|16 January, 2020

WFES in Abu Dhabi most sustainable ever

One of our objectives was to drive new sustainable initiatives across the exhibition down to using more sustainable products: Group event director

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Group CEO, speaks the opening ceremony of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates January 13, 2020. WAM/Handout via REUTERS.

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Group CEO, speaks the opening ceremony of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates January 13, 2020. WAM/Handout via REUTERS.

UAE -  The 13th edition of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec), is by far the most sustainable one.

The registration process was fully paperless, badges and bags biodegradable, temporary structures were built using sustainable or recycled materials, and carpet from the exhibition will now be recycled after the event.

The Adnec didn't use any plastic in its restaurants and water dispensers were installed to reduce the use of bottled water. Pavilions like that of Tadweer - the centre of waste management - was made from recyclable and used products.

"One of our objectives was to drive new sustainable initiatives across the exhibition down to using more sustainable products," Grant Tuchten, group event director of the WFES, told Khaleej Times.

Apart from government, business leaders and experts promoting renewable energy and sustainable technology, the stand-out features of this summit were the sundry art installations and works made by local students and artists that dotted the hallways - all of which were made by waste and recycled materials.

Shough Abdullah, a student, put together a turtle made from debris and mortar, shedding light on need to protect one of the world's most-endangered species. There were installations with sea creatures gasping for life and more highlighting capitalist lifestyles, consumption, threat from plastics and many others.

Tuchten said there was a conscious effort to reach out to the youth and make them part of the summit. "The art installations are by Emirati artists and students. They have conveyed the key message is on reducing waste, extent of damage to oceans and the need for awareness to take measures to reduce impact in environment. We work closely with Masdar, who looked to invest in young artists and bring them to this summit," he added.

Tuchten said what's seen and experienced by the visitors is an effort of round-the-year work by some 200 people. "Now we have closed this year and will start on 2021 edition. Each year we bring in new components to keep the event fresh. This year we had Smart Cities component, next year we will bring in climate and environment exchange."

Tuchten said plans are afoot to conduct more events throughout the year to maintain momentum for the campaign on renewable energy and sustainability.

Innovative strategies are also in place to ensure that the legacy of the six-month Expo 2020 Dubai lives forever. The site will be transformed into District 2020 to inspire future generations of innovators. On the sustainability aspect, materials used in permanent construction will be retained and temporary construction recycled.

Daniel Render, director of sustainability at Expo 2020, noted the event's venue will be a legacy site, which will outlive its use at exhibition through many different options.

"There will be lot of temporary assets used, which will later be donated to schools. We aim not to generate a lot of waste. We want to reuse all the components. The furniture could be given to charity," Render said during a panel discussion.

The 4.38 sqkm Expo 2020 site will have a Sustainability Pavilion; efforts are underway to minimise carbon emissions. There will be sustainability awareness and events throughout the six months were 150,000 to 300,000 daily visitors are expected.

Shaun Vorster, vice-president for programming at Expo 2020, noted the site will be an "innovation ecosystem" and "integrated city" for the future. "By the end of the Expo, the future actually begins," he said.

Yasmin Baker, assistant manager for grant management at Expo 2020, said the six-month event will create a "cascading effect" beyond the exhibition.

Oliver Kraft, executive director for Expo 2020 at Siemens, underlined that technologies like the Internet of Things will play crucial role in ensuring safety, security and sustainability.

Michiel Raaphorst, founding partner, architect and director at V8 Architects, said there will be pavilions that will be "living off the grid".

 

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