By Roba Aljohani
The Red Sea Project is blessed with thriving coral reefs, beautiful beaches, desert canyons, dormant volcanoes, over 90 pristine islands, and more than 200 kilometers of coastline. The development is being established in a Special Economic Zone that is being created for international investment and national environmental protection purposes. It ensures that our very ambitious standards of environmental protection and, in our case, environmental enhancement, will be monitored and well met.
The foundation of this luxury regenerative tourism destination is its environmental setting. The draw for our visitors and our residents is a natural beauty and the wildlife, so we must ensure those not only remain intact but improve. We are trying to build our destination with world-leading science and technology so that the environment is enhanced throughout the development.
“Our two biggest sustainable goals are the 30% increase in biodiversity over two decades and the zero net carbon emissions during development and operation”
Development carried out all over the world has typically had very significant negative impacts on the environment and biodiversity. Science dictates a negative impact. But we are twisting that concept around to say that the development won’t cause negative environmental impacts and will leave the area better than it would be in a ‘business as usual’ scenario.
We are taking a fundamentally different approach because the real draw for our tourism is the spectacularly rich abundance of biodiversity at our destinations – bound to attract many visitors from all over the world to come to visit. As a result, we have very significant and ambitious standards in regenerative tourism, and we are trying to enhance our natural environment in a way that makes economic sense as well.
Dr Rusty Brainard, the Chief Environmental and Sustainability Officer for the Red Sea Project and AMAALA, reiterates the key goal of regeneration, saying: “Our two biggest sustainable goals are the 30% increase in biodiversity over two decades and the zero net carbon emissions during development and operation.
Everything designed at The Red Sea Project and AMAALA is essentially recycled to some other form
For us, as a tourism business, the latter is extremely ambitious because our business relies on people flying in from all over the world.
“We are looking and experimenting with numerous technologies and approaches that help with sequestering the carbon associated with all the visitors and everything that they consume and use at the site – we need to sequester about two and a half million tons of carbon. How are we going to sequester all that carbon? By embracing the principle of a circular carbon economy or cartel de cartel economy.”
Everything designed at The Red Sea Project and AMAAA is essentially recycled to some other form. The destinations are also considering producing a third of their food sustainably at the site to minimize the food needed to be imported from other places. And we are 100% reliant on renewable energy – using solar only. Moreover, since solar is available during the day, it will be used to charge our very large battery banks, which are planned to become the largest battery sourced system in the world, powering our entire community, even during the night.
We are 100% reliant on renewable energy – using solar only
We are adapting sustainable construction techniques as we do much of our manufacturing offsite to minimize the environmental footprint. In addition, we are planning a clean and zero-carbon mobility fleet. We are shifting towards electric and hydrogen vehicles – not exclusively for our cars and land vehicles but also for our boats and short-distance aircraft.
With regards to carbon sequestration, Dr Rusty explains how we are currently in discussion with numerous companies and institutions around the world for pioneering the use of microalgae. “It is the most efficient way to capture and sequester carbon,” he says. “We are really in the conceptual phase of how we make this the most cost-effective way to sequester carbon while producing other useful microalgae products such as food products, pharmaceutical products, bio plastics, bio fuels, and even sustainable aviation fuels for our longer-distance aircraft.”