Environment & Sustainability

Dubai International is an efficient hub, whose two largest airlines, Emirates Airline and flydubai, have young, fuel-efficient fleets. However, as one of the world’s fast-growing and biggest global hubs, it is vital that Dubai Airports continuously strives to limit its environmental impact.
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Building on our CSR Policy, Safety Policy & Environmental Management Plan, Dubai Airports began in 2013 to establish its carbon emission baseline which will set the foundation for environmental priorities and action plans to mitigate our impact on the environment, demonstrating our commitment to limiting both airports’ carbon footprint while supporting the growth of the aviation sector and the broader UAE economy.

In line with this we established an environmental sustainability module which allows Dubai Airports to record environmental data associated with operations and track continual improvement.

In order to build support for its drive towards environmental sustainability, the organisation held several awareness campaigns aimed at employees and key stakeholders. These events included the Environmental Awareness & Clean Up Day in support of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) World Clean Up Day. More than 2,300 participants turned out for the event during which more than 3.911 tonnes of solid waste was collected.

“More than 2,300 participants turned out for the event during which more than 3.911 tonnes of solid waste was collected.”

As part of the Clean-up Day activities, Dubai Airports introduced the Recycle Mobile Campaign where a total of 248 old mobile phones were donated by stakeholders and employees for recycling purposes.

During the year under review we also continued to work closely with stakeholders, the federal and regional governments to contribute to the development of programmes and policies designed to promote sustainability across the UAE via participation on key environmental committees. During the year Dubai Airports also became a member of the Airports Council International Asia & Pacific Regional Environmental Committee (APREC), strengthening our input on regional environmental issues that have a direct impact on aviation.

Towards a carbon neutral future

Airports themselves contribute only 0.1 per cent to 0.2 per cent of all man-made carbon emissions. Nevertheless, Dubai Airports heartily endorse and support the ICAO position on climate change and our industry’s target of carbon-neutral growth by 2020.


Every day, through its Environment Management Plan, Dubai Airports strives to mitigate its impact on the environment – introducing technologies and processes to minimise use of water and energy, to reduce use of hazardous chemicals, and to replace diesel-powered installations with less harmful systems.
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Waste management

As the owner and operator of one of the world’s largest international airports, Dubai Airports is committed to ensuring waste disposal is conducted with best practices in mind. As such the company actively seeks to limit its environmental impact through various environmentally focused initiatives. That includes efforts to segregate hazardous and non-hazardous waste; the segregation of waste water; and waste water testing.

During 2013, Dubai Airports stepped up its efforts to limit the environmental impact of solid waste, recycling more than 2,238 tonnes of solid waste collected across Dubai International, up from 1,144 tonnes of paper, carton and plastic collected in 2012. During the year the recycling programme was expanded to include the collection of wood, mainly from disused pallets in the airport’s cargo facilities.

Energy efficiencies

Dubai Airports is always exploring new ways to reduce its power and water consumption across both our airports and we are strongly supportive of programmes that seek a more sustainable future for all.

For the fifth year now Dubai Airports joined environmentally minded individuals and organisations around the world on March 23, by switching off all non-essential lights for an hour. During this time Dubai International’s demand for electricity dropped by 15KWh contributing to a total of 28 tonnes of carbon saved since 2009 or 65,392 KWh.

“During this time Dubai International’s demand for electricity dropped by 15KWh contributing to a total of 28 tonnes of carbon saved since 2009 or 65,392 KWh.”

The organisation backs it support of Earth Hour with some permanent energy saving across both airports. These include the use of LED lights both indoors and outdoors and motion sensors in office areas which allow lights to be automatically switched off when the office is not in use.

During the colder winter months of 2013 Dubai Airports switched off the treated fresh air fans in Concourse B, Terminal 3 and Concourse A (for nearly 45 days up to end of December 2013) which resulted in a combined energy saving of almost 5,571 KWh amounting to AED2.33 million or 2,395 tonnes of CO₂. This saving was achieved without compromising the passenger experience inside the airport building.

During the year Dubai Airports also conducted a study on the discharge of condensate drain water generated from the air-conditioning equipment in the Concourse B/Terminal 3 facility and has found immense potential for utilising the waste water for cultivating vegetables using hydroponic agriculture. Currently more than 308,000 litres of condensate water per day is discharged from the building’s air-conditioning system.

Building for the future

Increasingly, the impact our airports have on the environment is factored into our expansion plans and general principles of sustainability are incorporated into the design of new facilities.

Currently Dubai Airports, together with our construction partner Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP), is working towards making Concourse D – which will become the new home of more than 100 international airlines that fly to Dubai International when it opens in 2015 – as energy efficient and sustainable as possible.

Under the supervision of DAEP, the new building will implement several green initiatives that will reduce the carbon footprint of the new facility.

These include adopting recycling programmes during construction, the use of renewable energy as well as utilising locally sourced and recycled building materials. For Dubai Airports and DAEP the intention is to promote healthy, durable, affordable and environmentally sound practices in design, construction and eventual operation.

Among the initiatives aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of Concourse D is an array of 192 solar panels measuring 450m2 to be erected on the roof of the building. This will have the dual benefit of generating power while keeping the building cool by reflecting sunlight.

“The solar array is expected to generate about 1.8 per cent of the total power requirement of Concourse D.”

The solar array is expected to generate about 1.8 per cent of the total power requirement of Concourse D. The use of improved insulation in the construction of the building will help better regulate temperature within the concourse while thermal technology will be used to absorb the sunlight in the day and radiate it during the night time hours.

The overall volume of the building has been significantly reduced and so removes the requirement to cool larger public spaces while providing a fully functional facility. The glass façade also allows for more effective use of daylight.

Construction of the new facility currently includes onsite recycling, thereby reducing the amount of waste being disposed of in landfills. Easily accessible areas have been provided for the collection and storage of non-hazardous materials including paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastic and metal. Recycled materials will also be used in the construction of the facility as well as regionally harvested or manufactured materials.

DAEP has sourced at least 10 per cent of its building material from within 800km of Dubai International and 20 per cent from recycled materials. In addition, the new building will make use of at least 50 per cent (based on cost) of wood based materials and products that are certified in accordance to Forest Stewardship Councils’ principles and criteria.

For Dubai Airports designing environmentally friendly terminals is key to limiting our energy consumption and carbon footprint over time and fits in with our broader environmental policy.

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Community involvement

During the year under review Dubai Airports collected and contributed more than AED378,005 from Dubai Cares donation boxes across Dubai International. Dubai Airports has supported the charity – which strives to improve access to primary education in 28 countries – since its inception in 2007. Proceeds go towards the charity’s efforts to improve children’s access to quality primary education in developing countries. Over the past six years, Dubai Cares has helped more than eight million children in 31 countries and built or renovated more than 1,500 schools and classrooms.

Dubai Airports also plays an increasingly important and positive role in the emirate’s cultural and creative life. The organisation has created a National Identity Team to celebrate local culture and history in conjunction with the broader airport community. The team organised a number of events highlighted by the UAE’s 42th Anniversary National Day, which celebrated this annual national milestone with colourful cultural displays and events to the delight of employees, business partners and passengers.

Dubai Airports is also an enthusiastic sponsor of the Emirati Writers Strand at the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. During 2013, Dubai Airports expanded its support of the festival by funding the publication of two children’s books, which were launched at the festival in March 2013. The books, titled I Don’t Want to Shower and Mahra’s Magical Tree, were written and illustrated by Fatma Ibrahim, Hamda Al Bastaki, Reem Ahli, Fatema Al Kamali and Wafa Al Marzougi.