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Majid Al Futtaim announces 2014 sustainability results

Sustainability at core of Majid Al Futtaim business

Majid Al Futtaim, the leading retail and leisure pioneer in the Middle East, has achieved 73 per cent of its sustainability goals during 2014, further embedding sustainability into its business strategy.

Amongst its achievements, Majid Al Futtaim Properties committed AED7.3 million to community investment, enabled employees to commit 2,561 hours of volunteering to noble causes and launched a labour policy to safeguard workers’ rights.

Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ 2014 Sustainability Report, ‘Building from the Ground Up’ evaluates the company’s sustainability achievements and challenges, and charts progress made against long-term (2018) targets set out in its sustainability strategy.

The report reinforces Majid Al Futtaim’s commitment to developing sustainable real estate and sets out ambitious goals to ensure that the company maintains its position as a sustainability leader in the Middle East.

Alain Bejjani, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim – Holding, said: “Sustainability is one of our key objectives. It supports long-term value creation, enhances our brand and, most importantly, gives us licence to operate as an organisation that focuses not only on profitability, but on making a positive social impact. In applying international best practices, we are enhancing people’s lives through sustainable real estate and we believe that our approach will set an inspiring example across the region.”

Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ sustainability strategy is based on developing and managing high performance assets that support prosperous communities, and in doing so deliver pioneering standards across its business. Its annual sustainability report measures the success of the company’s strategy year on year.

Ibrahim Al Zu’bi, Head of Sustainability, Majid Al Futtaim – Properties said: “At the heart of our vision is the development of prosperous and inclusive communities that promote well-being and engagement, as well as local economic development. We are determined to provide positive socio-economic benefits for the communities in which we operate, and for the people who work for us. Our annual report measures these ambitious goals and helps us in our vision to implement sustainability in every aspect of our business.”

During 2014, Majid Al Futtaim Properties continued to set the benchmark for sustainable development in the region, successfully implementing a labour policy for its construction workers, which sets out commitments to safeguard worker rights across its developments, including timely pay, annual leave and labour accommodation. Majid Al Futtaim Properties aims to influence best practice on the treatment of workers; its construction sites were fatality free during 2014, while overall accident frequency rates among direct employees and contractors dropped by 77 per cent in the UAE and Oman and 31 per cent in the Levant and North Africa.

A first of its kind in the MENA region, the company’s ‘Green Star’ rating system sets sustainability design criteria for shop fit-outs and is now also a mandatory requirement of all lease renewals. Based on LEED, BREEAM and ESTIDAMA standards, the rating measures sustainability performance, from energy reduction to the quality of a tenant’s sustainability policies. In 2014, thirteen tenants achieved a Green Star rating, with four achieving the top five-star rating.

As a leader in innovative sustainability practices in the region, Majid Al Futtaim Properties also increased green building certifications to seven buildings, reduced water consumption at its malls by 16 per cent, and launched a programme to ensure that all of its future developments are LEED Gold certified or equivalent.

Leading by example, Majid Al Futtaim’s head office in Dubai became the first building in the UAE to be awarded with the LEED EBOM (Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance) Gold standard by the US Green Building Council. In doing so, LEED water consumption targets were surpassed by 26 per cent, while energy improvements were 18 per cent above LEED targets and changes to the recycling process helped exceed LEED expectations, with a recycling rate of 69 per cent.

Majid Al Futtaim Properties also achieved the highest ‘Green Star’ status with the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), which compares 637 real estate companies globally on a range of measures from energy reduction performance to quality of their sustainability policies.

As well as community investment totalling AED7.3 million in 2014, Majid Al Futtaim employees committed 2,561 hours to volunteering based on a programme which encourages employees to take one paid day off work to help in areas such as working with children, supporting homeless people and helping with environmental projects. 181 employees also received sustainability training in 2014 in Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Oman, and UAE.

As part of a range of ambitious goals set for 2015, Majid Al Futtaim will aim to include labour standard policy requirements into all contracts with direct suppliers, perform a study to understand the socio economic benefits of one development, and achieve a 25 per cent recycling rate (tonnes) across all operational malls.

Majid Al Futtaim has already recorded a major sustainability achievement in 2015 with City Centre Mirdif setting a global benchmark by becoming the largest mall in the world to achieve LEED Gold EBOM accreditation. The three million square foot integrated mall encapsulates the very best example of Majid Al Futtaim’s Sustainability and Green Building Strategy, which is setting the standard for developers not just in the United Arab Emirates, but across the Middle East region.