Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate - every year, 14.6 million hectares of forest are destroyed
Masdar reiterated its commitment to sustainable forest management and preservation of natural resources to mark World Environment Day 2011 that is themed ‘Forests: Nature at our service’.
Marking the occasion, Masdar’s sustainability team launched an awareness programme targeting its employees, encouraging them to continue adopting the spirit behind the company’s timber policy that is well-grounded in rigorous audits to ensure strict compliance. The Sustainability arm of the company also encouraged its employees to raise awareness on afforestation among members of the wider community to mark the World Environment Day.
Masdar City, one of the five integrated units of Masdar, only utilises timber that is certified from a sustainable managed forest where timber is cut at a measured pace to ensure more growth than usage.
“We believe small steps add up to make a big difference,” said Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, the Associate Director, Sustainability, Masdar. “Sustainability is an integral part of our daily lives and a better way to do business. So, it is critical that the goal of any company should be to integrate sustainability into all business activities while sustainable thinking and actions should become almost second nature. It is important to remember that even with this small gesture, we will eventually reduce our carbon emissions and our impact on the environment.”
World Environment Day (WED) is an annual event that began in 1972 and one of the main vehicles through which the United Nations (UN) stimulates global awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.
According to UN statistics, forests cover one third of the earth’s land mass, performing vital functions and services with 1.6 billion people dependent on them for their livelihoods. Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate -- every year, 14.6 million hectares of forest are destroyed. Preserving forests and expanding them can become a business opportunity, predicts the UN.
Certified timber can make a significant contribution to sustainable construction and Masdar is helping to bring certified timber to the UAE, working with local timber merchants. Masdar has specified in its restricted materials list and in its various product specifications to architects, engineers and contractors that it only allows timber and composite wood to be used on its projects, supplied from timber merchants and mills that have a certification scheme such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Forest Certification scheme or other national schemes endorsed by Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). In addition, all timber must be legally sourced and not on the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
FSC timber in the UAE was previously difficult to secure but Masdar organised a workshop to educate timber merchants on why it was required for the building of Masdar City. Masdar continues to encourage the use of certified timber by holding workshops promoting the need for FSC-certified distributors in the UAE. It has already assisted two companies in obtaining such certification.
Timber is also recycled to be used as mulch in landscaping in the sustainable City, reducing the demand on virgin timber. This helps prevent evaporation and saves another precious resource throughout Masdar City – water. Water-saving systems at Masdar City aim to reduce potable water consumption by 70% reduction compared to the UAE average, with separate grey and black water drainage.
Taking its sustainability responsibility further, Masdar will also be participating in EPIC Dubai, a consumer show, at the end of the month as a Sustainable Knowledge Partner. EPIC Dubai offers a platform for companies to showcase their sustainable products. The event will take place at Dubai Mall from 22 – 24 June, 2011.