With real estate professionals pushing sustainability and climate change to the top of their agenda, Cityscape Intelligence reveals our list of the region’s top real estate professionals who are driving change in the industry.
H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak
Instrumental in driving sustainable and green initiatives in the UAE, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), the largest environmental regulator in the Arabian Gulf, has more than 20 years of experience in the region and has been heavily focused on climate change, ecological footprint and environmental education for two decades. She is leading Abu Dhabi's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2030 and helped to establish the UAE’s strategic groundwater reserve.
In 2018, the World Economic Forum selected her as one of the top 100 Young Global Leaders for her contribution to building a more sustainable future for humankind.
Ibrahim Al-Zu'bi, Chief Sustainability Officer at Majid Al Futtaim-Holding
Ibrahim oversees the company’s sustainability strategy and has been instrumental in raising the sustainability profile of Majid Al Futtaim in the MENA region and across the globe. One of Ibrahim’s top priorities is to develop and drive a ‘net positive’ sustainability strategy across the company’s different business units.
He is currently a Board member of the Emirates Green Building Council, Vice-Chair of the Corporate Advisory Board of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), and UAE representative in the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction – a COP21 initiative.
H.E. Dr. Ali Al Jassim, Chairman of Emirates Green Building Council
One of the region’s biggest sustainability proponents, H.E Ali has 25 years of experience in leading roles delivering programs and projects and has held top positions in both the public and private sector. At the helm of EmiratesGBC, the council has given rise to sustainability awareness and accomplishments have supported the evolution of the UAE as an established green economy and have advocated the rapid decarbonisation of UAE buildings.
In addition to chairing the EmiratesGBC Board of Directors, he is also a board member of the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) and the World Green Economy Organization (WGEO).
Dr Rusty Brainard, Chief Environment Officer, at The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC)
As one of the world’s most ambitious sustainable tourism developments, Dr. Rusty is helping the destination meet its ambitious sustainability goals, such as habitat enhancement, 100% carbon neutrality, and delivering a 30% net conservation benefit by 2040. A key part of the destination’s master plan is informed by an extensive marine spatial planning exercise, led by Dr. Rusty, that identified key areas in need of protection.
As a result, nine islands have been designated as special conservation zones, 75% of the destination’s islands will remain untouched and TRSDC will be developing less than 1% of the destination’s total 28,000 sq km.
Greg Fewer, Chief Financial & Sustainability Officer at Aldar Properties
Greg is responsible for the overall financial and sustainability leadership of Aldar. An integral pillar at Aldar, sustainability is at the core of its strategy.
Aldar has committed to addressing 23 material issues that matter to stakeholders, which sits under Greg.
Prior to his roles at Aldar, Mr. Fewer was Deputy Head of Structured Finance & Capital Markets at Mubadalawhere he was jointly responsible for Mubadala's overall debt raising activities and overseeing Mubadala's investment program in the commercial finance market.
Mario Saab, Head of Sustainability, MENA, Cundall
Specialising in sustainability, energy efficiency, and low-carbon design solutions in the built environment, Mario is responsible for growing and shaping Cundall’s sustainability business in MENA as it rises to meet increased demand for sustainable solutions in the region.
Mario co-founded regional consultancy firm, SEEDS International, in 2011, and was responsible for directing and controlling the company’s operations and departments, as well as leading on a myriad of high-profile projects in MENA, including among many others, sustainable accreditation for the Expo 2020 UAE Pavilion, the Al Bayt and Khalifa FIFA 2022 Stadiums in Qatar, and energy efficiency consultation for the Meydan One Mall in Dubai, and the new Bahrain Airport Midfield Terminal.
Abdulla Ahmed Balalaa, Acting Executive Director, Sustainable Real Estate, Masdar
Abdulla is responsible for Masdar’s flagship project and Abu Dhabi’s sustainable urban development Masdar City. He oversees the development of the City, driving its strategy and sustainable growth, as well as its initiatives, partnerships and R&D clusters.
He has managed the commercialisation and development of partnerships for large scale projects, including a range of sustainable urban developments, asset monetisation, as well as bespoke sustainable development solutions.
Thierry Delvaux, CEO MEA, JLL
Thierry has been with JLL for 20 years and has held several strategic and leadership positions around the world during the time. With sustainability becoming a focal point for JLL, Thierry has been driving green initiatives for the company in the MEA region.
Prior to joining the MEA team, Thierry was the global Head of the International desk- a role he held since 2015- and Chairman of the Global Tenant Representation Board.
Daniel Gribbin, Corporate Sustainability Leader, WSP in the Middle East
A sustainable lead at WSP in the Middle East, Daniel is a sustainability advisory and assurance expert with extensive experience across South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East in sectors including natural resources, transport, food and beverage, government, financial services and manufacturing.
Daniel is an advocate for sustainability in the region and believes there should be a firmer pledge from companies to reduce emissions, disclose financial risks related to climate change, and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.
