Sweden, renowned for its sustainable and eco-friendly waste management, is keen to share its expertise with Qatar, Swedish ambassador Anders Bengtcen told Gulf Times.
“We have a wide offering of sustainable technical solutions and Sweden is currently topping the list for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by being the closest country in the world to achieving them,” the envoy said. “All of Sweden, ranging from private households to industry and leading-edge researchers are onboard this train.”
He noted that Sweden has an ongoing dialogue with both the government and business sector in Qatar to present this one-of-its-kind technology and also to strengthen their co-operation in this field.
The Swedish embassy, led by Bengtcen, joined the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in the “Green Embassies” network in Qatar after signing an agreement with Qatari company Elite Paper Recycling.
He said that Sweden is well-renowned for its renewable circular economy, and that 99.3% of all waste is recycled or recovered as energy.
It is also on target to run entirely on renewable energy by 2040.
“Sweden ranks among Europe’s top five countries for circular economy legislation. What makes Sweden even more unique is that we actually import waste,” Bengtcen said.
The ambassador noted that Sweden imports around 1.3mn tonnes of waste annually to be reused and turned into heating.
“This is not only great from a sustainability perspective but also economically beneficial, in two steps.”
“Firstly, Swedish waste companies get paid for importing trash from other countries,” Bengtcen said. “Secondly, the waste that is imported is turned into heating, which is then sold to Swedish property owners.”
“Concluding that it is possible to be environmentally friendly and at the same time make good profit,” he added.
“Nations can make good economic sense of waste if it is processed in the right way, coupled with knowledge dissemination among the public and easy access to waste separation as a solid foundation,” he said.
The envoy stressed that sustainability is a vital part of the Swedish model, with corporates and organisations in the forefront of “cleantech”, “envirotech”, and “agritech”.
For instance, he said, Envac, a Swedish environmental technology company, is currently active in Qatar, offering innovative waste collection solutions in the transport sector and in multiple major real estate developments.
Last year, Heliospectra, a Swedish company specialising in lighting systems for sustainable plant production, took part in the “Swedish Pavilion” during the Agriteq exhibition, showcasing their expertise in urban farming fit for adverse circumstances.
“I am really looking forward to continue the successful co-operation between Sweden and Qatar, to work together towards a sustainable future and to share innovative practices,” the ambassador said. “I strongly believe that Sweden and Qatar are perfect partners being small nations with high sustainable ambitions with an all-encompassing care for the environment.”
According to Bengtcen, Qatar and Sweden also embarked on a journey in developing smart cities, resulting in a true sustainable way of living.
“We are proud that Ericsson with its innovative 5G-network has signed a deal with Ooredoo that will enhance not only the digital life of people across Qatar but also the general ease of living,” he said.
The envoy noted that Sweden is strong in all areas of sustainability, ranging from academia and research to the implementation within heavy industry.
“We look forward to continue to co-operate, share knowledge and best practices with Qatar to fast-track the journey towards a sustainable future in accordance with Qatar National Vision 2030,” he said. “Sweden has a lot to offer in this regard to waste management, climate control, concepts for smart cities, renewable energy, know-how and urban farming to name a few.”
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