Outstanding ESG sukuk rose by 66% yoy to reach USD33.3 billion globally as of end-3Q23, and Fitch Ratings expects further growth over the medium term. The segment’s growth is driven primarily by governments’ sustainability initiatives and issuers’ funding diversification goals towards both the sharia and ESG-sensitive investors. ESG sukuk is expected to cross 7.5% of global outstanding sukuk by 2028 (3Q23: 4.1%). However, the segment is not immune from debt capital market (DCM) volatilities.

“DCMs and ESG themes are lacking development in many Muslim-majority countries in general, with gaps in the necessary regulations, infrastructure, and incentives,” said Bashar Al-Natoor, Global Head of Islamic Finance at Fitch. “Sustainability and climate-related issues have a lower government priority in many markets. However, some – like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Indonesia, and Malaysia – have more developed DCMs and a gradually deepening pool of ESG sukuk and bonds. The UAE will also be hosting COP28 in about a month.”

ESG sukuk has not reached its full potential due to hurdles including lack of green assets or projects, extra costs and complexities linked to both sharia-compliance and meeting ESG goals, and longer time-to-market.

Only USD2.3 billion of ESG sukuk were issued in 3Q23, which is a 37% quarterly fall. This is against the backdrop of the general DCM slowdown due to the quieter summer period and higher oil prices reducing the funding needs of some GCC issuers. The rise of geopolitical volatilities in the Middle East, which could affect sentiment, appetite, and pricing, is a risk.

In the GCC, 51% of all outstanding hard-currency ESG debt is in sukuk format, with the rest in bonds. Saudi Arabia has the highest share (48.1%) of Fitch-rated ESG sukuk, followed by the UAE (30.5%), Indonesia (19.6%) and Turkiye (1.8%). Almost all Fitch rated-ESG sukuk are investment-grade.

The combined gross domestic Product (GDP) of the hydrocarbon-rich Gulf countries could more than double from a projected $6 trillion to $13 trillion by 2050, if the countries embrace a green growth strategy, according to a research report.

The report, Gulf Investment Report 2023, published by Century International Holdings, was released at the World Investment Forum 2023 currently underway in Abu Dhabi.

The combined GDP of the GCC countries has already touched the $2 trillion mark. Investment in green and sustainable projects could transform the region into a global economic powerhouse, it said.

“Gulf Investment Report 2023 has been initiated by Century Group as a knowledge series developed through in-depth data compilation for the wider industry stakeholders that will help them chart their future growth strategy and re-adjust their expansion plan as per the ground reality,” Bal Krishen Rathore, Chairman of Century International Holdings (CIHL), said.

However, the economic potential of the Gulf countries is not reflected in the global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) ranking published every year in the annual World Investment Reports released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Total FDI flow into the GCC region declined 17.91 percent to $37.12 billion in 2022, down from $45.22 billion recorded in 2021, despite the UAE recording a 10 percent increase in FDI from $20.66 billion in 2021 to US$22.73 billion in 2022, according to the World Investment Report 2023.

This is lower than the $46.96 billion FDI attracted by Sweden last year and way below that of the $117.73 billion FDI received by Hong Kong or the $141.21 billion FDI attracted by Singapore.

However, the total FDI inflow into the GCC countries has more than doubled in six years, reaching $37.12 billion in 2022, up from $15.52 billion in 2017 – which demonstrates a strong growth in the overall investment landscape, said the report.

GCC region’s inward FDI stock rose to $529.78 billion at the end of 2022. This is at the backdrop of a 12 percent decline in global FDI flow to $1.3 trillion in 2022, according to the Gulf Investment Report 2023.

However, in the GCC, the UAE stands out in terms of attracting investment. FDI inflow of $22.73 billion into the UAE in 2022 represents 61.24 percent of the total FDI inflow of $37.12 billion into the GCC in 2022, the records show. The UAE ranks fourth globally in greenfield investment projects with the number of projects reaching 997 in 2023, according to the World Investment Report 2023.

“The GDP of the GCC region has already touched the $2 trillion mark. If the GCC countries continued business as usual, their combined GDP would grow to an expected US$6 trillion by 2050. However, embracing a green growth strategy could see the GCC GDP grow to over $13 trillion by 2050,” World Bank said in an economic update.

Issam Abou Sleiman, Regional Director of World Bank in the MENA region, said: “The GCC economies have been a bright spot in an otherwise dark economic landscape. Average growth in the GCC surpassed 7 percent in 2022 led by Saudi Arabia, its biggest economy, which was globally the fastest growing large economy.

“The transition to a low-carbon economy has been accelerated by high oil and gas prices and the need for greater energy security in the wake of the war in Ukraine. Renewable energy industries will witness trillions of dollars of new investment as well as opportunities in upstream and downstream industries.

“The region also has the potential to be a lead producer of green and blue hydrogen. With the right regulations, policies, and investments to support the transition, GCC countries can emerge with stronger, more sustainable economies that generate rewarding jobs for their youth while simultaneously protecting the planet.”

Habiba Al Marashi Al Hashimi, Co-Founder & Chairperson of the Emirates Environmental Group and Board Member of Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance, said: “There has been a gap in putting together a comprehensive economic research book on investment across all economic sectors. As the region gains significance in the global community and aligns itself with the global growth and development, it becomes imperative for us to study, analyse and generate conclusion based on real data so that we, the industry stakeholders can map the future direction and trends.

“For example, environment and sustainability has gained momentum now, while some of us have been campaigning for it for the last three decades. I am glad to know that CIHL has undertaken this significant step through Gulf Investment Report 2023 to fill up this important knowledge gap.

