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Issue 32 | MARCH 2013

BEYOND THE HOUR how earth hour can influence long term change in the corporate world Publication licensed by IMPZ

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GCC Energy outlook | DEWA HEADQUARTERS | GREENING MOSQUES | obstacles for smes


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Publisher Dominic De Sousa COO Nadeem Hood


Praseeda Nair Editor

n an exceptionally hot summer day in 2010, every resident in the Turkish village of Büyükeceli had a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in hand, in celebration of their focused effort to go green. To these eco-conscious villagers, solar panels are the gift that keep on giving, having installed roof panels of 2.25 kilowatt capacity on their neighbourhood mosque. The world’s first zero carbon mosque defined how clean energy and sustainable living can seamlessly merge with most cultural and religious ideology, especially as the villagers rallied against the government’s proposed nuclear power plant that was poised to fuel the country. In 10 short days, the villagers were celebrating their move by passing out sustainably squeezed orange juice. The core principles which emerge from centuries of Islamic teachings support the tenets of sustainability, acknowledging the the need for sustainable consumption of shared resources, and the universal right to water and other precious commodities. The green mosque in Büyükeceli isn’t an overambitious pilot project. It is merely a real world example of what is achievable within communities anywhere along the global sunbelt. With the UAE primed to inaugurate its first green mosque in 2014, design strategies from shading and glazing, to operational strategies in the use of artificial lighting, have all been thoroughly considered. A key component in making this project more than a one-off gimmick lies in the mosque’s water-saving strategy. In this issue, we take a look at how regional governments can align the values of Islam in their sustainability policies as a way of garnering public support. In March we also examine how the largest eco-awareness campaign in the world, Earth Hour, can transcend the 60 minutes of attention it is usually afforded, to reach a wider consumptionconscious audience. We also tour Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s promising headquarters in Al Quoz, exploring how the public sector can model its new and existing developments to the same standards.

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Issue 32 | MARCH 2013

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BEYOND THE HOUR how earth hour can influence long term change in the corporate world Publication licensed by iMPZ Please recycle after use



GCC EnErGy outlook | DEWA HEADQuArtErS | GrEEnInG MoSQuES | obStAClES for SMES


March 2013




CONTENTS March 2013



16 GCC energy outlook A look at the renewable investments in the region

CONSTRUCTION 22 Case study: Downtown Riyadh Villas in the Sky, The Gem, and Crystal Tower set the tone for Saudi’s sustainable landscape 26 DEWA’s green step BGreen visits DEWA’s newly inaugurated headquarters

Beyond the hour

30 Real-estate recovery Examining real-estate projects in the UAE ahead of ecoConstruct Expo 2013

BGreen looks at how Earth Hour can influence long term change in the corporate world

News 10 UAE 12 WORLD 14 REALLY?!



20 Tanzeed Alam on renewables in the region


March 2013







SPECIAL FEATURE 32 Beyond the hour Using Earth Hour as more than a symbol of environmental awareness 34 Elevating the cause The world’s first Earth Hour forest planned in Uganda 36 HSBC’s green pledge A case study for the private sector

GREEN BUSINESS 48 Sustainability starts small Obstacles for SMEs in going green

OIL & GAS 52 Responsible care GPCA’s environmental portfolio

GREEN TECHNOLOGY 38 Ablution solutions Water efficient technology in mosques 42 The 60 minute change Canon Middle East pledges to take a step beyond the Earth Hour

ECO-LEISURE 44 Painting the ocean blue Marine friendly coatings and paints explored

SOCIETY 56 Green watch Upgrading the UNEP 59 Green Personality Wangari Maathai 61 Diary dates 62 Sustainable past City of stone - Sassi di Matera

March 2013



Expert Panel

Saeed Alabbar

Thomas Bohlen

LEED AP, Estidama PQP Vice Chairman Emirates Green Building Council Director Alabaar Energy and Sustainability Group

NCARB,LEED AP, BD +C, ESTIDAMA PQP Chief Technical Officer Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development

Dr Michael Krämer

DR Mutasim Nour


Senior Associate Taylor Wessing (Middle East) LLP Legal Counsel Emirates Solar Industry Association

Director of MSc Energy Heriot Watt University, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence

Goktug Gur

Roderick Wiles


COUNTRY PRESIDENT UAE and Oman Schneider Electric

Director - Africa, Middle East, India and Oceania American Hardwood Export Council


Abdulrahman Jawahery President Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company Chairman GPCA Responsible Care Initiative

His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi

Environmental Advisor Ajman Government Chief Executive Officer Al Ihsan Charity Centre Chairman International Steering Committee Global Initiative Towards a Sustainable Iraq, UAE

JosE Alberich PARTNER AT Kearney

The concept behind the BGreen Expert Panel is to provide a platform for those who are active in encouraging sustainable practices and solutions across industries— the real experts—who can share their views, analyses, and research with our informed readers. We will also be organising quarterly events for the panellists to meet and mingle, while discussing the latest in news, strategies and solutions on focussed topics related to sustainability. Alan Millin LEED AP, Chartered Engineer consultant/trainer Middle East Facility Management Association

MARCH 2013

Panellists are encouraged to pen their comments, opinions and analyses that can be

published in our magazine, as well as on our website in a portfolio format documenting their contributions. The Panel is constantly growing as we strive to form the ultimate taskforce of decision makers, academicians, consultants and engineers that can encourage a sustainable watershed across industries. If you would like to nominate an expert to join our panel, please email our Editor, Praseeda Nair, at

The Total Office, PO Box 26326, Dubai, United Arab Emirates | T: 04 450 8700 | F: 04 450 8702 | Email: |



car-free daY On 13 February 2013, 5000 vehicles participated in the fourth annual Car Free Day in Dubai. Organised by the Dubai Municipality, more than 27 governments, schools and private sector institutes were involved in the event. “Our aim in future is to observe the Car Free Day with the participation of all government and private organisations,” said Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of the Municipality. Last year, a total of 18 organisations participated and managed to get 3,500 vehicles off the road. The Municipality claims that the initiative saved 10.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions that day. This year, the initiative helped to reduce 14 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. “I appreciate the enthusiasm of public to support such ecofriendly initiatives and the civic body has already hundreds of employees who quit private cars and started using public transport for daily conveyance,” added Lootah.

Green Sheikh becomes Earth ambassador

In his continued efforts to spread the message of sustainability, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, known as UAE’s ‘Green Sheikh’ has been appointed as the 16th ambassador of the Earth Condominium. Known for his many contributions and work for the environment, the Green Sheikh is the second person in the MENA region to receive this honour. Prior to this event, Musafa Al Ammar, an Iraqi singer and actor who has been actively involved in the field of ecology was named ambassador in July 2011. During a press conference in Ajman, Sheikh Abdul Aziz mentioned that the honour is “an achievement to the UAE, particularly, and to the Arab world at large, there are still huge challenges in the face of environmental development in the Arab world, and everyone has to get involved if these challenges are to be overcome.”

sustainability in labour camps Home appliances manufacturer, Bosch, supplied three washing machines to a women’s labour camp in Mussafah in an effort to improve the daily lives of its residents. The request for help came from Abu Dhabi based charity, Labor of Love, which supports over 100 women who live in the camp through regular initiatives to attract donations. A reported 23% of water used in the UAE is domestic. With average daily water usage of 550 litres per day in the UAE, almost double the global average of 250, the machines will play their part in helping the environment given the camp’s intensive usage.

March 2013

The new machines are programmed to reduce the consumption of water and energy at the camp through Bosch’s award winning product design, which focuses on minimising environmental impact. Angel Wesley, founder of Labour of Love, said: “In our work, which includes various programmes and initiatives, they often ask us for specific items that will lessen the burden of their already busy and demanding schedules. We were recently asked by the women of West Coast cleaning company, who work in hospitals and schools throughout the UAE, if we could supply them with additional washing

machines at their accommodation in Musaffah in Abu Dhabi because the women are doing their weekly laundry on Friday – their off day. To our and their immense delight Bosch offered to provide three brand new, top quality washing machines.” Bosch’s Marketing Director Georg Kazantzidis added: “Bosch is committed to supporting the local community as part of our ongoing CSR campaign and help it become a better place to live for its residents. Therefore, when we saw Labor of Love’s request on Facebook for some new washing machines we were only too happy to help.”



Forward on Climate An estimated 35,000 activists from hundreds of environmental, social justice and community groups gathered in Washington to address President Obama in the largest climate change rally in the history of the United States. The protestors walked down the streets of Washington bearing placards and chanting. The rally called on President Obama to take immediate action on climate change, including the call for the government to block the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Keystone XL has been an ongoing issue for many environmental activists, who surprised policy makers and the pipeline industry by protesting against the proposed pipeline, which would import ‘tar sand’ oil from Canada to the U.S. “Today was one of the best days of my life because I saw the movement come together finally, big and diverse and gorgeous,” tweeted President Bull MCKibben, head of, one of the environmental groups organising the event, told the crowd. The rally, known as, ‘Forward on Climate,’ began shortly after the president’s state of the union speech which addressed the issue of climate change and encouraged American leaders to “act before it is too late.” “For 25 years our government has basically ignored the climate crisis: now people in large numbers are finally demanding they get to work,” Bill McKibben, said. The timing of the rally demonstration was significant as it is in the early stages of the administration’s second term.

March 2013

Although many say that President Obama achieved important green goals in his first term, sceptics argue that he did not achieve enough in the fight to address climate change. The use of the term ‘climate change’ was not mentioned during Obama or Mitt Romney’s presidential debates, leaving many environmentalists unconvinced of future climate change actions.

Beyond their means The Romanian Minister Delegate for Energy, Constantin Nita, stated that the value of Romania’s green certificates were way “too big”. The certificates which comes up to 500 million Euros a year cannot be supported by households and industrial users. Though the maximum value of one green certificate may vary, he said there will be no changes made to the minimum value of the same which is 27 Euros. This is done so that the country can amend the renewable incentives scheme. Romania’s green certificates were granted last year to electricity producers for each megawatt hour generated produced from wind, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage plant treatment gas, or solar. The certificates were approved by the state to these producers could then be sold to the energy suppliers in a specific market.

