Majid Al Futtaim has showcased key sustainability milestones achieved by the group in 2019 in its annual sustainability report. The report underscores Majid Al Futtaim’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2019, Majid Al Futtaim reduced its group-wide operational carbon emissions by 2.4% and water consumption by 1.6%, despite an increase in the operational floor area by 37% since 2016. The company also generated almost 14 million kWh of renewable energy through its shopping malls – enough to power more than 3,500 average households for one year.
Majid Al Futtaim introduced power purchasing agreements to cover the electricity demand of the majority of its Carrefour stores in Jordan, as well as one of its biggest hypermarkets in Dubai. The company also increased its green building portfolio to 29 green-certified buildings and 2.5 million m2 of space with green credentials.
Majid Al Futtaim registered three significant sustainability ‘firsts’ in 2019. The company raised two Green Sukuks worth $1.2 billion, with the first issuance in May becoming the world’s first benchmark-size corporate bond of its kind. In November, Majid Al Futtaim became the first company in MENA to commit to phase-out single-use plastics from its operations by 2025.
Also, in its Carrefour business, Majid Al Futtaim introduced the region’s first two in-store hydroponic farms, which use 90% less water than traditional soil agriculture and deliver around 31 kilograms of fresh herbs and microgreens daily.
Commenting on the report, Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi, chief sustainability officer, Majid Al Futtaim – Holding, said, “2019 was a year when climate change awareness and action came to the fore, with social movement groups, corporates and governments stepping up their sustainability efforts. However, 2019 was also the year in which coronavirus started to spread across the globe, highlighting the need for collective action to ensure resilience and a sustainable future.”
“As we navigate this crisis and the new challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, our role in protecting the environment, the wellbeing of our employees and the communities we serve is paramount, and I am proud of the progress we have made. In 2020, we continue to work tirelessly towards our Net Positive commitment, phasing-out single-use plastics as we move ever closer towards a circular economy,” he added.
As part of the company’s pledge to phase out single-use plastics, Majid Al Futtaim introduced a wide range of initiatives to promote behaviour change. These include a zero-waste ‘Green Home’ bio-certified, vegan and cruelty-free detergent refilling station at Carrefour in Mall of the Emirates, cotton bags at fruit and vegetable sections in several outlets and exclusive ‘Green Cash Counters’ for customers with reusable bags across 33 Carrefour hypermarkets in the UAE.
In addition, Majid Al Futtaim – Ventures has already removed 374,000 single-use plastic bags from its outlets, including VOX Cinemas, Magic Planet and Little Explorers, and has also eliminated plastic cutlery and straws in food outlets across the business.
The company has also placed a strong focus on promoting sustainable living, while nurturing entrepreneurship, skills development and innovation. To this end, Majid Al Futtaim has created an Enterprise Hub to support start-ups and local businesses and invested in an Innovation Centre of Excellence to encourage the sharing of innovative business ideas and solve sustainability challenges at a company-wide level.
Going forward, Majid Al Futtaim will continue to improve its environmental sustainability performance by developing a framework for calculating the embodied carbon emissions associated with its refurbishment and development projects and setting embodied carbon reduction targets. It has also undertaken two research projects to understand the potential and opportunities around investing further in renewables and water. As part of Majid Al Futtaim’s commitment to workforce development, the company has developed a group-wide sustainability e-learning programme that will be rolled out to all employees this year.