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Dubai Chamber hosts EWS-WWF workshop for 'Corporate Heroes'

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration with Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF (EWS-WWF), recently hosted a workshop targeted at the private sector on ways to reduce carbon emissions, energy and water consumption and have less impact on the environment.

More than 35 representatives from 21 different companies across the UAE participated in the Corporate Heroes workshop, which provided them with tools to help them complete the pledges they made under the EWS-WWF's Heroes of the UAE programme.

Tanzeed Alam, Policy Director at EWS-WWF, said, "EWS-WWF is grateful to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry for hosting this workshop as part of the Heroes of the UAE - Corporate Programme. It is a pleasure to be working with this group of companies and we hope they use our guidelines and toolkits in order to show us how they are meeting their pledges to reduce their carbon footprint."

"Businesses are responsible for 30% of the UAE's ecological footprint, and by conserving energy and water, we are confident that they could reduce the carbon component of their footprint by at least 10% and start their journey towards more sustainable business practices," he added.

As part of the workshop, Annelies Hodge, Dubai Chamber's corporate social responsibility manager, gave a tour of the building, which is the first existing building in the Arab world and only the fourth outside North America to achieve the prestigious LEED Existing Building certification.

Between 1998 and 2008 Dubai Chamber succeeded in reducing water consumption by 77% and energy consumption by 40% through small changes using the regular operations and maintenance budget of the building. This equates to almost Dhs7.1m in financial savings. 

In 2009, Dubai Chamber applied for and was awarded LEED certification for an Existing Building by the U.S. Green Building Council. Since then the organisation has embarked on a retrofit programme adhering to the strictest green building standards, which includes using eco-friendly materials in furniture and carpets which have low emissions of volatile organic compounds, introducing new waste and recycling systems, and the use of energy efficient LEDs. 

Other parts of the retrofit project include segregating printing and photocopy areas to reduce indoor air pollution and sickness, as well as increasing the use of colour to enhance mood and installing a CO2 monitoring system to ensure adequate oxygen. 

Overall, employees on the renovated floors show significantly improved satisfaction, measured through staff surveys and other feedback mechanisms, while absenteeism rates have fallen considerably. 

The EWS-WWF Heroes of the UAE programme has over 40 companies, based in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, who have pledged to become verified Corporate Heroes. Over 60% of the companies are SMEs.


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