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A spiky shower Boring old shower curtains are becoming a thing of the past with Elisabeth Beucher’s latest water-saving invention


here is no denying that the overconsumption of water is one of the biggest threats to the environment. With sustainability in mind, many people have tried to find a practical solution for water consumption. New and exciting innovations are constantly hitting the market, and Elisabeth Beucher’s eco-conscious invention, the Spiky shower curtain, focuses on modifying consumer behaviour, starting with

March 2013

cutting down lengthy showers. The innovative shower curtain is an amusing way to monitor water consumption in the shower, set to a default timing of four minutes per session. During the four minutes, the curtain monitors the water consumption rate, and kicks users out when they have exceeded the time limit. The process of the curtain is simple: the foam spikes on the

curtain walls begin to inflate as water usage increases during the shower. As the water pours down the drain, an air pump inflates the spikes slowly. Leading up to the four-minute mark, it becomes increasingly difficult to prolong the shower due to the discomfort in having foam spikes invade users’ personal space, thus cutting down water use to an efficient four minutes.

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KONE is the pioneer of eco-efficiency in the elevator industry. For several decades, KONE has led the way in creating innovative solutions that help to significantly cut the energy consumption of buildings. Lifecycle assessments of KONE elevators show that the greatest environmental impact of an elevator stems from the electricity used in the operation of the equipment. Therefore, the key focus area for KONE is to systematically reduce the energy consumption of its elevators with each new product release. Elevators consist mostly of metals and over 90% of this material can be recycled. Supporting green building through energy measurements and calculations KONE MonoSpace elevators have achieved excellent A-class energy efficiency ratings in measurements performed by independent third parties. We offer VDI A-class energy efficiency for our entire elevator range. KONE is focusing on the ongoing development of standards such as ISO/DIS 25745, Energy Performance of Lifts and Escalators, which will define globally agreed criteria for measurement and comparison between different technologies and products in terms of energy consumption. KONE has developed tools to estimate the energy consumption of customer-specific solutions in the design phase of each project. These tools are especially helpful for customers working on green building certified (e.g. LEED, BREEAM) projects.

KONE eco-efficiency milestones • 1987: KONE introduces the V3F frequency converter, improving the energy efficiency of its hoisting machines. • 1991: KONE is the first elevator company to utilize regenerative drives in its elevators. • 1996: KONE invents and launches the first machine-room-less elevator, KONE MonoSpace® , providing up to 70% energy savings compared to conventional technology. • 2005: KONE MonoSpace is the first elevator to include LED lighting as a standard feature. • 2006: KONE unveils the concept of solar powered elevators. • 2009: KONE launches high-performance regenerative drives for a full range of applications. • 2010: KONE receives A-class energy efficiency ratings for its elevators (VDI standard 4707). • 2012: KONE launches completely renewed and more energy efficient KONE EcoDisc ® hoisting machine for the KONE elevators.

KONE follows the latest green building trends through its involvement in green building associations around the world.

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energy outlook The power capacity in the Middle East and North Africa is set to grow at an annual rate of 7.8% to meet the region’s increasing demand. BGreen outlines the sector’s trajectory in the coming years

March 2013



n the next five years, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will need to pump US$250 billion into its power to meet regional electricity demand growth, according to experts who spoke to BGreen at the recently held Middle East Electricity 2013 trade show.

Surging demand Global investment in renewable energy reached $257 billion in 2011, and despite the sluggish economy, global investment in clean energy totalled $56.6 billion in the third quarter of 2012. Power consumption in the UAE is estimated to more than double by 2020, with the government foreseeing an investment of $25 billion in power generation over the next eight years to keep up with demand, according to a recent report by the Kuwait Financial Centre, Markaz. The report, ‘GCC Power’, stated that the UAE’s power consumption will rise from the existing 87TWh (terawatt-hour) to 180TWh in 2020, as the country’s power sector rises in tandem with economic growth

achieved over the last decade. Growing at 8.5% annually overall, much of UAE’s growth comes from Abu Dhabi as the capital expects power demand to increase by 11% annually until 2015, mirroring the emirate’s population surge of 7.7 % per annum. Dubai expects 3.5% growth over the next decade and 2.5% from 2020 to 2030, in anticipation of which the government has been making infrastructural changes ahead of time.

Investing in energy The total amount of required capital investment includes power generation, transmission and distribution (GTD), and accounts for more than 200 planned and announced energyrelated projects in the MENA region valued between $100 million and $20 billion. Countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) hold the lion’s share of investment growth, accounting for 42% ($105 billion) of total required expenditure, while Iran alone will

require $49 billion (20% of total value) worth of investment for power GTD by 2017. With at least ten solar power facilities worth a combined US$6.8 billion currently under way in the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, the renewable energy sector in particular has been gathering momentum.

Renewables in focus “Everyone is desperate to invest in the Middle East solar industry, they are all just waiting for clear instructions from the governments in the region,” says Jigar Shah, Partner of clean energy investment company, Inerjys, and Chairman of the inaugural edition of Solar Middle East Conference. “The economics of switching to solar energy are far better here than in South Africa, India, Brazil, China and the United States. Now that the costs of developing solar technologies have significantly declined, it is time for the Middle East to turn talk into action.” Middle East governments have already signified their intent to

March 2013




The region can be the global leader in solar energy on the practical innovation and deployment side of the equation” boost solar power within their regional energy mix, with at least ten major solar projects worth a combined US$6.8 billion currently under way in the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. However, the region still lags behind more established markets such as Europe and North America. Khalid Masri, Managing Director of consultancy firm Standards Associates, and another speaker at the Solar Middle East Conference says the lack of clear policy and incentives in the Middle East remains the main challenge in utilising solar energy to its full potential. “These can be overcome by introducing state of the art regulations and standards that allow the solar industry to grow and that give the private sector incentives and guarantees to start investing,” says Masri. “The region can be the global leader in solar energy on the practical innovation and deployment side of the equation.” It has been widely reported that Qatar is currently working on a solar energy project which will account for 16% of the country’s total electrical output by 2018, while Saudi Arabia is seeking investors for a US$109 billion solar energy programme which will provide a third of electricity needs by 2032 to add to their planned nuclear, wind and geothermal output. IRENA estimates that GCC countries can achieve up to $200 billion in returns as early as 2030 through renewable energy integration. Countries in the Gulf

March 2013

region continue to establish many ambitious clean energy projects which are supported by innovative research and development as well as investment. IRENA reports that there are presently 30 such projects which are in planning stage, under construction or have been completed in the region. The trend marks a shift in the demand for new resources of energy to developing countries, particularly the MENA and South Asia.

applications in January for projects in emerging markets to be win ADFD concessional loans of $50 million in the first of its seven funding cycles. “This financing from ADFD, administered with the support of IRENA, will help projects that are innovative and replicable to get off the ground,” says IRENA’s Deputy Director-General, Frank Wouters. “By making such projects bankable, we believe we can create substantial growth Incentivising renewables opportunities for renewables in The International Renewable Energy energy-poor countries.” Recent landmark power Agency (IRENA) has been driving the recent increase in investment in projects in the UAE include the 1000MV solar park unveiled renewable energy in the UAE with by Dubai Electricity and Water the roll out of the first allotment of Authority (DEWA) in January its $350 million funding cycle in 2012, while Abu Dhabi Water and conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Electricity Authority (ADWEA) is Fund for Development (ADFD). planning to launch its first ever The two Abu Dhabi-based institutions are working together to Independent Power Project (IPP), incentivise cutting edge renewable Shuweihat 3 at an estimated cost of $2.5 billion with a power energy projects in developing capacity of 1,600MV by 2014. countries. IRENA opened up


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Comment | Alam

Renewables in the region Tanzeed Alam, Policy Director at Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF, explains the need for enhancing the role of renewable energy in GCC countries


Tanzeed Alam

March 2013

e live in an interconnected world where oil and gas resources flow from this region to consumers around the world, something that has particularly benefited the economies and people from the Arabian Gulf. Now, the advances being made by countries in this region on renewable energy and energy efficiency present new opportunities. To develop in an environmentally sustainable way, that helps secure energy resources, build resilient economies and tackle climate change. Almost every country in the GCC has set renewable energy targets. For example the UAE has targets of 7% by 2020 and 5% by 2030 target for Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively, Kuwait a 20% target by 2032 and Saudi Arabia, the most ambitious of all, where it plans to install 54GW of solar power by 2035, corresponding to a 40% target. Investment is also increasing. Saudi Arabia plans to invest $109billion to support its target and the UAE has committed substantial resources for domestic and international projects, such as $350million to IRENA to fund renewable energy projects. Funding is also beginning to go into research and development, as evidenced by initiatives such as the Masdar Institute, Qatar Science and Technology Park, Kuwait Institute

for Scientific Research and the Energy Institute at the King Abdul Aziz City fir Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. However, without supporting policy instruments, there is a risk that these targets will not be met and the renewable energy industry will not be commercially viable. Countries from the Arabian Gulf can take a number of steps to build on these existing efforts and ensure they can develop more renewable energy. Firstly, by using energy more efficiently, the region would reduce the need to build more generation capacity, which in turn would generate income that could be used to provide up front financing, a key barrier, for renewable energy projects. Energy efficiency initiatives should also have targets and supporting policy instruments, such as performance standards for appliances. Secondly, long-term investment in research and development would lead to improved performance and development of new technologies that are adapted to this region, such as solar plants that perform in hot, dusty and cloudy summer days. Investment in research and commercialisation would also help to develop skilled local graduates who can become renewable energy entrepreneurs in the future. Thirdly, current renewable energy targets should be supported through the development of policy instruments

such as feed in tariffs and economic instruments that ensure they operate on a level playing field when compared to oil and gas based power generation. So far only Saudi Arabia and Oman have announced plans to develop feed in tariffs, an instrument that has had proven impact in increasing the share of renewables to 25% in Germany for example. Fourthly, greater regional cooperation on research and energy planning would help to maximise impact, enhance knowledge sharing and implementation across borders; utilising platforms such as the EU-GCC Clean Energy Network,

Comment | Alam

the World Future Energy Summit and IRENA can help in this regard. Finally, by engaging more in international climate and energy forums, the region can also improve international awareness of domestic activities. At the recent UN climate change conference in Doha, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, submitted a statement of intention to pledge actions on climate change mitigation, under the banner of economic diversification. Never has this context been so important. The USA and China, two major importers of regional oil and gas, are now striving for greater energy

independence by developing their domestic reserves of shale gas and oil. By continuing this shift towards renewable energy, supported by energy efficiency, countries from this region will have a more robust strategy to deal with shocks from the energy market, tackle global climate change and build more resilient economies.

