The plastics economy of the future will be more circular, digital, and decarbonized according to a new report by Strategy&’s Middle East practice.
That’s not an earth shattering announcement in itself, but the ME region’s ‘potential to be the global leader in the field’? That is quite the claim. Consider how far the region lags behind most of the world on plastic recycling capability (around 6% compared to 25% each for China and Europe) and how far behind the curve they are on sustainability policies and standards…
However, while one can accuse the MENA region of many things, a lack of commercial savviness cannot be one of them.
Global shortfall = MENA opportunity
Demand for recycled plastics has accelerated, but supply is struggling to keep up. Quite simply, that mismatch means consumers are willing to pay a ~10% premium for sustainable products.
It’s an opportunity the region is well positioned to capture; with its abundance of cheap energy, it possesses major cost advantages in chemical plastics recycling.
Investment and Speed Needed
For the GCC countries, the investment needed to create a world-class recycling infrastructure is significant (up to $40 billion between governments and chemicals companies over the next 2 decades) but Strategy& estimates that for every 1 million tons of recycled plastics produced it can generate approximately 1,500 jobs and US$650 million of direct GDP impact. That’s also significant.
But quick thinking to identify the opportunity is only half the battle; quick delivery needs to follow.
Yahya Anouti, the Strategy&’s Partner who led the report concluded; “MENA countries need to increase their access to plastic waste and increase their plastic recycling capacity. MENA countries need to move quickly to close the gap and position themselves as leaders in plastics recycling, as other regions are already building their recycling industry,”
- Tariq Siraj
Click here for the full Strategy& report: https://www.strategyand.pwc.com/m1/en/strategic-foresight/sector-strategies/energy-utilities/future-plastics-economy/future-plastic-economy.pdf