Alexander van‘t Riet, CEO of Mai Dubai
Can you elaborate on Mai Dubai’s sustainability journey?
Sustainability has been one of our core values since the establishment of the brand in December 2012 and we have made some great strides in this area. We believe our commitment to doing our bit to safeguard the environment and contribute to restoring the planet’s health has played a major role in making us the company that we are today.
Being a company that is fully owned by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Mai Dubai is fully committed to supporting DEWA’s contributions to Dubai’s sustainable development, in line with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 that aspires to position the emirate as a global hub for clean energy and green economy.
Some significant measures your company has taken towards being more sustainable?
Mai Dubai today has the second-largest solar rooftop installation in the world and the largest in the region. This means that our operations, including entire bottled water production and offices, are fully powered by the most abundant form of renewable energy – solar power. Not just the factory but its adjacent office building also runs fully on solar energy, and our head office is LEED certified.
This installation alone has helped Mai Dubai abate 15,500 metric tons (MT) of carbon dioxide emissions.
Yet another notable initiative in this regard is our efforts to recycle our plastic (PET) bottles. We directly do this for our customers who buy 16-litre bottles, and in a larger scheme through our partnership with Dgrade, which focuses on increasing the recovery and recycling rates of plastic bottles in the UAE, to be made in yarn and clothing.
One achievement you are truly proud of?
Thanks to the strong performance of our rooftop solar panel installations, which produced more than 30 million kWh of power in 2020, Mai Dubai became a net-zero energy consumer. In fact, a surplus of 4,190,213 kWh of energy was uploaded back to DEWA’s power grid.
Five tips for companies/individuals who are aspiring to leave a smaller carbon footprint.
1. Analyse and measure your current carbon footprint, which sets a benchmark and target for you to improve on.
2. Remember the three R’s – Reuse, Recycle and Reduce – and apply these to every aspect of your operations. If you are an individual, you can follow these principles in daily choices you make.
3. Invest in renewable energy and more energy-efficient products and solutions if you can, even if they tend to be more expensive in the beginning.
4. Focus on the importance of sustainability.
5. Finally, enable a workplace culture that focuses on cutting down the wastage of energy resources.
Vinod Jayan, managing director of IKEA – UAE, Oman and Egypt
Elaborate on your sustainability journey.
The IKEA People & Planet Positive strategy describes the sustainability agenda for the total IKEA value chain. Our sustainability ambitions and commitments are set for 2030 in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We want to create an IKEA business model that is sustainable. The IKEA vision, to create a better everyday life for the many people, is our inspiration. We want to have a positive impact on people, society and the planet. For us, it’s about balancing economic growth and positive social impact with environmental protection and regeneration.
Some significant measures your company has taken towards being sustainable?
For Earth Day, we are launching a campaign aimed at inspiring people to lead a healthy and sustainable life, starting from their homes. Our campaign highlights the importance of practicing sustainability in homes thereby leading by example for the future generation. Our range of sustainable products are affordable, attractive and accessible for the many.
We are committed to supporting UAE’s Vision 2021 that focuses on improving environmental quality, increasing the contribution of clean energy and implementing green growth plans.
With our SOLARVET LED home solar lights, kitchen fronts made of recycled plastic bottles such as KUNGSBACKA doors, ODGER chairs made of sustainable plastics, VALLAMOSSE thermostatic shower mixer for temperature control and GUNRID air-purifying curtains that helps in reducing indoor air pollution, we want to inspire change.
Currently, 60 per cent of IKEA’s range is based on renewable materials, while nearly 10 per cent contain recycled materials.
Since November 2020, across all our stores in UAE, our customers now enjoy a complete plant-based product which looks like meat and tastes like meat. It does not contain any animal protein or ingredients. Producing a veggie ball makes a carbon footprint that's 20 times smaller compared to producing a traditional meatball.
In 2020, we announced the successful phase out of single-use plastic from the home furnishing range globally. This includes single-use plastic products like straws, freezer bags, garbage bags and plastic-coated paper plates and cups.
Thanks to the solar panels used in our second store in Dubai, in Festival Plaza, Jebel Ali, 20 per cent of the energy used is solar. Our target is to use only renewable or recycled materials for IKEA products by 2030.
Since 2015, all our cotton and seafood have come from more sustainable sources. We are working with our 2020 goal of sourcing 100 per cent of our wood and paper from more sustainable sources.
Raza Beig, CEO of Splash Fashions
Tell us about Splash’s sustainability journey.
The concept of sustainability for the business was envisioned almost 10 years ago while attending an international seminar. In the last five years we adopted a 360-degree approach towards sustainability.
We are committed to reduce/minimise the negative impact of the fashion business process on the environment. At Splash we have made sustainability a core business value for the brand – our mission is to drive the change towards a circular and renewable fashion industry.
Some significant measures your company has taken towards being sustainable?
Our key focus areas include usage of sustainable raw material, eco-friendly and sustainable packaging; promoting eco-friendly garment manufacturing practices and ethical sourcing; eliminate use of hazardous chemicals in products; promote eco-friendly and sustainable practices. Some key impacts of measures taken:
• This year, close to 90 per cent of total Splash apparel products are made from sustainably sourced raw material.
• Recycled 38m PET bottles to produce 2.5m recycled garments.
• Saved 9m gallons of water annually by adopting the best manufacturing methods.
• All plastic tags were replaced with FSC approved paper tags, removing 200 tons of plastic annually from packaging.
• Splash collected 15 tons of used clothing from consumers for recycle and re-use.
• All our shopping bags are now oxo-biodegradable and have resulted in 19 per cent less carbon emission.
• Splash operates out of Landmark group tower – a LEED Gold-certified Green building.
• More than 90 per cent of Splash’s suppliers comply with internationally recognised social and environmental compliance norms.
Five tips for companies who aspire to leave a smaller carbon footprint.
1. Sustainability is not just a marketing or promotional initiative, don’t drive it as an obligation, believe in the concept and approach it with a clear conscience.
2. Unconditional support and involvement is critical to achieve success.
3. A clear vision, broken down into achievable and measurable goals is important.
4. Partners/suppliers are the important stakeholders in this initiative, bring them on board.
5. Train executives, create awareness, involve them and when you win, celebrate with them.