ABU DHABI, 23rd August, 2022 (WAM) — Aldar Properties PJSC released its 2021 Sustainability Report today, showcasing the continued evolution of its sustainability strategy, in alignment with international best practices and supported by enhanced governance and data collection.
The report also highlighted the progress the company had made across its four sustainability pillars of Environment, Economy, Community and People.
By focusing on data quality, Aldar was able to close gaps in data collection and strengthen its capabilities and processes, paving the way for more detailed and stronger reporting of sustainability metrics. This included the launch of a new data management system to streamline reporting across the group and track more than 500 non-financial KPIs across the ESG spectrum.
The system aligns with international sustainability reporting frameworks including major sustainability indices, GRESB, and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Aldar will soon expand it to incorporate other ESG frameworks and ratings such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
Meanwhile, reflecting both international best practices and Aldar’s own deep commitment, the Group fully embedded sustainability into its governance framework in 2021. This ensures clear accountability at all levels, and that sustainability is given an appropriately high weighting in Aldar’s strategic decision-making. Ultimate accountability for the Group’s sustainability strategy and performance rests with its Group Executive Management Committee, which is supported by sustainability councils and sustainability specialists within each business unit.
Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Executive Officer, Aldar, said, “The steps we have taken in 2021 to prioritise the environment and impose on ourselves greater accountability and transparency are fully aligned with UAE’s robust sustainability agenda and global international ESG standards. As we continue to support the UAE leadership’s vision and decarbonise our building operations, we are also redefining Middle East real-estate sustainability benchmarks and putting ourselves on track to become industry leaders.”
Greg Fewer, Group Chief Financial and Sustainability Officer at Aldar, added, “As with any long-term commitment, there is a need for regular review and enhancement. In 2021, our goal was to accelerate our sustainability capabilities and put in place the infrastructure to accurately measure the progress of our ambitious targets. We achieved this by enhancing data collection, increasing our levels of governance, and expanding our sustainability teams. We are now in a position to expedite our agenda and report the areas of progress most important to our stakeholders more robustly.”
To bolster its commitment to the environment, the company has strengthened its alignment with sustainability best practices and the UAE’s net zero targets and is working on its own Net Zero Action Plan, the details of which are due to be announced later in 2022.
Leveraging enhanced methodologies, Aldar has also improved the quality of measurements in its carbon footprint, setting the environmental baseline for the Group’s decarbonisation journey.
The company’s partial carbon footprint in 2021, including Scope 1, 2 and Scope 3, was 1,932,952 tCO2e, with some 73.7 percent of Aldar’s total Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions coming from electricity and 23.3 percent from cooling. The company’s Scope 3 emissions at the Group level represent around 87.3 percent of its carbon footprint.
In 2021, Aldar also took significant measures to reduce energy consumption across its portfolio by 20 percent. The Group’s ambitious retrofit project is the largest of its kind in the UAE and is expected to remove 80,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually across the company’s 80 hotel, school, commercial, leisure and residential assets.
The wide-ranging retrofit project will save Aldar AED40 million per year in energy consumption costs and demonstrates that landlords have large economically actionable projects that can help both the bottom line and the environment immediately.
In addition, the company in 2021 also built its first solar hybrid power plant at one of its construction sites and signed a clean energy agreement with Emirates Water and Electricity to provide clean energy sources for up to five years.
Aldar is a strategic partner of the national In-Country Value (ICV) programme, a UAE government programme headed by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology.
It aims to boost economic performance and support local industries by redirecting higher portions of public spending into the national economy. Through its involvement with the ICV programme, Aldar prioritises engaging with local contractors, consultants and suppliers (including SMEs) to reinvest in the local economy. In 2021, Aldar recirculated AED8.8 billion to the local economy through ICV. Aldar Projects also signed development project contracts worth AED8.5 billion, including 16 contracts with UAE-based companies.
Aldar is committed to creating positive social and environmental impacts that benefit communities across the UAE and beyond. Last year, through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, numerous impactful initiatives were supported to benefit wider communities, which are managed in partnership with organisations such as Sandooq Al Watan, Ma’an, UAE Team Emirates and Special Olympics UAE. In 2021, Aldar also signed an MoU with Zayed Higher Organisation to create opportunities and provide greater accessibility for People of Determination.
Reflecting Aldar’s commitment to Emiratisation, the company brought the percentage of UAE nationals in the corporate workforce to 35 percent from 29 percent in 2020. At the same time, the proportion of women employed at Aldar rose to 42 percent in 2021, up from 31 percent in 2020.