Majid Al Futtaim Retail – owner and operator of Carrefour in the Middle East, Africa and Asia – announced the successful launch of the Supplier Sustainability Forum – Together for Better – in partnership with the UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce. This groundbreaking event underscores Carrefour’s unwavering commitment to sustainability and paves the way for modern retail best practice in the region.
The forum brought together 13 prominent Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) suppliers, namely Arla Foods, Beiersdorf, Bel Group, Duracell, Henkel, IFFCO, Johnson & Johnson, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Reckitt, The Coca Cola Company, and Unilever. This unprecedented level of collaboration united competing businesses towards common goals – adopting sustainability best practices and identifying long-term solutions. During the forum, four dedicated working groups were formed, namely Climate & Water, Circular Economy, Better Products, and Better Communities, which each aligned with the respective companies’ sustainability strategies. This industry-first initiative demonstrated each participating party’s dedication to integrating sustainability into their value chain and customer experiences.
Two workshops were held, identifying key barriers to success across the four pillars, shedding light on critical challenges that must be overcome. These obstacles included policy and legislation, customer awareness and infrastructure availability. Undeterred by these challenges, the collaborative effort by the groups aimed to set ambitious Collaborative Impact Goals (CIGs) for each pillar. The forum also introduced the Sustainable Partnership Pledge, encouraging participating members to share their knowledge, best practices and learnings to continuously work towards enhancing their sustainability performance. By signing the pledge, Majid Al Futtaim Retail and the 13 industry leading supplier partners demonstrated their dedication to driving positive and lasting change through shared sustainability practices.
Commenting on the success of the forum, Samar Elmnhrawy, Senior Vice President of Human Capital & Sustainability at Majid Al Futtaim Retail, stated: “Now, more than ever, businesses are being asked to address and solve social and environmental issues. At Carrefour, we believe in our role as an advocate for the community, which is why we are proud to have launched the Supplier Sustainability Forum. The forum witnessed tremendous collaboration from participating organisations, fostering partnerships with governments and local communities alike. Our pledge for ‘Together for Better’ will result in a ripple effect, encouraging entities in the region to prioritise sustainability, ensuring a more progressive future for our planet, communities, and businesses, and going on to influence customer behaviour and drive better choices. It reflects how our initiatives go beyond addressing present issues; we are spearheading a sustainable future for grocery retail and setting new standards for the industry.”
The Supplier Sustainability Forum represents a pioneering initiative in the Middle East, with Carrefour leading the charge towards sustainability in the region as part of Majid Al Futtaim’s ambitious sustainability agenda. The endorsement and active involvement of the MOCCAE and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce further underline the importance and credibility of this initiative. This public-private sector partnership serves as a model for tackling global challenges effectively.
Eng. Aisha Al Abdooli, Director of the Green Development & Environment Affairs Department at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), said: “By working together on sustainable practices, we are changing more than just our industries – we are creating a greener future for the whole UAE. Every step we take, every change we make is a win for our businesses and our country.”
Discussing the crucial role of public-private partnerships in sustainability, Al Abdooli added: “The success of our sustainability agenda lies in our ability to foster effective public-private partnerships. This forum is not just about business goals; it is about our national vision. As we navigate the Year of Sustainability and approach the pivotal COP28 that will be hosted in the UAE, let us work together, support each other, and make a real difference. Because together, we can make the UAE a world leader in sustainability.”
Also, supporting the Forum was the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, through the Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) which plays a key role in advancing the CSR agenda in the emirate. Founded by the Chamber in 2004, the CRB engages with the Dubai business community through multiple programmes designed to ensure companies embed best practices in CSR and sustainability throughout their operations and assume greater responsibility for the emirate’s social and environmental needs.
With plans to expand its impact beyond the UAE to the broader Middle East and Africa region, the Supplier Sustainability Forum has the potential for far-reaching effects. Additionally, the forum’s alignment with the UAE’s national sustainability agenda positions it to shape policies and regulations, contributing to a more sustainable future.
As Carrefour and its suppliers take proactive steps towards sustainability, their commitment comes at a crucial time. With the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to be hosted in the UAE this year, their efforts serve as an industry example and demonstrate their dedication to the global sustainability agenda.