UAE BCSD continues to promote sustainable development in the Middle East
July 28, 2011
It has been a busy year to date for UAE BCSD as it steps up efforts to promote sustainable development among the region’s vibrant and growing business community.
Launched in 2009, the United Arab Emirates Business Council for Sustainable Development (UAE BCSD) is one of the newest organizations among WBCSD’s Regional Network. Dedicated to promoting sustainable development in the region, it is helping member companies to integrate concerns for sustainability in their operations. Its goals are to provide best leadership practices to adapt change strategies that result in sustainable development and growth; and to support innovation and growth in business in the UAE through sustainable development issues.
In the last year, the organization’s constituency has grown significantly with several new companies joining the membership. New members include Bee'ah- Sharjah Enviroment Company, Pierlite Middle East, Gulf Tainer, Danagas, GE Energy, Mulk Holdings, ROCA SANITARIO, Schneider Electric, Waterman, Buzil, Globcom, City Properties, Fugu Energy, Farnek, Summertown Interiors, Aliance Group and Print Central.
In recognition of its growing importance and membership, UAE BCSD has organized several keynote events this year.
Last month it held its first Quarterly Focus Day. This free event was open to all members and others with an interest and commitment to sustainability efforts. It provided an opportunity for members of UAE BCSD and others to meet and interact, learn about one another’s visions, and generally gain a greater understanding of the challenges facing the region.
During an open session, several speakers from member companies made presentations on key issues for sustainability. Topics included Waste Management, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, CSR, and Carbon Emission Reduction. Speakers came from a range of sectors: Oil & Gas, Chemicals, Industry, Design, Construction, Tourism, Real Estate, Facilities Management, and Retail. Keynote speakers included Rola Nasreddine, Director of Government Affairs and Policy at General Electric, who shared the company’s vision of energy efficiency and experience with its internal Ecomagination program. Victor Schoone, Country Manager for the Middle East at ROCA SANITARIO then gave a presentation on his company’s Water Saving through Design initiative.
The second part of the Focus Day consisted of a roundtable discussion on how WBCSD’s Vision 2050 could be adapted and rolled out in the Middle East. In the presence of Guest of Honor H.H. Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, participants discussed how to synergize business and sustainability; the challenges facing the private sector in the region, and how they vary by market segment; how UAE BCSD can assist companies to respond to the challenges; and what type of regulatory framework could facilitate sustainable business actions.
As part of this, UAE BCSD presented the ‘Vision 2050 Arabia Report’ initiative. Under this initiative, UAE BCSD is hoping to create a coalition of organizations to help roll out Vision 2050 in the region as tool for dialogue and to support corporate implementation of the Vision and its adoption among non-business stakeholders. The first step of this initiative will be to translate the report into Arabic and to adapt its content to the regional context with its specificities and challenges. This will necessitate strong commitment and participation from a range of sectors in the region (Oil & Gas, Industry, Transportation, Tourism, Real Estate, Banking, etc.). It will also demand commitment from Business & Regulators (Private sector, Public sector, and NGOs), and from sustainability experts in the field (Waste Management, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, CSR, and Carbon Emissions).
To this end, UAE BCSD is convening a Board, whose membership will include pioneers and Green Ambassadors to help roll out Vision 2050 in the Middle East. The Board will be responsible for driving regional business using a coherent and sustainable strategy, by gathering information about the challenges facing the private sector in this part of the world, prioritizing and ranking them, and recommending appropriate regulations and guidelines to implement the strategy.
The first Focus Day was a productive and fruitful. Going forward, UAE BCSD has plans for several more Focus Days in the future.
In other initiatives, UAE BSCD is also endorsing or supporting several events in the region including future Cities at CITYSCAPE Global taking place at the Dubai World Trade Center from September 27-29; Green Middle East at the Sharjah Expo Center from October 17-19; World Green Tourism at Adnec Abu Dhabi from December 5-7; and the World Future Energy Summit at Adnec, Abu Dhabi from January 16-19, 2012.
Finally, UAE BCSD has entered into partnership discussion with other organizations including the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and MASDAR (see http://www.thefuturebuild.com/testimonials/page.html).
UAE BCSD is one of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Regional Network partner organizations.