In line with the measures being taken by the industry towards environment-friendly construction, Al Gurg Leigh’s Paints (AGLP) says it has taken the lead by recently becoming the first paint manufacturer in the UAE to become a member of the US Green Building Council (USGBC).
The USGBC developed the internationally-recognised Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system.
“Leed is one of the most respected green building schemes in the world. With so many building contractors in the UAE now conscious about environmental issues, our customers can be confident that they are helping to reduce the impact on the environment,” says Sunil Gudur, chief manager, Al Gurg Leigh’s Paints.
Al Gurg Leigh’s Paints, one of the oldest paint companies in the UAE and part of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, is the licensee of ICI Dulux Paints across the Middle East, and manufactures the entire Dulux range of products.
Representing the Dulux brand has given them access to the latest technologies, says Murtuza Challawala, from the marketing and business development department: “With Dulux as one of our leading brands, AGLP has access to the latest technologies and advanced practices well in advance of current developments available in the Middle East.
Thanks to this, a majority of the products from AGLP is now water-based, and contains no lead, mercury or toxic content, and 75 per cent of the company’s Dulux range already complies with standards set for 2010.”
The major challenge to the industry has been reducing the content of volatile organic compounds (VOC), says Challawala: “The major culprit in the paint industry is the release of low-level toxic emissions in the environment for years after application. The source of this is the VOC in the paints and coatings. However, new environmental regulations forced by heavy consumer demand have resulted in scientists in the paint industry developing very low VOC paints and coatings.”
ICI Dulux has been constantly working on developing improved alternatives for improving the qualities of various paints and coatings. The company, according to him, has been instrumental in lobbying for the introduction of VOC regulations in Europe, and the company met the European Union requirements for 2007 by 2006, and is set to meet 2010 requirements well ahead of the deadline.
“As a licensee of ICI, AGLP for instance, has internalised the stringent green requirements and now manufactures better and environment-friendly paints and coatings through water and solvent-based products. Thus, AGLP is enacting its small yet significant role, in helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the UAE.”
Commenting on the regional scene, especially after the directive issued earlier this year by the Ruler of Dubai, that all new buildings must meet green standards, Gudur says that almost all players related to the construction sector, directly or indirectly, including the paints and coatings segment, are now trying to align themselves accordingly.
Many developers, according to him, are now looking for new ways to work at the forefront of the design process. “As a result, many more designers and contractors are now coming to us for our products, especially now that we have LEED membership, as they are looking for more environmentally-friendly, sustainable solutions. In this sense, there is a real passion for making the UAE a leading green country now,” says Gudur.
A similar sentiment is echoed in the statement of USGBC spokeswoman Ashley Katz, who says: “The UAE is one of the fastest growing countries in its development of environmentally-friendly solutions, and the use of the LEED Rating System will make the country a leader in green building and sustainability.”
Commenting on the high quality of the products represented by AGLP, Challawala points out: “Products like Weathershield and Magic Touch are tough, durable yet aesthetically pleasing to the eye and have stood the test of time, adorning many a prestigious structure across the UAE. Some notable examples are, The Arabian Ranches, The Greens, Healthcare City, the Ritz-Carlton and the Dubai Mall.”
Besides its focus on sustainable products, another step the company has taken to expand it reach in the market is by establishing boutique shops called DDCs (Dulux Decorator Centres) for offering specialised services like colour consultancy, and recommending applicators and painting accessories, which are all designed for DIY (do-it-yourself) customers. The boutiques are strategically located in locations such as the Mall Of Emirates and ‘The Walk’ at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), offering easy access to end users as well as a service that hitherto was unavailable,” he says.