Tanzeed Alam is the Policy Director for EWS-WWF. In his role, he develops the strategic direction and vision for the organisation’s policy engagement. The policy unit was set up in October 2010 with the aim of influencing government and business policy and practice in the UAE and region by providing science-based policy advice in

biodiversity conservation, ecological footprint and climate change. Tanzeed manages EWS-WWF’s policy engagement with public and private sectors, providing leadership, vision and strategic direction for the organization as a whole. The unit is currently focusing on two key areas: 1) The UAE Ecological Footprint Initiative, where EWS-WWF is providing policy advice to the UAE government on how best to reduce its footprint; 2) The ‘Heroes of the UAE private sector programme’, where companies are being helped to reduce their carbon footprint by conserving energy and water.

March 2013




Castles in the sand On a teardrop-shaped plot just north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the King Abdullah Financial District is emerging as a prime business hub for banks, commercial institutions, and professional services. BGreen looks at how Henning Larsen Architects employed Bentley BIM software in realising the LEED-certified master plan


he massive project, which broke ground in 2008, will provide more than three million square metres of floor space in 40 green buildings, as well as entertainment, recreational, and cultural attractions. This $10 billion development was inspired by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud’s vision for the Middle East’s first global financial centre. That vision is expected to be realised by 2012. Denmark’s Henning Larsen Architects finalised the masterplan for developing the 1.6 millionsquare metre plot after winning the international design competition

March 2013

in 2006. “When we designed the master plan for King Abdullah Financial District, the vision was not to break any records in terms of height, size, and so on,” says Birte Baek, CAD manager and 3D specialist for Henning Larsen Middle East. “Apart from creating state-of-the-art financial facilities, the vision was to create a public realm for people with a focus on the human scale and diversity, and on improving the environment from macro to micro level, both from a master plan point of view as well as for each individual being.” Henning Larsen was also project architect for three of the

district’s signature buildings: Crystal Towers, Villas in the Sky, and The Gem. These buildings are part of the four mixed-use parcels awarded to design-build contractor Saudi Binladin Group.

On a global scale While developing a new business district in less than four years poses its own challenges, there is an additional mandate for every building in the development to be LEED-silver or LEED-gold certifiable. This project could lead to the development of Riyadh’s first LEED-certified buildings.



The Crystal Towers feature recessed, scaled, crystalline apertures that optimise views of the plaza and landscaping while shielding the interior from the intense sunlight

“For our client, it’s important to get a distinct and sustainable Class A architecture, which means a design that is not only thought of as a ‘fantastic and amazing building’, but a concept that can communicate on all levels yet is durable and flexible for the future,” adds Baek.

Sustainability at its core The design has taken into account the site’s constraints and possibilities: from the local environment and population density, to building geometry and orientation. Indoor spaces are energyefficient, thanks to designs that minimise solar heat gain in the desert climate. The Crystal Towers feature recessed, scaled, crystalline apertures that optimise views of the plaza and landscaping while shielding the interior from the intense sunlight. The building facades of light stone cladding, in combination with lush vegetation and water features in the surrounding landscapes, lowers ambient air temperature around the towers by six to eight degrees celsius.

Social function The $151 million Crystal Towers, for example, are centrally located between the Financial Plaza and a verdant pedestrian thoroughfare called the Wadi. Housing 93,000 square metres of prime office and retail space, the 18- and 25-storey buildings are connected by a dramatic skywalk that not only welcomes through-traffic from the adjacent green spaces, but also provides shade for an outdoor meeting area. The towers themselves will shade much of the Wadi, where people may gather to socialise. “Our projects are characterised by a high degree of social responsibility, not only in relation

March 2013

to materials and production, but also as regards good, social spaces encouraging intimacy and community,” according to Baek. The district features expansive communal outdoor spaces, as well as a network of skywalks between buildings, allowing pedestrians to stroll from one end of the city to another without leaving the comfort of air-conditioning.

3D modelling To meet the fast-track schedule dictated by the completion deadlines, Henning Larsen used 3D tools to communicate and collaborate with more than 200 professionals from multiple disciplines in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Austria, and Denmark—just for the Crystal Towers project. Baek notes, “When we work on so tight a schedule as on these projects, in which the construction team

builds on site in parallel with the design team, it’s very important that we provide the right deliverable on time, and in the right quality, so that the build contractor gets the right information.” Using MicroStation and Bentley Architecture enabled the Henning Larsen project team to quickly and effectively achieve high quality and consistency from preliminary sketches through to detailed design. The 3D modelling, renderings, and visualisation were key to communicating the master plan vision to all stakeholders. During the early stages, a presentation video with vivid interior close-ups and exterior flyovers was particularly effectively at displaying the richly detailed design concepts. “Flythroughs are a very good way to explore and communicate designs, especially in master planning, as it then takes you through the public realm at


Project Summary Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Client: Saudi Binladin Group Gross floor area: 93,000 m2 (Crystal Towers), 33,500 m2 (Gem), 41,000 m2 (Villas in the Sky) Year of construction: 2009 - 2013 Type of assignment: Commission Design software: Bentley Architecture, Bentley Navigator, MicroStation, GenerativeComponents Structural Engineers: Thornton Tomasetti MEP: Hoare Lea Consulting eye level,” Baek says. “The detailed flythrough [presents] early design ideas that provide a better understanding of our vision and a clear understanding of the masterplan’s complexity.” The software also helped the team in following the sustainability guidelines that Henning Larsen devised for the district as a whole. The architects are serving as consultants during construction to ensure the design schemes submitted by other builders conform with King Abdullah’s vision. The 3D models and construction simulation help in working with contractors on site to evaluate the consequences of any changes.

Setting a new standard When the project is fully realised, the King Abdullah Financial District will set a new standard for sustainable urban development in cities around the world. As a vibrant city centre with green buildings shading green spaces, the district will become an active hub of urban activity. It will

not only be a place of commerce but also an entertainment destination and desirable residential neighbourhood. Apartments, shops, restaurants, sports facilities, hotels, and conference venues are expected to draw an international clientele. The district will employ a projected 50,000 people and house approximately 8,000 residents. A monorail connecting various areas of the district will provide public transportation throughout. The financial district’s predominantly green features will contribute to achieving the kingdom’s overriding objective: To provide an attractive working environment for the growing workforce in the financial sector — which is the largest in the region, with the 11th largest stock exchange in the world and the largest banking sector in the Middle East. This ambitious undertaking may indeed fulfill King Abdullah’s vision of transforming Saudi Arabia, already the world’s oil capital, into the Middle East’s financial capital.

Engineers Quantity Surveyors: Geoffrey Barnett Associates

Project Objectives: • Provide sustainability city centre for growing workforce in financial sector • Create LEED-certified master plan for King Abdullah Financial District • Design three signature, mixed-use buildings under design-build contract

March 2013


PhotographS by Marlou Delaben



DEWA’s green step Hailed as a flagship building for the public sector to emulate, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s newly inaugurated headquarters in Al Quoz extensively features elements of sustainable design, as Lorraine Bangera discovers onsite


t has only been a year since the national move towards a ‘green economy for sustainable development’ was announced, and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has already unveiled its sustainable building in the green industry. Deviating from Dubai’s one-off iconic buildings, the DEWA headquarters positions itself as an attainable model, with a vision to inspire other public sector constructions to shift ground. The green initiative was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who aims to transform the UAE to become one of the world leaders in sustainable development by conservation and using energyefficient solutions. As the first sustainable building in the UAE, the HQ was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance, and President of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). He was also

March 2013

responsible for taking charge of the project and launching the integrated framework for the construction of the building. The building has received an honorary platinum rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environment (LEED), after getting 98 out of 110 points. The criteria were set by the US Green Building Council institute, who considered all factors like the design, construction and operation compared to other green buildings around the world before making

a decision. It is now the largest platinum LEED certified government green building in the world. The sustainable building, soon to be a standard for other projects, can be seen as indicative of the changing construction scene in the UAE. During construction, resources used contained more than 36% worth of recycled materials. The building creates high levels of efficiency in terms of water consumption. A grey water treatment plant onsite ensures that sewage is treated

During construction, resources used contained more than 36% worth of recycled materials”

5% of parking space is dedicated to low-emitting fuel-efficient vehicles

20% of the site supports biodiversity, with a roof garden boasting five types of local plants

and reused in the cooling tower, for irrigation, and flushing toilets. Water-cooled chillers around the building helps in cutting down energy consumption. Insulation on the walls and roof improve the building’s energy performance by lowering its cooling load. Special glass installed throughout the structure reduces heat transfer. Low LED lights and automatic lighting control systems equipped with occupancy sensors keep energy consumption in check. A 660 kW solar power plant

constructed on the roof cuts the building’s carbon footprint. When asked about the challenges faced during the construction, Abdullah S. Obaidullah, executive vice president of DEWA commented, “the main challenge was sourcing the materials, for example the glass had to be specifically designed and shipped all the way from Germany. The other challenge was time; we had to construct this space within a two year construction period. Also as the concept was entirely

new to us and this was the first building we decided to build at this level, our inexperience also posed as a challenge. But if you look at it the right way they were all opportunities at the same time, with every challenge came an opportunity to solve the problem.” Last month the World Global Building Council (GBC) partnered with McGraw-Hill, leading global financial information and education company, to conduct a World Green Building Trends survey. The results reported that green buildings have become a long-term business opportunity. Mario Seneviratne, Director of Green Technologies, the consultants used on for DEWA’s sustainable building, said “it should grow exponentially, there shouldn’t be any reason not to,” when asked if the number of sustainable buildings would increase in the UAE. “We worked with DEWA very passionately on this particular project. Most of the time it is all about the big fancy buildings, but this is a down-toearth building in the industrial area of Al Quoz and it is truly the most outstanding building in this part of the world. We want to develop a normal structure, which everyone can build up, rather than one-off buildings.” The new 340,000 square feet DEWA building includes features like a customer service centre, a customer call centre, engineering and control centre, and the

March 2013


PhotographS by Marlou Delaben



PhotographS by Marlou Delaben


A 660 kW solar power plant constructed on the roof cuts the building’s carbon footprint� Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) centre for water systems that is open for the public. The building is located in Al Quoz connecting the industrial and urban areas of the city. Situated close to Noor Islamic Bank Metro Station on the Red Line of Dubai Metro, it gives people the opportunity to reduce pollution and land development impact from automobile use. The space also secures bicycle tracks for some of the regular building users, in addition to the preferential parking for low-emission and fuelefficient vehicles.

