2024: A Year to Maintain Sustainability Momentum and Put Words into Action

27 December 2023

By David King, Managing Director, VERTECO

As the 2023 nears an end, we begin a reflective journey, recounting the triumphs and milestones of another successful year for VERTECO. But it is also a time to look ahead, with much excitement and anticipation to 2024, and consider the changes, advancements and trends that are likely to influence and shape the industry over the next 12 months.

This has been a truly transformative year not just for VERTECO, but for the whole of the UAE. The nation solidified its commitment to sustainability, designating 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’, throughout which it has exemplified an unwavering dedication to the environmental cause. Launching initiatives aimed at fostering sustainable practices across all sectors, it has served as a rallying call for businesses and communities alike to embrace green practices and innovation.

As hosts of COP 28, the year culminated in the welcoming of global leaders, policymakers, and environmental advocates to address the world’s most pressing climate challenges. This provided an opportunity for the UAE to showcase its proactive stance on environmental issues, positioning the nation as a pivotal player in the global pursuit of a more sustainable future.

A Year of Innovation, Growth and Commitment to Sustainability

For VERTECO, 2023 has been a year marked by innovation, growth, and as always, an unwavering commitment to sustainability. Back in January, we were immensely proud to become members of the Emirates Green Building Council. The organisation is dedicated to ensuring a sustainable future for the UAE, with a vision to be a global leader for sustainability in the built environment – a mandate that resonates so closely with our own.

With water shortage posing one of the key environmental challenges locally and demonstrating our commitment to harnessing cutting-edge technologies for a greener future, we announced free water audits to commercial businesses, a move aimed at driving awareness around the importance of controlling water waste and preserving the UAE’s precious supply. This was closely followed by our decision to offer our Waterless Urinal technology free of charge. The technology eliminates the use of water completely when flushing, a practice responsible for as much as 42% of total water consumption in busy commercial spaces.

Other highlights include launching our innovative leak detection technology, a service which can quickly and accurately detect water leaks, the single biggest contributor to water wastage in the UAE. And throughout the year, we were honoured once again to be awarded many industry accolades, including being named as the Middle East’s top ‘Software Solutions Provider’ at the Innovation in Facilities Management Awards and winning the ‘Green Building Product of the Year – Water Management’ title at the MENA Green Build Awards. I was thrilled to be named as ‘Sustainability Professional of the Year’ at the Gulf Sustainability Awards, and to feature in the prestigious Construction Business News Middle East’s Top 30 FM Power List!

A New Year, a Renewed Environmental Focus

As we enter 2024, our ambition is to maintain our position as regional leaders in sustainable solutions. We will continue to invest in innovation and expand the implementation of our smart technology, with the aim of establishing ourselves as frontrunners in the industry’s digital evolution.

We want our work to be recognised as being driven solely by our environmental ambitions, its impact to resonate with stakeholders and to set a benchmark for responsible business practices in our region.

Water Conservation: Top of the Agenda

The issue of global water scarcity was highlighted during COP28’s Food, Agriculture and Water Day. Regionally, the issue remains a pressing concern and identifying and addressing water wastage must be a critical focus in 2024.

Companies must actively engage in initiatives to identify and mitigate water wastage to safeguard our resources. Climate change, population growth, and inefficient water management practices are exacerbating the crisis, highlighting the need for a strategic and coordinated response. The most effective and immediate ways to make a difference are through implementing innovative solutions, embracing sustainable water practices, and investing in technologies that optimize water usage. We urge everyone in the region to get on board and embrace these solutions as a matter of urgency.

The Expansion of Digital Solutions

In 2024, I believe that Smart water technologies will be more widely recognised as the driving force behind cutting water waste. In the UAE, our government is well ahead in Smart architecture, adopting digital technology such as AI to boost water sustainability efforts considerably.

I expect this trend to continue and expand across other countries in the GCC over the next 12 months. By employing even Smarter digital water technology, utilities companies and the public sector can follow the UAE’s lead and boost the economic and environmental potential of their cities. With the availability of real-time data which can identify leaks immediately and smart meters which can accurately monitor and distribute water use across vast networks, we can effectively relieve the pressure on our limited supplies.

Innovation remains key in driving this trend, and we hope to see more companies investing in creative technology to combat water waste and guarantee water efficiency.

A Year for Action Not Just Words

In 2024, it is crucial that the momentum generated during the UAE’s ‘Year of Sustainability’, is maintained. Our government and leadership have set their expectations and as businesses, employees, and citizens of the UAE, we must work together to ensure a sustained trajectory of environmental progress. We have been given the tools, the knowledge and the infrastructure – we must now transition from token gestures to concrete actions.

Collaborative Action

COP 28 underscored the urgency and importance of collaborative action. Sustainability requires concerted efforts from businesses, governments, and communities. Collective efforts and initiatives in 2023 set the stage for a continued commitment to eco-friendly practices and policies. In 2024, we must continue to drive the narrative into tangible outcomes, fostering partnerships, and driving measurable results in the pursuit of a more sustainable and resilient future for the UAE.

The Rest is Up to Us

Our nation has set the standard in sustainability. The new year is ours to embrace, and we must continue to drive initiatives, educate our communities and inspire collective environmental action now, for a greener tomorrow.

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