Dubai, UAE: Summertown Interiors, the UAE’s leading sustainable fit out contractor, has recorded positive environmental, economic, and social results in its 2022 Sustainability Report. Following the economic impact of COVID-19 on its business, the company continues to ‘build back better’ putting it on track to achieve its ambitious JOURNEY2030 sustainability goals.
The report is Summertown’s seventh annual sustainability report and is prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards and covers all its material topics to enable them to meet the criteria for the Core option. GRI is the world’s most widely used standards for sustainability reporting, and is an independent, international organisation that helps businesses and governments to understand and communicate their impact on climate change.
The 2022 sustainability report covers the financial year ending 31 March 2022, and details Summertown’s performance against the environmental, economic, and social issues that they believe matter most to their business and stakeholders. During the year a materiality refresh based on external and internal stakeholder engagement, and the GRI sector guide for building and construction, was conducted and 18 topics were identified as material to the stakeholders and impacts of the business, and subsequently consolidated into seven material topic groupings: Economic, Sustainable Projects, Environment, Social, Human Rights, Community, and Transparency and Anti-Corruption. The report details the company’s management approach, performance, and evaluation on these seven topics.
Summertown successfully met the majority its sustainability targets, and had strong financial performance after the economic impact of COVID-19 with a positive 63% increase in annual turnover compared to a 22% decrease last year, which is 40% above the 5-year average.
Summertown’s sustainability strategy is underpinned by its ‘JOURNEY2030’ goals to deliver 100% of projects that meet external sustainability accreditations, zero waste to landfill, and improve workplace happiness and wellbeing. This year, the company achieved positive environmental changes including a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHC) emissions compared to a 5.5% reduction in 2021; diverted 19 tonnes of project waste by recycling and reusing, and 49% of materials used in client projects came from sustainable sources.
To help achieve its zero waste to landfill goal, Summertown set up a ‘Project Waste’ process and partnered with local private and government agencies for recycling and re-using its waste – including the region’s only e-waste processor Enviroserve, and the UAE government’s Abu Dhabi’s Waste Management Centre. Establishing these partnerships are the first steps needed to meet the companies 2023 short-term target of 30% and long-term of 100% in 2030 of project waste to be diverted from landfill (in tonnes).
The company also successfully delivered four projects that met Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, demonstrating its commitment to ensuring 100% of completed projects satisfy externally accredited sustainability standards by 2030.
People are a key pillar in the company’s sustainability strategy and the report details their efforts on diversity and equal opportunity, employee health and wellbeing, education and training, ensuring no forced or compulsory labour, and human rights. Last year Summertown employed 129 people (+39% increase from 2020-21), and also increased its focus on Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) measures on project sites with the appointment of a new HSE Manager last year. Summertown also revitalised its health and wellbeing programme, which aims to reduce stress, boost morale, promote a healthy lifestyle and improve employee engagement and teamwork, by implementing weekly yoga classes, an office garden space for people to grow their own plants, an office health check-up and active sessions, such as a team desert hike.
Summertown also earned the WELL Health-Safety Rating for its Dubai head office in JAFZA through the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) - one of the first private sector businesses in the region to achieve the seal. The WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating focusing on ensuring a space puts the health and safety first for the people that occupy and visit via ensuring policies, maintenance protocols, and emergency plans are in place.
Marcos Bish, Managing Director of Summertown Interiors said: “Like many other companies in our industry, we have spent the last twelve months ‘building back better’ following the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business. Much focus was given to streamlining our operations, identifying new ways of working, and ensuring we have the right team on board. Looking ahead, the main challenge for the next year will be the impact of the unpredictable and current global economic situation. However, we are confident in our people and ability to continue to deliver quality sustainable workplace solutions for our clients and reach our JOURNEY2030 sustainability goals.”
The company’s sustainability strategy is aligned to the global United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and local sustainable ambitions – UAE Vision 2021, Green Agenda 2030 and Happiness Charter and the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.
The new 2022 Sustainability Report can be downloaded together with the separate GRI Index from Summertown’s website here: www.summertown.ae/sustainability/