Al-Futtaim Group, a prominent Middle Eastern business conglomerate, has been designated as the Strategic E-Mobility Partner for the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).
Scheduled from 30 November to 12 December 2023, the global conference at Expo City Dubai is expected to attract significant international attention, with climate change mitigation top of the agenda. Al-Futtaim Group’s presence will spotlight the UAE’s strides in sustainable transport, as well as the broader environmental initiatives taken by influential enterprises in the region.
The company will provide an impressive fleet of 370 electrified vehicles ranging from passenger cars and SUVs to buses, for use by the 70,000 delegates. Furthermore, they will set up Charge2Moov electric vehicle charging stations directly at the event venue.
Attendees of the COP28 can also look forward to an immersive experience at the Al-Futtaim Stand situated in the Green Zone of COP28. The stand plans to present a comprehensive overview of the group’s initiatives in electric mobility, offering glimpses into the potential future of transport in the Middle East. The partnership and involvement in the COP28 event align with the group’s efforts, which emphasise sustainable solutions.
As a country, the UAE’s commitment to environmental sustainability is evident through its alignment with major global accords.
Omar Al Futtaim, Vice Chairman and CEO of Al-Futtaim Group, highlights this, stating, “We strongly believe in the UAE’s visionary commitment to accelerating sustainability efforts. As one of the first countries in the Middle East to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement, coupled with the announcement of the UAE Net Zero Strategy 2050, the UAE has set a green benchmark and paved the path for corporations to follow.”
He continues: “The future of business is inextricably linked with the future of our planet. As a major stakeholder in the business landscape of the UAE, we have a key responsibility to make sure we continue setting strong sustainability targets across all our divisions and continue echoing our country’s aspirations in the climate change agenda.”
As the transportation sector grapples with reducing its significant carbon footprint, initiatives like those of Al-Futtaim Automotive, a key division of the Al-Futtaim Group, are crucial. Their ambitious objective is to roll out 50% new energy vehicles (NEVs) in their fleet in UAE by 2030, a goal which, if realized, could profoundly influence market norms. Additionally, their aim to set up 10% of the total electric vehicle charging stations in the UAE by 2030 indicates a broader infrastructure plan geared towards supporting a more sustainable transportation ecosystem.
Paul Willis, President of Al-Futtaim Automotive, encapsulated the urgency and responsibility the automotive sector faces, saying, “We have to take radical action to tackle the climate crisis, especially within the automotive sector, as surface transportation is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. We are well-aware of the huge responsibility that lies on our shoulders as automotive leaders, and how important it is for us to fundamentally initiate a shift towards greener automotive solutions to not only meet the climate change action goals but also to continue to meet the mobility needs of a rapidly increasing urban population.”
It’s worth noting that Al-Futtaim Automotive’s commitment to green mobility isn’t newfound. They’ve previously championed eco-friendly transportation in the UAE and were pioneers in introducing alternative powertrains to the region’s public transportation. The establishment of the Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company earlier this year has been another significant step, aiming to holistically address the needs of a nascent EV ecosystem. Moreover, a strategic partnership formed with the UAE’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is expected to bolster the RTA’s ‘Zero-Emissions Public Transportation in Dubai 2050’ strategy.
The partnership between Al-Futtaim Group and UAE’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is expected to bolster the RTA’s ‘Zero-Emissions Public Transportation in Dubai 2050’ strategy.
Paul Willis added: “It’s our responsibility to look at the industry holistically and explore innovative ways to develop this entire new EV ecosystem, as well as pioneer new mobility services that will support the sustainable transition. “This year’s COP28 stresses the importance of taking collaborative action, and we are truly honoured to be part of this hugely significant and prestigious global gathering.”
Al-Futtaim Group’s evolution from its establishment in the 1930s to now mirrors the transformative journey of many conglomerates adapting to a changing global landscape. With operations spanning across automotive, financial services, real estate, retail, and health, and associations with an array of global brands, the group’s commitment to sustainable operations is noteworthy and clearly underlines that environmental considerations are now a business imperative.