“It is heartening to know that Gulf Investment Report 2023 also highlights investment in clean, green energy and environmental sustainability – areas in which the UAE has taken a leadership role in the region and the world – through the launch of Masdar – the world’s first carbon-neutral urban development, the development of the region’s first nuclear power plant, as well as the development of the world’s largest solar park – Mohammed Bin Rashid Solar Park, just to name a few.

“The UAE is investing heavily in clean and renewable energy. Despite being an oil producing country, the UAE has invested more than $40 billion in clean energy over the last 15 years, and has plans to invest an additional $163.5 billion (Dh600 billion) in clean and renewable energy sources over the next three decades on the road to net zero.”

GCC countries can realise up to $300 billion in foreign direct investment if they move quickly to seize the opportunity of becoming a centre for global value chains (GVC) that are being reconfigured towards resilient and sustainable industries, according to a report by Strategy&.

The member countries of the GCC region have been relaxing their investment regime to allow greater foreign investment. Some of the member states including the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar now allow 100 percent foreign ownership in businesses and they have eliminated the mandatory requirement of a local partner in the mainstream on-shore businesses in most categories of businesses.  

Source: Zawya

Arla Foods, recognized as one of Denmark’s largest food producers and a global leader in the industry, aims to bring its transformative initiatives to the forefront of the international stage at COP28 in Dubai.

Emphasizing their main highlights on the COP28, Mr. Kim Villadsen, Senior Vice President and Head of MENA, said, “At Arla, we continuously try to accelerate our sustainability actions and engagements, and for that, we were present at COP27 blue zone and will also be present in COP28 blue zone within the Danish Pavilion. Our main focus areas at COP 28 will revolve around scope three emission reductions in collaboration with key customers, methane emissions, and how the industry is coming together on this, and finally, regenerative farming practices.”

Also, he shed light on Arla’s commendable sustainability initiatives and its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. 

“We are working across our entire operation to reduce our carbon footprint, and we have ambitious targets in place that are approved by The Science Based Targets Initiative and in line with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. In our scope 1 and 2, we plan to reduce emissions by 63 % by 2030 (compared to the 2015 baseline). For example, by using renewable energy at sites and offices and switching to fossil-free alternatives in our logistics. In scope 3, which includes on-farm emissions, the target is a 30 % reduction in emissions per kilo of milk by 2030 (also compared to the 2015 baseline). Most recently, we have implemented a point-based model by rewarding farmers who engage the most in sustainable actions on farms and motivating them not just to continue but to accelerate their efforts in creating a better future for the dairy industry.  Arla Foods aims to be carbon net zero by 2050.” Mr. Villadsen stated.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Arla Foods manufactures 70% of its products within GCC markets, reflecting a strong commitment to localized production. Mr. Villadsen explained, “With the presence of our two Dairy manufacturing sites in Bahrain and Saudi, we are proud to have 70 % of the products we sell in MENA being produced within the GCC markets. MENA as a region stands for approximately 7 % of total Arla group revenue in 2022.”

He added, “In 2022, Arla’s total group revenue was 13.8 billion euros. The Danish market accounted for approximately 8.8 % of that.” As a global leader, Arla Foods is not only contributing to Denmark’s economy but also spearheading sustainability efforts that resonate on a global scale.

As for future expansion, Mr. Kim Villadsen said, “We are continuously monitoring the possibilities and have big growth ambitions for the MENA region. It started with the establishment of our two dairy sites in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, where we are always looking into production line expansion, followed by our recent acquisition of the Kraft cheese portfolio in MENA, which is another good example.”

Arla Foods’ relentless efforts towards sustainability are driven by a dedication to creating a better future for all. The company’s goal to be carbon net zero by 2050 resonates with its commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability on a global scale.

Waste occurs at almost every stage of the global food supply chain, costing money and precious resources, damaging the environment, and unnecessarily adding billions of tons of climate-changing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

If food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the US, according to the UN Environment Programme.

Today, up to one-third of the food the world produces is wasted — at a time when 10 percent of the planet’s population is classified as food insecure, meaning they do not have consistent access to sufficiently nutritious food every day.

Looking at the scale of the problem in terms of calories, current global food waste is equivalent to around 400 to 500 calories per person per day in developing countries and as much as 1,500 calories per person in developed countries.

Inefficient harvesting methods and limited access to farming technology, as well as wasteful consumer habits, mean that some 1.3 billion tons of edible food are thrown away each year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Lara Hussein, co-founder of the Dubai-based startup Waste Lab, told Arab News: “When we think of wasted food, we need to talk about both food loss, which occurs across the supply chain from farmer to retailer before it reaches the end consumer, and food waste, which happens at the consumer level.”

Food loss is typically seen in developing countries at the production end of the supply chain, usually at farms where there is poor infrastructure and storage facilities or during transportation to larger markets.

By contrast, the issue in developed countries is found at the retail end of the supply chain, where consumers often indulge in impulsive buying or employ poor storage methods, resulting in food waste.

This is the case in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, where food amounting to 10 million tons is wasted every year.

“In general, the GCC has been experiencing rapid urbanization and population growth, which is resulting in the oversupply and overproduction of food,” Hussein said.

“The improvement of living standards and lack of awareness about the issue and impact of food waste also leads to over-purchasing and wasteful behavior at the consumer level.”

Studies have shown that consumers in rich countries waste approximately 222 million tons of food annually, which is almost equivalent to the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (estimated at 230 million tons per year).

More specifically, consumers in Europe and North America waste approximately 95 to 115 kilograms of food per year per capita. The corresponding figures for sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia are 6-11 kilograms.

GCC countries have some of the highest rates of food wastage in the world, and Waste Lab’s Hussein believes this can be attributed partly to cultural norms.

“Big feasts and large amounts of food on the table are directly associated with good hospitality and generosity,” she said.

During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, for instance, food wastage almost doubles in the UAE.

