Sustainable Business Practices

Tried and Tested Sustainable Business Practices for Your Dubai Startup

Did you know that the UAE is a sustainability trailblazer in the region, being the first to ratify the Paris Agreement, the first to commit to economy-wide emissions reductions, and the first to introduce a Net Zero by 2050 strategy?


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The UAE is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and is actively encouraging businesses and startups to embrace eco-conscious strategies. The city is welcoming innovative enterprises that can help achieve the goal of net-zero emissions.

In this blog we’ll explore how you can create and implement sustainable business practices to contribute to a greener and more eco-conscious future in Dubai.

Sustainable Business: What Does It Mean?

Business sustainability refers to the practice of operating without negatively affecting the environment. A sustainable business operates in the best interests of both the local and global environment, supporting communities and economies that rely on a healthy planet. Such enterprises consider more than just profits; they assess their impact on society and the environment.

Going green may require an initial investment, but it pays off in the long run. Research shows that more than 33% of businesses incorporate sustainable practices to enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs.

Sustainable business practices don’t only promote a greener planet but also save you money. How? Well, small changes, like adopting more efficient lighting or creatively repurposing existing materials can lead to substantial cost reductions. Let’s take solar energy as an example. Converting to solar power may have an initial investment, but it’s a smart financial move. The average commercial property owner can save more than $500 (AED ADD DIRHAMS HERE) per month on electricity, which results in a savings of $600,000 (AED ADD DIRHAMS HERE) over the life of the solar power system!

As your business becomes more sustainable, your energy and material expenses decrease. In other words, sustainability isn’t just about saving the planet; it’s about saving your hard-earned money too.


Tried and Tested Sustainable Business Practices  

  1. Empower Your Business Community to Give Back to the Planet

Let’s face it, going green isn’t something you do alone – it’s a community effort. Your business can have a greater impact by inspiring your employees to be eco-champions.  Begin by getting your team involved in community projects that support green living.

At IFZA, we actively participate in projects like planting mangrove trees in the UAE. Through our GROW Initiative, we’ve planted more than 10,000 mangrove saplings at the Jubail Mangrove Park in Abu Dhabi. This effort is expected to capture 2.3 million kg of CO2 during the lifetime of the forest. We’re also planning to plant an additional 20,000 mangrove trees at the Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai by the end of this year.

By getting your team involved, you’re not only helping the environment but also fostering a sense of togetherness and purpose within your organization.

  1. Donate Supplies in Good Condition

Did you know, more than 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste is produced every year worldwide? Such a large quantity of tech gadgets being disposed of irresponsibly every year can lead to an increase in emissions and landfill waste. However, in Dubai, there are ample opportunities to ensure these supplies find a new purpose. You can donate unneeded office supplies to organizations that support underprivileged students. These organizations often accept toner and inkjet printer cartridges for recycling.

Being a sustainable business, at IFZA we actively engage in recycling and reusing technology. As a commitment to supporting the UAE government’s efforts towards reaching Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education and Goal 13 – Climate Action, we recently identified a school network in Dubai that would benefit from laptops and donated 27 formatted high-quality laptops to them. The initiative ensured the laptops are upcycled and donated to solve a problem in the community instead of selling them for profit or disposing of them as waste and polluting the environment.

  1. Go Fully Digital

Despite living in a digital age, many companies still rely heavily on printing and paper. Transitioning to a fully digital operation not only reduces your environmental footprint but also brings numerous benefits to your business, including better organization, enhanced transparency, and faster transactions. Even if you use recyclable paper, the most significant impact comes from going entirely digital.

At IFZA, we have digitized many of our processes and are continuing to maximize our sustainability efforts. Our latest effort is the launch of the IFZA Partner Portal, which offers a convenient way to access IFZA forms, submit documents securely, and stay updated on applications and requests in real-time. Going paperless is not just environmentally friendly—it also streamlines your business processes.

  1. Measure Your Carbon Footprint

To make your business sustainable, you need to understand its impact on the environment. Begin by calculating your carbon footprint. This involves identifying sources of greenhouse gas emissions within your operations. The most accurate approach is to conduct a comprehensive audit of your operations, which may require the assistance of carbon management professionals. However, there are also several free online calculators that can help you estimate your emissions. Carbon Trust Footprint Calculator and the WWF Business Carbon Calculator, are excellent options that are designed to help you estimate your carbon emissions. These tools also provide options for offsetting emissions through carbon offset projects. Measuring your carbon footprint empowers you to set realistic goals for reducing your environmental impact.

Boosting Sustainability with Smart Equipment Choices

When it comes to promoting sustainability, making informed decisions regarding energy-efficient machines and electronics is crucial. In Dubai, the ESMA Energy Efficiency Standardization and Labelling Program, launched in 2013, has been helpful in this regard. ESMA energy labels provide a clear assessment of an appliance’s energy efficiency, rating them on a scale of 1 to 5, reflecting their energy consumption. The more stars an appliance earns, the higher its energy efficiency. This means selecting a 4- or 5-star-rated appliance, such as an air conditioner, results in a remarkable 30% less energy consumption compared to a 1-star-rated counterpart.

At IFZA, we carefully handpick our machines and electronics based on their ESMA ratings. It’s not just about being environmentally responsible; it’s also about getting smarter about energy. So, next time you’re looking at machines and electronics, remember to check their ESMA label. Those little stars can make a big difference!

Understanding the ESMA Energy Efficiency Label

Image Source: Energy efficiency and conservation | The Official Portal of the UAE Government

Sustainable. Green. Eco-friendly. No matter how you phrase it, the benefits of being environmentally friendly are undeniable. We believe that success is not just measured by profits, but by the impact we have on society and the environment. At IFZA, we are dedicated to supporting our communities, protecting the environment, and fostering a culture of ethical and sustainable business practices.

Setup Your Sustainable Business in Dubai

When planning to start your sustainable business in Dubai, you will need to complete the following steps. For a detailed breakdown, take a look at our guide, which simplifies the process into a few steps.

  • Determine the Nature of Business Activity
  • Determine Your Company’s Legal Structure
  • Register Trade Name
  • Select a Business Space and Location
  • Get Initial Approval
  • Registration and Fee Payment

Setting up a business in Dubai’s thriving Free Zone can be a breeze with the right support. At IFZA, we are here to make sure that your journey to entrepreneurship is seamless and efficient. Our team of experts will guide you every step of the way, from drafting documents to submitting them, and providing translations, bank account setup, approval processes, and expert advice and consultation. We are dedicated to making sure your business launch is successful and stress-free. Contact an IFZA Professional Partner today to discover how we can support you in setting up your sustainable business in Dubai’s dynamic and international Free Zone.

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