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Spotlight on… sustainable hospitality!

Published on September 9, 2022:

In-line with our Group-wide aspiration to facilitate change for the better and our commitment to caring for customers while fostering a better world for tomorrow - is the Swissôtel Al Ghurair’s latest sustainability initiative of an in-house water filtration project, offering its guests clean and fresh drinking water. Through this initiative and by the end of 2022, the hotel promises to save over 500,000 plastic bottles and provide fresh drinking water to over 250,000 guests!

Spotlight on… sustainable hospitality!
Friday 09 September 2022

Published on September 9, 2022:

In-line with our Group-wide aspiration to facilitate change for the better and our commitment to caring for customers while fostering a better world for tomorrow - is the Swissôtel Al Ghurair’s latest sustainability initiative of an in-house water filtration project, offering its guests clean and fresh drinking water. Through this initiative and by the end of 2022, the hotel promises to save over 500,000 plastic bottles and provide fresh drinking water to over 250,000 guests!

The latest edition of our Spotlight series outlines Swissotel Al Ghurair’s mindful approach to sustainability - protecting and preserving water for a better tomorrow!

Upholding the Swiss Sustainable Standards

Rooted in the tradition of Swiss hospitality, Swissotel Al Ghurair, a landmark five-star hotel under the Al Ghurair Properties hospitality portfolio, is nestled in the heart of Deira and expertly managed by Accor. There's everything to suggest that Swissôtel Al Ghurair delivers an unmatched living experience within a bustling neighbourhood, serving a wide selection of discerning guests by offering a uniquely nurturing environment.

In-line with Al Ghurair’s Group-wide aspiration to facilitate change for the better and our commitment to caring for customers while fostering a better world for tomorrow – the expertly managed hotel approaches its business decisions and strategies from a mindset of making a meaningful impact. As a result, the contemporary hotel has long been welcoming guests on a journey centred on the guest’s well-being while consciously making efforts to reduce its ecological footprint through a mindful approach to sustainability.

Advancing this philosophy, is the hotel’s latest sustainability initiative – introducing its in-house water filtration project to offer its guests clean and fresh drinking water. The filtration system treats discarded freshwater through various chemical and microbiological processes, which is then carefully bottled and distributed in guestrooms and dining areas within the hotel. Used for bottling and filtration is a dedicated room within the hotel that prioritises and observes strict measures of sanitisation and hygiene and is manned only by a few certified hotel colleagues.

Every day the team cleans, fills and seals approximately 1800 glass bottles – largely reducing their single-use plastic consumption. By the end of 2022, the hotel promises to save over 500,000 plastic bottles and provide fresh drinking water to over 250,000 guests!

For Swissotel Al Ghurair, knowing how to care for guests and reassure them that they will receive a safe welcome is part of their DNA and comes naturally. Through the implementation of the most stringent cleaning standards and operational protocols in the world of hospitality and the guarantee of Accor’s ‘ALL Safe’ Label, the filtered water has been approved by the Dubai Municipality Food Safety Department; and is completely safe for consumption by hotel guests.

Some of the hotel’s other sustainable efforts include their Vitality breakfast and lunch offerings, which include a selection of homemade jams and syrups, and an a la carte menu that includes homegrown vegetables, seasonal fruits, and sustainably sourced fish. Sustainability remains a key focus among the team at Swissotel Al Ghurair and is at the core of the tradition of Swiss hospitality.

One of my passion projects was the water-filtration system within the hotel, which I had worked on since August last year, and I am very pleased with the support of my engineering and rooms team who brought the project to life. Together, we join the Dubai government’s initiative of Dubai Can and with the support of Accor, our stakeholders and employees, we take it as our duty to protect and preserve water for a better tomorrow. Life is a journey. Live it well!” - General Manager, Swissotel Al Ghurair

Spotlight on…the importance of Vision!

Published on August 12, 2022:

Our transformation journey is about coming together, working towards a shared Purpose, celebrating and building on our legacy, by collectively reshaping the future of Al Ghurair. It’s a privileged position, and we all have a part to play in shaping and driving the transformation!