Daniel Soloman, founder of the UAE-based grocery delivery firm HeroGo, told Arab News that large disposable incomes and affluent lifestyles in the GCC and several other Middle Eastern and North African countries tend to encourage excessive purchasing of food, which in turn aggravates the problem of wastage

“Other contributing factors include overproduction, poor storage, lack of efficient distribution systems, and mismanagement of food resources,” he said.

He pointed out that the region’s harsh climate was another contributing factor. High temperatures and extended supply chains tended to increase the risk of food spoilage in import-reliant Arab countries.

Strict aesthetic standards, especially in relation to fruit and vegetables, often resulted in supermarkets rejecting items that looked ugly despite them being fit for consumption.

Soloman added that many products that did not meet “grocery specifications” were lost long before they even reached the consumer.

“Due to superficial standards, fruit and veggies have to be a specific size, and most produce is considered too small, too big, or ugly, and gets wasted, not reaching the supermarket,” he said.

Unless donated or saved through discount promotions, rejected fruit and vegetables usually ended up in landfills.

To help reduce the volume of food waste, Hussein said that supermarkets and consumers must be encouraged to accept and purchase “imperfect” produce, while retailers should offer discounts or create separate sections for imperfect produce.

Several studies examining the link between hungry shoppers and the number and type of food items purchased have repeatedly confirmed a psychological element behind certain shopping habits.

One study showed that hungry shoppers spent 60 percent more and bought more non-food items than less-hungry customers, while another survey revealed that those shopping while hungry were likely to buy more high-calorie food items.

“When we do not plan our grocery list in advance, we tend to purchase on the spot and in many cases, food items that will just stay in our fridge and cabinet to be forgotten,” Waste Lab’s Hussein said.

Similarly, misunderstanding expiry dates often led people to dispose of food when it was still safe to eat.

“If we do not know how to store our groceries properly in our home, we miss the opportunity of extending its shelf life or sometimes unfortunately accelerate their rotting,” she said.

One school of opinion believes that the problem of food waste is specific to the hospitality sector.

According to the UN Environment Programme’s 2021 Food Waste Index report, it was estimated that waste generated by the food-service sector every year amounted to 25 percent of total global food wastage.

Accordingly, any action by the sector to reduce food wastage would have a significant impact in reversing the situation.

“The hospitality sector contributes significantly to food waste due to over-preparation, buffet excess, and customer plate waste,” HeroGo’s Soloman said.

To mitigate this, businesses could implement better portion control, donate surplus food to charities, and optimize procurement processes to prevent over-ordering.

“They could also train staff on sustainable practices, including recycling, and use technologies to track and analyze food waste patterns,” he said.

Sylvia Matei, cluster hotel manager for InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn, and Staybridge Al-Maktoum in Dubai, told Arab News that while the hospitality sector was probably a significant contributor to food waste, business practices were becoming more sustainable.

“We have implemented stringent waste management practices across our properties … and our participation in recycling initiatives, such as converting used oil, corrugated cardboard, and plastic into revenue streams, showcases our commitment to sustainability and aligns us with global standards set by COP28,” she said, referring to the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference, hosted by Dubai in November.

Matei said composting wet waste and donating it to farmers, and creating partnerships with suppliers to source “imperfect” produce, were other ways the hospitality sector could positively impact both the environment and the community while battling food waste.

“The GCC region, in preparation for COP28, is placing increased emphasis on addressing climate change through sustainable practices across the food ecosystem,” she said.

Partly driven by a quest for food security, several GCC countries are investing in sustainable agricultural practices, such as hydroponics, vertical farming, and aquaponics, to localize and reduce the carbon footprint of food production.

“Some countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also working to improve waste management infrastructure, including recycling and composting facilities, to divert food waste from landfills,” HeroGo’s Soloman said.

Two examples of food-waste reduction initiatives are Saudi Arabia’s Say Yes to Less campaign and the UAE’s Food Waste Pledge.

Food waste is a significant problem in the UAE, costing the country $3.5 billion annually, with around 38 percent of the food prepared inside the country wasted.

In response, the UAE launched a national food loss and waste initiative called Ne’ma, which involves government entities as well as stakeholders from different sectors to cut food loss and waste by 50 percent by 2030.

Incentivizing and supporting startups, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and larger organizations that were tackling food waste was another way GCC countries were approaching the issue, according to Waste Lab’s Hussein.

“The GCC is undertaking important and impactful measures to confront the challenges of climate change via the food ecosystem starting from their participation in international climate conferences and agreements, such as the Paris Agreement and having the UAE as the host of COP28 in 2023,” she said.

