Free zones play critical role in sustainable development
Free zones play a key role in the sustainable development of an emirate and have to be seen as taking the lead in setting green energy and renewable goals for the companies operating within them, experts at WETEX 2021 said.
Speaking to Khaleej Times on the opening day of the event at Expo 2020 Dubai, Ali AlSuwaidi, director general of Ajman Free Zone, explained that free zones are usually spread across a large area, which make them the ideal setting for large-scale green energy adoption. “Not only do you have a large volume of industrial and commercial infrastructure, but you also have a large community of people living and operating there; and all this means that you are consuming a large portion of energy, which is why you have to look at sustainable development.”
Towards this end, he explained that Ajman Free Zone has launched its first ‘Annual Sustainability Report’ as part of its efforts to protect the environment, advance the economy, and promote social sustainability in line with Ajman Vision 2021 and the Emirates Energy Strategy 2050. The free zone also unveiled its ‘Sustainability Award’ for Free Zone Companies at the event, an initiative designed to establish the free zone’s leadership, increase its attractiveness and competitiveness, and position it as a driving force behind Ajman’s sustainable development
Sheikh Ahmed bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the board of Ajman Free Zone Authority, said that this year’s WETEX event served as an ideal opportunity for the free zone to showcase its latest solutions and innovations. He also noted that the report highlights the role of Ajman Free Zone in the sustainability initiatives of both Ajman and the UAE and their commitment to the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Ajman Free Zone is keen to follow a sustainable approach for all its operations and services, as well as enhance its cooperation with partners and stakeholders to advance the sustainable development framework. We have been working to align our initiatives with the priorities and objectives of Ajman Vision 2021, UAE Vision 2021, and the National Agenda, a move that reflects our determination to contribute to SDGs,” he said.
Ali AlSuwaidi also added that Ajman Free Zone has launched several new packages for companies involved in water technology, sustainable solutions, and clean energy innovations. This reflects its continuous support for the growth and expansion of companies, especially those involved in sustainability and other priority areas. The packages include registration fee exemption; a 15 per cent discount on the rent of the free zone’s environment-friendly warehouses; and a 50 per cent discount on Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s membership fees.
“We are interested in working with the businesses operating within the free zone to become more sustainable in the future,” he said. “The mission is to attract businesses and investments into Ajman in a long-term sustainable way. Ajman is a very attractive destination for businesses because of the ecosystem that it offers. The report that we launched today is the foundation on which we will build our sustainable strategy for the free zone in the years to come.”
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