The Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones "MODON" announced it has succeeded in localizing 13 of the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in partnership with the public and private sectors.
Director of Marketing and Corporate Communication Department and spokesperson Kosai Al-Abdul Karim stated that MODON, building on its pivotal role in achieving the goals of Kingdom's Vision 2030 and the initiatives entrusted to it in the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program “NIDLP”, contributes to supporting the Kingdom’s openness to the world as an active member in the Group of Twenty (G20) and an influential party in making global economic policies, in addition to leading the largest economies in the Middle East region.
Al-Abdul Karim explained that out of 17 sustainable development goals adopted globally during 2015, MODON was able to achieve 13 goals directly related to its development and investment activities, which are to be officially implemented on November 20, 2020 including: ending poverty, total eradication of hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace, justice, and strong institutions, and partnerships for the goals.
He added that decent work and economic growth, and partnerships for the goals are the main focus in MODON's strategy to enable the industry and contribute to increasing local content in line with Vision 2030. This includes its initiatives in NIDLP, and its work to enhance partnerships with the public and private sectors to contribute to attracting and localizing value-added local and international investments. As it seeks to diversify the national economy by relying on industry as a strategic option, it lays the foundations for sustainable development, provides job opportunities and supports projects for entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises in the industrial cities.
He also said that MODON is working to develop promising cities and exploit the investment advantages in various regions to contribute to the establishment of sustainable cities and local communities. This includes attracting the multi-purpose cooperative factory in Al-Akkas to establish a factory for packaging local agricultural products in the industrial city of Assir, which is included in the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program in the Kingdom 2018-2025. It is also working to provide infrastructure, facilities, services and innovative products to achieve safe investment for its partners.
Regarding SDG’s goal titled “clean water and sanitation”, he stated that the industrial cities are becoming increasingly efficient in the optimal use of water and greatly advanced in the sanitation services system. All industrial wastewater are treated and used for irrigation in plantation projects as well as water source for factories. About 48% of treated water is used until now, as they are also targeting to increase the use of treated water up to 70% by 2030.
MODON also created sustainable solutions for water use, such as the MODON Lake Project in Dammam 2nd Industrial City on a total area of 400,000 m2, which includes the largest developed industrial lake in the Kingdom, with renewable water treated in an environmentally-friendly manner. It covers an area of 210,000 m2, representing 52% of the total project.
He stressed that supporting industry and innovation is the basis of MODON's strategy in order to take part in economic development by supervising 36 industrial cities with more than 4,000 factories between producer, existing and under construction and establishment, including more than 1,000 prefabricated factories with an area between 700 m2 and 1500 m2 aiming to support entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises.
It also seeks to stimulate digital transformation in factories and achieve the highest rates of production efficiency by implementing transformation plans and applying the principles of operational excellence and the techniques of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to 100 existing factories to set an example for other manufacturers.
He pointed out that MODON has signed cooperation agreements with academic institutions and Saudi universities to stimulate innovation in industry, including agreements signed with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) to support and implement research projects that help create a knowledge-based economy through scientific research, and with King Abdulaziz University to elevate the competitiveness of the local industrial sector to global levels. MODON also signed a cooperation agreement with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology “KACST” to implement research and field projects related to technologies for energy production, air conditioning and water treatment using renewable energy. MODON and the city's researchers adopted knowledge exchange in the implementation of joint studies and projects, and the work on publishing research results for the benefit of the largest number of people.
He indicated that MODON supports global trends to preserve the climate through its MODON Environmental Management System (MEMS), which comprises eight programs, including ambient air quality monitoring programs through 11 ambient air quality stations located in industrial cities, and conducting environmental audits at industrial facilities which conform to ISO 14001 methodology, in addition to an environmental systems automation program that uses specialized databases, wastewater monitoring programs, a quality and QA/QC program for the project in partnership with the British company Ricardo-AEA, and a qualification scheme to train and build national competencies .
Under its integration with the public and private sectors, MODON supports responsible consumption and production by making its industrial cities more suitable for living and working. It also enables using and recycling waste resources.
This includes attracting “DitSlawa” that focuses on the manufacturing industries of dates in the industrial city of Shaqraa to use the surplus and wasted dates and provide new healthy and suitable alternatives for the local market, in addition to implementing the concepts of the circular economy starting from the second industrial city in Dammam with field visits to a total of 100 factories in line with the Kingdom’s initiatives during its presidency of the G20 Summit last year 2020. A number of factories will be selected in accordance with rigorous technical criteria to draw a roadmap for the implementation of the principles of circular economy in their industrial activities.
He added that MODON's contribution to the production of affordable and clean energy can be seen through its incubation of 23 factories in 12 industrial cities to enable supply chains and the localization of the main components of the renewable energy sector. It also allocated 12 million m² to the Ministry of Energy to develop two renewable energy plants with a capacity of 600 megawatts in the third industrial city in Jeddah, and the industrial city in Rabigh.
In the same context, MODON started converting the road lighting system in 6 industrial cities to LED technologies as a first step, targeting 16 industrial cities. It successfully saved 76% of electricity consumption, achieving the standards of responsible consumption and production.
Al-Abdul Karim stated that MODON adopts health and welfare standards. The industrial cities have an integrated health system which includes hospitals and clinics in cooperation with the public and private sectors. It also launched the Etmaen Program to classify food facilities and measure compliance with food safety requirements and standards, in addition to sports and commercial centers, restaurants, housing complexes and recreational activities that help promote a healthy and safe lifestyle.
According to the spokesperson, MODON adopts the principle of equal opportunities to achieve gender equality and reduce inequality, by providing all industrial and investment capabilities, as well as training and employment for both sexes in all industrial cities. It also inaugurated 5 industrial oases on a total area of more than 9.7 million m2 in Jeddah, Al Ahs, Yanbu, Al-Qassim and Al jawf, dedicated to women’s work, boosting their investment opportunities and supporting them with the necessary services such as safe transportation, nurseries, and medical and entertainment centers. A specialized training center was also launched in cooperation with the Kafue Association for Employment and Rehabilitation in the second industrial city in Riyadh, aimed at empowering women in the industrial sector.
Regarding the goal of quality education, Al-AbdulKarim confirmed that the MODON Academy for E-training was launched to enhance the concepts of self-sustained learning and develop the knowledge and skills of employees anytime and anywhere. It provides a diverse list of programs and training courses in several areas, including: preparation of economic feasibility studies, business skills, financial programs, computer programs, occupational health and safety, and others. It also cooperates with the best international universities to provide training programs and preparing leaders, such as Harvard University and London Business School. In addition, the industrial cities host training centers from the public and private sectors to build the capacities of personnel working in factories.
He concluded that MODON contributes to achieving the goal of life on land, through memoranda of understanding signed with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture to plant one million trees in industrial cities and through the afforestation initiative and the development of natural plant cover in accordance with plans to protect the environment and support wildlife. It also launched afforestation campaigns including a campaign called "Let's Make It Green". There are many plant nurseries in 5 industrial cities that annually provide more than 174,000 seedlings. MODON also succeeded in increasing the green area to 1.8 million m2, including landscapes, trees, lakes and fountains, in addition to planting more than 173,000 desert seedlings in industrial cities, and increasing planted trees to 75,630 trees.