Spotlight on…the importance of Vision!
Thursday 01 September 2022

Published on August 12, 2022:

Our transformation journey is about coming together, working towards a shared Purpose, celebrating and building on our legacy, by collectively reshaping the future of Al Ghurair. It’s a privileged position, and we all have a part to play in shaping and driving the transformation!

With change all round us, every day, it’s important that we don’t miss milestones along the way, and that we look outside our own teams and departments to see how others are championing and enabling our journey.

Our ‘Spotlight’ series aims to shine a light on transformation highlights, across the group. Each edition will feature a different team or colleague, showcasing progressive action, innovation and Purpose-led progress!

In the latest edition of our ‘Spotlight’ series, John Iossifidis, GCEO, Al Ghurair Investment, talks about the critical role of Vision when it comes to change, optimisation and transformation!

Imagination: a powerful, but often underused tool

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying: “Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere.”

On the face of it, one could argue that’s a strange view from somebody so committed to science, a logic-based subject – where theories, experiments and equations are either proved or disproved, in a calculable manner. Yet, let us not forget that Einstein is famed for challenging the laws of classical mechanics, believing they could no longer be reconciled with those of the electromagnetic field, holding a genuine vision that there was a better, more accurate approach – which ultimately became his special theory of relativity.

Without curiosity, passion and innovation, this theory – along with so many other of his works – would never had happened. And the world today would have been vastly different as a result.

So, what can we – both as a business and as individuals participating in a pivotal transformation – draw as learnings from this?

Logic vs Imagination

Simply put, logic is a system that aims to draw reasonable conclusions based on given information; to make inferences based on the data at hand. Logic can be demonstrably tested. Right or wrong. Pass or fail. Met or not met. Often, logic is sequential in nature – if this is true then…hence the idea of getting you from A to B.

Logic is, of course, critical to any business – as part of our processes, our governance, our metrics, our financials. A profoundly logic-based business may not fail, wrapped up tight in the protection of structure and controls. But…will it thrive?

Imagination is the intangible element that breathes life into objects, brands and businesses. Imagination sparks curiosity, ignites dreams, instils passion – and ultimately dares us to think…what if? Without ‘what if’ moments, so many inventions, creations and historical moments would never have come to pass. Imagine life today without the wheel…the light bulb…the telephone… your i-phone!

Whilst logic is unquestionably important, it is often the illogical - the 3am musings, the ideas and dreams we’re afraid to say out loud - that brings the sparkle, the special, and makes the biggest impact.

Imagine it, then make it happen

There’s a famous line from the 1980s film “Field of Dreams” that has always resonated with me, and speaks to the power of imagination: “If you build it, he will come.” For those of you not familiar with the film, the context is that the main character has a compelling urge to build a baseball field on his corn field – despite taunts from those around him – such is his belief in a vision that he can’t ignore. He dreams about the field, envisages the future – the players, the guests, the release from a life of financial hardship. Sure enough, once built, his vision becomes reality.

Of course, guaranteed happy endings exist only in the movies – but I still think there’s an important lesson in this quote. We have to imagine it, to build it in our minds as we want it, to see ourselves in that situation or space, to embrace it…and then work back from that place to build it in reality, to make it happen.

With a future-back approach, our desired end-state, or destination, is clear, and so all priorities and efforts then align to make it happen, even if that means doing things differently and embracing innovation.

As an example, in our goal to be a customer-centric organisation: we must first imagine what the future looks like through the eyes of our customers, focusing on a set of specific customer journeys. The idea is to design “future back” - determining the ideal future experience and then resolving the ‘pain points’ and building ‘wow moments’ to overhaul an entire journey from start to finish, building the ultimate customer experience.

By the way, another apt quote from “Field of Dreams” is: “Go the distance,” which refers to continuing to do what is necessary until you achieve your vision!

Vision, powered by Purpose

In our latest 'Fit For Future' Leadership Forum event At Al Ghurair, I explained that: our Purpose is our North Star, defining the direction in which we’re going, whilst our Vision is our window into the future of our journey; our aspirational view of a place along the way. Our Purpose keeps us on track, our Vision keeps the fires of progress burning.

With an understanding of our future state, we must work back from there. How? By focusing on our customers. By innovating. By doing things differently. By being passionate. By understanding that each and every one of our people matter, and can make a difference.

