Razzan Khalifa Al Mubarak | Secretary-General of Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Many government and private organisations in Abu Dhabi have started using recycled paper and cutting their energy consumption thanks to a new initiative called ‘sustainable procurement’, officials said on Wednesday.

The use of recycled paper and less energy consumption curtails deforestation and carbon emissions.

‘Sustainable procurement’ is a flagship programme of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) which comprises government and private organisations. The programme encourages organisations to adopt a sustainable procurement policy which benefits not only the organisations but society as well, by minimising environmental impact.

Since the programme was launched in April this year, it has attracted 30 government institutions, private companies and non-profit organisations. They held a meeting on Wednesday in the capital to share their experience of the programme.

This initiative will contribute to the implementation of Abu Dhabi’s Environment Vision 2030 which encompasses goals to protect the environment by improving resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles, said Razzan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, in her opening speech at the meeting.

She said the programme focuses on sustainable procurement in transport, waste management, buildings and infrastructure.

The awareness created by the programme encouraged several Abu Dhabi organisations — both government and private — to use recycled paper and minimise energy consumption, an official told Gulf News on the sidelines of the meeting.

“This proves that voluntary action prompted by awareness can really make changes on the ground level without any legislations to make mandatory steps to practice sustainability,” said Huda Al Houqani, Director of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group.

She said the use of recycled paper and minimised energy consumption at Abu Dhabi offices have curtailed carbon emissions on a large scale, but she did not have any figures readily available.

Huda explained that Abu Dhabi has a two-pronged strategy of creating legislation and awareness to promote sustainability. The mandatory pearl rating system introduced by the government for sustainable buildings ensures that new buildings use sustainable materials. But Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group, an initiative of Abu Dhabi Government, focuses on awareness among consumers, suppliers and other stakeholders concerned, she said.

The sustainable procurement programme tries to ensure that economic development, social development and environmental protection are balanced against business needs, Huda said.

“We will also encourage more entities to join and support this programme. Paperless Day, which was launched by Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi in 2008, is one of the environmental initiatives to address over-consumption,” she said.

The meeting included a review of some of the local experiences in the field of green procurement including the Masdar ‘buys green’ programme and the ‘collaborative building initiative’ of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Company (ENEC). The meeting concluded with participating members identifying programme priorities and proposed actions to be implemented.