Source: Jumana Khamis, Arab News

One company’s trash can be another one’s treasure. That’s the premise behind industrial symbiosis, a kind of industrial collaboration that promises environmental, economic, and societal benefits for countries in the Middle East region and beyond.
An industrial model for the circular economy, industrial symbiosis involves exchanging various types of resources between companies located near each other or operating in allied sectors. These resources include energy and water resources as well as industrial by-products, waste and raw material that might normally be imported.
“This kind of exchange makes it financially convenient for the sourcing company and saves the selling company waste management costs,” said Rana Hajirasouli, founder of The Surpluss, an online business-to-business platform that aims to enable such synergies for companies in the UAE. “Sustainability adoption remains critically low regionally and globally. The best way to get it off the ground is to incentivise companies, to enable them to realise a profit as soon as they start collaborating with other industries.”
“The Surpluss helps negate and demystify circular economy adoption gaps and gives companies a payoff for sharing resources,” she added.
The start-up offers a platform where companies can advertise or look for available industrial materials. Members see different kinds of materials on a map, including industrial by-products, waste, surplus resources, and knowledge (such as technical expertise)  and can immediately contact each other.
The company launched in 2021, and the platform went live last October.
In the nine-odd months since, it has diverted one million kilos of all kinds of waste from the landfill, Hajirasouli said.
Its launch follows efforts by the UAE and Saudi Arabia to strengthen non-oil sectors such as manufacturing in attempts to diversify their economies.
Through The Surpluss, UAE manufacturer Al Rawabi offloaded excess stock to companies in the food service industry, reducing dairy waste, and making a profit from savings in waste management costs. Similarly, the retailer Pakistan Supermarket provided surplus fruit and vegetables to a social enterprise serving affordable meals to blue-collar workers.
Hajirasouli believes industrial symbiosis could contribute to the GCC nations’ various targets to achieve net-zero carbon emissions between 2050 and 2070. Noting that the UAE is one of the world’s top 10 aluminium producers, she said.
“Recycling aluminium chips into high-density raw materials known as briquettes can drive gains of up to $33 million per year and reduce thousands of metric tonnes a year in waste.”
Integrating multiple circular business models across several verticals offers a $4.5-trillion dollar opportunity globally, according to Accenture.
According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation and Swedish sustainability firm Material Economics, transitioning to renewable energy can address 55% of global GHG emissions. Circular economy applications, including industrial symbiosis, in just five industries—cement, aluminium, steel, plastics and food—can eliminate half of the remainder. That’s about 9.3 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2050, the equivalent of cutting current emissions from all transport to zero.
In June, The Surpluss brought together global sustainability leaders at the UAE’s first Industrial Symbiosis Symposium for a discussion of how industrial collaboration and technology can support the circular economy and tackle climate change in the region.

Source: Keith J. Fernandez, Zawya

Following a dip in 2020, tourism globally is again on the rise and is expected to reach $17 trillion in size by 2027, compared to $11 trillion prior to Covid-19. Bain & Company’s new research study, ‘Sustainable Tourism: An Untapped Opportunity for Green Growth’, reveals that there is an increasing appetite for more sustainable tourism among leisure travelers across the globe, who will choose destinations and providers (airlines, hotels, restaurants, and tour companies) based on their sustainability records and are starting to pay a premium for it. On the other hand, research shows that some travelers feel that the travel and tourism sector is making little or no effort to be more sustainable, indicating that there is still much room for the sector to respond and make a difference.
“The uptake in sustainable tourism is driven by an appetite to travel sustainably and make more responsible choices. Bain has developed a framework defining the components of a sustainable tourism experience around three pillars: environmental impact (e.g., eco-friendly transportation and accommodation options), social responsibility (e.g., DEI standards), and community engagement (e.g., contract with locals)” says Karim Henain, Partner at Bain & Company Middle East. 
There is a significant opportunity among the “sustainability enthusiasts” segment of travelers interested in visiting the MENA (Middle East and Northern Africa) region. The study’s aim is to better understand the behaviors and preferences of relevant travelers interested in MENA as a destination. The research covered consumers from six markets: Germany, Italy, France, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and China. 
Overall, more than two-thirds of consumers surveyed in the selected markets consider sustainability aspects to be important or extremely important when traveling for leisure, and 73% expect sustainability to become more important over the next five years. In addition, they state that sustainability considerations influence their choices (64%), are willing to pay extra for more sustainable offerings (66%) and would recommend a holiday destination based on sustainability considerations (57%).  Among the respondents, Bain identified sustainability enthusiasts: those who consider sustainability “extremely important,” both in their daily life and when traveling for leisure (~30% of survey respondents).
Sustainability enthusiasts were found in all markets, but demographics varied by country. For example, sustainability enthusiasts from China and Saudi Arabia were predominantly highly educated millennials, whereas their European counterparts were almost equally spread across age groups, income, and education levels.
Importantly, compared with the rest of the survey respondents, sustainability enthusiasts were:
•    4x more likely to consider sustainability aspects as “extremely important” when choosing a holiday destination
•    7x more likely to recommend a holiday destination driven by sustainability considerations
•    1.6x more willing to pay for more sustainable choices, at a premium of 15 to 20 percentage points compared to non-enthusiasts 
Egypt has several assets to leverage, but still has some work to do 
Egypt has already launched several initiatives to improve the sustainability performance of its travel and tourism sector. Examples include Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Egypt’s Tourism (MBDT), Green Star Hotel (GSH), as well as flagship initiatives promoting Egypt’s holiday destinations across sustainability pillars, such as the town of El Gouna, “the first place in Africa and the Arab region to receive the UN-sponsored Global Green Town award,” which recognizes cities that display “substantial efforts and progress towards environmental sustainability and a greener community.” El Gouna has a zero-waste system where more than 85% of all waste is reused and recycled. 

To evaluate how travelers perceive Egypt’s sustainability efforts, the survey respondents were asked to rank Egypt’s sustainability performance vs. the main competing destinations in MENA (Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, UAE, Morocco). Sustainability enthusiasts perceived Egypt’s sustainability performance more favorably compared to competing destinations as they ranked Egypt 2nd, however, overall survey respondents ranked Egypt 4th.
Balancing the right mix of “bass notes” and “high notes” is important for Egypt’s sustainable tourism. While bass notes broad important topics such as sustainability certificates and green infrastructure are critical, customers tend to follow the high notes, which are topics that create differential competitive advantage. For Egypt, an example of high notes would be to enhance the preservation of its cultural and natural assets across key eco-tourism zones.
The opportunity that sustainable tourism presents to Egypt’s tourism sector is sizable and requires a coordinated effort across the entire ecosystem in order to capitalize on this opportunity. The roadmap should include:

Targeting the sustainability enthusiasts.

Dialing up Egypt’s high notes by repackaging existing tourist offerings to highlight sustainability aspects, defining new sustainable offerings, and launching flagship initiatives to improve the perception of Egypt’s sustainability performance.

