Desso has co-hosted a Cradle to Cradle® event in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), attended by HH Sheikh Aziz Al Nuaimi, better known in the region as the "green sheikh." Sheikh Abdul Aziz is a leading exponent on sustainability in the Middle East, and is an advisor to the public, private and academic sectors on environmental issues.
The hugely successful event was attended by over 100 of the UAE's leading architects and designers, as well as government representatives from the tourism and urban planning sectors, and overseas representatives from New York University.
Delegates heard presentations from Dr Michael Braungart, one of the founders of Cradle to Cradle®, and from Stef Kranendijk, chief executive of Desso, on how Cradle to Cradle® principles are being applied in one of the world's leading carpet manufacturers.
Michael Braungart, along with the American architect William McDonough, heralded the philosophy with their book 'Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things'. For Desso, its central premise is that at the end of a carpet's useful life, its components will be disassembled and reused without being down-cycled or, worse, simply thrown away.
Desso was the first carpet manufacturer in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region to adopt Cradle to Cradle® - which Time Magazine has called "a unified philosophy that - in demonstrable and practical ways - is changing the design of the world."
Underlining the importance of the event, it was held at the HQ of MUBADLA, established by the government of Abu Dhabi to diversify and transform the economy and develop the next generation of business leaders.
It was co-hosted by Aldar, Abu Dhabi's leading property developer, which owns over 50 million square metres of land in strategic locations throughout the Emirate - and which is committed to "producing developments that balance the need for infrastructure with environmental sustainability."
Also represented was government-owned Masdar, a pioneer in renewable energy, which is seeking to position Abu Dhabi as an international hub for renewable energy, new energy and sustainable technologies.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and the largest of its seven Emirates, and making up over 85% of the nation's total land mass. It has some 10% of the world's oil reserves, 5% of its gas reserves - channelling income through MUBADLA and Masdar, among others, to create new infrastructure, encourage economic diversification, and a greater focus on sustainability.
"This was an event that captured imaginations," said Andre Dulka, Desso's regional manager, "with Abu Dhabi's key development organisations represented, as well as a broad spectrum of delegates from the private sector."
"Dr Michael Braungart and Stef Kranendijk were able to outline both the principles of Cradle to Cradle®, and how those principles can be successfully applied in a commercial environment. As an example of how well those messages were received, delegates queued for over 45 minutes to have Dr Braungart's book signed personally by him," he said.
The Abu Dhabi event followed soon after a similar presentation in Turkey, part of a global programme that Desso is undertaking to promote its ground-breaking policies on sustainability, and how other companies in other industries can also adopt the Cradle to Cradle® philosophy.