Majid Al Futtaim: Serious commitment to advancing sustainability

Responsible Business – Dubai

Commitment to long-term sustainability is central to the strategy at Majid Al Futtaim Properties. They have long understood that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles drive growth in a way that is economically efficient, socially fair and environmentally sustainable.

While those are compelling goals in and of themselves, conducting business in this manner also elevates their reputation, brand perception and business potential. Their business values and the contribution they make to communities and the environment continue to foster extremely cordial business relationships across the geographies in which they operate.

Majid Al Futtaim Properties owns, develops, and operates shopping malls, hotels and mixed-use communities in the Middle East and North Africa.  Over the past twenty years, it has developed some of the largest and most popular shopping and entertainment destinations in the region.  Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ shopping malls represent majority of its portfolio and are core to the business growth strategy of the company. Because of their nature, these malls have a major impact on their environment through substantial construction, attracting over 140 million customers a year and employing over 15,000 people within them.  Accordingly, Majid Al Futtaim Properties approaches CSR in a manner that demonstrates the company’s leadership in the shopping mall sector across the region and minimizes any undesirable impacts associated with big shopping malls.

CSR is not just the responsibility of the CEO, senior management team or the board. To be truly effective, CSR principles must be adopted by the entire organization, across all levels and considered on a day-to-day basis.  In order to help facilitate this at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, the board and management team have initiated a CSR Policy as a framework in which the company operates to ensure they balance their business goals with their CSR principles, as well as providing a tangible way to measure progress against their stated CSR objectives.

Following consultation with the board, senior management and employees at all levels throughout the company, Majid Al Futtaim Properties identified the most significant areas where a proactive approach can achieve the best results and we have developed the CSR Policy accordingly.  Objectives have been set in a number of areas, giving a clear direction and measurable benchmarks. In most cases these objectives exceed regulatory compliance.

The following areas are the focus of Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ CSR Policy. As part of this policy, they have established targets for each of these categories.  CSR Report allows them to transparently demonstrate their progress against those targets.

Tenants and Customers

Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ malls have over 2,600 shops and operators that employ over 15,000 people. The company’s success is directly tied to the success of the malls’ tenants.  As the landlord of these properties, Majid Al Futtaim Properties is responsible for the car parking and common areas of the mall, while the tenants have the responsibility for electricity and water consumption and waste disposal inside their shops. They also are responsible for the delivery of goods on trucks which have a major impact on the environment.  In order to assist tenants’ efforts to maintain sustainable stores and operations, Majid Al Futtaim Properties has developed a tenant’s sustainable fit-out guide, agreed “green” lease clause – a first for a retail developer in the MENA region.

Attracting customers is the objective of any shopping mall. The more customers that come, the more sales and resulting profit for the retailers and Majid Al Futtaim Properties.However, as the number of customers increase, so do the challenges.Majid Al Futtaim Properties has carried out accessibility audits, identifying required modifications in assets and on new developments.  The company’s average customer satisfaction, in four UAE malls, stands at 91% for 2010.

Community & Economic Development

Shopping centres are just more than a place to shop. Given the hot climate and the lack of modern buildings in many parts of the MENA regions, Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ shopping malls are more like town centres that provide a full range of activities and services including shopping, leisure, entertainment, eating or just socializing. In many places these malls become the focal point of community activity and bring together a wide range of people of all ages.  Not only that, but these malls act as a key economic generator for their communities by providing local employment opportunities and sourcing suppliers for the goods and services from the local area. As such, Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ community investment in malls totaled AED 5.2 million in 2010. Notably, Majid Al Futtaim Properties continues to champion employment of Nationals in its key markets: Egypt (93 %), Bahrain (60%), UAE (17%), Oman (84%) and Lebanon (89%). 

Labor Conditions and the Supply Chain

Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ malls are built by skilled tradesmen who sometimes have to work under very difficult conditions such as heat and dust. Majid Al Futtaim Properties takes its responsibilities for these tradesmen seriously and is focused on ensuring that they are treated fairly and in accordance with local codes of employment. Indicative of this, Majid Al Futtaim Properties has developed a strict policy for labour conditions and accommodation standards for contractors, implemented a new Health and Safety reporting regime and carries Health and Safety audits for all constructions sites annually. 

Resource Efficiency & Sustainability

All buildings, whether shopping malls or hotels are major users of natural resources during the construction phase and the long-term operation. Majid Al Futtaim Properties aims to reduce the impact on the environment during the construction process with designs that minimize the use of water, electricity and to reduce wastage during the construction phase and through the long term operation of the properties.  The company achieved Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard for Mirdif City Centre, making it one of the first retail venues designed to LEED Gold standards in the Middle East.

Employees

Majid Al Futtaim Properties employs over 700 people across the region in head offices and its mall operations. The company expects all its employees, suppliers and development partners to assist in the achievement of its CSR objectives.

To support this, the company has an ongoing internal programme of engagement and awareness-raising and measure it through the use of targets and key performance indicators (KPI’s).

 

SourceResponsible Business Magazine

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Majid Al Futtaim , CSR , sustainability , Majid Al Futtaim Properties , shopping malls , LEED , UAE , Dubai

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All, 2012

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