Attending to bass notes, including pursuing certificates, enhancing infrastructure, and distributing benefits to local communities.

Nurturing the tourism ecosystem by stimulating businesses and local communities to adopt sustainable practices while securing the necessary funding.
“It is important to go green in the tourism sector as it allows tourism growth, environmental conservation, and social well-being to be mutually reinforcing – green/sustainable tourism will eventually help create jobs, support the local economy, and reduce poverty,” said Jenny Davis-Peccoud, Global Head of Sustainability & Responsibility Practice at Bain & Company.
Source: Zawya

The Airport Show will have a sharp focus on sustainability and innovation, from 9th-11th May. As the global airport industry, comprising over 40,000 ICAO-coded airports and revenues exceeding US$173 billion, work its way to becoming carbon net-zero by 2050 through enhancing infrastructure, technology-based operational efficiencies, robust controls, and benchmarked excellence

Together in Innovating Future Sustainable Airports will be the theme of the world’s largest annual airport industry B2B platform. Over its three-day run at the Dubai World Trade Centre, it will highlight ways sustainable aviation can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Airports Council International’s Sustainability Strategy through improved service quality, widening infrastructure development, and ensuring safe and efficient operations by all the stakeholders.

As the expanded, evolved version of the e-Apron at 2022 edition, the Sustainable Apron, in continued partnership with dnata, will feature ground handling equipment and services that enable airports in their sustainability goals. Innovation Trail will be a bespoke customer experience that includes an impressive line-up of breakthrough innovations from leading airport suppliers in more than 20 countries. Sustainability Trail will have a strong focus on products and services that enable regional airports to shape their roadmaps to sustainability this year. The products that will be considered in this trial are those supporting airports in reducing CO2 emissions and promoting operational efficiencies at airports.

The 22nd edition will connect over 200-plus aviation brands and 100-plus buyers from over 30 airports and aviation authorities from 20 countries. Also taking place on its sidelines will be four industry-specific exhibitions and conferences. It will be held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

It will see over 4,500 visitors, with the exhibitors coming from Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Its organiser hopes this breaks the previous records. Last year’s edition drew 4,200-plus attendees from 71 countries, over 160 exhibitors from 23 countries and 100-plus hosted buyers from 23 countries along with five country pavilions.

May Ismail, Event Manager at Reed Exhibitions Middle East, its organiser, said environmental impacts and energy efficiency in the medium-and-long term are among the key areas of concern and focus by airports in operating their facilities and services. It includes energy consumption in the heating, lighting, and cooling of a terminal and for powering systems that support the daily operations of an airport, including passenger services, ground vehicles, and airside services.

SITA, the world’s leading specialist in air transport communications and IT has found 73 percent of airports working to have in place by 2024 policies/physical systems that promote energy savings. Its report confirms airports implementing renewable energy usage and smarter infrastructure controls. By 2024-end, 62 percent of airports will have policies or frameworks in place that includes environmental impacts and lifecycle management controls. The airports are focusing on the environmental impacts of the technology and plan to implement newer solutions to drive greater efficiencies and support their de-carbonisation efforts.

Raed Younes, UAE and Regional Business Development, dnata, said, “dnata, part of the Emirates Group, provides ground handling, cargo, travel, flight catering, and retail services in 38 countries across six continents. In 2022, dnata successfully launched an e-Apron at the Airport Show 2022 with the support of the event organiser, RX Global. At its 2023 edition, the Sustainable Apron will be even bigger and better, featuring advanced ground support equipment (GSE) and the latest technologies that significantly enhance environmental efficiency at airports. In 2022, dnata committed US$ 100 million to implement green technology and initiatives across its businesses to achieve its strategic objective and reduce its carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2030.

In recent years, the company has significantly invested in advanced technologies to optimise resources and improve operational efficiency across its facilities. It installed renewable energy features, such as solar panels, heat recovery units, and electric vehicle charging at its existing facilities and will also incorporate carbon reduction initiatives in the construction and operation of its recently announced new cargo centres in The Netherlands and Iraq.

He added, “Choosing green options is a prime consideration in dnata’s fleet planning, too. It has increased investments in electric and hybrid ramps, ground support, and forklift equipment, and refurbished existing GSE with new technologies to further decrease emissions and update them to the latest safety and quality standards. As a result, dnata became the first ground handler to successfully complete green aircraft turnarounds using only zero-emission GSE in the USA and UAE. In the financial year 2021-22, dnata’s customer-oriented teams handled over 527,000 aircraft turns, moved 3 million tonnes of cargo, uplifted 39.9 million meals, and recorded a total transaction value (TTV) of travel services of US$ 632 million.”

Michael Schneider, CEO of Siemens Logistics, said, “Our technologies enable customers to achieve more with fewer resources. For Siemens Logistics, the key to sustainability lies in lifetime considerations for equipment paired with automation, and digitalisation. Take, for example, Baggage 360, our digital solution which considerably increases the efficiency of existing operations and eco-systems. It provides airports/customers with forecasting and optimization functions allowing them to plan operations well in advance.

This saves resources and with that environmental footprint and costs. We are looking forward to presenting our sustainable solutions at the upcoming Airport Show in Dubai.”

Benjamin Violet, Regional Sales Manager for Middle East and Africa at ITW GSE, said the aviation industry’s sharp environmental focus needs equipment with lower energy consumption. In fact, the Middle East major airports have led the way in switching off the APU by equipping their infrastructure with line powered GPUs and PCAs. Now the focus is to move away from diesel equipment and replace it with battery-powered eGSE. At ITW GSE, we have played a key part in this transition supplying the zero-emission battery driven 7400 eGPU since 2018. Some of the infrastructure challenges we see are the need for more charging points and grid power, he said.

