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Majid Al Futtaim commits to circular economy green strategy

Owner of brands such as VOX Cinemas and Mall of the Emirates announces commitment to sustainable business and a circular economy


The corporation promises that circularity will be at the heart of its business model by 2030 but insists moves have already started.  Majid Al Futtaim is a leading integrated lifestyle provider across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. 

Its portfolio includes hotels, communities, shopping malls and cinemas.  Its entertainment roster includes brands such as Magic Planet, VOX Cinemas, Dreamscape, Lego Store, Little Explorers, iFLY Dubai, Ski Dubai, Ski Egypt, and Wahooo! Water Park.

“Our climate is changing and so is our way of business,” said Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi Chief Sustainability Officer at Majid Al Futtaim. “We believe that we not only have the opportunity to embrace the circular economy movement but also the ability to lead the way so others can follow.”

The ten-year strategy Dare Today, Change Tomorrow, sets a clear roadmap for the corporation’s shift to sustainability. The aim is not just to minimise the harmful effects on the environment but also to generate fresh revenue streams.  It’s been estimated that transitioning to a circular economy could unlock $4.5 trillion in global growth.  It could also offer upwards of $138 billion in savings amongst the GCC countries by 2030.

Five pillars – from reducing waste to supporting start-ups

In 2012 Dame Ellen MacArthur introduced the concept of the circular economy at the World Economic Forum in Davos.  The polar opposite to the standard linear approach, it is based on three major principles – getting rid of waste and pollution; keeping materials and products in use; and regenerating natural systems. 

“At Majid Al Futtaim we realise that embracing more circular business models is too good an opportunity to let go to waste,” says the document Unlocking Value: Majid Al Futtaim’s Circular Economy Strategy.

Unlocking Value outlines five pillars in the green strategy

  • Resource mapping: how to reduce waste via procurement data, asset inventories and waste data.
  • Maximising value: implementing internal systems to retain products and materials in the value chain.
  • Closed-loop supplies: working together with suppliers to close the loops within the supply chain.
  • Circular lifestyles: engaging with customers to help them make circular choices that chime with their desired lifestyles.
  • Collaborate to accelerate: supporting research and innovation both within and without the organisation. Engaging with other organisations and supporting innovative startups.

Some green strategy initiatives already in place

The group already has several circular initiatives in place as part of its green strategy.  These include promoting recycling via reverse vending machines at Vox Cinemas.  Every time a customer puts a used bottle in the machine, they can enter a competition via a rewards app. 

The company says that as a result, over 800 bottles are being diverted from landfill every week and plans to extend the project across their businesses.  In addition, the Soap for Hope charity project recycles soap from hotels and distributes it to communities with few hygiene resources.  Cooking oil from restaurants and fast-food chains is transformed into green fuel.

The company also says it is likely to have 50 percent less food waste by 2030 as it puts into place initiatives to track waste and scrutinise orders and market trends.  Last November it committed to phase out single-use plastics by 2025. It was the first company in MENA to make such a commitment.

Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi points out that the vast strides made in technology in recent years make circularity far more achievable.  The group is working on blockchain applications. Al-Zu’bi says it will allow for reverse material flows and “better capture of data.”

“Circular economy makes business sense,” said Al-Zu’bi.  “But most importantly, it is becoming crucial to ensuring our world can adapt to emerging climate risks.  Our climate is changing and so is our way of business.”

greenloop: sustainable initiatives for the attractions industry

Our online conference, to be held on 20 April, will highlight the latest developments and trends in sustainability across the wide range of visitor attractions.  greenloop will showcase innovators and thought leaders from theme parks, waterparks, zoos and aquariums, museums, FECs and other visitor attractions.  It will inspire networking and debate in this vital area.

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