Sustainability Intelligence: Seizing Business Potential in Dubai’s Bag Ban Era

March 27, 2024

The New Policy

In Dubai, the ban on single-use bags has commenced. Starting from January 1, 2024, Dubai Municipality initiated a three-phase plan to eliminate single-use bags across the Emirate, as per Executive Council resolution No. 124. This includes banning all types of single-use bags, including plastic, recycled plastic, paper and biodegradable materials under 57 microns.

01 June 2024

DET enforces single-use bag ban; tariff continues.

01 June 2025

Focus on additional target products.

01 January 2026

Broaden ban, aligning with federal law.

While some companies have swiftly adjusted, others are rushing to reconfigure processes, reassess supply chains and rally customers for this transformative journey. Beyond mere compliance, businesses can elevate commitments and deepen engagement with stakeholders.

What Business Should Do

The new policy has significant implications for both business sustainability transformation and societal behavior change. Businesses are urged to increase sustainability efforts and engage stakeholders to drive change as the ban progresses. APCO’s Climate & Biodiversity practice has identified five areas for further climate action and proactive engagement.

  1. Leverage the new policy. Bringing sustainability ambitions to light reaffirms commitments and builds awareness of the transition pathway. It is critical to frame the commitments in the context of the environmental challenges for society and the company’s contribution to address those challenges in a unique manner.
  2. Scale up the circular economy. Circular models are central to the fight against plastic waste. The policy offers an opportunity to review operational processes through the lens of the three ‘R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). It also gives an impetus to design and pilot new zero-carbon scalable looping mechanisms, and promote alternative sustainable products.
  3. Build shared objectives with the value chain. The ban may affect the entire value chain. Bringing suppliers on board early in the process is essential to transit from linear to circular models and co-create system change that will deliver long-term financial and social value, and enhance reputation.
  4. Enable employees to play their part. Take the opportunity to further embed a sustainability culture within the business by creating engagement moments with employees to discuss what the ban means for business and people. Give everyone an opportunity to explore how they could contribute both at work and in their personal life to reduce waste.
  5. Dial up engagement with consumers. B2C businesses are in a privileged position to foster sustainable behavior among consumers. They should lead and pivot from awareness to educational campaigns, turning ban policies into positive narratives, and offer practical, beneficial and sustainable solutions.

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