IDA president calls for new thinking on sustainability

The president of the International Desalination Association (IDA), Dr Abdullah Al-Alshaikh, described the transition to sustainability as “one of the most important paradigm shifts of the modern era,” when he addressed the International Water Summit (IWS) in Abu Dhabi on 21 January 2013.

Delivering keynote remarks, Dr Al-Alshaikh, who is deputy governor for planning and development of Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation, urged his audience to move beyond thinking of sustainability simply as a social responsibility.

“Sustainability is the driver of innovation, innovation that will reshape our business model, redefine our practices and transform our industry. Sustainability is taking us to a place that is very different from where we are now,” he said.

“Let’s go beyond thinking of sustainability defined by compliance,” Dr Al‑Alshaikh urged. “Let’s embrace sustainability for what it is, for the opportunity it brings, for the change, the transformation, the innovation it drives – the innovation that pushes our industry in new directions and pushes it to new unimaginable heights, the innovation that determines our future.”

For the second year, IDA has been supporting the IWS as a knowledge partner for the event. The world’s leading association focused on desalination and water reuse, IDA has organized several sessions that have been presented at the summit – a unique platform for promoting global collaboration on water sustainability.