In January 2012 the UAE officially adopted a sustainability vision and "Reduce your Carbon Footprint" became a corporate motto. Today, both public and private sectors are collaboratively fighting against the old-fashioned habits of energy consumerism in their goal to decrease the UAE's carbon emission per capita, which is among the highest in the world.
For some organizations this vision is manifested through their corporate social responsibility tracks, while other firms and government entities have embedded sustainability at the core of their businesses. In the framework of the UAE's rapidly growing commitment to environmental protection, I had the opportunity this summer to work at the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (or Dubai Carbon), one of the strategic centers of the country's green economy.
Dubai Carbon conceptualizes and monetizes environmental initiatives. Acting as a for-profit semi-government organization, the company provides consulting services, works in green finance, and executes projects in energy efficiency. Essentially, Dubai Carbon launches a dialogue between financial incentives and environment, bringing sustainable vision to companies and thus increasing their profits.
Working on corporate and government projects and in close collaboration with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE) and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Dubai Carbon's team of young and driven professionals creates a unique and inspiring open-space work environment. My internship was fast-paced and dynamic and on the first day I was assigned to five projects, for which I had either full or partial responsibility.
While working on these projects, I obtained a first-hand understanding of the industry and had the opportunity to communicate frequently with many of the experts at Dubai Carbon, including CEO Ivano Iannelli who provided me invaluable insight.
My most engaging and high-profile project was the creation of the State of Energy Report: Dubai 2013. The report was mandated to Dubai Carbon by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and will serve as a platform for sharing expertise and knowledge among the key players in various industries, such as oil and gas, transportation, manufacturing, and technology. It places an emphasis on foreseeing sustainability in Dubai and will be distributed worldwide by the UNDP.
My internship was fast-paced and dynamic and on the first day I was assigned to five projects, for which I had either full or partial responsibility.
My role in its creation was attracting partners and contributors, meeting the experts, and developing the content, including an article on private sector emissions initiatives. An extremely engaging project, the report exposed me to a number of advanced areas in the energy sector, such as demand-side management, energy efficiency and optimization, urban mobility, and green architecture.
Dubai Carbon largely operates on the technical side: half of its employees earned masters in engineering or graduated from Masdar Institute. Considering my background in economics, I was challenged by many technicalities of carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. However, during the nine-week-long internship, I was offered to undertake certification in Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reporting. The training falls under ISO Standards and grants one of the major certificates in the industry of sustainable business development.
I greatly improved my understanding of the technical perspectives while going through the ISO training, doing homework, working on case studies, and passing the examination. This certificate allows me to calculate greenhouse gas emissions in a given company by identifying main emission sources and quantifying the total of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced.
This was my second summer working in sustainability and renewable energy (last summer I worked for environmental consultancy IndustryRE, also in Dubai); therefore, I have a better understanding of the scale of green project implementation and the main complexities of the sector. On the academic side, I look forward to further researching the energy efficiency sector for my senior year Capstone project, which I envision to be a practice-based and professionally applied knowledge product focusing on the subject of environmental finance.
Working at Dubai Carbon was a splendid opportunity for professional exposure into the industry. The firm incorporates the best practices of a start-up with corporate experience and allowed me to become a considered team member, while necessary supervision supported my professional objectives and allowed feedback on my tasks. Dubai Carbon has immeasurable potential in the UAE and the GCC and I was delighted to spend my junior summer with such an inspiring team at the forefront of a green economy.