March 2013

Above: the headquarters features a rooftop garden with local flora, as well as solar panels that power the site Left: Mario Seneviratne with the site model Below: DEWA HQ from behind



Real-estate recovery

With multi-million dollar real estate projects both ongoing and in the pipeline across the GCC, Cityscape Abu Dhabi and ecoConstruct Expo 2013 promise to provide an invaluable industry stimulus


hile the UAE real estate market still faces a challenging scenario of oversupply; recent statistics reveal there is room for tentative optimism. According to lan Robertson, CEO, Jones Lang LaSalle MENA, “The foundations are being laid for a recovery from 2014, with a number

March 2013

of major infrastructure projects scheduled to start later this year. We also expect the real-estate in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai to benefit from increased economic activity between the UAE and East Asia, specifically China and South Korea, as well as sub Saharan Africa and Australia.”

Real estate advisory firm Jones Lang LaSalle’s Q4 2012 Dubai RealEstate Overview reported promising signs of recovery from the end of last year in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with upward prices in the residential, retail and hotel sectors. These were coupled with stimulus packages, as well as UAE Central


Bank mortgage loan-to-value caps to curb market fluctuations. According to the latest figures from Ventures ONSITE, the UAE has a value of projects planned, under tender, under construction or on hold, of US$900,953 million. Likewise, project values for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are US$673,490 million, Qatar US$108,063 million and Kuwait US$142,924 million. This positive outlook sets the platform for Cityscape Abu Dhabi and ecoConstruct Expo 2013 – held concurrently over three days from 16 to 18 April at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Already established as one of the world’s leading businessto-business real-estate events, Cityscape’s portfolio of exhibitions, conferences, round tables, seminars, and business breakfast events brings together key industry decision makers, international investors, developers, architects, designers and consultants. ecoConstruct Expo, hosted alongside Cityscape Abu Dhabi, provides an opportunity for the region’s consultants, contractors and architects to source sustainable building/construction solutions, and is a platform for local and international suppliers to showcase their eco-friendly building and infrastructure products which also reduce costs, increase output and raise overall building efficiency. Sustainability is gaining pace within the construction industry in 2013, continuing from 2012, with Abu Dhabi taking the lead. According to recent reports, developers across the region are turning their attention to the impact of sustainability and green construction concepts on their profits and cost savings targets. Energy audits have shown that energy bills can be reduced by up to 20 per cent through good design and the use of sustainable materials. Meanwhile, the industry as a whole is realising that the

lifecycle costs of these buildings can be reduced with minimal cost measures and a payback period of just 12 to 18 months. As such, 2013 is set to be a year of massive growth in the green building market – not least for developers looking to ensure the longevity of their assets. Adnan Sharafi, Emirates Green Building Council (Emirates/ GBC) Chairman explains, ‘’The construction industry in the region is witnessing robust growth, and emerging from the challenges faced in the last few years, the sector now has a renewed focus on sustainability and quality. Industry stakeholders seek materials and processes that will not only help optimise resource use efficiency, but also contribute to cost and energy savings in the long run. Through our participation at Cityscape Abu Dhabi and ecoConstruct Expo 2013, Emirates Green Building Council is underlining its commitment

to promoting best practices in sustainability in the built environment, in line with the green vision for the UAE.” As steady growth is being witnessed within the industry, this focus on preservation and quality will benefit everyone from the Developer to the end-user. “Being the region’s leading event focusing on green sustainability, ecoConstruct Expo has a crucial role to play in what is an ever-increasing priority for the building industry,” offered Chris Speller, Commercial Director, Informa. “Together with Cityscape Abu Dhabi, the Expo is perfectly aligned to provide a holistic view of one of the region’s key economic sectors.” Both events are supported by Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) as a Strategic Partner while Emirates Steel is ecoConstruct Expo’s Principal Sponsor.

March 2013




Beyond the hour As the UAE’s tallest towers blend into the night during Earth Hour, Praseeda Nair examines how the private sector can avoid using this symbol of environmental awareness as a marketing gimmick, by truly going beyond the hour


ast year, leading up to the one hour of the year when major cities across the world voluntarily plunge into darkness, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) posed a global challenge. Announcing its “I Will If You Will” (IWIYW) campaign, the non-governmental organisation planned to mobilise the institutions and individuals to embrace the goal of Earth Hour: to behave conscientiously beyond the symbolic 60 minutes. Nearly 10,000 challenges were posted on as part of this campaign in 2012, attracting more than 4.6 million people around the world to the cause. In the UAE, each emirate had its own way of acknowledging and supporting Earth Hour last year, from the celebratory candlelit walk around Emaar Boulevard in Dubai, to the indoor cycle-thon generating enough electricity to power a building for an hour in Abu Dhabi. “2012 was a record breaking year in terms of participation from the UAE with all 7 emirates participating, as well as having some of the countries’ most iconic buildings and monuments standing in darkness as a powerful symbol of this landmark environmental action,” according to Reem Al Thawadi, EWS-WWF Communications Manager, heading the Earth Hour movement in the UAE. Among the

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300 challenges stemming from the UAE, celebrities and dignitaries like His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuami and columnist Ali Al Saloom of “Ask Ali” fame, pledged to take on personal challenges of their own in support of the cause.

Private sector challenges The private sector has a considerable amount of clout in driving the campaign in both the government and grassroots level, explains Al Thawadi in an

It is crucial for all private sector entities to maintain high levels of transparency and honest framework for their efforts within organisations and with their consumers, by simply relying on legitimate environmental standards”

Reem Al Thawadi

interview with BGreen. “Private sector companies usually have wider networks and wide reach, including their families, customers, partners and suppliers. It is crucial for them to make a commitment to ongoing change that reduces environmental impact through sustainable business practices.” Businesses in the UAE can start by reducing their energy and water

consumption: a goal that can be attained effectively and quickly, according to Al Thawadi. “They can use the freely available Heroes of the UAE Business Toolkit as well as learn from current case studies from the website. Some businesses reached up to 89% savings in water and up to 55% savings in energy consumption by following simple actions, such as opting for more efficient lighting, installing water saving devices and switching off office appliances when not in use.”

Avoiding greenwash While building awareness by engaging public interest is an essential part of the Earth Hour campaign, the community needs to remain wary of marketing gimmicks and greenwash. This is one of the main reasons why EWS-WWF has been positioning environmental awareness through Earth Hour as an allyear-round concept, rather than a one-off publicity stunt. While


His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz Sheikh Abdul Aziz pledged to fast for six days if 6000 people in the UAE recycled unused medicines for six weeks last year

Columnist Ali Al Saloom pledged to give up all three of his mobile phones if 10,000 people gave up using plastic bags in favour of sustainable bags

EWS-WWF’s Reem Al Thawadi pledged to cycle around a public park in a panda suit if 300 people in the UAE uploaded their own IWIYW challenges

For 2013, switching off lights for the hour is just the beginning. This year, we are not only planning to engage individuals, but every organisation in the public and private sector would also be involved going beyond the hour” creating hype around the hour is essential in spreading the word, it would be counterproductive if the city acknowledges the need to switch off the lights, only to have the public turn to their smart phones to tweet about their eco-efforts en masse. In the business setting, the threat of Earth Hour falling under the category of CSR could undermine its message as an essential cornerstone in any corporate sustainability strategy. Al Thawadi suggests addressing two tiers in combating the threat of mislabelling the initiative in the private sector: branding strategy and communication strategy. “Being wary of greenwashing when

beginning the branding process at any company ensures transparency within the organisation, which, in turn, reflects in the public image of the organisation. This can be done by ensuring that all environmentally sustainable efforts are backed up by solid facts and research.,” she advises. “From a communications perspective, the method of framing overall sustainable efforts and their tangible benefits to the environment is key to the success in relaying the message. It is important to be prepared to validate environmental practices, in order to avoid consumer backlash and have solid sustainable practices in place for the long run.”

Internal communications Businesses can communicate Earth Hour to all staff using email and other newsletters, posters, intranet, SMS, website, staff associations and committees, and take advantage of the available bilingual resources on www. to encourage staff members to take part in Earth Hour this year at 8.30pm on Saturday 23 March. For businesses planning on driving awareness and engaging employees, the EWS-WWF “How To Guides” at www.earthhour. org can assist in making a bigger impact on the community, while clearly communicating the idea behind the initiative.

March 2013




Elevating the cause The world’s first Earth Hour forest is in the works in Uganda, as the country’s WWF team sets the goal to fill degraded land with indigenous trees to combat rampant deforestation


very month, 6,000 hectares of forestland are stripped of their trees in Uganda. WWF Uganda has set a goal to fill about 2,700 hectares of degraded land with at least 500,000 indigenous trees as part of their Earth Hour 2013 campaign in order to fight against one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. The Earth Hour Forest will take place in the forest reserve in Nabugulu which is situated in the Mpigi District in Central Uganda. Over the last 10 years, this particular reserve has suffered mass deforestation leaving it completely exposed. The land was offered by National Forestry Authority after they partnered up with Earth Hour. They will also help coordinate the actual planting and maintenance of the forest. One of the main reasons this massive initiative was launched to save Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, from losing its most

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prominent feature, the forests. From businesses to government entities, every sector is taking up the challenge set by WWF Uganda to reach their 2013 goal. Standard Chartered Bank - Uganda is an example of private sector participation, having committed to plant close to 250,000 trees. From the public sector, the Ugandan Minister of State for Water and Environment has personally pledged to plant 1,000 trees. The Earth Hour Forest is an international initiative, where key stakeholders and partners can make generous contributions towards the campaign by donating trees or cash to buy trees. “Earth Hour 2013 is the rallying point for millions of people in 152 countries and territories across the world to address the climate change challenge. It illustrates that it’s within our reach and power to work together for a sustainable future,” said Andy Ridley, CEO

and co-founder of the Earth Hour campaign globally. WWF- Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Programme (ESARP), responsible for this project established WWF Uganda back in 2009 to promote its mission in the country as an integral part of WWF’s mission in East Africa. One of the main aims of WWF- ESARP is to ensure that through the actions of WWF – Uganda, the public and private sectors, biodiversity, and biological processes in East Africa are conserved in peace. Uganda’s Earth Hour Forest will be the second largest environmental outcome of the I Will If You Will campaign. Last year, after WWF Russia’s I Will If You Will campaign had gathered the voices of 122,000, the Russian Parliament passed a law to help protect the country’s seas from oil pollution, making it the largest environmental initiative spawned by Earth Hour.

