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Insights How the Red Sea Project is embracing sustainability

When it comes to large-scale, sustainable and futuristic building projects, there are few contenders to the plans currently being executed throughout the Middle East, especially those in Saudi Arabia. Announced as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 and Saudi Green Initiative, there are several exciting developments already underway, and many are in the pipeline in this area. Each of these has been specially formulated to help move the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia away from its dependence on crude oil and gas.

The Red Sea Project is one of these ambitious projects. In this article, we explore the project and how it is embracing a sustainable approach.

What is the Saudi Green Initiative?

The Saudi Green Initiative was set up with the goals of increasing the area's reliance on clean energy, offsetting emissions and seeking to protect the environment. This is a deliberate move away from Middle East's historic reliance on oil and gas, both in terms of supporting the economy and powering the area.

The initiative has eight objectives that range from achieving net zero emissions by 2060 to planting 10 billion trees and rehabilitating 40 million hectares of land. The majority of the objectives are focused on making a positive impact on the economy and environment by 2030.

The first project under the initiative was announced by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, and it represented the start of the first wave of investments which will total more than SAR 700 billion.

The world’s most ambitious sustainable tourism project

The Red Sea Project is a major land and infrastructure project in Saudi Arabia which forms a part of the Saudi Vision 2030 program. Announced by the Saudi Crown Prince in July 2017, the project will focus on delivering luxurious and eco-friendly tourism experiences to those that visit the Red Sea coast.

Located on the Western coast of KSA, between the cities of Al Wajh and Umluj, The Red Sea Project consists of several large-scale areas of development. These include a dedicated international airport, a coastal village, a landscape nursery, a nature area, man-made islands and a host of other world-leading tourist destinations.

Each area will be built with sustainability in mind. In fact, throughout the Red Sea Project, there will be alignment with all 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This will be achieved through several key initiatives, including keeping areas free from single-use plastics, running all destinations entirely from renewable energy and sending zero waste to landfill.

Once completed, sustainability will be maintained through the careful management of visitor numbers. By reducing over-tourism through a smart destination management system, the impact of tourism activities on the environment can be eliminated or drastically reduced. The site aims to commit to a 30% net conservation benefit by 2040.

What challenges might be encountered with the Red Sea Project?

Of course, achieving these ambitious targets will be no small feat. The area will require ambitious and forward-thinking businesses and professionals to help them overcome challenges in areas such as:

  • Mitigating CO2 emission from building and operation 
  • Sustainably dealing with the waste generated via building and tourism 
  • Minimising light and noise pollution 
  • Conserving the natural beauty and habitats of multiple coral reef ecosystems.

Help KSA become more sustainable with a career at AtkinsRéalis

The commitments made in the KSA region are enough to leave anyone optimistic about the future, especially professionals in the built environment. The KSA is one of the most fast-paced, innovative and potentially lucrative markets to start or progress your career. Projects such as the Red Sea Project will offer individuals opportunities to get involved with the next generation of construction projects, such as NEOM, helping improve sustainability across the globe.

At AtkinsRéalis , you'll get to bring sustainable projects to life and make your mark within the built environment. If you want to be involved, explore our latest opportunities in Saudi Arabia or join our talent community to be the first to hear about new opportunities in this space.