DUBAI: A growing number of UAE companies are integrating sustainable innovation into their business models and reaping the benefits as they enhance their competitiveness, industry experts explained during the Dubai Dialogue 2019 which took place in the emirate earlier today.
Dubai Dialogue 2019, the largest CSR-focused conference organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, brought together a variety of stakeholders from the UAE’s public and private sectors to discuss and examine strategies and best practices adopted by organisations that have successfully harnessed sustainable innovation to boost their bottom line, productivity and social impact.
During his opening remarks, H.E. Hamad Buamim, President& CEO of Dubai Chamber, noted that the combination of technological advancements and growing consumer demand for sustainable products are leading more companies to make sustainable innovation a top priority. He described the Dubai Dialogue as an important platform for constructive debate, knowledge sharing and public-private sector cooperation, and said that this year’s conference provided clarity on how organisations in the UAE are successfully using sustainable innovation to their advantage and delivering value to their customers and communities.
He pointed out that since the establishment of Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business many years ago, the Centre has played an active role in supporting and guiding the local business community on CSR and sustainability matters, adding that the Dubai Chamber Sustainability Network also serves as the focal point companies to share and exchange best practices in implementing CSR and sustainable practices.
Daniel Render, Director of Sustainability for Expo 2020 Dubai, delivered an informative presentation detailing how sustainability is integrated into all aspects of Expo 2020 from the design and construction of the site to the event operations and transition to District 2020.
“Sustainability has been carefully selected as one of the three key sub-themes of Expo 2020 and innovation is at the heart of everything we do – just as it is for Dubai and the UAE under the guidance of our leadership,” said Render, who noted that the mega event will be focusing its efforts on looking for new and better ways of protecting the planet.
“We are also reaching a tipping point where the majority of individuals around the world understand one crucially important fact: if humanity is going to survive then we need to work together – right now. Expo 2020 Dubai is a unique opportunity to do just that,” Render added.
Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan, Professor of Innovation Management at the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government, outlined key processes associated with building a sustainable innovation eco-system which involve research, ideation, prototyping, testing, problem solving and scaling. She pointed out that sustainable innovation should be something that encompasses everything from organisational values and cultures to partnerships and interactions with stakeholders and global supply chains.
For her part, Emma Barber, Managing Director of DGrade, spoke about how the Dubai-based company works with supply chains in China and India to manufacture eco-friendly clothing made of shredded plastic. She spoke about various educational and awareness initiatives implemented by the company to recycle plastic, reduce waste and change human behaviour.
Mars GCC was highlighted as another case study of a company that has successfully embedded sustainable innovation into value chains. During her presentation, Christine Greaves, Corporate Affairs Director at Mars GCC, shed light on the company’s global plans to transform its supply chain by advancing sustainable practices in an effort to address key environmental and social challenges.