Sustainability has become a primary objective for many companies around the world, as the importance of taking care of the planet increases. It is no longer enough to simply check a box and say that a company is good to go. Instead, true sustainability involves a long-term commitment to reducing environmental impact, conserving natural resources, and promoting social responsibility.
One company that has embraced this approach is the Al-Futtaim Group, a family-owned business that has been leading the way in driving change across its five divisions. The company recognized early on that sustainability was not just a buzzword or a passing trend, but rather a fundamental shift in how businesses should operate while being aligned with the UAE government’s vision and UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Many companies in the UAE are actively contributing towards a greener future through their sustainability initiatives. From reducing their carbon footprint to implementing renewable energy solutions, these companies are leading the way in creating a more sustainable business environment.
One of the key aspects of reducing emissions is measuring the carbon footprint and implementing the necessities to reduce it. By taking proactive steps towards sustainability, Al-Futtaim Group is contributing to a greener future for the UAE. From automotive to retail to real estate, sustainability is a key component of Al-Futtaim's business strategy, with significant investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and waste reduction.
For example, Al-Futtaim Automotive launched the UAE’s first-ever e-mobility-focused dealership, aiming to accelerate sales of new energy vehicles from 3% to 30% by 2030. Meanwhile, Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate has brought in ambitious strategies to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon, including LED retrofits, installing solar panels, and using machine learning software to monitor energy consumption.
In addition to these efforts, the group’s retail division, which includes Marks & Spencer and IKEA, has also incorporated various sustainable practices into its operations. M&S’ introduction of Bags for Life made from 100% recycled materials and the imposition of a fee for single-use plastics are just two examples. Meanwhile, IKEA has taken it to the next level by transforming a bus stop in Dubai Design District into a sustainable living space named the IKEA Sustainable Container. The company has also launched the ‘Us & Our Planet: This is How We Live’ book and established the Middle East's IKEA Sustainable Living Shops in Al-Futtaim's Festival Plaza Mall.
The UAE government has been a strong supporter of sustainability, with the declaration of 2023 as the Year of Sustainability and the hosting of COP28, heralding the nation’s sustainability vision. Al-Futtaim Group has been at the forefront of this movement, not only in the region but taking it globally.
In the midst of mounting global concerns over climate change and sustainable development, the UAE government and local businesses have shown how to achieve environmental and socially aware targets without compromising business success. The Year of Sustainability will likely bring exceptional positive changes for the country's sustainable development goals.