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HSBC’s green pledge Led by its eco-conscious management team, HSBC Middle East Limited laid an open challenge to its customers and staff to reduce the UAE’s carbon footprint following the bank’s extensive participation in Earth Hour last year

B 1,521 switches to Internet banking during the two month campaign in 2012

16.39% Reductions in the HSBC Jebel Ali Branch last year

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uilding on the success of the Earth Hour activities, which saw over 500 members of staff contributing to the world’s largest grass-roots environmental movement, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited rallied its staff and customers to embrace paperless transactions through Internet banking and e-statements. Last year, HSBC UAE CEO Abdulfattah Sharaf pledged to

34.63% Cumulative reduction in electricity at the headquarters for 2 months last year

take public transport to the office everyday for two weeks if 2000 customers and staff sign up to online banking instead of driving to one of the bank’s branches. At the same time, the bank’s MENA Head of Marketing, Mohammed Ismaeel, pledged to go scuba diving with sharks if 2500 customers and staff sign up to switch from paper to e-statements. The pledges, which form part of the EWS-WWF’s ‘I will if you will’ campaign, focus on the small changes that customers and staff can make to the way they bank, that will make a big difference to the UAE’s overall environmental footprint. “This campaign challenges others to undertake an action of environmental significance in return for something of equal value to the challenger. It is a symbol of how one individual’s actions can inspire thousands to make a difference,” Abdulfattah Sharaf, HSBC UAE CEO said. “It was great to see such a strong commitment from members of the public in the various activities

that took place during the Earth Hour Walk. It’s important that we continue to act as a community in the environmental actions we take from this point on. “The best part is that it is not difficult for every person in the UAE to take one action that will reduce their environmental footprint.” HSBC is globally aligned with WWF and supports their mission to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment, and build a future where people live in harmony with nature. Since 2010, HSBC in the UAE aligned with the Emirates Wildlife Society WWF (EWS WWF) in support of Earth Hour, raising environmental awareness across 400 organisations and 60 schools. The bank’s own target includes reducing its annual employee carbon emissions by one tonne, from 3.5 in 2012 to 2.5 by 2020.


21.11% Reductions in the HSBC Sharjah branch last year

adnan haroon

Ali Al Abri


The regional Head of Corporate Sustainability posted a video challenge, which garnered 5,000 views. Approximately 800 people accepted the pledge on the HSBC website from staff and customers.

24.69% Reductions in the HSBC 5/8 HSBC branches exceeded Fujairah Branch last year the 10% cumulative reduction target in 2 months in 2012

“I will shave my head and do 10 hours of community service, if 1000 customers sign up for online banking instead of driving to branches” Ali Al Abri, Head of Human Resources

“I will use public transport for one week to work, if 300 customers sign up for e-statements to save paper” Adnan Haroon, CFO



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Ablution solutions With the majority of the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims residing in the Middle East and Africa where fresh water supplies are scarce, the demand for water efficient ablution solutions is beginning to take shape. Praseeda Nair reports


ost countries in the GCC maintain the world’s highest per capita water consumption rates, topping the list as the largest producers of desalinated water in order to

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meet domestic demand. A recent study by the Higher Colleges of Technology in conjunction with Wharton Business School, suggests that a large portion of the internal demand for water in the region

can be curbed if consumption during the ablution process is optimised. The study reports that ablution consumes two to three litres of desalinated tap water on average “if not practiced

Saudi’s water consumption per capita 91% higher than global average


appropriately,” and further suggests limiting water use for ablution to the universally accepted amount of one Mudd (the equivalent of 625 ml) of water. This stems from the understanding that the Prophet (PBUH) had warned against water waste, using that standard amount for his daily ablutions (wudu’), and five Mudds (roughly three litres) of water for the more extensive form of ablution known as ghusl. With the UAE poised to introduce the world’s wholly sustainable mosque in the near future, water saving technology is set to feature prominently in the project’s design. Having signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with GROHE, the UAE ministry body AWQAF and the Minor Affairs Foundation (AMAF) have expressed the need for sustainable water fixtures on site. The regional implementation of GROHE’s water sustainability initiative focuses on aiding mosques to make considerable water savings through its selfclosing mixers and flushing which take into account the average time, water pressure and amount needed for the ablution process to optimise efficiency.

Greening mosques GROHE launched their Green Mosque initiative in Dubai in 2009, in partnership 50 million with the Dubai Water litres of water a and Electricity day were used by two Authority (DEWA) million pilgrims for and Sesam Business ablutions during water charges, the return on Consultants. In this Hajj last year investment was achieved in initiative, 20 new mixers Saudi Arabia 15 months. with self-closing taps were accounts for The initiative is now installed for free in the Abu17% of the world’s being rolled out in Syria, Hamed Ghazali Mosque. As part desalinated water Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi of a water saving study, DEWA output Arabia and Bahrain. monitored water consumption at the mosque after the faucets had been installed and compared In the UAE 550 it with the same period in the GROHE’s regional water litres the previous year. The average monthly sustainability programme UAE’s daily consumption dropped from 45,509 makes a concentrated effort to water usage gallons to 30,205 gallons – a saving implement water saving fittings per capita of around 30%. Considering local in key mosques across GCC. The

latest partnership in the UAE is to facilitate what is set to be the greenest mosque in the world, the Khalifa Al Tajer Mosque in Deira. “We are looking forward to reducing the amount of excess water consumption that many mosques see. GROHE’s fittings will enable the mosque to make considerable water savings to the benefit of both the mosque and the environment, and we very much look forward to its completion,” Tayeb Al Rais,

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Community Service, turns to holy scripture in explaining the need for this technology in mosques. “As faithful people, we are obliged to care for Allah’s blessing of providing us with water, and not take advantage of it,” he states.

In Syria

250 litres the national average amount of desalinated water in Saudi Arabia per annum

Secretary-General at AMAF, said at the signing of the MOU. According to Simon Shaya, General Manager and President, of GROHE East Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa, the MOU will help facilitate a joint effort in reducing the UAE’s considerable water footprint. “By raising awareness through cultural relevance throughout the Middle East, educational programmes like the GROHE Green Mosque program make it possible to further position ourselves as a conscious water solutions provider through our performance and care model.” As part of GROHE’s global water conservation initiative ‘WaterCare’, the company supports local communities wherever possible, under the motto “the more you save, the more you enjoy.” The objective of the campaign is to increase consumer awareness of the importance of water conservation.

A regional first The Khalifa Al Tajer Mosque will be the first of its kind in the UAE and the largest mosque in Dubai with a scheduled completion date in 2014. Built to accommodate 3,500

In Saudi Arabia “We have been able to save thousands of gallons of water across the region. In Saudi Arabia, our donation of faucets to the Hassan Abbas Sharbatly Foundation led to such a major decrease in the amount of water consumed that they decided to invest in GROHE fittings in all

March 2013

As part of its Green Mosque campaign and in coordination with the Ministry of Waqf in the Syrian capital, GROHE replaced 50 mixers in the ablution rooms and in the central courtyard area of the Grand Mosque of Damascus, Omayyad Mosque, with Contropress and Contromix self-closing taps to minimise water wastage during ablution. As one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world, the Omayyad Mosque was selected as the beneficiary of this initiative in Syria as it is also widely considered the fourth holiest place in Islam and a destination for thousands of worshippers and tourists everyday.

Simon Shaya

of their 19 mosques across the Kingdom.,” says Shaya. GROHE are the exclusive suppliers of the Euroeco Cosmopolitan S SelfClosing pillar taps on all new construction and renovation projects at the Sharbatly mosques in the Kingdom. Following this year’s plans to retrofit four mosques with this water saving measure, a further 15 projects are expected to employ this technology in the coming years. Sayed Ibrahim Hassan Sharbatly, Vice President of the Board of Trustees at Hassan Abbas Sharbatly foundation for

worshippers, it will be constructed over an area of 105,000 square feet. The mosque is set to feature the latest green technologies including solar panels and the recycling and purifying of ablution water for irrigation and washroom supply.


The 60 minute change From the Worlds’ tallest tower to the Pyramids, landmarks are set to go dark for Earth Hour. Canon Middle East pledges to take a step beyond the Earth Hour towards a better planet What would you do to change the world? On Saturday, 23 March at 8:30 p.m. local time, a massive public demonstration for action on climate change takes place. Lights are symbolically turned off for one hour in homes, office buildings, iconic landmarks, government buildings and retail establishments across the globe to celebrate Earth Hour. All around the world, the hour demonstrates the determination of the world’s citizens for a better and healthier world. It is an opportunity for the global

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community to speak in one voice on the issue of climate change. Earth Hour, now a global phenomenon, organised under the auspices of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) started in 2007 in Australia, with 2.2 million people and 2,000 businesses shutting off their lights for an hour in a stand against climate change. Just one year later, Earth Hour had become a global event with 50 million people participating across the globe, according to As a tradition every year, Canon Middle East, a leader in

imaging solutions and a dedicated participant of the Earth Hour, has announced plans to participate in Earth Hour, highlighting the company’s strong commitment to environmental stewardship. In addition, Canon will send letters to its extended network of business partners around the world inviting them to be part of Earth Hour by taking a stand. This year again, at the precise hour, Canon Middle East will shut all unnecessary lights and the Canon signage as a sign of solidarity for Earth Hour to


pledge their commitment to the environment and conservational activities and initiatives in the long run. In addition to the above mentioned activities for Earth Hour, last year the company launched a unique photo competition to support their initiative, inviting people to capture shots that best symbolised what the environment meant to them. Canon’s national offices from around the world support Earth Hour each year, raising awareness on the need for climate change among customers, colleagues, businesses and governments. The whole initiative is aimed at encouraging local communities to participate in this global initiative that raises the bar on conservation and making a positive impact on our environment. Canon has been integrating various environmental approaches in all areas of its corporate activity. The brand strives to continue to become more energy efficient across all its operations and develop innovative technologies that reduce the environmental footprint of their products and services. Since 2006, globally,

