“Unity For Change” sets a new standard for environmental stewardship in the retail sector


December 5, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau

“Unity For Change” sets a new standard for environmental stewardship in the retail sector

Middle East’s foremost retail and diversified businesses, Chalhoub Group, ALDAR Properties, Emaar Malls, Majid Al Futtaim and global luxury behemoth LVMH have formed a unique alliance “Unity For Change,” dedicated towards sustainability goals. The joint sectoral partnership between the five parties highlights their commitment to working as a collective unit towards their ambitious goals and marks a testament to each of their commitments to enhancing their sustainable practices and set a new standard for environmental stewardship in the Middle East’s retail sector.

Unity For Change – pronounced UFQ in Arabic, meaning horizon and symbolising the future) is a first partnership of its kind in the Middle East retail sector focused on energy efficiency, clean energy, eco-design, water and waste management, demonstrating a strong commitment to environmental responsibility and achieving each of the parties’ Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.

This initiative reflects how to reduce the carbon and biodiversity footprints of the retail sector, with all entities intending to negotiate and execute a formal agreement within the next year. The cooperation specifically aims to enhance understanding and management of energy consumption across the entities’ properties, tenant stores and landlords’ common areas, while also developing a comprehensive eco-design checklist, polling resources for clean energy purchases to optimise energy consumption, cooperating in chilled water management and air conditioning to enhance efficiency, as well as other initiatives. Additionally, there will be concerted efforts to research green concrete usage to achieve recycling objectives.

Commenting on the alliance, Patrick Chalhoub, Group President at Chalhoub Group said, “In 2022, the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) validated our short-term carbon reduction goals. Achieving these targets requires collaborative efforts and I firmly believe in the power of collective action towards a common goal. We are pleased to collaborate with our partners to enhance our sustainability impact, setting clear objectives for both malls and retail operations. This first of its kind agreement marks the beginning of future partnerships aimed at ensuring a sustainable and resilient future for all.”

“Our 5,600 stores around the world create experiences for our customers that we strive to make as exceptional and as unforgettable as possible. The excellence of our stores extends to their environmental performance. To do so, we need to collaborate with landlords. After having signed a first partnership with Hang Lung in China in 2022, LVMH is proud to sign this second agreement with local partners in the United Arab Emirates. In the context of COP28, this agreement highlights our strong commitment to fighting climate change,” added Antoine Arnault, Head of LVMH Image & Environment.

“A key part of Aldar’s science-aligned net zero plan is to decarbonise our retail spaces and other commercial assets. This involves us actively engaging our supply chain and tenants to support their own transition to net zero. The partnership we have announced today provides a framework for Aldar to work closely with an important group of fellow industry leaders who share our commitment to creating environmentally friendly retail spaces that benefit developers, tenants and our customers,” observed Faisal Falaknaz, Chief Financial and Sustainability Officer at Aldar.

“This partnership enhances and accelerates our existing efforts to reach our ambitious target to produce more energy and water than we consume, reaching Net Positive by 2040. We are proud to be a part of this shared commitment, aiming to set a new global standard in sustainable practices and achievements as it relates to retail landlord and tenant collaboration,” stated Ahmed El Shamy, Chief Executive Officer Majid Al Futtaim Properties.

“Our participation in this sustainability taskforce further demonstrates our unwavering commitment to environmental and social responsibility in the retail sector. We are focusing on fostering sustainable practices, emphasising the importance of energy efficiency, eco-responsible design and responsible use of resources. This collaboration is another component of our strategic plan to seamlessly integrate sustainable solutions into our business operations, demonstrating our commitment to cultivating a sustainable future for our communities and stakeholders,” concluded an Emaar Malls Management spokesperson.

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