DUBAI: Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week 2019 officially kicked off today with a CEO Dialogue that brought together public and private sector stakeholders to discuss the integral role of businesses in reducing and recycling waste and preventing it from reaching landfills.
The event, held at the University of Dubai’s Academic City campus, featured informative presentations and thought-provoking discussions examining new ways that government and business entities can align their efforts to achieve the UAE’s waste diversion goals.
Taking place from November 21 to 28, Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week 2019 is being held under the theme “World Without Waste”, with events and activities throughout week showcasing best practices, and cutting-edge solutions and technologies in the waste management industry.
During the CEO Dialogue event, it was announced that the University of Dubai, an initiative of Dubai Chamber, has become the first LEED certified net-zero energy building in the region, following the completion of a solar power project implemented at its campus.
The university also recently earned LEED Platinum Certification under the Existing Building Operation and Maintenance category.
The achievements were announced by officials from Dubai Chamber and the University of Dubai during the event which was joined by Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber; and Dr. Eesa Mohammad Bastaki, President of University of Dubai; as well as representatives from Dubai Municipality, Sudeku, Unilever, Bee’ah, Dulsco, and EnviroServe.
Dubai Chamber invested Dh5.4 million in the University of Dubai solar project which is expected to result in savings worth Dh1.2 million within the first year of operation.
As part of the project, a Ground Mount Solar system was installed on-site utilising the latest technologies. The system is connected directly to the national grid, eliminating the need to use batteries for energy storage.
During his keynote address, Dr. Al Zeyoudi said, “We commend Dubai Chamber and the University of Dubai for the University’s LEED certification and for hosting this significant event that articulates the UAE’s wider sustainability goals. Sustainability is today a way of life in the UAE and events such as ‘World Without Waste’ reinforce our commitment to best practices in this field.”
“In order to accelerate the ongoing nationwide efforts to reduce waste to landfill and address our high per capita waste generation numbers, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment launched the integrated waste management strategy in 2018,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi added.
Buamim described the university’s new LEED certifications as milestone achievements that support Dubai’s transition to a green economy. He stressed the importance of events such as the CEO Dialogue and Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week in fostering private-public sector cooperation on key sustainability issues, adding that the widespread adoption of integrated waste management strategies within the business community is necessary in order for the UAE to meet its goal of diverting 75 per cent of all municipal solid waste away from landfills as outlined in the National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021.
For his part, Dr. Bastaki said, “The University of Dubai is determined to spread its environmental message across the region and especially among students. Our message urges students to arm themselves with an ‘environmental conscious’ in order to make our world a better place. This is why we are extremely proud to become the first LEED certified net-zero energy building in the region. The Ground Mount Solar system installed on our campus will be followed by other initiatives to make University of Dubai #1 among leading universities in protecting the environment and saving our planet.”
The University of Dubai’s latest achievements come only a few years after the university was named the first academic building in the MENA region to be awarded the LEED Gold Certification. In 2014, Dubai Chamber earned LEED Platinum Certification for its headquarters building.