LuLu Hypermarket in Qatar has become one of the first retailers in the Mena region to achieve sustainable operations certification under the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) from the Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD).

Upon completion of necessary audits by sustainability experts from GSAS Trust and GORD Labs, the project achieved an overall score of 1.51, which corresponds to a ‘Gold’ rating under the GSAS operations certification.

Dr Mohamed Althaf, director of LuLu Group International, received the GSAS certificate and plaque during an awarding ceremony held at LuLu Hypermarket’s Al Messila branch recently.

Acknowledging LuLu Group’s initiative to implement GSAS operations as a tool to cut down its carbon footprint, Dr Yousef al-Horr, founding chairman of GORD, said: “Data emerging from latest surveys is consistently pointing towards changing consumer sentiments and behaviours. Customers today are far more informed to choose sustainability.

“At the same time, retailers, too, have the power to influence sustainable practices among its customers. By achieving GSAS operations certificate with ‘Gold’ rating, LuLu International has demonstrated its conscious efforts towards operational excellence, which is incomplete without environmental sustainability. We congratulate the organisation and hope that its initiative inspires others in the retail sector.”

Althaf said, “I am very pleased to receive the GSAS-OP Certification with ‘Gold’ rating from the Gulf Organisation for Research and Development. This is an important milestone in our efforts to make our business more sustainable and circular. LuLu Group has been making serious efforts to minimise our impact on the environment and reduce our carbon footprint by half by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We will focus on cutting carbon emissions, plastic packaging, food waste, and water use. At the same time, we are looking into increasing sustainable practices, such as recycling. We are also exploring to invest in modern innovations like reverse vending machines and vertical farming.”

Althaf added: “Our co-operation with GORD began in 2019. Over the last two years, we have built a solid collaborative partnership with GORD. The most valuable benefit we have gained from co-operation with GORD is being able to utilise their know-how and long experience. We appreciate the support given by GORD’s founding chairman, Dr Yousef Mohamed al-Horr, and his dedicated, committed professional team.”

The GSAS is the Mena region’s first green building certification system that assesses and guides projects on reducing their environmental footprint during design, construction, and operations stages.

The LuLu Hypermarket building at Al Messila features two stories and a basement providing a total floor area of 14,650sq m to accommodate the hypermarket to become the "one-stop-shop" for daily essentials and unique product offerings for a multi-ethnic client profile living in and around Al Messila neighbourhood.

During the audits by sustainability experts at GORD, all these facilities were thoroughly analysed in terms of operations and maintenance before being given the appropriate rating for GSAS operations certification, which is valid for four years from the date of issuance. All these audits were conducted during operational hours without interrupting the day-to-day business at the hypermarket.

LuLu Hypermarket has identified environmental management as one of its highest corporate priorities to reduce the risk to the environment and the organisation. To achieve ‘Gold’ certification rating, several site audits, and desk reviews were conducted for the assessment of current operational and maintenance practices at LuLu Hypermarket’s Al Messila branch.

Based on the outcomes of the energy audits conducted during the certification course, LuLu and GORD are now initiating a dialogue on facility upgrade through GORD-managed ‘ESCO model’ approach whereby energy-saving opportunities will be implemented resulting in cost savings and carbon emission reduction.

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