Coronavirus recovery: Sustainability is the path to pursue, says Saudi PIF governor

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Green and sustainability strategies should be at the heart of any recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, Yassir al-Rumayyan governor of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and chairman of Saudi Aramco, said in his opening remarks of a virtual conference hosted by the Future Investment Initiative Institute (FII-I) on Thursday.

“As our focus shifts to recovery it’s clear that a path of sustainability is truly a path worth pursuing,” al-Rumayyan said.

The coronavirus is causing the greatest recession the world has seen in nearly a century, with the full extent damage caused by the pandemic likely not realized – although experts broadly agree that the worst has passed.

“While COVID-19 has created great hardship and suffering around the world recovery gives us an opportunity to hit the reset button,” al-Rumayyan added.

FII-I, a not-for-profit foundation behind the annual FII conference in Saudi Arabia, convened a virtual conference to discuss sustainability and green recovery following a global downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The crisis has made clear both the risks and the costs of neglected our natural environment and our planet,” Richard Attias, CEO of the FII Institute said in the open of the conference.

Al-Rumayyan pointed to several examples of investments made by the Kingdom to support green, sustainable development, such as renewable energy developments by Saudi Arabian utility developer ACWA Power, of which the PIF holds 25 percent.

Public private partnerships were pointed to as key for developing sustainable practices by al-Rumayyan, who noted that their importance to support recovery “cannot be overstated.”

The conference, brought together under the theme “Don’t Forget Our Planet!,” covers topics including what lessons have been learned to protect nature, sustainable energy solutions for the private and public sectors, and how to view ecology through the lens of profitability.

Other participants in the conference include Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of India’s Reliance Industries, Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, and Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman and Chief Executive of energy firm Total SA in France.

The conference is being held Thursday between 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Riyadh time. Al Arabiya English is streaming the conference on YouTube and Twitter.

In October 2019, more than 6,000 executives and participants attended the third Future Investment Initiative in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh.

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