Major Retail Outlets in Abu Dhabi Pledge to Support the Implementation of the Single-Use Plastics Policy

Abu Dhabi, 23rd May 2022:

A group of senior executives from major retail outlets in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi recently signed a voluntary declaration, committing them to support the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy.

The policy was launched by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) in March 2020, which, along with subsequent regulations, will help the Emirate’s marine and land environment remain free from single-use plastic waste.

Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD and Ahmed Tarish Al Qubaisi, Director of Control and Inspection Department from Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED), were present at Al Mamoura Building to witness the signing of the declaration by executives from major retail outlets in Abu Dhabi.

The leading brands included: Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society and Spar, Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket, Choithrams, Spinneys and Waitrose. The signatories expressed their commitment in not only implementing the policy, but also collecting fees on reusable bags in a bid to reduce their consumption.

The signing of the declaration supports efforts made by EAD to implement the integrated single-use plastics policy and will help achieve the UAE government’s vision of promoting sustainable living. The policy includes a gradual reduction in the consumption of single-use plastic products across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as promotes the use of reusable products.

According to the latest announcement by EAD, single-use plastic bags will be banned in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as of June 1, 2022.

The announcement signed by the major retail outlet companies in Abu Dhabi, recognises the effects related to single-use plastic waste on marine, wild species and birds that perish due to the presence of plastic materials. Furthermore, the human food chain is affected due to the entry of plastic particles, leading to accompanying health effects.

Her Excellency Dr. Al Dhaheri said: “By working with our partners, we seek to implement this policy and a number of measures to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic products and transition towards reusable materials. In the near future, there will be a gradual reduction of single-use and disposable plastic products and we will push for the promotion of multi-use products.”

Her Excellency added: “The amount of single-use plastic constitutes 36% of the global plastic production total, which is around 400 million tons annually. In the UAE, for example, 11 billion plastic bags are consumed annually (according to a report presented at the World Government Summit in February 2019). This is equivalent to 1,182 plastic bags per person annually. This is considered a very high rate compared to the global average of 307 bags per person annually.”

Her Excellency elaborated: “The declaration today emphasises the importance of joint action between all concerned parties from the government and private sectors to address the challenges related to single-use plastics, and their impact on the environment.”

Her Excellency praised the outlets that signed the pledge, adding it reflects their environmental sense of responsibility and their leadership role in driving positive change in consumption patterns.

She further stressed that the declaration is in line with the Abu Dhabi Government’s vision and its endeavours to promote the responsible use of plastic, while transitioning to more sustainable alternatives. Based on this direction, EAD calls on all other retail outlets to join this pledge to better promote sustainable development and protect the environment in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Abdulmajeed Alkhoori, CEO of ADCOOPS said: “Since opening our first store in 1981 on the Corniche, in the heart of Abu Dhabi, we have maintained a strong sense of social responsibility and are fully committed to the declaration to reduce reliance on single-use plastic.

Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society are committed to removing single use plastic from our outlets and across our business, and we proudly support the vision of our leadership to protect the natural beauty and environment of the United Arab Emirates. This initiative to remove single-use plastic will be a big win for the health of our oceans, wadis and deserts. As a community retailer we will exert effort to help our customers to make the change towards a more sustainable and a greener future”.

Ibrahim Al Zubi, Chief Sustainability Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Holding, commented: “Carrefour was the first UAE retailer to introduce reusable bags back in 2007 through its iconic starfish bag. The launch was followed by a robust sustainability campaign to raise awareness and encourage sustainable shopping behaviour that ran until this day. As an Emirati company, we have a commitment to protect and save our community, which is the reason we grew our sustainability operations exponentially over the past few years and pledged to eliminating single use plastic and becoming Net Positive in carbon and water by 2040. Today, by joining hands with our government and the wider industry, we are one step closer to a greener UAE. I would like to thank the Abu Dhabi authorities for leading the way to a better, plastic-free future.”

The CEO of Choithrams, Rajiv Warrier said “At Choithrams, we are devoted to bringing the “Full of Goodness” promise at every step of the customer journey while taking care of the communities we serve. We welcome the decision taken by the Abu Dhabi authorities to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags. Choithrams has been actively encouraging use of reusable shopping bags for years now. Our multi use ‘Bag for life’ is available for purchase at all Choithrams stores, these bags come with a lifetime guarantee and can be replaced if damaged. Together we can ensure a clean marine and terrestrial environment in UAE.”

Saifee Rupawala, CEO of Lulu Group International: “This landmark initiative is going to be a major game-changer in the fight against the negative impact of plastic on our precious environment and Lulu Group is fully committed to make “Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy” a grand success. We have already launched a major awareness campaign throughout all our hypermarkets and in social media to achieve an impactful result from day one itself. In our second phase we will be implementing many innovative projects to further promote Re-usable shopping bags and various sustainability initiatives.”

The CEO of Fine Fare Food, Sunil Kumar, who runs both the Spinneys & Waitrose brands said: “As a retailer established in the region for more than sixty years ago, we have a great responsibility to help protect our local environment and eco-systems. We view the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy as a significant step forward that accelerates the UAE towards a cleaner, healthier future.”

According to the declaration, the signatories have committed to cooperate, secure alternatives, resources, and financing to support environmental protection. This is in addition to reducing the amount of single-use plastic materials in their outlets in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and to raise awareness to encourage and accelerate the shift in consumer behaviour towards reducing dependence on the consumption of single-use plastic materials.

The signatories confirmed their commitment to implement the Abu Dhabi Government ban on single-use plastic bags, as of June 1, 2022, and to charge customers a fee for each reusable plastic grocery bag.

The signatories also committed to using collected fees to implement sustainable initiatives and publish reports on how these funds are spent. This is in addition to contributing to the government’s efforts – represented by EAD – in raising awareness related to reducing reliance on single-use plastic products.

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