Al-Futtaim Sets A New Guinness World Records Title In Sustainability With Solar Light Initiative

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Building on its historic collaboration with COP28 as Strategic E-Mobility Partner and its commitment to sustainable actionism, Al-Futtaim Group has set a new Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest Solar Power Light Bulb Display’ – using 3,000 solar lanterns to create the biggest solar light spectacle of its kind. The handmade solar lanterns were put together to form the shape of the UAE’s National Tree, a Ghaf Tree, and is available for public viewing on May 24–26, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., at the North Helipad in Dubai Festival City Mall.

The purpose of the world-record goes beyond amplifying awareness on renewable energy and sustainability within the UAE, as the solar lanterns will be gifted to 3,000 households within energy-scarce villages. The distribution will be made possible with the Group’s partnership with Liter of Light, a UNESCO-affiliated social enterprise dedicated to providing affordable, sustainable energy to communities without access to electricity.

Launched in honour of International Earth Month (April), the ‘Tree of Light’ initiative from Al-Futtaim Group is spearheaded through the collective efforts of its multiple business divisions including Al-Futtaim Real Estate, Al Futtaim Education Foundation, Al-Futtaim Automotive, Dubai Festival City Mall and Al-Futtaim’s loyalty programme, Blue Rewards.

As part of this initiative, students from Al Futtaim Education Foundation’s Universal American School and Deira International School were provided with sustainability-oriented lessons and training by Liter of Light to assemble the 3,000 solar lanterns, showcasing the beauty and importance of renewable energy while also instilling a sense of responsibility towards global environmental challenges, preparing them to be conscientious future leaders. 1,000 students dedicated themselves to this cause, spending 3 weeks assembling the lanterns and driving this record-setting movement forward.

To further emphasize awareness and engagement towards reducing carbon footprint, Al-Futtaim Real Estate also organised a series of activities at Dubai Festival City Mall. Within the mall, visitors were invited to the ‘Tree of Light’ installation, where they could take a pledge for the planet and receive 1,000 Blue Rewards points in return. Additionally, the Group hosted interactive, educational workshops on making Solar Lanterns every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, throughout April 2024.

Kerry Ross, Chief Operations Officer, Al Futtaim Education Foundation, shared, ” As one of the leading businesses within the UAE, steering such an initiative is integral in our mission of fostering a culture of sustainability across all our diverse divisions and communities. We actively involved the next-generation – students from Al-Futtaim schools, Universal American School and Deira International School, to play a key role in creating these solar lanterns, learn about environmental challenges and bring light to underprivileged communities. At the same time, it was equally important to engage people through our public workshops and activities at Dubai Festival City Mall, highlighting the importance of collaboration in shifting to cleaner energy and addressing global energy inequalities.”

Since 2020, Liter of Light has been involved in building some of the largest participative solar art installations to raise awareness on sustainable solutions and amplify the voices of leadership from the region. Each of the hand-built lights lasts for five years, reducing carbon emissions by 1,000 kg by replacing traditional forms of lighting, especially kerosene, with clean energy.

Illac Diaz, Founder & Executive Director of Liter of Light, commented, “In the case of access to clean, affordable energy, close to one billion people around the world still cannot access or afford electricity. At a time when climate anxiety, especially among young people, is at an all-time high, we believe it is essential to work together with local communities and youth to understand the challenges, but more importantly the opportunities to take action. We have partnered with Al-Futtaim Group as part of a participative, Net Zero initiative to amplify climate voices from across the Asia, Middle East & North Africa region. By collaborating with established business groups such as Al-Futtaim Group and its diverse divisions, we hope to inspire people to reduce their carbon footprint while contributing in a tangible way to reducing energy poverty in the places where we operate across the region.”

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