Nakheel’s Sustainability Project Gets Positive Reviews
In Dubai, blue became the new green when Nakheel, one of the world’s largest privately held real estate developers, launched a major sustainability project called Blue Communities. Nakheel is the creative force behind the Arabian Gulf’s iconic, man-made Palm Jumeirah island (shaped like a Palm Tree), The World and other projects, developing land where none existed before and raising environmental questions. Nakheel has committed 500 million dirhams (approximately $127 million) over three years, plus its expertise and experience, to raise awareness of issues specific to coastal development by engaging thought leaders, NGOs and other stakeholders to take an active role in developing the Blue Communities initiative.
Held in a specially constructed 90-foot video dome on the beachfront behind Nakheel’s Palm Jumeirah sales center, the Blue Communities launch event immersed attendees in a 360-degree experience that surrounded them with the sea, emphasizing how important responsible waterfront development is to Dubai and the world. The “wow” factor was important, as Dubai’s elites, including the Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan and leading figures from the government, industry and media, were Nakheel’s exclusive guests. Besides the Blue Communities call to action, two new projects were announced: Nakheel’s new Universe development, an archipelago of reclaimed islands depicting the sun and the planets of the solar system, and the redevelopment of the Port Rashid area of Dubai.
“The initiative launched with the intent to reach out to global experts to help us start defining the parameters and the guidelines and details of it,” says Ketam Hamdan, Head of Corporate Brand and CSR Marketing at Nakheel. “It set a new vision and shifted peoples’ consciousness and made people realize that just when you feel you have done enough there is always more you can do. It was standing up to the world and saying we have a responsibility to take care of our coast and as we’re doing that, we’re going to spearhead an initiative and put 500 million [dirhams] toward it.”
The launch garnered positive global press coverage as the starting point for initiatives to realize a better coastal future. The Nakheel Blue Communities Dome hosted more than 1,000 people during the event and thousands more over the next two months as it was open to the public. Two smaller video domes using the same content took the message to thousands more at the 2008 Tourism Development & Investment Market trade show.