Emirates Environmental Group organised the 5th Panel Discussion for the year 2022 on 20th October. It was held in a hybrid format courtesy of Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha under the title “Achieving Net Zero: Spotlighting Urban Sprawls”. The panel was organised in association with Arabia CSR Network and supported by EmiratesGBC, Clean Energy Business Council and the Swiss Business Council. KEO was the Co-sponsor and Smart Automation Energy, Epson and Siemens were the support sponsors of this event.
In her opening address to the audience, Mrs. Habiba Al Mar’ashi, Co-founder and Chairperson of EEG said “As per the report by the World Green Building Council (WGBC) more than 50% of the world’s population currently lives in cities, and that figure is expected to increase to almost 70% by 2050. Cities generate around 70% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. As societies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, CO2 rates are rebounding rapidly.”
She emphasised further “Cities are global economic engines, responsible for 80% of global GDP, and hold a unique position to deliver on the net-zero agenda and accelerate progress towards ambitious climate goals. These factors make the decarbonisation of cities a global priority and of special significance to achieve national commitments and objectives. A more sustainable future that limits the effects of climate change requires strengthening the co-operation between private entities and local and national governments as well as with regional and international bodies to accelerate progress toward a net-zero emission world.”
The session was headed by Mr. Saeed Al Abbar – CEO, AESG who opened the session and set the right tone for the discussions. He directed the conversation by putting forth strong and significant probes to the speakers such as
(1) What types of designs on existing buildings make it difficult to make it greener or more sustainable?
(2) Out of all the sectors, which sector needs the most energy solutions in order to achieve the goals of sustainability and net zero goals?
(3) How can architectural design of sprawling buildings play a part in incorporating the local ecosystem and assist in maintaining or boosting the local biodiversity?
(4) Aspects associated with urban sprawl are the expansion of the energy grid, water channels and sewage system. Are there any innovative solutions that are currently being implemented that will conserve or improve efficiency of the distribution of these resources?
The distinguished panellists who were invited to contribute to the discussions included:
- Dr Ioannis Spanos – Director of Sustainability, KEO
- Mr. Issa Azar – CEO, Smart Automation Energy
- Mr. Muhamad Rehan Razzak, Executive Vice President – Finance, Siemens Middle East
- Mr. Sanjeev Coelho – Senior Associate, HOK
Dr Ioannis Spanos, Director of Sustainability at KEO the co- sponsor of the session quoted: “KEO’s goal is to alter the culture of development – from doing well to doing well while doing ‘good’ and to partner with entities like the Emirates Environmental Group that share similar values. The strong link between our own activities and the UN SDGs brings focus and perspective to our own sustainability goals and strengthens our social relevance as a business.”
This discussion addressed several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals including SDG 7: Affordable and Clean energy SDG, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, 12: Responsible Consumption and Productions, SDG 13: Climate Change, SDG 15: Life on Land & SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals.
The session which enjoyed a strong presence of the student community, concluded with a lively interactive discussion where the experts and audience shared and exchanged information, discussed queries and uncovered facts. Everyone took new knowledge which is essential to ensuring innovative change in the industry for a more sustainable future.