Our newly launched EcoGate will amongst other things help with the eGSE’s charging situation in the airport. EcoGate helps airports optimise their operations by connecting gate equipment into a unified and intelligent system, such as GPUs, PCAs, charging stations, and even aircraft detection systems. At its core lies the Intelligent Power Management (IPM) that can be incorporated into the new 3500 PCA unit. By intelligently managing power distribution, EcoGate allows airports to upgrade or install new gate equipment without the need for costly new power infrastructure.

Jurek Grzeszek, Director of Sales and Services TLD MEAI, an Alvest Group company specializing in designing and manufacturing GSE at its nine factories across the world, said sustainability is not only an environmental and social responsibility but also enhances long-term profitability and brand reputation and encourages innovation. Today several airports are pursuing transition in a fast-paced mode but infrastructural changes take time. The available technology is compatible with the current needs. TLD continues to innovate with Electric Drivelines allowing GSE to adapt to airport infrastructure. Alvest is developing a unique approach to managing airport operations globally and would stop producing GSE with traditional combustion engines by 2025.

TLD in 1991 launched the first-ever eGSE which drives relatively short distances with limited speed and has a growing demand. In 2008, the TLD Green initiative had been launched with fleets of high-loaders that are still operating. Alvest is the world’s number one supplier of ground support equipment through its main subsidiary TLD. Its products include aircraft loaders, tractors, ground power air conditioning, and jet start units.

Erik Velderman, CEO, TKH Airport Solutions, said the company has been seeing a growing interest from the Middle East region for sustainable innovations. In the airfield ground lighting business, innovations like smart airfield lighting, individual lamp control and implementation of ‘Floating Follow-the-Greens’ technologies have become hot topics. TKH’s CEDD airfield ground lighting technology is gaining traction in the region the technologies have been providing the tools for airports to become more efficient airside, reduce operations costs and increase revenue through efficient slot sales.

Source: Ahlam Almazrooi & Tariq Al Fahaam, WAM (Emirates News Agency)

Hilton, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) West Asia, Winnow and Goumbook, has announced the launch of Green Ramadan, an initiative which will see food waste reduction efforts implemented at hotels across several key markets in the Middle East, including Waldorf Astoria Lusail Doha in Qatar, Conrad Dubai in the UAE, and Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences in Saudi Arabia.

With reports from UNEP West Asia showing that food waste increases by 25% – 50% in the region during religious and social festivities, Hilton is introducing measures to minimise waste during the holy month of Ramadan and drive awareness around local sourcing and food waste. The initiative is in line with Hilton’s Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals to reduce food waste sent to landfill by 50%.

The partnership will combine Hilton’s drive towards a net zero future, UNEP’s ‘Recipe of Change’ food waste reduction campaign, Goumbook’s local sustainability expertise, and Winnow’s AI technology – allowing for digitally-led tracking of food waste throughout Ramadan. In doing so, Hilton will gather data to predict future procurement and production needs while also minimising its long-term environmental impact.

As part of the initiative, participating Hilton hotels across Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia will compost excess food waste, prioritise local food sourcing within a 50-mile radius, promote plant-based dishes, restrict plastic use across operations, and partner with food banks.

In Qatar, Waldorf Astoria Lusail Doha will offer guests a tasteful dining experience at Bywater Restaurant with breathtaking views of the stunning Arabian Gulf. The restaurant takes pride in serving locally sourced produce from the Al Wabra Farm, showcasing a meticulously crafted menu that plays an active role in reducing food-related emissions. The hotel has also partnered with the Hifz Alnaema Food Bank to reinforce charitable giving during the holy month.

In the UAE, Al-Wāha by Conrad Dubai will feature local produce from Fresh on Table, and an innovative plant-based section with a thoughtfully curated menu that helps to significantly cut food-related emissions. The hotel is also partnering with the UAE Food Bank to reinforce charitable giving by donating 100 meals per day throughout Ramadan. Conrad Dubai will also compost food waste from Al-Wāha through The Waste Lab.

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences will take guests on a gastronomic journey at Amara, its Ramadan tent, which will feature local produce from Nadec and Pure Harvest Smart Farms as part of a thoughtfully curated menu that helps to significantly cut food-related emissions. The hotel is also partnering with the Ita’am Food Bank to reinforce charitable giving and will donate 100 meals per day throughout Ramadan. Additionally, the hotel will collaborate with Black Cow to collect and compost Iftar buffet leftovers to be used as organic fertilisers locally.

Emma Banks, vice president, F&B strategy & development, EMEA, Hilton, said, “As a global hospitality brand, Hilton has a responsibility to lead the industry in the pursuit of sustainable solutions. We are delighted to embrace the holy month of Ramadan with the introduction of the Green Ramadan initiative. Our partner, Winnow, will play a crucial role in this digital-first approach by collecting food waste data and using it to inform our local procurement requirements while working closely with our partner Goumbook to ensure an educated approach towards the implemented sustainable practices. We’re also aligning closely with UNEP West Asia’s ongoing ‘Recipe of Change’ campaign aimed at reducing food waste across the value chain”.

“We hope that Hilton’s Green Ramadan initiative will set the standard for years to come by encouraging local food sourcing and reducing food waste,” said Banks.

Mr. Sami Dimassi, UNEP representative and regional director, West Asia, said, “We are very pleased to collaborate with Hilton to activate this campaign across its key markets in the Middle East. Reducing food waste is not only about saving food, but also about saving resources. The only way forward is to work hand-in-hand by engaging the local community, private sector, and influencers. Today, every plate counts and so does every wasted plate. Let us all fight food waste and work towards a more sustainable future”.

