Dubai, UAE – April 2023: IFZA Dubai, the UAE’s most dynamic and truly international Free Zone, announces plans to create a second IFZA Mangrove Forest at the Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary, with the aim of planting 20,000 mangrove trees by COP28UAE. In line with the Year of Sustainability, IFZA pledges to expand its network of forests, re-enforcing its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, and raising further awareness of the importance of sustainability and environmental responsibility.
In line with IFZA’s pledge and a partnership with The Storey Group’s One Billion Tree Planting Initiative (OBTI), the first 200 mangrove saplings were planted during a Grow Community Event held at Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary in partnership with Emirates Marine Environmental Group (EMEG) in Dubai, with the participation of Martin G. Pedersen, Chairman of IFZA, alongside Jochen Knecht, CEO of IFZA. Employees, partners and their families were invited to visit the forest and plant saplings. The GROW initiative aims to provide a platform for IFZA Licensees to further engage in environmental sustainability.
Commenting on the achievement, Pedersen said, “We are proud to announce the second phase of our GROW initiative as well as the successful completion of Phase One, since planting our first sapling in June. We are deeply committed to achieving carbon neutrality, in line with the Net Zero initiative, as we work to create a network of forests across the UAE and potentially around the world. At IFZA, we will continue supporting the UAE’s goals and we hope this initiative will further embed a sustainable mindset for our Partners, Licensees and Employees.”
Karen Storey, Founder of The Storey Group commented, “Each tree planted represents a step towards a more sustainable future, and we are delighted to be partnering with IFZA on this meaningful act of conservation. We hope this inspires the business community to follow the same steps and support our mission to protect and restore the natural landscape of the emirate.”
Major Ali Saqer Al Suwaidi, Chairman Emirates Marine Environmental Group (EMEG), commented “We have been protecting the UAE’s coastal and marine biodiversity for many years and to have the support of organizations like IFZA will ensure we continue to preserve the very best of nature for generations to come”.
Launched to encourage the IFZA Community to be more conscious of their impact on the planet, the GROW initiative enables the business community to create a lasting contribution to combat climate change. Phase one of the project saw the successful plantation of more than 10,000 mangrove trees in the Jubail Mangrove Park, Abu Dhabi over the last six months. This forest will contribute to the development and growth of the diverse ecosystem in the UAE and is estimated to sequester 2.3 million kg of CO2 throughout its lifetime.
Through the GROW Initiative, every IFZA Employee received one sapling to launch the IFZA Forest. Using a digital block chain-based platform powered by EcoMatcher, the owner of each mangrove tree can locate and track their tree growth conveniently. Users can also virtually “visit” their trees through satellite imagery and learn more about every tree planted, including a unique picture of the tree, date of planting, geolocation, species, CO2 sequestration, real-life pictures, and the person caring for the tree.
In line with the UAE’s 2030 vision of achieving sustainable development, the initiative was developed under the Free Zone’s CSR arm, IFZA Cares. Under the pillars of the Environment, Community and Economy, IFZA Cares strives to contribute to the greater humanitarian focus of the UAE’s leadership and has created numerous opportunities to this end.