruption to the environment and contribute to the annihilation of natural resources on the earth, yet through environmental sustainability, cooperation between humans and the environment takes place in order to protect and preserve natural resources to live in a healthy and sustainable environment.
Social sustainability aims to develop education, health care, and the ability to make decisions that contribute to the development of society.
Education plays an important role in achieving sustainability, whether environmental or otherwise. Through education, it is possible to benefit from the latest technologies by mixing science and technology as one of the most significant means of economic, health, and social development. Education contributes to helping global cultural development and providing the necessary support for it as well.
Developed countries seek to reduce the use of industrial energy and increase the use of natural ones.
Economic sustainability uses different strategies to conserve human and material resources in optimal ways that aim to achieve balance and sustainability through recycling and other sustainable activities to help reform the environment.
Do you want to work in sustainability?
Each project has many interesting job opportunities if you’re the right fit for it. For example, if you would like to be part of the NEOM journey, on their website you can find career opportunities in a wide variety of industries, with development programs that range from internships to coaching for senior staff, enabling its diverse workforce to learn and thrive. The Saudi Investment Recycling Company has a join us section where you can upload your CV and research the initiative you’re interested in.
For those looking to start a career in sustainability, there is no set path, but there are plenty of opportunities. Harvard Business Review says that networking is the best way to get your foot in the door, ‘Networking is a great way to get inspired and discover new areas of interest. There are multiple professional networks on sustainability. Some are global. Some focus on young professionals. Some are designed specifically for marginalized communities or women. Look into these groups, follow their members, and then decide where you want to be.’
This is just the beginning of a new era for sustainability and green-thinking young Saudis can reap the benefits of a burgeoning market.