• Annual report demonstrates potential of sustainable mega-events ahead of COP28 
  • Continued sustainability reporting underlines Expo City’s commitment to transparency
  • Ambitions for meaningful sustainable impact rooted in Expo 2020’s long-term vision

DUBAI – Innovative sustainability techniques deployed at the World Expo will lay the foundations for yet more progress as Expo City Dubai, Expo 2020 Dubai’s legacy city and a clean, green, human-centric city of the future, builds on its successes and harnesses its forward-thinking approach.

Covering activities from carbon management to food waste reduction, the closing Expo 2020 Dubai Sustainability Report was developed with reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.  An international independent standards organisation, GRI is the most widely used sustainability reporting standard globally. 

Published on Friday, the report highlights the systems that have been advanced or pioneered by Expo 2020 for sustainable site development and operations – approaches that will be deployed and optimised further as Expo City Dubai gears up to host COP28 – The Emirates Climate Conference with UNFCCC, from 30 November to 12 December 2023.

Expo City Dubai will continue to align with reputable sustainable reporting frameworks for its annual reports to showcase its diverse economic, environmental and social impacts.

Matt Brown, Chief – Sustainability, Expo City Dubai said: “Expo 2020 Dubai was always meant to be a launchpad and testing ground for new ideas and impactful innovations, and the findings of the GRI Report demonstrate that we lived up to this ethos in our pursuit of sustainable site development and event delivery. Before and during the World Expo, we leveraged the power of collaboration and data to identify not only success stories but areas for improvement, setting our sights higher each time.

“Expo City Dubai is well-positioned to push the envelope even further as proud host of COP28 and as a city of the future that represents a blueprint in sustainable urban planning and living. We look forward to sharing our story, learnings and impacts along the way, particularly as we progress on our journey towards carbon neutrality by 2030.”

The latest GRI report provides insights into Expo 2020 Dubai’s sustainability performance from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2022.

Fit-for-purpose carbon management

Among the highlights was the implementation of a carbon management programme, where Expo 2020 Dubai adapted internationally recognised standards and guidelines to create a unique, fit-for-purpose methodology to estimate its carbon footprint. Expo 2020 Dubai also developed a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission inventory to monitor and report on changes in emissions, covering both Expo and non-Expo ownership and control.  

Expo 2020 Dubai minimised its GHG emissions via sustainable mitigation strategies, which led to a reduction in emissions of almost 10 per cent compared to a ‘business as usual’ scenario, while an additional five percent reduction was due to carbon offsets.

Reducing food waste

The pilot Expo 2020 Dubai Food Rescue Programme served more than 93,000 meals to those in need, preserved 93 million litres of water and diverted approximately 90,000 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2). The impactful implementation of this first-of-its-kind programme in the UAE prompted the exploration of a nationwide adaptation, which ultimately formed part of the National Food Loss and Waste Initiative, Ne’ma.

Promoting a circular economy

Embodying the principles of the circular economy was, and remains, crucial, with several guidelines and requirements deployed within the organisation and across vendors, supplier and contractors designed to raise the bar on sustainability standards in the UAE and wider region.

These include the ‘RISE Guidelines for Sustainable Operations’, a conclusive set of sustainability criteria that supports environmental, social and ethical standards via appropriate certifications, as well as the Sustainable Materials Guidelines, which reduced the negative environmental, social, and economic impacts of all materials procured, incorporating parameters around embodied carbon content, recycling, responsible sourcing, regional procurement, and health impact guidelines. A huge undertaking by project management teams, architects, designers, engineers and consultants, 98 per cent of selected materials were procured in accordance with the Sustainable Materials Guidelines.

Global recognition and alignment

Sustainability in all its perspectives was embedded across every area of Expo 2020 Dubai, which was awarded a range of global certifications, including from LEED, CEEQUAL, ISO, the Gender Equality European and International Standard  and the International Board of Sensory Accessibility. This unwavering commitment continues, with all programmes, guidelines and plans being implemented by and adapted to Expo City Dubai, factored into its hosting of COP28, as well as its growth strategy and carbon neutrality aspirations. All efforts are aligned with Dubai and the UAE’s strategic plans and initiatives, including the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan and UAE Net Zero by 2050, as well as the Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals).

The full report and previous reports can be viewed at expocitydubai.com.