Mall of the Emirates, for example, is currently achieving an 8% rate, while City Centre Me’aisem and City Centre Al Barsha have hit targets of more than 10% and 12%, respectively.  

“Everything we build must be green, and has to be a minimum of LEED Gold or BREEAM very good.”

BREEAM, or the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, is the world's longest established method of assessing, rating, and certifying the sustainability of buildings.

Along with US-based LEED, MAF is using several rating systems to guarantee full certification of every asset within the company’s portfolio.

“Anything we built after 2014 has been LEED certified or its equivalent,” he said. “But our aim is not only to have LEED Gold or Platinum.

“Our target is 2040,” he added. “By 2022, we should have achieved a 37% reduction in water and energy consumption. By 2020, land lord area must be net positive, and by 2040, landlord and tenant area as well.”

The sustainability officer also revealed that the company is in talks with global technology giants and was also one of the first to collaborate with Tesla, implementing charging stations at it malls ahead of competitors.

Al-Zu’bi hinted at future collaborations with Tesla, but did not reveal any more details or concrete plans.

READ: Majid Al Futtaim signs sustainability MoU with UAE ministry

But Al Zu’bi believes the region is still falling behind in one crucial area – research and development (R&D), which is a significant aspect of Majid Al Futtaim’s extensive sustainability plan.

“The technology is not up to speed with our needs, hence we are investing in R&D, and we are talking to [experts].

“As a company, we have so far tried and tested many technologies, but we still need more research and development in this part of the world to give us solutions that work for us [as a region],” he said.

Majid Al Futtaim is currently using a number of technology driven solutions, including the implementation of smart building management systems and green building materials during the construction phase.

“Some worked, and some did not”, Al Zu’bi said, explaining that it is all a part of the process. “But we are still the first company in MENA to commit to such an initiative.”