After an exciting internal launch of our Vision recently, we will soon formally publish it to our external audiences as well, showcasing the future of Al Ghurair of the future. Watch this space!

In the meantime, I challenge you - our people customers and partners, to be brave, unleash your imagination and dare to dream!

Spotlight on… sustainable packaging solutions!

Published on August 5, 2022:

Our transformation journey is about coming together, working towards a shared Purpose, celebrating our legacy, and collectively reshaping the future of Al Ghurair. It’s a privileged position, and we all have a part to play in shaping and driving the transformation!

Spotlight on… sustainable packaging solutions!
Thursday 01 September 2022

Published on August 5, 2022:

Our transformation journey is about coming together, working towards a shared Purpose, celebrating our legacy, and collectively reshaping the future of Al Ghurair. It’s a privileged position, and we all have a part to play in shaping and driving the transformation!

With change all round us, every day, it’s important that we don’t miss milestones along the way, and that we look outside our own teams and departments to see how others are championing and enabling our journey.

Our ‘Spotlight’ series aims to shine a light on transformation highlights, across the business. Each edition will feature a different team or colleague, showcasing progressive action, innovation and Purpose-led progress!

Take a look at the next edition in our ‘Spotlight’ series below:

Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing goes circular!

Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing, the printing and publishing arm of Al Ghurair, is one of the nation’s leading business groups in its sector. For over four decades, clients have trusted the business for its quality, speed and service excellence.

When it comes to the business’ product offerings, sustainable packaging and eco-conscious solutions are at the forefront of Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing ethos. Indeed, these core elements are an important part of the business’ proven track record of delivering world-class production quality, and its ongoing contribution towards Al Ghurair’s overall aim of driving positive and sustainable social impact.

Many of us can say we were brought up with the phrase 'reduce, reuse, recycle' in our vocabulary, as our families, and society around us became increasingly environmentally conscious. Today, it's essential for businesses alike to adopt this same focus, embracing the values that are reflective of being a responsible corporate citizen, for the good of all. The impact of this shift in focus is far-reaching: it not only supports with environmental and ecological preservation, it also provides consumers – be it individual or corporate – with more options to make an environmentally responsible choice, ultimately increasing brand loyalty amongst eco-conscious consumers.

Bolstered with a clear purpose to forge a better world for the generations of tomorrow, as well as to meet increasing consumer interest in sustainability, Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing has sought to expand sustainable and eco-friendly packaging solutions within its product and service offering, as well as to reduce their own carbon footprint.

This is achieved through a variety of ways, including ingredient selection, production processes and reusability, all of which reduce length and complexity of supply chains – in turn limiting carbon footprint, and creating a circular economy withing the packaging lifecycle, by using raw or recycled materials.

Recognised for this innovative and sustainable approach to printing and packaging, Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing was awarded the ‘Innovation Award of the Year’ and the ‘Sustainability Award of the Year’ at the PRIME Packaging MEA awards held last year on the 8th of November 2021 in Dubai, UAE. 

Since adopting this renewed model, the business has now proudly achieved 25% of their revenue through their sustainable packaging initiative, providing paper bags, In-Mold Labels (IML), carton boxes, and food packaging, amongst its increasingly diverse environmentally conscious product portfolio. To date, the new sustainable product line has earned the business more than 30% of its overall profits, with this number set to rise in future.

“Our team is proud to be providing sustainable packaging solutions to many sectors across the region – driving our Purpose while accelerating the success of Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing. Our sustainable packaging solutions are designed with our customers in mind and a conscious mindfulness towards our ecological footprint – to drive long-term sustainable social impact.” - Lakshmanan Ganapathy, General Manager, Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing

Our aim to ensure all impact we make is positive and sustainable is reflected in all of our business ventures at Al Ghurair. We have a strong commitment towards the future of our planet and the communities we work in – all while maintaining a customer-centric approach, connecting our customers to products that are better, safer, more sustainable, accessible, and value-adding.

