“On land and in the sea, our forefathers lived and survived in this environment. They were able to do so only because they recognized the need to conserve it, to take from it only what they needed to live, and to preserve it for succeeding generations.” The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAE’s Founding Father
Protecting the UAE’s natural heritage for future generations has always been our Founding Father’s mandate for a greener tomorrow. It was the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who led the massive undertaking of increasing the mangrove population through a forestation program.
Mangroves are an important part of our country’s heritage and need to be protected. They play an equally essential role in our lives today as they did historically. They were crucial to our ancestors’ way of life, providing them with building materials, fuel as well as fodder for their livestock. We recognize the role that mangroves play in capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) and greenhouse gases (GHG), protecting the Abu Dhabi shorelines from coastal erosion, and providing a safe habitat for marine life.
To protect the mangroves, we embarked on a plantation program between 2012 and 2016, where we invested in the planting of 250,000 mangrove seedlings in Al Dhabbia,
With a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) function embedded within the fabric of our operations, we have also accelerated our efforts to protect these natural ecosystems throughout the lifetime of our assets. We are now committed to planting an additional 10 million mangrove seedlings by 2022, in line with our 2030 Sustainability Strategy and SDG 14 for Life below Water.
We have been instrumental in improving the environmental biodiversity at Zirku Island as per SDG 15 for Life on Land. Through our agricultural project, we have transformed a previously uninhabited arid island into a green island, where as many as 3,500 trees thrive. We have been cultivating dates, mangos, lemon, oranges, and pomegranates on the island, and local trees such as Ghaf, Samur and Sidr grow there.
We also continue to change the lives of local farmers who specialize in growing date palm trees on Zirku Island. During the Liwa Date Festival, we have demonstrated our community leadership by sharing sustainable farming practices such as using proper irrigation methods and producing organic fertilizers from waste generated from Zirku Island. The date produce is then distributed to the people in the community and the mosques during the holy month of Ramadan.