UAE retailers urged to embed sustainability in their operations

Published on October 27, 2023

UAE’s retailers have been urged to embed sustainability throughout their operations, raise the bar on climate ambition, and drive positive behavioural change from consumers in the process.

The call came from Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, speaking at the 13th National Dialogue for Climate Ambition (NDCA), a monthly stakeholder forum organised by the Ministry to raise sector climate ambition and advance all-inclusive participation.

The Minister underlined the influential role the UAE’s retail sector can play in achieving the nation’s goal to be Net Zero by 2050.

Climate Pledge by 131 businesses

Hosted at Dubai Chambers, the sponsor of the annual Retail Summit, a global gathering of retailers and sectoral experts, she welcomed the signatures of 13 more businesses to the UAE Climate Responsible Companies Pledge, bringing the overall total to 131. The pledge is a commitment and dedication to embedding sustainability in their operations and inspiring customers and partners to embrace sustainable action.

Almheiri said: “For the UAE to meet its climate goals we need every part of the economy working towards creating a greener future – and that includes retail. I welcome 13 more signatories of the UAE Climate Responsible Companies Pledge, which underline their commitment to climate action. At COP28 next month, UAE businesses will not be sitting on the sidelines. They will be front and centre, showcasing sustainable action, innovation, and ambition. They will show that business must be part of the climate solution.”

According to reports, global retail supply chains are responsible for 25% of global emissions and for 40% of plastic usage worldwide. And today, the world produces twice the plastic compared to two decades ago – and just 9% is recycled. Addressing how the retail sector views and manages both emissions and plastic usage is an important part of the UAE’s strategic vision and climate goals.

Strategic imperative

“Addressing how the retail sector views and manages both emissions and plastic usage is a strategic imperative for climate action,” said Almheiri. “This is also because less than 20% of retailers are on track to supporting the world in meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. Here in the UAE, we are fortunate to not only have a very strong leadership steer and commitment but also such an inspiring business community that is ready to convert climate action as a tangible reality.”

She added: “We must also support customers make the green transition and change behaviour. We can do this by enabling retailers, consumers and supply chains move in the same direction towards sustainability. A move that is in everyone’s interests. Businesses that are embracing the green transition are feeling the economic benefits. From jobs to technological efficiencies, sustainable practices can help drive growth. The UAE, through its Green Agenda 2030 is encouraging businesses to grow in a more sustainable way.”

The Minister concluded her speech by stressing that businesses that are embracing the green transition are feeling the economic benefits, and that a move towards a greener future must allow all businesses to take advance of these opportunities.

Green Agenda 2030

She highlighted that the UAE, through its Green Agenda 2030 is encouraging businesses to grow in a more sustainable way through awareness and incentive schemes for businesses such as supporting green manufacturing; encouraging the use of alternative fuels; promoting of green jobs to fresh graduates.

The 13 businesses that have signed newly signed the signed the UAE Climate Responsible Companies Pledge are: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB); Tristar; Transworld; Arabian Gulf Steel Industries (AGSI); Future Glass; FIVE Holdings; HITACHI; IN2 Communications; M42 Mubadala Health; Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA); Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC); AMEA Power; Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD); and Ricardo.

The National Dialogue for Climate Ambition (NDCA) is an initiative launched by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) as a platform to define and raise sectoral climate ambition and advance participation in the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.

The 13th session was titled ‘Shifting to A Responsible Consumer Behavior in the Retail Industry’. Discussions and roundtables covered topics including, ‘Greening Retail’ and ‘Driving Retail Towards Net Zero: Opportunities, Incentives and Challenges’. Speakers included Omar Khan, Head of Centre for Business Studies and Research, and Mohammad Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers.

Source: TradeArabia