Marc Zornes, CEO and co-founder, Winnow, said, “Winnow is delighted to partner with Hilton, Goumbook and UNEP West Asia on this initiative during Ramadan. Food waste is an important area of interest for the region from a social and environmental perspective. Our intention is for this collaboration to be underpinned by real-world data and behavioural science, offering a playbook for the industry to tackle food waste”.

Tatiana Antonelli, founder and managing director, Goumbook, said, “We are thrilled to collaborate with Hilton on their Green Ramadan initiative alongside UNEP West Asia and Winnow. With food waste almost doubling in the holy month of Ramadan, there is a great opportunity to raise awareness and spotlight the benefits of local sourcing and food waste management. As we look forward to COP28 happening in the Middle East later in 2023, this is our chance to address the need to instill change and drive action”.

Source: Hilton

ESG factors can have a significant impact on the attractiveness of commercial assets to occupiers, as well as investors

Dubai: Aging office buildings in Dubai and Riyadh present a unique investment opportunity as occupier expectations start turning increasingly green, according to a new report, The ESG Imperative – The View From The Middle East – https://bit.ly/3ehxPwC, by global property consultancy, Knight Frank.

As sustainability issues take centre stage globally, environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are growing in importance. With 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions traced to the buildings we occupy, the imperative to go green has never been stronger. Furthermore, ESG factors can have a significant impact on the attractiveness of commercial assets to occupiers, as well as investors.


Faisal Durrani, Partner – Head of Middle East Research, Knight Frank, explained: “Occupying best-in-class office space is no longer a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have. Businesses are quickly discovering that to win the battle against the global talent shortage, a key tool is occupying world-class office space that effectively doubles as a showroom. This allows a business to showcase itself to potential clients as well as future talent, while offering a workspace that employees are proud to work in. This will be critical as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Knight Frank’s report points to Dubai’s office market, where there has been a sharp return to rental growth for locations that have higher concentrations of new, or relatively modern stock. Submarkets such as Business Bay, the DIFC and the Dubai Design District have all seen rents surpass pre-COVID levels, while older parts of the city where there is a higher concentration of older, more secondary stock are still struggling to return pre-pandemic lease rates. This is not necessarily due to a lack of demand in the market, says Knight Frank, but a lack of demand for older offices.

Durrani continued, “The flight to quality and sharpened focus on Grade A space is reflected in the fact that Grade A buildings in Dubai have occupancy levels in the high 80’s to low 90’s per cent, while in Riyadh, Grade A occupancy levels are hovering around the 97% mark.

“While the DIFC retains its position as Dubai’s financial heart and commands the highest office rents in the city, its buildings are rapidly aging. Indeed, 51% of the precinct’s 6 million square feet of office space was completed before 2010. The same is true for some other popular locations such as Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, where the average age of office buildings is 15 years across the 10.3 million square feet of office space in these areas. Similarly, in Riyadh 50% of office space on King Fahd Road and 84% of office space on Olaya Road is over 5-10 years old.”


Inevitably there will have been some refurbishment activity across these markets, but without extensive refurbishment that is ESG compliant, some buildings may start to see increasing voids and falling rents as occupiers gravitate towards more modern and green buildings.

Ben Walker, Partner – Head of Project and Building Consultancy, said: “All is however not lost for older buildings. Grade B buildings are often better located in that they are completed communities, with supporting infrastructure already in place. Clearly it will not necessarily be financially viable to refurbish all Grade B buildings, but the traditional demolish-and-rebuild approach in the region may soon be difficult to achieve as banks scrutinise the carbon footprint of new schemes before awarding development financing. Indeed, the carbon footprint of a refurbishment is far lower than the demolish and rebuild route”.

According to Knight Frank, average renovation or refurbishment costs for office buildings in Dubai currently range from approximately AED 280 psf and can be as high as AED 580 psf.

Walker added, “For refurbishment projects, a 40-50% uplift in the cost of the contract is the norm when attempting to achieve a LEED Silver rating. Clearly it may not always be possible to achieve a Platinum LEED rating as the cost may far outweigh any expected benefit and some older buildings may not be suitable to accept the retrofit needed.

“Overall, however, the message from businesses is clear: ESG credentials are quickly becoming a must have, especially for international blue-chip businesses. And this is not necessarily just LEED. It also includes WELL certification, which is focused on the experience of the occupants of a building, but also WiredScore Certification.

“Landlords may view this as lost cap-ex, but we have evidence from mature cities such as London where we have evidence to show clear rental premia associated with ESG-badged office buildings. There is no reason why we cannot expect to see the same in Dubai, particularly while internationally accepted, green-rated buildings remain in short supply”.


Knight Frank also highlights the investor appetite for green-rated buildings, with over US$ 120 trillion worth of real estate assets managed by funds that are signed up to voluntary climate-change disclosures.

“The region is yet to successfully attract global institutional capital in a meaningful way. The key reasons have been around the lack of assets of scale and market transparency. All that being said, investors are abandoning brown assets in favour of green-rated buildings. So, we have a clear opportunity to create these assets, attract strong covenants and deliver these green assets right into the hands of ESG-hungry funds.

“A significant test will come in the form of the US$80 billion 2024 IPO planned by the US$500 billion Saudi super-city NEOM, which has placed sustainability at the heart of its development objectives”, concluded Durrani.

More than 60 experts from ministries, public and private organisations, as well as local and international corporations, explored challenges and opportunities in the sector.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The third edition of the Future Food Forum, concluded yesterday highlighting the need for redefining regulations, consumer trends, crisis management and innovation in F&B safety and packaging, upcoming innovative ingredients, and brand building on social media.

he event was organised and hosted by the UAE Food & Beverage Manufacturers Business Group, presented by Food Tech Valley and in strategic partnership with Dubai Chamber and, welcomed over 60 F&B manufacturing thought leaders to deliberate on opportunities and challenges in achieving sustainability and food security, with a special networking session for FBMG women leaders.