Yousif Ahmed Al-Mutawa, Chief Executive Officer of Sharjah Sustainable City
Sharjah Sustainable City is the first fully sustainable community in Sharjah and provides a pioneering model for the city of the future. Headed by Yousif Ahmed Al-Mutawa as its CEO, the city has been designed with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint in the emirate, and the city will be fully powered by renewable energy that is produced by solar panels, while recycling water and waste.
The city features electric mobility solutions, including charging stations for electric vehicles and a distance of 2.4 KM dedicated to electric autonomous vehicles.
Dina Storey, Head of Sustainability Expo 2020 Dubai
As Head of Sustainability Operations at Expo 2020 Dubai, Dina leads the development and implementation of the World Expo’s sustainable event management strategy.
Dina’s current focuses include sustainable development and integration of sustainability into both the built environment and operations. Her mandate is to ensure that the Expo meets and exceeds its sustainability commitments both locally and globally. This includes planning for event and legacy, stakeholder and market engagement, and communications and awareness campaigns designed to extend Expo 2020’s sustainable impact.
Dr. Alex Amato, Head of Sustainability, Qatar Green Building Council
Dr. Alex’s work and expertise focus on sustainability, life cycle assessments, climate change assessments, and CO2 accountancy, green planning, linear parks, and urban ecology.
His research interests include the question of a post-2022 Qatar: moving from new build to repair and upgrade, developing new skills and standards locally, and new approaches to managing buildings as ‘untradeable assets.’
Stephane le Gentil, COO and acting CEO, Abu Dhabi Energy Service (ADES)
Stephane is Chief Operating Officer and acting Chief Executive Officer for Abu Dhabi Energy Services (ADES), the Super ESCO for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi responsible for retrofitting government and commercial buildings by identifying sourcing, and funding solutions that deliver tangible reductions in water and electricity consumption.
In 2017 he founded Wattaqa to provide strategic consultancy & advisory in energy efficiency and energy services in the Middle East region and was CEO of the Clean Energy Business Council.
Janus Rostock, Vice President, Practice Lead, Design + Planning & Economics, Head of Concept Architecture, AECOM MEA
Urban designer and award-winning architect, Janus has worked in the Middle East region for more than 25 years. With a strong emphasis on community-oriented placemaking, Janus and his team prides themselves on sustainability in the built-environment and are strong advocates for sustainable architecture.
In 2011, he led the design of Dubai Opera and the Opera District, KIFAF, Prince Sultan Cultural Centre, Dubai Creek Harbor Phase one and Qiddiya.
Faris Saeed is the CEO and co-founder of Diamond Developers, The Sustainable City
Heading up Dubai’s Sustainable City, Faris has been instrumental in creating Dubai’s Sustainable City. The city contains 500 villas grouped into five residential clusters connected to an urban farm that runs the length of the city as well as 11 biodome greenhouses running the length of the Central Green Spine, with a total capacity of over 3,000 square metres for urban farming.
From solar car parks to ensuring optimal energy efficiency, the Sustainable City is one of Dubai’s greenest areas.
Nigel Craddock, Design Director – IMKAN
With a firm focus on placemaking and sustainable design, Nigel has worked for IMKAN for the past four years.
He recently competed the Beach Club at Makers District, launched in 2020.
Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO, NEOM
Tasked to head up Saudi Arabia’s ambitious, sustainable mega-city NEOM, Nadhmi al-Nasr has worked on developing the strategy and development behind NEOM Bay as well as the strategic development and business plans for NEOM’s core economic sectors.
Expected to take up an area the size of Belgium on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastline and expected to be powered entirely by renewable energy, NEOM will have nine key investment sectors: energy and water, mobility, biotech, food, technological and digital sciences, advanced manufacturing, media, and entertainment.
Earlier this year, NEOM announced the launch of The Line, a 170 km mega-city that will house a million residents in carbon-positive urban developments powered by 100% clean energy.
Shaun Killa, Design Partner, Killa Design
With a passion for sustainable design, Shaun is an award-winning architect with a career that spans over two decades. An advocate for sustainable design, Shaun’s philosophy is focused on innovation, sustainability and the natural environment. He has worked on projects across the region, including the brand-new Museum of the Future in Dubai.
Gerard Evenden, Senior Executive Partner – Head of Studio, Foster + Partners
Gerard joined Foster+Partners in 1991 and is now Head of Studio and part of the Design Board.
His current work includes a number of sustainable projects, including Coral Bloom, part of the ambitious regenerative tourism project on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, two airports in the Middle East, and the Mobility Pavilion at the 2021 Dubai Expo.
Ian Albert, CEO, MENA, Colliers
Ian has worked extensively throughout the United Kingdom and the Middle East, North and Southern Africa having been involved in projects in all of the Arabian Gulf Countries, the Levant, North and South Africa, GCC countries, plus Republic of Mozambique, Republic of Namibia, Kingdom of Swaziland, Lesotho, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
For the last 20 years Ian has been based in the GCC.
*This list is in no particular order and has been put together based on nominations and data collected by Cityscape Intelligence.