Developing the appropriate infrastructure for a sustainable future
We recognise the need to manage natural resources wisely, including the efficient use of energy throughout our operations to minimise our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce other environmental impacts. As part of our approach, we are transitioning to renewable energy and have made a start with measuring our carbon footprint across our operations.
Note: The above data covers our operation in the UAE from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019 unless otherwise indicated.
* Our carbon footprint has been calculated based on our electricity consumption.
** Relates to the back-office of Chalhoub Group in the UAE.
We continue to take responsible measures that help us consume less electricity throughout our offices, warehouses, and stores. These measures include upgrading to all-new fit-outs across our stores and offices with effective sustainable building design such as LED lighting, thermal and acoustic isolation, and motion detection sensors. We have set a fixed air conditioning temperature of 24 degrees Celsius at all our facilities, scientifically proven to be the most energy-efficient temperature setting. To further our efforts, we are transitioning to renewable energy use at all our offices and warehouses, wherever possible, with the potential to reduce our impact on the environment. In our aim to transform our buildings into green buildings, we plan to obtain the LEED certification for our head office and main warehouse by 2020.
In 2019, we completed the Phase 1 of our solar panel installation at our Head Office 1 and Main Warehouse building in the UAE, where 6,200 solar panels have been mounted. The newly installed 2,150kWp solar system is set to reduce 1,750 tons of CO2 emissions each year. So far, results show to be approximately 30% less reliance on conventional energy resources. We also initiated phase 2 of the project, where we will install solar panels at 3 other premises in UAE, Head Office 2 and Chalhoub Group Logistics Warehouse in JAFZA, and our warehouse in Dubai Investment Park.
Approximately 5% of our Group’s current energy footprint is produced by our IT infrastructure. We have the ambition to increase our revenue from e-commerce in the coming years. Furthermore, as part of our ‘SHIFT’ transformation, our processes are increasingly carried out online. Consequently, we will be more reliant on cloud storage and our IT infrastructure will produce a larger share of our carbon footprint.
To address this, we decided to reform our cloud strategy in 2019. Our modified cloud strategy revolves around optimising our use of the cloud, and as such reducing its energy consumption. This is realised by shutting down servers for non-critical services in production environments when they are not used, typically during the night hours and at minimal peak timings. This new management of our IT infrastructure has resulted in less energy consumption and a reduced carbon footprint.
Going forward, we aim to apply the strategy more rigorously, by setting key performance indicators around carbon footprint reduction. We will establish relationships with organisations that exhibit best practice in cloud management, as a means of learning from their resource efficiency practices and to understand the types of key performance indicators that they use to reduce their carbon footprint.
To complement our carbon footprint reduction efforts, we continue to manage our e-waste. Obsolete electronic equipment is accepted by a recycling company that we are engaged with, while older equipment that is still functioning is donated to associations and schools across the Middle East.
In 2019, we have started to measure the emissions of our freight transport on the import of products across our warehouses. We favour only direct flight shipments to optimise our time and reduce our carbon emissions.
Furthermore, in our offices, we continue to measure our daily consumption rates using our Sustainability Performance Software. In addition to our energy consumption, we also gather data about our utility water, drinking water and paper consumption. We use this data to estimate the amount of CO2 emissions that we produce across our operations. These results are communicated quarterly to all Group employees on our platforms with behavioural recommendations to reduce our consumption rates further. This practice has been adopted across the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain, and this year, we are happy to include Egypt as one of the countries measuring and controlling its resource use.
In 2020, we aim to conduct a full measurement study of our CO2 emissions across all our UAE operations in hopes of setting science-based targets to reduce them.