Amna Lootah, Director General of Dubai Airport Freezone

Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZ), part of the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ), published a comprehensive white paper that sheds light on its environmental, social and governance approach, which has strengthened its position as a major player in supporting national strategies related to sustainability. This is in addition to showcasing the UAE’s significant progress in this area based on detailed statistics and comprehensive studies.

Titled Emerald Sands of the UAE, this insightful whitepaper delves into the UAE’s journey towards achieving a green economy and the essential role that DAFZ plays in advancing sustainability through its initiatives, practices, operations, and infrastructure. This has enhanced the free zone’s position as an attractive destination for business, investments, and talents, and a supportive hub for the best responsible environmental practices, all aligned with national strategies that aspire to build a sustainable tomorrow.

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Amna Lootah, Director General of Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZ), emphasises that the UAE’s strides toward a green economy are evident through its sustainability approach, which extends beyond its geographical boundaries. She highlights substantial investments in clean and renewable energy projects, effective contributions to green energy initiatives, and hosting the COP28, exemplifying the UAE’s dedication to achieving global carbon neutrality and climate action.

She adds: “This white paper reflects our dedication to sustainability, aligning seamlessly with the UAE’s vision. The remarkable progress in the Green Future Index, climbing to 36th place in 2023, underscores the nation’s commitment to achieving its 2050 net zero target. DAFZ, as a free zone, has significantly reduced its carbon footprint by 48 per cent, showcasing our active contribution to national goals.”

Lootah underscores DAFZ’s suitability for investors eager to implement sustainable practices. She highlights the freezone’s modern facilities and advanced technologies, making it an optimal destination for entrepreneurs and companies aspiring to align with global green agendas. Moreover, Lootah points out DAFZ’s proactive approach to creating a robust economic and sustainable system, aligning with the UAE’s pursuit of sustainable leadership.

Special initiative to develop the UAE’s sustainable system

DAFZ launched a special initiative dedicated to advancing the sustainability ecosystem in the UAE. This initiative involved a comprehensive research study focused on identifying environmentally responsible sectors. The primary objective was to attract companies to operate within these sectors, fostering substantial contributions to the UAE’s economy across environmental, economic, and social dimensions.

This initiative aligns with DAFZ’s commitment to sustainability and DIEZ’s dedication to establishing itself as a global model that embraces a culture of sustainability and adheres to the best responsible environmental practices.

The study was structured into two key components: The first part focused on identifying the most prominent green sectors. A specialized research team designed a comprehensive evaluation model based on the UAE’s environmental objectives, the freezone’s infrastructure, and the potential for growth. Key sectors analyzed included green IT solutions, renewable energy, waste management, and green architecture. The second part involved conducting a comprehensive examination of these sectors and evaluating the extent to which their practices are compatible with national targets for sustainability and the possibility of applying them at the regional level.

Voice of the green sector

As part of the study, DAFZ also conducted a comprehensive survey in the region to gain insights and information regarding the progress of countries in achieving environmental sustainability goals. The survey delved into sector-specific practices, engaging 100 participants, including top decision-makers and executives with a profound understanding of national green initiatives. The participants represented seven diverse markets, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, and India.

This comprehensive survey aimed to extract key insights into the green economy approaches adopted by the surveyed countries. It shed light on opinions regarding government initiatives and assessed the UAE’s reputation as a prominent incubator for green economies.

A destination for green economy investors

DAFZ stands out as a thriving business hub, with infrastructure adhering to the highest sustainable standards. This makes it a first choice for investors seeking to establish businesses that prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility. Additionally, DAFZ stands as a leading platform for companies specializing in renewable energy, sustainable practices, and corporate responsibility.

The freezone’s commitment to sustainability is underscored by the recent achievement of international LEED Zero Energy and LEED Zero Carbon certificates by the DIEZ headquarters at DAFZ. This recognition from the US Green Building Council marks DAFZ as the first entity in the Middle East region to attain this esteemed certification.

In addition, the free zone has taken a proactive approach by initiating a research study aimed at identifying environmentally responsible sectors. The purpose is to attract companies from the green sector that can significantly contribute to advancing the UAE’s green economy. The research study evaluated 11 main sectors, 36 sub-sectors, and their anticipated growth rate over the next 5 years. This included sustainable aviation fuels with an anticipated growth of 60 per cent, programmable thermostats (28%), electromobility (27 per cent), wireless power transfer (24 per cent), low-carbon construction, cloud computing, and fleet management (20 per cent each).

A sustainable national approach

The whitepaper reveals that non-oil sectors contributed significantly, reaching 70 per cent of the GDP in 2023. This achievement is attributed to the guidance of visionary leadership, advocating for a global shift towards a sustainable green economy. Major national investments in clean and renewable energy projects, spanning 70 countries across six continents, have played a pivotal role in this accomplishment.

In comparison to other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Middle East and North Africa region, the UAE stands out for its progress in the renewable energy journey. The country has strategically set realistic and achievable goals aligned with various global standards. The UAE secures the top position among GCC countries, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia in both the SDG Progress Global Rank and Green Future Index. Furthermore, the UAE claims the leading spot in the Environmental Performance Index regionally and an impressive score of 39 globally.

These achievements underscore the UAE’s commitment to sustainable development and its prominence on the global stage in environmental stewardship.

For more information on the DAFZ white paper click here