Canon has reduced logistics CO2 emissions by 40%. Today, companies such as Canon realise that it is extremely important to be sustainable and therefore walk the extra mile to rethink the way they operate. Companies across sectors understand that they have a critical role in making a difference and reducing the carbon footprint in the region and globally. In the Middle East, Canon supports a variety of environmental initiatives around the region. Last year, the company launched a series of environmentally-focused activities under the theme “Power of Environment” to celebrate its 10th anniversary in the region. Canon Middle East also participates in a number of locally driven events to support the environment including “Earth Day” and waste collection campaigns, such as “Clean Up UAE” organised by the Emirates Environmental Group. Last year, Canon Emirates, launched a carbon neutral Toner and Ink Cartridges recycling programme in the UAE. The programme was launched with the support of Industryre, a leading sustainable management consultancy firm, with an aim to reduce the carbon footprint of Canon’s products and services

Canon is committed to being a socially responsible and an environmentally sustainable company. All its environmental activities are based on Canon’s corporate philosophy of Kyosei (living and working together for the common good) which is an integral part of the brand’s existence. March 2013



Painting the ocean blue Dina Mahmoud looks at how paint companies in the region are taking extra measures to ensure the maintenance of the marine ecosystem


Jonathan J. Puthanangady

March 2013

ith the ocean covering more than 70% of the earth and playing an important role in mitigating greenhouse gases, the significance of the marine ecosystem on a planetary scale has become evident with recent discoveries. The habitat of deep sea species is critical to the environment as it holds 10 times the carbon of all terrestrial plants and soil combined. Human impact on marine life, from over fishing to habitat destruction, has been costly. With the resources of the sea being over harvested, it is increasingly evident that our marine environment may be damaged eternally. Understanding the extent of this

damage is essential in ensuring that marine species are protected to secure their survival and maintain their contribution to the ecosystem.

Anti-fouling Oceans around the world have experienced numerous water quality challenges due to the metal used on the boat hulls. Often, marina basins do not meet the water quality standards as antifouling coating contain copper, a known biocide, which can be harsh on the marine environment. Antifouling coating aims to prevent marine organisms from attaching themselves to the bottom of the vessel, which can decrease the ship’s performance, adversely

affecting its structure and fuel efficiency. The problem with conventional antifouling coatings is that a substantial amount of copper can diffuse into the water, damaging living organisms on and around the ship. Vessels consume less fuel and travel faster when their hulls are clean and smooth-free. At the early stages of sailing, when anti-fouling coats were not produced, lime, arsenical and mercurial compounds and pesticides were used as a form of coating ships’ hulls. The chemical industry developed an effective and lucrative anti-fouling paint that contains the metallic compound tributylin (TBT).


effects of anti-fouling systems used on vessels. The announcement called for worldwide prevention on the use of organotin compounds which function as a biocide in antifouling systems on ships by 2003 and a complete prohibition of the biocide by 2008. In October 2001, IMO hosted an International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships. Shipping and boating potentially have the largest effect on marine life. Aside from the possibility of oil spills, or the overall pollution produced from the ships, the metal used on the hull of ships can be problematic. Many paint companies are making a conscious effort to implement different products that focus on hull performance solutions (HPS) and are less hazardous to marine life, while maintaining the same quality in protection.

Green strategies

By the 1970s, most ships used TBT on their hulls to protect it from barnacles and other compounds that could harm their vessels. It was later discovered that there were grim consequences of using the antifouling paints that contained TBT. Environmental studies confirmed ruminants of organotin compounds that were discovered in the water were killing the sea species and leaving the marine life at a great risk. The threats of TBT on marine life became evident when deformation of oyster shells, sex changes (imposex) in whelks, and neurotoxic and genetic effects were visible on other marine species. TBT also affected the fisheries of France. A major collapse of

commercial shellfisheries was seen due to TBT, made headlines around the world and forced many states to act and enforce restrictions on the use of this substance in antifouling paints. The International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO), Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) became aware of the problem in 1988 and acted fast. By 1990, the IMO developed a resolution that suggested that governments adopt measures to eliminate anti-fouling paints containing TBT. The IMO also suggested that the MPEC develop a mechanism that would be mandatory throughout the world to address the harmful

As environmental policies have taken a serious look at anti-fouling paints and marine protection, different paint companies are also advocating the cause by providing greener solutions to their products. To date, over 15,000 vessels from around the world are protected by Jotun Marine Coating products. Jotun uses the reduction of carbon footprint from their industry as a key factor for the efficiency of their fouling protection. Fouling protection is essential for maintaining the speed of the ship and influencing the fuel consumption and subsequently the environmental impact due to emissions. Jotun’s anti-fouling coatings come with alternative biocide free fouling release coatings such as SeaQuantum. SeaQuantum, known as the ultimate fuel saver has been used for more than 10 years on more than 6000 vessels. The release of biocides is released over time, ensuring a linear polishing rate with low leached layer.

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What are VOCs?

The Jotun marine strategy focuses on HPS which exploits the four most important elements related to reduce fuel consumption as a consequence of fouling. Jotun also aims to reduce VOC emissions by developing products that have reduced the content of VOC within them. Jotun have reduced VOC content in all their product categories. In addition, hazardous raw materials are to be replaced by less hazardous alternatives maintaining the same quality. As well as developing coatings solutions that reduce energy consumption. Sea Hawk Paints, a manufacturer of premium performance anti-fouling paints and coatings has recently released an anti-fouling coating that they suggest is the most effective environmentally friendly paint available known as Smart Solution. Smart Solution provides same quality performance to the traditional anti-fouling, however, the coating contains metal-free biocides which therefore result in no bioaccumulation in the environment. “When the boat is launched, the coating’s reaction to water creates a slick film that encapsulates the hull providing enhanced speed,” explains Erik Norrie, president and CEO of Sea Hawk Paints. Smart Solution is compatible over existing antifoulants, and is free of copper and metals. Attempting to create an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional antifouling coatings, Hempel, a coating supplier, has introduced a range of products dedicated to preserving marine life under ‘Hempel’s Green Profile.’ In this strategy, their line removes several hazardous substances such as formaldehyde, alkyl

March 2013

phenol ethoxylates (APEO), lead, heavy metals, and phthalates, while reducing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Hempel systematically attempts to reduce the level of VOC in its coatings. In 2012 this resulted in the average concentration of VOC in the Marine products sold was decreased from 451 grams/litre in 2011 to 420 grams/ litre in 2012 - a reduction of 6.9%. After a series of elaborate tests, all of Hempel’s products are quality assured with the marine environment in mind. The company also selects raw material suppliers who can warrant for the safety of the ingredients used in the coating. “Hempel develops its underwater marine paints with the aim of always meeting the strictest legal standards the products while considering other things equal is always formulated to meet the environmental standard and the regulations in the regions,” Johnson J. Puthanangady, Regional R&D Manager at Hempel tells BGreen. “Ensuring that environmental concerns are integrated in the paint profile, ensures that the product has a positive impact on the environment always,” said Puthanangady.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are gases that are released from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a various amount of chemicals which can have short term and long term health effects. VOCs are ingredients that can be found in a wide array of products including paint, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials, furnishings, printers, correction fluids, glue, permanent markers, and many more. Organic chemicals are widely used in several household products. Products that are made with these chemicals can emit organic compound during usage and to an extent when they are stored.

In profile: HEMPEL •

LOOKING AHEAD Due to its high TNT compound, the anti-fouling is becoming increasingly unpopular. Looking ahead, lead researcher Rahul Ganguli is experimenting ways that the most advanced ships can use a source of slime and microbe as an alternative to the steel hulls. Researchers are trying to design a ship that excludes slime to form a coating around the hull that can steadily wear away, in addition to cutting fuel consumption by up to 20%.

Water and energy consumption is monitored at the manufacturing sites of Hempel. Consumption data is reported to the senior management every quarter through Hempel’s Group Environmental Steering Committee in order to ensure that the necessary preventative measures to reduce the consumption have the necessary support from top management. By using Contex Thermoguard, paint can now reduce temperature and reduce carbon dioxide emission due to the lower requirements for air conditioning. Hempel enforces a reuse, reduce and recycle system at their facility. The aim of optimising the use of resources through reuse, recycling and consumption reduction. In the development of new products and solutions Hempel furthermore actively aims at integrating relevant environmentally sustainable technologies, which includes promoting the use of safer materials. Hempel utilises “best foot forward” concept to estimate and compare the carbon footprint of new coatings with similar coatings in order to be able to recommend the product solution with the lowest carbon footprint to the customers.


Liam Williams Associate Publisher Email: Tel: +971 (0) 4 375 1511

Gina O’Hara Commercial Director Email: Tel: +971 (0) 4 375 1513

Harry Norman Director Email: Tel: +971 (0) 4 375 1502

Ruan Marais Business Development Manager Email: Tel: +971 4 375 1499

Deep Karani Business Development Manager Email: Tel:+971 4 375 1501



Sustainability starts small

March 2013


While large conglomerates invest heavily on internal policies and practices for green business, small or medium enterprises have been slow to jump on the sustainability bandwagon, suggesting the need for a defined regulatory framework


ore than 90% of all companies operating in the UAE can be classified as small or medium enterprises (SMEs), with almost half of the jobs in Dubai provided by this sector alone. Globally, SMEs account for 50% of gross domestic product on average, and has a considerable bearing on industrial pollution, yet this economic cornerstone has been marginalised in the international debate on sustainable business practices.

