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Sustainability Pulse Volume 2 Issue 2


Leading retailer Lulu awarded first GSAS Gold rating in MENA region for sustainable operations

May 30,2021

Lulu awarded first GSAS Gold rating in MENA region for sustainable operations

Lulu Hypermarket in Qatar has become one of the first retailers in MENA to achieve sustainable operations certification under the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) from the Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD). Upon completion of necessary audits by sustainability experts from GSAS Trust and GORD Labs, the project achieved an overall score of 1.51 which corresponds to a ‘GOLD’ rating under the GSAS Operations certification. Dr. Mohamed Althaf, Director of Lulu Group International has received the GSAS certificate and plaque during the awarding ceremony held at Lulu Hypermarket’s Al Messila branch yesterday.

Acknowledging LuLu Group’s initiative to implement GSAS Operations as a tool to cut down its carbon footprint, Dr. Yousef Alhorr, Founding Chairman of GORD said, “Data emerging from latest surveys is consistently pointing towards changing consumer sentiments and behaviors. Customers today are far more informed to choose sustainability. At the same time, retailers too have the power to influence sustainable practices among its customers. By achieving GSAS Operations certificate with ‘GOLD’ Rating, Lulu International has demonstrated its conscious efforts towards operational excellence which is incomplete without environmental sustainability. We congratulate the organization and hope that its initiative inspires others in the retail sector.”

Commenting on the sidelines of the event, Dr. Mohamed Althaf, Director of Lulu Group International, said, “I am very pleased to receive the GSAS-OP Certification with ‘GOLD’ rating from the Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD). This is an important milestone in our efforts to make our business more sustainable and circular. Lulu group has been making serious efforts to minimize our impact on environment and reduce our carbon footprint by half by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.”

“We will focus on cutting carbon emissions, plastic packaging, food waste and water use. At the same time, we are looking into increasing sustainable practices such as recycling. We are also exploring to invest in modern innovations like reverse vending machines, and vertical farming,” he added.

“Our cooperation with GORD began in 2019. Over the last two years, we have built solid collaborative partnership with GORD. The most valuable benefit we have gained from cooperation with GORD is being able to utilize their knowhow and long experience. We appreciate the support given by GORD’s Founding Chairman Dr. Yousef Mohammed Alhorr and his dedicated, committed professional team,” said Dr. Althaf.

The Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) is MENA region’s first green building certification system that assesses and guides projects on reducing their environmental footprint during design, construction and operations stages. In this context, GSAS Operations program addresses impacts of building operations in post-occupancy phase. It is premised on the notion that building operations and maintenance practices have a direct impact on the natural environment as well as the economy and human health. Therefore, GSAS Operations aims to reduce the environmental impact of the existing buildings while also improving the health and wellbeing of its occupants.

Dr. Yousef Alhorr, Founding Chairman of GORD
Dr. Mohamed Althaf, Director of Lulu Group International

LuLu Hypermarket building at Al Messila features two stories and a basement providing a total floor area of 14,650 square meters to accommodate the hypermarket to become the ultimate one-stop shop for daily essentials and unique product offerings for a multi-ethnic client profile living in and around Al Messila neighborhood. During the audits by sustainability experts at GORD, all these facilities were thoroughly analyzed in terms of operations and maintenance before being given the appropriate rating for GSAS Operations certification which is valid for four years from the date of issuance. All these audits were conducted during operational hours without interrupting the day-to-day business at the hypermarket.

LuLu Hypermarket has identified environmental management as one of its highest corporate priorities to reduce the risk to the environment and the organization. To achieve ‘GOLD’ certification rating, several site audits and desk reviews were conducted for the assessment of current operational and maintenance practices at Lulu Hypermarket’s Al Messila branch. As per GSAS Operations Premium Scheme, the project was evaluated against six categories, namely energy performance, indoor environment, waste management, facility management, water performance, and environmental policy and awareness. Processes undertaken to calculate these parameters included thermal imaging analysis of the building envelope, energy and water labelling, indoor environmental quality analysis and techno-commercial analysis of the energy management opportunities.

Among some green credentials of the building are its energy saving features. The building is connected to an onsite air-cooled cooling plant operating on constant primary and variable secondary configuration, efficient HVAC system and LED lighting for display/sales area and basement. The building’s indoor environmental quality, waste and facility management practices were also assessed and found to be in line with industry best practices. Wherever possible, waste accumulated from various facilities within the building is segregated at the source for responsible disposal and recycling.

Based on the assessment of operational environmental impact, a part of GSAS audit deals with outlining the opportunities for facility operators to further improve the project’s environmental performance and mitigate its negative effects. Therefore, upon the conclusion of the audit, a list of the recommended energy and water management opportunities (EMOs) were provided for Lulu Group to further improve facility management and energy and water efficiency based on industrially accepted engineering and statistical techniques and site audits. Upon successful implementation of the recommended EMOs, the building can significantly lessen its impact on the environment and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Based on US EPA’s emission factors, it is estimated that the suggested EMOs will help avoid 2,164 tons of CO2 and 1,051 tons of coal emissions, and result in 377 fewer cars on the road, 537 acres of trees planted and energy savings equivalent to annual electricity usage of 406 households.

Based on the outcomes of the energy audits conducted during the certification course, Lulu and GORD are now initiating dialogue on facility upgrade through GORD-managed ‘ESCO model’ approach whereby energy saving opportunities will be implemented resulting in cost savings and carbon emission reduction.

Lulu awarded first GSAS Gold rating in MENA region for sustainable operations

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