Tag Archives: #circulareconomy

Living in a UAE-like new economy…

Living-in-a-UAE-like-New-Economy_by_Alex_Lemille-1

Written by Alexandre Lemille, Founder of WizeImpact

Like every evening, Mohammad comes back home exhausted but fulfilled. He has interacted with
several entities interested to engage with him from one of his many skills, be it work related or hobby related.
People are now networking with organisations according to what they like doing the most, based on their
personality.

When he sits on his couch, switching on his television, he still cannot believe how lucky he is to be able
to access all these hi-tech devices at home given his low income. He signed up for a VIP service contract with the local retailer and was able to choose high-end equipment for his kitchen, living room and computer room. He no longer needs to buy these items, but just has to pay when he switches them on! And guess what, he now makes sure that the 5 kilogram washing machine is full since he will be billed accordingly, reducing his need for water and electricity by a quarter of what he used to consume! Quite an advantage when we know the constraints of providing electricity and water in the Middle East!

Talking about electricity, the local provider also realised that by considering each UAE houses as a micro-energy factory, Mohammad would not only produce energy for his own needs, but he can now resell the extra energy back to the grid, while the electricity provider is making more money by just managing the grid instead of having to heavily invest in large infrastructures!

And there is so much renewable energy available out there for us now that we have the technologies to enjoy
them fully! House roofs are now semi-transparent so that Mohammad could enjoy the sun light during day time. And, oh, by the way, his living and dining rooms are now upstairs while his bedrooms are situated in the shaded floors of the building. Clever! He has access to roof-tiles-as-a-service producing energy from the sun, on top of capturing the wind power and collecting water by promoting the condensation of moisture from hot air, feeding his close loop water tank enough for his daily house needs and those of his direct neighbours. He also has a beautiful vertical garden with vegetables and fruits that he grows for his own food security needs. Thanks to his garden, most of what we used to call food waste such as coffee, is now being reused – for instance to grow beautiful mushrooms. When the production is at the highest, he barters fruits and vegetables in exchange of neighbour’s other services.

For his electronics, shops are now in charge! No longer the burden of having a machine breaking down on a
Friday afternoon. The service economy is set-up in such a way that someone will come before any mechanical
breakdowns occur. His life has become a dream come true since he does have to keep on buying the latest
technology to look good with his family! His VIP agreement allows him to get the best technology of the chosen brands at all times! They either upgrade his devices over-the-air or come and change some modules when available! He saw his 2D television changed to 3D nearly overnight without making one single phone call! The brand representative company made an appointment and changed one block at the back of the TV, et voila! The 3D experience right in his living room! He still remembers his friends’ faces when they enjoyed that movie with so much action going on over their heads… The same goes for his furniture! He accesses them as a service in such a way that his house looks amazing every six months when the decoration changes.

Now he switches off his television. He knows he will be billed at the end of the month for the hour he watched his favourite movie, nothing compared to the price and financial credit burdens he would have had to pay should he had to buy the TV!

He now decides to go out at a friend’s party using one of the available mobility service outside in the street.There are so many of them available since mobility is now considered a function of the economy moving him from point A to point B. He could either choose the zero-emission mobility service vehicle offered free-of-charge by the municipality, since his house food waste helps to feed the car with biofuel, or go for a branded service to impress his friends, or even a car with a chauffeur. Yet the number of cars in the street has diminished by two third since we all understood that shared mobility is a win-win approach for all of us. And guess what, there are few choices of cars with chauffeurs. Why not be tempted to be driven off to town?

Mohammad takes this opportunity to check his smartphone, a smartphone redesigned in the UAE! Indeed, since
the economy is being re-localised, the smartphone might have been developed overseas but once it reaches the UAE, and once it has been accessed by several customers according to their standard of living, it will be dismantled at the end of its useful life in a local remanufacture based in the UAE. New smartphones will be made from old ones, and customised to the UAE market needs since it now makes economic sense: local languages, local workers, and at a price that no longer includes transport costs, or even possibly CO2 emission costs!

The UAE too moved away from the forced obsolescence era. We now manage our market as a stock of flowing
materials, i.e. the value of the economy is in the amount of devices and their components that can now be easily extracted to make new products, in the UAE for the needs of its citizens. Needless to say that we now have a much better understanding of our market value. Everything is part of our stock: for instance houses are classified according to the number of bricks, tiles, wood and metal that could be reused at the end of their useful lifespan. We are no longer dependent upon market fluctuations and external changes that we were not be in control of
before!

Such an economy is not so far out. From Japan, China to Europe, leading companies are now looking at building a restorative economy where waste no longer exist. In nature, there is no such thing as waste, thus the unused resource of one entity should be feeding others as a prime resource. Such approaches to a new economy not only increases production efficiency making more with less, grants access to many new goods that one could not afford before, allows us to grow with the resources that have already been extracted, and regenerates our biosphere so that we have enough food and water for all. And on top of that it reduces our CO2 emissions and creates jobs. The potential for the UAE in net material savings could be huge and could help decrease our dependency from the outside world. In Europe, its potential is evaluated at a minimum of $630 billion of net material savings per year.

This is called a Circular Economy. This is happening now.

Alex Lemille

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