Common hurdles Environmental issues take a backseat when it comes to business priorities for most SMEs. Once sustainability is integrated into core decisions, these companies can fully comprehend the extensive economic benefits that go hand in hand with greening practices. According to Mark Gold, chairman of ACCA’s Global Forum for SMEs, all too often, small business is overlooked when it comes to environmental and sustainability issues. “In terms of economic activity, employment and waste, small businesses make a huge impact and it is critical that they and those who advise and regulate them, recognise this and begin to take steps to tackle waste, promote efficiency and ensure that sustainability is at the forefront of their thinking.” A main motivator for SMEs to successfully adopt a green growth model is the significant business opportunities that are bound to arise with the innovation of sustainable technologies and systems. Yet chief obstacles for SMEs to make the transition lie in size-related resource constraints, a sharp skill deficit and knowledge. The widespread misperception of environmental sustainability has left SMEs unaware of many financially lucrative opportunities for environmental improvement. Although SMEs are aware of the potential in environmental performances to improve a firm’s overall profile, a lack of appropriate skills and expertise commonly prevents firms from acting upon win-win opportunities. Many SMEs are under the misguided representation

that protecting the environment is associated with technical complexity, burdens and costs. In addition, SMEs are often willing to overpass investment opportunities with new technologies partly because of the uncertainty about the payback period.

Voluntary basis For many SMEs, going green is a nonmandatory voluntary option, unless the vision of environmental sustainability is driven by one or more people in the company, determined to make a change. Some SMEs are willing to invest in more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly processes, however, reliable partners to finance their investments and the right regulatory framework is required. Due to the lack of specialised staff to evaluate such projects, and the banks being reluctant to fund investments, prospering businesses are unable to get financial aid and are hitting a road block into a greener path.

Community roots With the help of business entities such as Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, SMEs in the region have access to information and support for their green transition. Supporting companies ensure that regulations are easy to understand, and alert SMEs of green choices in the market along with successful case studies.

Policies and frameworks In its new policy paper Embedding Sustainability in SMEs, ACCA’s Global Forum for SMEs has called on several groups to take action to ensure that smaller businesses have access and information to become more efficient and environmentally friendly. In order for these efforts to gain significant momentum, a variety of approaches and strategies must be adopted. The report adds that policy makers must take into account the differences between large companies and SMEs, in addition to the differences between micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In their policies, most SME management teams lack the motivation to adjust their

March 2013




Going paperless

business to a more sustainable practice. Due to the unawareness of the importance of sustainability, policy makers should implement systems to ensure that SMEs are aware of the tangible gains they can make through increased efficiency; grants, financial assistance and incentives that may be available for those which commit to cutting emissions or reducing waste. Such conditions will incentivise businesses with sustainable practices to have access to large and potentially profitable public sector supply chains. While small business owners should be expected to become more proactive and strategic when it comes to adopting sustainable business practices, regulators should also ensure that small businesses are prioritised when considering developing regulations that are aimed at encouraging such practices, such as sustainability reporting.

Transparency throughout The five steps to sustainability reporting should be mandatory for all SMEs to follow. Firstly, committing the business publicly to taking action; followed by, assessing the business’ impact; setting targets for reducing impact; acting to reduce impact and publishing the business’ policies and actions. By providing members with the right tools and resources to help SMEs develop environmental practices, the ACCA report urges accountancy bodies to become more proactive in the SME sustainability debate. Accountants are urged to work with local sustainability experts in order to gain local access to credible knowledge; to review the sustainability of their own business, then use that experience to have rounded, relevant conversations with their clients.

March 2013

Going paperless is the fast track method of greening operations for SMEs. As a buzz word in its own right, the concept of “paperless” practices makes the most business sense for the layman as a tangible form of sustainability. The bottomline: reduced consumption and eliminating storage space through paperless operations can save money. Added benefits of increased productivity and the availability to work remotely make moving to a paperless office appealing. Its role in cutting down the environmental impact of offices is the icing on the proverbial cake, as moving towards a paperless office offers enough traditional business sense in terms of cost savings to make the move beneficial. Intuit’s GreenSnapshot is a software that provides insights to the impact of businesses, alerting staff of baseline figures and how to achieve them. This tool can increase ecoawareness at the workplace, and by sharing these findings with suppliers and staff, companies can look for short and long term strategies for bringing these figures down. allEtronic allows businesses to provide customers with paperless receipts as a software add-on to retailers at existing Points of Sale software. It also acts as a secure portal to receive, store, track, and access information on the software’s web site.   Customer Relationship Management (CRM) help businesses increase sales, improve efficiencies and sustainably build on long term goals. The benefits of small businesses using a CRM system include the development of better relations with prospective and existing clients, without wasting the company’s finite resources like time and limited staff.   Document Management Software can improve efficiencies by maintaining the workflow on a cloud-based online system. This system allows for keeping tabs on deadlines, accountability of files, audit reporting, and easy accessibility to allow for telecommuting. It also eliminates storage space for documents, cuts down on time spent over filling forms and filing papers, and increases security for disaster recovery.



Despite decades of being thoroughly maligned by most of the world, the Oil and Gas sector still controls the majority of the planet’s energy resources. In a concerted bid to stretch the lifespan and potential of oil and natural gas sites, many big names in the industry have been making marked efforts to diversify their energy sources and incorporate cleaner technologies. Moving away from a black and white view of sustainability, BGreen presents the symbiotic relationship between renewable and non-renewable resources as the conventional energy sector transitions towards a greener future.

Sustained effort From building fish farms to training the next generation of industry professionals, the ‘Responsible Care’ initiative has been a fundamental pillar in the region’s oil and gas industry, securing the longevity of conventional energy through sustainable principles


esponsible Care’ is a performance improvement initiative launched in 1984 by the Canadian Chemical Producers Association. Exclusively initiated for the Environment, Health, Safety & Security (EHS&S) around chemical industries, the idea was soon adopted

March 2013

in the Middle East by Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) in 2009. As the first trade association formed in the Gulf region in 2006, the GPCA industries contributes a major share in the non-oil GDP of the Gulf. The GPCA Responsible Care Programme involves each company

pledging to obey the principles and objectives of Responsible Care, as a member of the GPCA. The commitment made also adheres to the most predominant principle, which is the pledge to improve as an entity persistently. In the Middle East, companies have worked together to develop the EHS&S knowledge. They have also been consistent in bettering the performance of their technologies, processes and products over the years. Being a member of GPCA, and


adopting the programme a company begins to entail all aspects of its activities with an advanced level of protection. The health, safety and security of its employees, associates, customers, facilities and the public and the environment are given utmost importance. GPCA’s Responsible Care programme is aligned with the initiatives of international entities like UNEP, UNDP, and International Council of Chemical Association (ICCA). Last year, GPCA has topped the ranking of International Council of Chemical Association’s member associations in 54 countries worldwide.

The management system Business Value The system gives the company Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) indexes, which helps the company in receiving recognition in the financial market.

Compliance Assurance The system focuses on maintaining all of the legal, regulatory, and other requirements. Even the internal processes are placed in order to supervise and measure compliance, and accordingly take actions to solve the problems.

Return on Investment Implementing the initiative improves EHS&S performance through lower emissions, less waste, fewer injuries, and more secure facilities and operations.

Gaining Efficiencies The system acting as a process encourages teamwork. It brings together diverse staff working under multiple management teams like environmental, health, and safety, ecology, community relations, shipping, security, regulatory compliance, and purchasing.

Risk and Liability Reduction The regulations and acts under

the system such as management assurances for accuracy in financial disclosures can help management in areas like processes, methods, and practices.

Improved Community Relations As an outreach programme, the system generates positive feedback, which can eventually strengthen ties with communities, Responsible Care Initiative companies and business allies.

Competitive Advantage As the initiative expands, value chains, government entities, and stakeholders become more aware of the Responsible Care Initiative and how it encourages continuous performance improvements.

Customer Expectations It enables the growth of a dependable business and an operating practice that can extend into the supply chain. It also has systems in place to assure strong EHS&S performance and continual improvement. In the next few years GPCA plans to assess the gaps in management and create an action plan to close any gap and to abide by the core requirements and guidelines. By 2015, they aim to position the RC-14001 system to the third party audit, assessment and certification.

GPIC’s adoption Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC) was established in 1979 to manufacture fertilisers and petrochemicals. The venture is equally owned by the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, and Petrochemical Industries Company, Kuwait. GPIC tries to reach out to all sectors of the society and enhancing environmental protection. Some of their initiatives under Responsibility Care include:

March 2013




Helping the Community GPIC sponsors and provides material support to the His Royal Highness the Crown Prince’s International Sponsorship Programme for high school graduates. GPIC has partnered with inJAz Bahrain led by Her Highness Shaikha Hessa bint Khalifa Al Khalifa to prepare students for the business world by providing annual financial support and volunteers. The company also trains 150 students annually from the Ministry of Education and local universities as part of their industrial training programmes. They have partnered with the University of Bahrain, Bahrain Polytechnic, Bahrain Training Institute and many other tertiary educational institutions. It is also always at the forefront of sponsoring conferences, workshops and seminars organised by professional bodies and take the lead in participating in such events.

Caring for the Environment Hundreds of environmental lectures are conducted by staff officials to schools all over Bahrain, reaching about 20,000 students. As part of our close cooperation with the Ministry of Education, GPIC sponsored 160 projects for environmental research by high school students. In collaboration

March 2013

with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) at both local and international level, it helps them donate and plant trees in schools as part of the Green Wave Campaign by UNEP. The organisation also supports a lot of the UNEP Bahrain initiatives and activities in several occasions. GPIC also conducts an Annual Best Home Garden Award internally for their employees.

Environmental Projects November 1996: The company established its first Fish Farm, since then 330,000 sea breams have been released into territorial water. This move has helped improve the reclining fish reserves and benefited local fishermen. June 2002: Their first bird sanctuary was inaugurated. Built on a coastal strip, the sanctuary provides shelter for migrating birds, waders and local species. Over 70 species have been recorded visiting the island. Moreover, around 2000 mangrove trees were planted around the island to mimic natural habitats. May 2005: GPIC opened their first Herbal Garden.

