The COVID-19 pandemic is leading more businesses in the UAE to adopt sustainable building solutions as they reopen and return to 100% capacity, according to business leaders who spoke on the topic at a recent Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry webinar. The webinar, Ensuring Sustainable Health and Safety of Building Occupants during COVID-19, was organised by the Dubai Chamber Sustainability Network’s Task Force on Green Buildings and attended by business leaders who shared their experiences and best practices in implementing health and safety standards at the workplace.
During the event, participants learned about the importance of ensuring the sustainable health and wellbeing of employees and building occupants, especially during the current stage when workers are gradually returning to the office. Marcos Bish, Managing Director at Summertown Interiors, said health and safety concerns brought forth by COVID-19 have fast-tracked adjustments made to the company’s offices, which include investments in new technologies improving air and water quality, preventative measures and social distancing. He stressed the importance of adopting a comprehensive plan before reopening offices and clearly communicating new policies and guidelines to staff.
George Abraham, Deputy Director Engineering at Zulekha Hospital shed light on the significance of Sustainable Healing Environment to maintain advanced building safety. He emphasised the need to ensure the health and wellbeing of building occupants by adopting the healing environment approach and improving facilities, especially in hospitals. Abraham mentioned that Zulekha Hospital has achieved accreditation, LEED, ISO, and other certifications, as well as being in the process of obtaining WELL platinum certification. These certifications support the adoption and implementation of the Sustainable Healing Environment.
For his part, Dr. Belaid Rettab, Senior Director, Economic Research and Sustainable Business Development Sector, Dubai Chamber, said: “It is crucial that companies understand their responsibility of making the wellbeing of employees a top priority as they begin to reopen offices, navigate new challenges and adapt to the new normal in the Covid-19 era.”
Rettab noted that the webinar provided an ideal platform to share case studies and shed light on how businesses are making the necessary adjustments to keep employees safe while reducing their environmental impact. He added that the webinar was the latest in a series of virtual events organised by Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business, which advised the business community on a wide range of important business matters as they deal with the impact of Covid-19.
The Dubai Chamber Sustainability Network is an essential platform for the business community to exchange information and experiences on matters related to corporate social responsibility and sustainability. The Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) was established by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2004 to support and promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. The Centre’s objective is to engage the Dubai business community in assuming greater responsibility for the emirate’s social and environmental needs. The CRB also promotes Dubai as the GCC’s gateway for global commerce by offering its business partners an environment of transparency and rule of law.