I am extremely proud of the team at Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing for their dedication to our Purpose, and for their successful achievement enhancing sustainable packaging solutions – delighting customers whilst facilitating positive change. Congratulations to the team for the success of their future-forward product line that improves circularity, reduces waste and mitigates harmful environmental impact!” – Arturo Lujan, CEO, AG Ventures

Founded in 1978, Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing was the first publishing house if its kind to be launched in the UAE. Strategically located in Dubai's central business district, the business is the largest commercial and security printer in the Middle East with four decades of expertise in security printing, sheet-fed offset printing, web-offset printing and digital printing.

Spotlight on…health and safety across AG Facilities Solutions

Published on July 1, 2022:

Our transformation journey is about coming together, working towards a shared Purpose, celebrating our legacy, and collectively reshaping the future of Al Ghurair. It’s a privileged position, and we all have a part to play in shaping and driving the transformation!

Spotlight on…health and safety across AG Facilities Solutions
Thursday 01 September 2022

Published on July 1, 2022:

Our transformation journey is about coming together, working towards a shared Purpose, celebrating our legacy, and collectively reshaping the future of Al Ghurair. It’s a privileged position, and we all have a part to play in shaping and driving the transformation!

With change all round us, every day, it’s important that we don’t miss milestones along the way, and that we look outside our own teams and departments to see how others are championing and enabling our journey.

Our new ‘Spotlight’ series aims to shine a light on transformation highlights, across the business. Each edition will feature a different team or colleague, showcasing progressive action, innovation and Purpose-led progress!

In this edition of ‘Spotlight’, we hear how the AG Facilities Solutions business prioritises exceptional health and safety standards to achieve the highest quality of service excellence for its customers.

Health and Safety for Quality Excellence

With exceptional experience in managing diverse clients throughout the region, AG Facilities Solutions (AGFS) is known as one of the leading facility management companies providing innovative, efficient and sustainable facility solutions. The one stop shop for all facility management services; AGFS possesses a unique delivery capability that provides the entire spectrum of facility management solutions - including individual services as well as fully integrated facility management services to its clients.

No matter the industry, health and safety should be a top priority in every workplace. For the FM industry, health and safety is a complex concept, but essentially the root of the idea is quite simple. Quality health and safety best practices are an investment - in the business and its people.

With this is mind, it is imperative to recognise that health and safety is not an entity on its own, or the responsibility of a single department or person – but is rather a way of working and doing business. Part of the way a positive safety culture is embedded within an organisation, is to ensure that it is not simply seen as something that sits with a particular department, but instead is a line management responsibility; something for which every employee should be held accountable.

Aside from valuing the health and safety contributions of all people within the company, AGFS proudly recognises the value of a strong Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE) team, along with the benefits of implementing safe systems of work and safe behavioural practices at all levels of the business. Further enforcing these principles is the company’s QHSE team led by Shahzada Zulqarnain, who work to enable the business to operate within the standards, policy, strategy, and legal framework - creating a safe working environment while continuously improving the quality of products and services.

One of AG Facilities Solutions’ initiatives aimed at improving the company’s health and safety culture and standard is M-Coins, a recognition scheme designed to motivate all AGFS teams to consistently strive for achieving exceptional QHSE standards by rewarding employees based on QHSE performance. The initiative consists of a written procedure for implementation by employees on work sites, of which the effectiveness of each is examined and verified upon completion. Once successfully completed, employees receive an ‘M-Coins’ voucher – a monetary incentive that is put towards the salaries of employees!

In addition, the business proudly holds multiple ISO certifications for quality standards including for Quality Management System, Environment Management System, Occupational Health and Safety Management System, Facility Management System and more – ensuring quality excellence in all its operations.

Health and safety cannot be pigeonholed into a department; it is a way of working - a culture and a roadmap to how the business operates. Safety also doesn’t happen by accident. As a business, we have an obligation to our stakeholders, employees, vendors, and customers to genuinely invest in health and safety – not just creating policies but enforcing them equally and demonstrating safety as a value. 

As part of our contribution to Al Ghurair’s commitment to ‘Enhancing Life’, we are proud to be working very hard on ensuring that services are provided to our esteemed clients at the highest standards - that effective management of health and safety is an extension of the normal management process and operations of our business.” - Tarek Nizameddin, CEO of AG Facilities Solutions