The event was held within the initiatives of Doha Municipality under the Ministry of Municipality to educate people about the use of plastic bags. The ministry has recently issued a decision to ban single-use plastic bags in Qatar from November 15 onwards.
The regulations on the use of plastic bags, which were approved by the Council of Ministers, prohibit institutions, companies, and shopping centres from using single-use plastic bags.
Officials from LuLu and Doha Municipality celebrating ‘International Plastic Bag Free Day’ at the D-Ring Road branch
The ministry encourages the use of environment-friendly alternatives, such as multi-use plastic bags, biodegradable bags, bags made of paper or woven cloth, and other biodegradable materials to achieve the strategic objectives of Qatar in conserving the environment and optimal investment in waste recycling.
The event was attended by senior officials from the ministry, including Ali al-Qahtani, head of the Inspection Unit in the Food Control Section, and Dr Asmaa Abu-Baker Mansour and Dr Heba Abdul-Hakim from the Food Control Section. Many other dignitaries, including Dr Mohamed Althaf, director of LuLu Group International, also attended the campaign.
Shoppers at LuLu Hypermarket along D-Ring Road receiving eco-friendly bags
Speaking at the event, al-Qahtani, who is also head of the Health Inspection and Monitoring Unit at Doha Municipality, said the event was held following the decision of Doha Municipality to hold activities at shopping malls for two days (Sunday and Monday) to educate people about uses of plastic bags in line with Ministerial Decision No 143 of 2022.
He said the decision bans single-use plastic bags at all food outlets from November 15, and replaces them with eco-friendly alternatives bearing the wine glass and a fork symbol, which is the international symbol for ‘food safe’ material. “Initially, the awareness activities are being held this week at two commercial outlets: LuLu Hypermarket and Carrefour,” said al-Qahtani.
A young girl receiving an eco-friendly bag while learning about the importance of protecting the environment by reducing the use of plastics
Aligned with the campaign, LuLu Group distributed free reusable bags to shoppers and set up a booth where eco-friendly products are on display. The store was decorated with the cutout of a tree with reusable bags on its branches. LuLu also organised a quiz programme for kids with attractive gifts to inculcate awareness on the risk that plastics cause to the environment.
The efforts taken by LuLu Hypermarket and the Ministry of Municipality to impart awareness among the public were very well-accepted and greatly appreciated by the public.
Various sustainability initiatives have been implemented by LuLu Group for the last two decades. As a leading retailer in the region, LuLu Group is deeply committed to exercising sustainable best practices to reduce environmental concerns by taking real and demonstrable measures to protect the environment and contribute to reducing carbon emissions and food waste aligned with the Qatar National Vision 2030.
The recipient of the Sustainability Award 2019 at the Qatar Sustainability Summit, LuLu Group has highlighted its efforts to promote environment-friendly practices in its operations and 18 stores in Qatar and in the community. As part of its ongoing efforts to reduce energy, water, waste, and to incorporate sustainable practices, LuLu Group has achieved sustainable operations certification for various outlets in Qatar.
LuLu introduced reusable bags and promoted them in all the outlets, encouraging customers to reuse their shopping bags by reducing the amount of fresh plastic in the system. Reverse Vending Machines have been procured and implemented in multiple outlets to encourage and educate customers on the segregation and recycling of plastic bottles and cans.
Various other measures to reduce the amount of plastic in packaging were introduced, including the introduction of refilling stations, Kraft paper bags, and biodegradable packaging made with sugarcane pulp used for packing in-house kitchen products.
With a view to eliminating waste in its operations, LuLu implemented various innovative methods, such as controlled production and controlled ordering of raw materials, among others. Sustainable suppliers and products are also given priority in the company’s operations.
Food waste digesters are also being used to efficiently manage the food waste generated in the operation. An innovative food waste solution called ‘ORCA’ recycles food waste by breaking it down into water (mainly) and some carbs, fats, and proteins, which are then captured or repurposed.
This is currently being trialed at LuLu’s Bin Mahmoud store. Outlets are being encouraged to segregate the operational waste for easy disposal and collection. Three compartment bins are placed in all general areas to encourage customers on waste segregation.
LuLu Hypermarket in Qatar has become one of the first retailers in MENA to achieve sustainable operations certification under the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) from the Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD). The hypermarket has installed a Building Management System to efficiently manage assets associated with the building’s ventilation and lighting.
Also, the hypermarket has installed the cloud-based Honeywell Forge Energy Optimisation system to efficiently manage and optimise the energy used during the operations.
The use of LED is being encouraged for LuLu’s upcoming projects and existing projects, which are being gradually shifted to LED from conventional lights. Light control systems assisted with motion sensors are being considered to optimise the use of energy, especially in warehouse operations. LuLu also introduced energy-efficient chillers in its operations to optimise the use of energy and increase cooling efficiency.
Recycling of paper waste and oil waste is also being done and encouraged throughout with the help of recycling partners that efficiently divert these materials from landfills and recycle them back into the system.
As a responsible retailer, LuLu Hypermarket always follows an all-inclusive approach in promoting ‘Made in Qatar’ products. LuLu provides dedicated retail space and point-of-sale terminals for locally-manufactured food products. The company has started sourcing its private label products locally, ensuring uninterrupted supplies and stock availability. LuLu engages closely with local farmers through a variety of support schemes and promotional initiatives to enhance supply and demand.
The group is known as a trendsetter in the introduction of sustainable best practices in the retail industry in the region. LuLu’s operations cover business divisions in the retail segment for the popular hypermarket brand, shopping mall destinations, food-processing plants, wholesale distribution, hospitality properties, and real estate development.