Living Business Middle East 2020 announces inaugural UAE winners

The Living Business Middle East 2020 edition drew to a close on Thursday, with winners across the three categories announced via a talk show broadcast, hosted by Dubai television and radio presenter Tom Urquhart.

This is the first year that Living Business, organised by Globally and Get in the Ring with support from HSBC, has run in the Middle East and involved companies from the UAE. It has been running successfully in Asia for the past 16 years.

The programme aims to improve the sustainability of businesses by helping them to become more efficient and reduce environmental impact. Using an Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) framework, the programme encourages businesses to take concrete steps to greater sustainability by completing projects under one or more of the three pillars.

Keith Bradley, Managing Partner at Globally, said: “Many UAE businesses want to do more to improve their sustainability. When they register for the programme we ask them to commit to doing something specific and tangible, and we offer them guidance and connect them to partners to help make it happen. It’s about nudging businesses to make a start, or perhaps scale up what they are already doing.”

Living Business targets companies from the manufacturing, transportation and construction sectors but participation in the inaugural Middle East edition was diverse including from hospitality, farming and consultancy.

Despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 50 local businesses registered for the programme, with over 30 beginning new ESG projects.

Sabrin Rahman, Regional Head of Sustainability, MENA and Turkey at HSBC, said: “The practical steps being taken by businesses of all sizes in the UAE to address environmental, social and governance challenges, is testament to the willingness of the private sector to step up and build a healthier and more resilient country. We need to accelerate the pace of change and I’m very pleased that Living Business has been a catalyst for many of the businesses involved.”

The winners

The winner in the small business category is Wood Floors Middle East. Wood Floors has started buying FSC certified plywood for the first time. The jurors were impressed that a company is taking such a bold step in a market which tends to be very cost-focused.

In the mid-market category, Steel Wood Industries stole the show with its factory that recycles waste wood from the construction sector into a new, strong, durable and water-resistant wood type.

Despite very stiff competition in the corporate category, the jurors crowned Talex the winner. Talex’s broad approach to sustainability across its whole business, in particular the way it proactively seeks out opportunities to up-cycle its toxic waste within the white cement industry, gave it a narrow lead over the other entrants.

All participants of Living Business receive one-on-one guidance, access to workshops and introductions to industry leaders. It is free of charge as part of HSBC’s sustainability commitments to support companies transitioning towards more sustainable operations.

Thursday’s broadcast can be viewed at