20 - 23 May, 2013, Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE To register for your free visit please go to:

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Upgrading the UNEP After 40 years of sustained growth, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is being recognised, strengthened and upgraded by the UN General Assembly this year


lobal challenges, from diminishing water resources to changing climatic conditions, have been mounting in urgency since the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established at the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Unlike the standard response to these challenges which are usually weak and fragmented, this year the United Nations has chosen to make a greater difference. The UN has chosen the UNEP to be the new “voice of the environment” in its system. Now the agency is authorised to assist in developing the environmental policy consensus with a constant review of the global environment. They are also responsible for notifying governments and the international community about the emerging issues related to the environment. The General

March 2013

Assembly offers the UNEP with a secure and stable increase in financial resources from the regular budget of the UN. Other UNEP donors are requested to increase their voluntary funding. Prior to the action initiated by the General Assembly, UNEP’s Governing Council consisted of 58 members. However, after the decision was made the assembly permitted all 193 UN member states to be given full participation at the UNEP Governing Council from February 2013. The first meeting of the enlarged Governing Council was held at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi from 18th to 22nd

February. Earlier it was through the Global Ministerial Environment Forum, created by the then UNEP, that brought the world’s environment ministers under one roof for high-level meetings with the Governing Council. The newly included member states have already implemented some provisions to this resolution; one in particular includes the necessary arrangements for the future of the Global Ministerial Environment Forum. The other provisions include the first practical initiative taken by the UN General Assembly, implementing the commitment made by world leaders at the UN Conference


Achim Steiner


on Sustainable Development at Rio+20 last June to improve the institutional framework for sustainable development. “Universal membership of UNEP’s Governing Council establishes a new, fullyrepresentative platform to strengthen the environmental dimension of sustainable development, and provides all governments with an equal voice on the decisions and action needed to support the global environment, and ensure a fairer share of the world’s resources for all,” says UNEP’s Executive Director Achim Steiner, who also holds the title of UN Under-Secretary-General.

The General Assembly’s decision tries to improve global cooperation, promote the integration of the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable development, as well as improving coordination within the UN system. “The resolution reaffirms UNEP’s role as the UN’s authority on the environment, and provides the mandate to enhance our ongoing work on bringing the latest science to policy-makers, directly supporting national and regional environmental efforts, improving access to technology, and other key areas. For UNEP and the environmental community, this is a truly historic day,” says Steiner.

1979: Bonn Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) established. The agreement involves 116 member states and has overseen binding agreements and action plans to protect 120 migratory species. 1987: Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer established. One of the most successful multilateral agreements in UN history, the protocol has overseen a 98% reduction of controlled ozone depleting substances, and delivered multiple health benefits 1988: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) established by UNEP and the World Meteorological Organisation. The panel delivers the world’s most influential, comprehensive and scientifically-reviewed reports on climate change. 1995: Basel Ban Amendment barring export of hazardous wastes adopted. Ratified by 70 countries and the EU, the agreement established a regime for minimisation of health and environmental impacts of waste. 2002: Launch of Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles. Among other activities, the project has assisted countries in SubSaharan Africa to successfully phase out or begin the phase-out of leaded fuel. Associated health savings for the continent are estimated at US$92 billion per year. 2012: Launch of Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: Voluntary initiative to reduce emissions of black carbon, methane, lowlevel ozone, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and other short-lived climate pollutants (SCLPs), to tackle climate change and improve human health. In less than 12 months, some 25 governments and additional partners have joined the coalition.

March 2013



Be the change Nobel Peace Prize winner, Wangari Maathai, founded the Green Belt Movement to save the earth one tree at a time


orn in the rural sites of central Kenya, Wangari Maathai was the first woman to earn a doctorate degree in East and Central Africa, and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Devoting her life to reducing poverty and helping the environment, Wangari started Kenya’s popular green initiative in the 1970s, the Green Belt Movement (GBM) by simply introducing the idea of communitybased planting. The GBM not only adheres to the environmental concerns of the region but also empowers women, involving the community in conservation and therefore bettering their livelihoods. Wangari set up the GBM to help the rural women of Kenya, as they were facing difficulties in gathering basic necessities like food, water and firewood. Initiating the concept

without a clue of its global impact Wangari soon began to realise how small things such as planting a tree can make a

big difference, and also how everything in the environment is interconnected like one big cycle. She knew the importance of maintaining the ecological balance of nature, and urged people not to experiment with their lives and that of their children. Her motto involved doing what you can, when you can. She often talked about the ‘Be a Hummingbird’ programme, which advised people to help the earth in every way they could than watch it crumble. In her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Wangari states, “Tree planting is simple, attainable and guarantees quick successful results within a reasonable amount of time”. It was the simplicity of her mission, planting trees, that makes all the difference. It was her conviction that made her voice heard, forests are the lungs of the earth and we cannot live by cutting them off. Resources are important, so she focused on sharing and managing them to maintain peace among the communities and globally as well. Wangari passed away last year only to leave many legacies behind, the Wangari Maathai Institute of Peace and Environmental Studies is one such legacy that can take her work forward and inspire people. Affiliated with the University of Nairobi, this institute has academic prospects and experiential learning opportunities that help students understand how they can make a difference in their own communities, using the right resources and paths.

March 2013


Protect our natural heritage.

With the help of your business, we can do ours. Make a change as corporate member with EWS-WWF and help us in our mission to conserve and protect our natural environment. Together, we can make a difference.


Save the date BGreen highlights events and conferences taking place in the coming months

Paperworld Middle East 5-7 March, Dubai, UAE Paperworld offers an overview of the current market themes and trends in the paper and office supply products sector. Paperworld attracts wholesalers, distributors, retailers in the stationery industry, and expects participation from companies looking to expand their products into the Middle East market. BGreen-EGBC Roundtable 12 March, Dubai, UAE Focusing on green insulation and its role in the UAE’s concrete landscape, this roundtable will bring together leaders in architecture, plasterboards, roofing, paints and coatings and other related industries. HSE in Construction 11-12 March, Doha, Qatar HSE in Construction will become a platform for sharing and networking by combining regulators, developers, contractors and consultants. International construction companies are expected to discuss some of the most significant issues of the sector and find available solutions.

2nd International MultiConference on Management, Chemical, Environment and Medical Sciences 13-14 March, Dubai, UAE The conference brings together scientists, scholars, engineers and university students in the industry from around the world to present ongoing research activities, and therefore to promote research relations between the Universities and the industry.  Smartech @ WETEX 15-17 April, Dubai, UAE SmarTech is the only trade platform in the Middle East dedicated to help showcase, promote and market green‐centric technologies, goods and services. This will be showcased at the 15th Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX 2013). WETEX will focus on the larger issues in the power and water sectors, with a wide variety of displays, seminars and technologies featuring insights from international experts from around the world.

ecoConstruct Expo 16-18 April, Abu Dhabi, UAE ecoConstruct Expo is the region’s only event that is solely dedicated to sustainable building materials and solutions. The event is aimed to provide the industry with sourcing and knowledge from major construction projects within the region. ecoConstruct Expo will also provide a chance to network with real estate markets, construction professionals and suppliers, along with a chance to meet developers, financiers, architects and engineers. International Middle East conference on sustainability and human development 28-29 April, Abu Dhabi, UAE Aiming to provide leading forum debates on the important issues of the Middle East region, imesh 2013 will present a structured programme of research, seminars, workshops, panel discussions, posters, demonstrations and exhibitions. Discussions on the long term viability and sustainability problems in the Middle East region will also be discussed during the event.

March 2013




City of stone


wenty years ago the sustainable city of stone, Sassi di Matera, located in Southern Italy became one of UNESCO’s World Heritage. This one of a kind settlement lies in the harsh territorial area of Murge, and has been intact since the troglodyte settlement back in the Palaeolithic era. The site is recognised not only as a monument but a life lesson and an ideal model showcasing how its development lasted for millennia. The area rich with carved dwellings from ancient times, was known for its low consumption of natural resources and how the city ran for hundreds of years independent of external supply. This unique urban settlement was

March 2013

shaped over a long period of time, rocks that once existed were now dug into caves. Tufo, the specific type of limestone in that region covered most of the area. In the metal ages there were better tools to dig dwellings inside the rocks. With time, the town grew into an urban centre, and even though it had harsh landscaped surroundings it was a well managed ecosystem. As it was located in the landscapes of a deep gorge called La Gravina, the water supply was highly organised. It also helped making the plateau situated above the town to be a place where it was collected slowly after being brought down by gravity. The houses and streets too were well designed, made in such a way to save space and building material, the roof tops of the houses on the street became the streets for houses above them.It is a perfect example of how people can learn to adapt to their terrain and ecosystem, the people in this

region used every environmental factor for their benefit. Later on in the 1900s, the people began to import resources, which destryoed the water harvesting system. The space was not well maintained anymore. And the people forced to move out because of water degradation which was caused because of the mixture of water harvesting and saturation. Soon after the government of Italy gave the Matera Muncipality the right funds to initiate a change and today Sassi is a tourist hub in Italy. Sassi di Matera is now an architectural example of civil and community living through a rock cut settlement. Even though it is subjected to bad weather conditions and environmental difficulties it turned it around to become more ecologically organised.

The Global Centre of Future Energy

Masdar City is an emerging clean technology hub in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Organisations and institutions from around the world are coming here to pioneer solutions to the global energy challenge. With access to key international markets, funding and investment, and a skilled, specialist talent pool, Masdar City creates an environment where innovation and entrepreneurialism flourish. To learn how partnering with us can transform your business and change the world, email or visit us online at

Building the Future Knauf is one of the world’s leading production and construction material company with over 220 facilities and 22,000 employees present in over 60 countries. Knauf is a family-owned business, headquartered in Iphofen-Bavaria, Germany. The 80-year-old company specializing in gypsum products has an astonishing range of over 30,000 products, and that tally is growing all the time. The company’s Dubai headquarter services the entire region, and represents its first foray into the Middle East. In addition, it has a manufacturing facility in Ras Al Khaimah, and with a production capacity of 30 million square meters of gypsum board a year. This production is exported throughout the GCC, East Africa and India, which constitute Knauf’s main growth markets at present.

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

The Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Saud Al Qasimi with Knauf’s Managing Director and Shareholders, RAK, UAE

KNAUF LLC PO Box 112871 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 337 7170 Fax: +971 4 334 9659

KNAUF RAK PO Box 50006 Ras Al Khaimah, UAE Tel: +971 7 221 5300 Fax: +971 7 221 5301

KNAUF Qatar PO Box 27111 Doha, State of Qatar Tel: +974 4452 8191 Fax: +974 4452 8181

Website : | E-Mail :

KNAUF KSA Branch PO Box 3051 Jeddah 21471 KSA Tel: +966 2 606 7364 Fax: +966 2 606 7251

BGreen Magazine March 2013  

BuildGreen Magazine is the first magazine of its kind in the Middle East to exclusively cover issues relating to sustainability and environm...

BGreen Magazine March 2013  

BuildGreen Magazine is the first magazine of its kind in the Middle East to exclusively cover issues relating to sustainability and environm...