Saleh Lootah, Chairman of the UAE Food & Beverage Manufacturers Business Group, said: “We are pleased to see the overwhelming support from the regulators and businesses, as we aim to deliberate strategies that can transform the nation’s food and beverage manufacturing sector by significantly increasing its contribution to the national economy. As a group, we are committed to working on enhancing the competitiveness of the UAE F&B sector and committed to supporting the National Food Security Strategy 2051.”

Moderating the first panel of the day, Dr. Hassan Bayrakdar, Founder and Managing Director, RAQAM Consultancy said: “Enhancing communication channels between regulators and the F&B industry, constant and coherent updates on policies, and frequent deliberations on existing challenges will be key in boosting the productivity of the sector. This will aid us to innovate for the future on a global scale instead of fixing challenges that are of the past, a proactive regulatory atmosphere will help us be prepared for very important changes in the sector.” The session also featured Omar Hisham, Business Development Manager, RAQAM Consultancy; Eng. Ali Rashid AlGhafri, Director, Food Standard and Conformity, Oman; Eng. Reem Mahmoud Alqaisi, Head of Food Standards and Quality Department, Jordan Food and Drug Administration; and Lucas Blaustein, Regional Agricultural Attaché, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Andrey Dvoychenkov, General Manager, NielsenIQ – Arabian Peninsula & Pakistan, highlighted how consumer lifestyle is changing as they make healthier choices, look for food that doesn’t affect the environment and their health, and are curious to try new products. The panel also hosted Igor Marti, Vice President MENAT, BRF; Manisha Juneja, Global Research Manager, Toluna UK; Sam Gill, Regional Manager – MENA, Meat & Livestock Australia; and Shahid Khan, CEO, Al Islami Foods, UAE; and was moderated by Ahmed Bayoumi, CEO, Global Food Industries, UAE.

Other panel discussions on the day focused on varied themes including – managing crises within the food and beverage supply chain, the future of food and beverage packaging, an overview into the world of exciting new ingredient technologies and innovations for healthier food, and the challenges of a new era in food safety in disrupted times.

A special FBMG Women Leaders Networking Session with female leaders in the sector who shared their experiences and at two back-to-back panels, which hosted – Melda Yasa Cebe, Managing Director MEA, Kraft Heinz; Amal Al Ahmadi, Head of Research and Development, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment UAE; Forough Ahmadi, Deputy CEO, NTDE, Samah Al Hajery, Director, Cooperatives and Strategic Reserve, Ministry of Economy; Jeanette Kristensen AL Haider, GM Emirates National Food; Marcela Sancho, Co-founder House of Pops, Dimple Tahiliani, Head of Operations, Arab India Spices; Disha Pagarani, Director of Sales & Marketing at Pure Food Processing Industries; and Yan Narayan, Director, Hunter Foods – who were honoured by the  UAE Food & Beverage Manufacturers Business Group.

The panel hosting top influencers on how to plan F&B brands’ social strategies discusses why it is important to target audiences beyond the local market, use content in multiple languages, and engage with their audience by interacting with them promptly. The session was moderated by Saleh Lootah, Chairman of the F&B Manufacturers Business Group hosted influencers including Munthir Al Muzai Al Shamsi, Amal Ahmad, Mohammad AlBanna, and Abdullah Ismail.

Manisha Juneja, Market Research Lead-Middle East & Africa at Toluna, said: “The middle east region is experiencing a surge in the consumption of plant-based food and beverages, especially over the past few years. A study that we have recently conducted in UAE & KSA to understand how the plant-based category is shaping, revealed that more than half of the residents have either tried or have started consuming plant-based products in the past 6 months, compared to merely 9% of the population. Surprisingly 38% of those who consume plant-based products have claimed themselves to be flexitarians and no Vegetarians in UAE and the same is true for 30% of the consumers of plant-based products in KSA. The top three influencing factors in consumers’ minds include freshness, quality, and nutritional value. Accordingly, brands need to communicate more on these parameters to build trust, encourage brand trial and gain market share.”

Szymon Ulanowski, General Manager, Spyrax Sarco Middle East & North Africa (MENA), who attended the event said: “I commend the forum for highlighting the importance of efficiency during the food production process as a key part of achieving sustainability and product quality including their longevity, and even flavour, something we at Spirax Sarco provide to our end-users through our expertise and equipment. I am pleased to see the F&B dialogue going beyond the packaging and shelf life to discuss how each component on the factory floor impacts the safety and quality of products.”

The last programme on the day honoured young chefs and food influencers of Instagram, Maitha and Abdulrahman, as well as the forum chair, Sumeet Mathur for spearheading the Future Food Forum over three editions as chairman initiative to bring together the sector through the forum. Reflecting on the programme Sumeet Mathur said: “There was a lot of knowledge that was being shared on this stage by over 90 experts, more importantly, the chemistry between the participant and how connected to almost all topics being discussed, made this a must-attend event for the sector. Seeing the spirit of collaboration shown here, I believe we will go to a better future as an industry.”

Around 700 CEOs and government and regulatory delegates participated in the two-day event, which featured high-level keynote addresses, in-depth panel discussions, and fireside chat sessions driving diverse aspects of the F&B manufacturing value chain.


About the Future Food Forum 2022:

The Future Food Forum 2022 is hosted by the UAE Food & Beverage Manufacturers Business Group; it aims to connect and develop the food and beverage manufacturing industry and leaders and empower industry growth. The forum will discuss how regional, corporate and government institutions face different food and beverage industry issues. Furthermore, with interactive panel sessions, CEO roundtables, and other activities, Future Food Forum 2022 strives to become a one-stop platform to learn the best practices.

visit: https://futurefoodseries.com/