Majid Al Futtaim, the leading retail and leisure pioneer in the Middle East, has set a new global benchmark in sustainable retail development and property management with the world’s largest shopping mall to achieve a prestigious sustainability rating.
The U.S. Green Building Council confirmed City Centre Mirdif shopping mall in Dubai as the largest mall in the world to achieve the LEED Gold EBOM (Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance) rating, which is located in one of the hottest places on earth. A commitment to enhancing people’s lives through sustainable real estate is at the heart of Majid Al Futtaim’s business strategy. The company has set ambitious goals for 2018 to deliver results across three key areas – developing and managing high performance assets that support prosperous communities and in doing so deliver pioneering standards across its business.
The three million square foot City Centre Mirdif encapsulates the very best example of this five-year Sustainability and Green Building Strategy, which has set the standard for developers not just in the United Arab Emirates, but across the Middle East region. Through its assets, Majid Al Futtaim continually develops and advances its understanding of sustainable development, using innovative techniques to reduce impact on the planet and improve operational performance and efficiencies.
The initiative at City Centre Mirdif required co-operation from more than 500 retailers in the mall including Carrefour and leisure and entertainment brands VOX Cinemas, Little Explorers and Magic Planet. The mall operations team, retailers, and brands supported efforts by achieving targets across 110 category areas including alternative transport, water efficiency, waste management, green cleaning policies and efficient energy management. Alain Bejjani, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Holding, said: “We are witnessing a genuine drive of development projects pursuing increasingly higher levels of sustainability, with more companies seeking to embrace internationally-recognised standards. We lead by example by applying international best practices across our entire business operations and portfolio of brands. In doing so we support the economic and social development of Dubai and the wider Middle East region.”
The innovative sustainability practices, implemented by Majid Al Futtaim, signify the company’s leadership in the green building movement in MENA. The accomplishment also supports Dubai’s vision to become one of the most sustainable cities in the world by 2020, which forms part of the United Arab Emirate’s broader development and economic diversification goals. Working in partnership with Enova by Veolia, a Majid Al Futtaim facilities and energy management provider, the success at City Centre Mirdif will serve as a catalyst to increase the adoption of sustainable building practices across the MENA region. Buildings that were previously ineligible to be considered for LEED certification can now target ratings, following the combined efforts of Majid Al Futtaim and the U.S. Green Building Council.
The harsh Middle East climate previously excluded buildings from achieving LEED EBOM, because of the high amount of energy consumption used for cooling (more than 60%), along with the complex nature of integrated malls in the region. Majid Al Futtaim pioneered this concept in the Middle East back in 1995, combining a variety of retail, leisure and hospitality businesses such as gyms, medical clinics, cinemas, hypermarkets, hotels and retail into one lifestyle destination.Chris Dixon, Technical Operations Director, Shopping Malls at Majid Al Futtaim said: “The biggest hurdle was achieving the energy and atmosphere pre-requisite for energy requirements set by the U.S. Green Building Council. Working together for 18 months we developed a regression analysis model so that buildings in the region can become eligible for the certification for the first time. With malls open for 16 hours a day, and outside temperatures reaching over 50 degrees Celsius, it is far more difficult to acquire LEED Certification than other parts of the world, and until now wasn’t possible.”
Implementing this innovative governance structure for sustainability supports the Dubai Government’s vision and also upholds the United Nations Global Compact, to which Majid Al Futtaim became a signatory in 2013. Majid Al Futtaim has already achieved significant progress since the strategy was implemented two years ago including achieving high standards of energy efficiency. Since 2012, Majid Al Futtaim has saved over 11,000 megawatts, which is enough energy to supply electricity to over 200 households for an entire year. Other areas where the company has made a significant impact across its assets include: USD $410,000 saved in hotels as a result of environmental investment, achieving LEED Gold certification on a third of its buildings including City Centre Mirdif, City Centre Fujairah, City Centre Beirut, and My City Centre Al Nasseriya and contributing almost USD $2 million towards community investment in 2014.
Bejjani concluded, “We develop and manage better buildings that are highly environmentally efficient to deliver social and economic benefits to our communities, customers and supply chain. By embedding sustainability in our business we increase the value of our brand, boost long-term profitability, create new business opportunities, and maintain our talented workforce.”