In 2015, Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed publicly criticized climate change and energy waste in the face of an assembly of businessmen who had built their empire on oil .
And he spoke knowingly: his country, Saudi Arabia, is the world’s largest oil producer, as well as the sixth largest consumer. It is also one of the few countries that refused to sign the Paris climate agreement at the UN – yet criticized for his lack of ambition.
However, the future looks much happier: vegan for 5 years, true defender of the animal cause, concerned about global warming, Prince Alwaleed will be the architect of change.
His galvanizing speech at the Business Forum translates into action: Khaled bin Alwaleed refuses financial investments related to livestock, and prefer invest in 100% plant-based restaurants in the Middle East, such as Plant Café in Bahrain, and in renewable energies .
He has already decided his own father, Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud, Grand Prince of Saudi Arabia and first fortune in the Middle East, to go vegan as well. .
A progressive generation is thus gaining power in Saudi Arabia; on a different note, prince bin Alwaleed’s brother recently took a stand to assert that women should be able to drive; their father said he would bequeath his entire fortune – $ 29 billion – to philanthropic causes, including the fight for women’s rights.
Vegan for health
Khaled bin Alwaleed first went vegan to feel better, inspired by the book Reboot your life ! by Joe Cross, as he explains to Start-Up Magazine. Before going vegan, the prince weighed 110 kg and was constantly taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. Here it is today, in the middle:
Vegan for the planet
The prince subsequently became aware of the positive environmental impact of this way of life:
I want to be a better person than i was the day before, and hopefully help leave this planet in a better state than when I arrived.
My motivation is to see changes, results. (…)
Remember that the production of meat and dairy products is the primary cause of greenhouse gas emissions, and is therefore primarily responsible for global warming. According to a recent study from the University of Oxford, becoming vegan allows you to reduce your greenhouse gas production by at least 70%.
I think about my daughters. What world do I leave them?
You don’t have to be a leading scientist to understand that climate change is real. I have read the studies and frankly this is very disturbing.
There is one market that I didn’t want to deal with: cattle imports. For ethical reasons, I didn’t want to make it out of this. It’s not something that I wanted to be involved in, in terms of investments I mean. (…) There are some lines that I don’t want to cross, and breeding, for me, is one of them..
Since the prince adopted a 100% plant-based diet, he talks about it willingly in the media; he is a true defender of the animal cause, committed for example to the association Mercy for Animals. On social networks, he follows and disseminates the messages of Map or from VeganTruther.
Everything is linked, specifies the prince. animal welfare, the environment – normally this is a problem that can be solved if viewed from an economic but human perspective rather than a greedy way.
Against hunger in the world
Interviewed by the National Observer, Prince Bin Alwaleed explains that the meat industry is bad not only because of its huge carbon footprint, but also because nutritious plants that could have been used to feed women and men (in countries where malnutrition is still rife) are used to fatten the animals of rich countries, which will end up murdered. This process did “absolutely no sense”, He explains.
Asked about his eating practices, Khaled bin Alwaleed does not hesitate to detail his menus :
Well, let’s start with breakfast. I usually take a huge smoothie with bananas, dates, berries etc…
[A midi,] I often eat a huge salad. Lots of vegetables. I find my proteins in beans, lentils and also in certain seeds. For the evening meal, I usually cook with tofu. I cook a lot myself. To make pasta, for example, I cook buckwheat pasta and I replace the cream with tofu sauce. Some of my friends don’t even see the difference.
Asked about his favorite dish, the prince talks about the American start-up Beyond Meat and its incredible imitation meat and show a photo of one of their hamburgers vegans, tasted during a visit to Los Angeles:
I can help them sell their products abroad. The market here (in Saudi Arabia) is huge, so I will really help this company.
Winds of change in Saudi Arabia
What has veganism changed in the prince’s life? What will be the impact on his country?
Becoming vegan has really changed my life. I started to love the Earth more. This is one of the reasons why i don’t want to invest in cattle. It is a problem of sustainable development. I care, and Saudi Arabia should care too.
In addition to his investments in the world of vegetable catering, Prince bin Alwaleed sold all of his shares in the oil and gas industry for invest in companies geared towards sustainable development, whether they concern high technology or construction.
KBW Investments, the group he founded with the consent of his family, has been installing innovative ecological technology in Jordan since last summer: bulbs powered by solar energy provide enough light for the roads of the capital of this border country.
In his daily life, he sold his vintage cars and now only has one electric car You’re here. The prince no longer lives in a palace and financially offsets the greenhouse gas emissions of his air travel.
And with the help of the immense capital of which he is the heir, the businessman tries to give “100% vegetable impetus”: To convince, he says he prefers the expression“100% vegetable” (“plant-based”) To the term“ vegan ”:
When I say the V word, people automatically get on the defensive. But if you say “100% vegetable”, they are comfortable and then it is easy to converse with them.
The maternal inheritance
Khaled bin Alwaleed explains his way of seeing the world in this way:
I cannot thank my mother enough for what she did – regarding the education she gave me, the values she instilled in me, which really come to me from her. She is very open, generous with people, she goes out to people, it’s really from her that I get my personality.