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UNION COOP RECEIVES DUBAI CHAMBER CSR LABEL FOR FIFTH YEAR IN A ROW

Union Coop received the Dubai Chamber Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Label for the fifth year in a row on Sunday.

The CSR Label recognises the distinguished efforts of Union Coop in the field of corporate social responsibility and its commitment to developing its practices in this field. It also celebrates the Union Coop initiatives to support vital sectors via social and environmental initiatives and activities.

The CSR Label certificate was received by Harib Mohammed bin Thani, director of Operations Division at Union Coop on behalf of CEO Khalid Humaid bin Diban Al Falasi. Dubai Chamber held an official event at its premises to honor the winners. The event was attended by a number of managers and employees of Union Coop and other companies that are part of the CSR Label.

On this occasion, Harib Mohammed bin Thani said: “Receiving the CSR Label for the fifth year in a row shows the monumental efforts exerted by the Coop’s staff to contribute to effective social contribution that has real goals and results, noting that Union Coop is very committed to supporting public benefit establishments that carry out valuable social programs in Dubai.

Dubai Chamber CSR Label, launched in 2010, was designed to offer a free framework for evaluating responsible practices and help companies set and develop their strategies for these practices. Renew earning this label shows entities’ continuous and tangible efforts in the field of corporate social responsibility and its commitment to developing its responsible practices. The label is designed based on the highest global criteria and practices to meet the needs of companies in the Middle East, particularly in the UAE and Dubai.

The CSR Label also contributes to building a responsible and sustainable business community, because acquiring this label makes companies operate in a specific framework that allows them to apply the best responsible practices that meet their needs and their clients’ aspirations. This grants them success and the trust of both clients and society.

THESE ECO-FRIENDLY VEHICLES ARE NOW AVAILABLE IN UAE MARKET

So here we are, in the year 2017 – almost a score since the turn of the century! But unlike what movies, comics and even companies advertised a few decades ago, we neither have access to teleportation, domestic robots, a permanent colony on Mars or flying cars. yet. What we do have are smartphones that can recognise our faces, a growing meme culture and an environmental crisis that involves the depletion of fossil fuels, like petroleum, and ‘global warming’. To counter such environmental issues, automobile manufacturers have started to churn out vehicles with alternative sources of propulsion, like electric cars and hybrid vehicles.

Recently, some of these car companies have been making the headlines. One example is Tesla Inc – a company based out of California, founded by the visionary Elon Musk, who happened to play a big hand in the progress of PayPal and Space X, the privately-funded aerospace company. Formerly known as Tesla Motors, this company has been around since 2003, but only made its entry into the local scene this year, which was followed by a grand opening of a showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Besides being dubbed the ‘Steve Jobs of the automotive industry’ by many, which gives the brand a boost, Musk’s cars have gained popularity – thanks to their futuristic design, tech-laden interiors and ‘green’ intentions. like the Model X crossover, with the flamboyant gull wing doors, and the Model S sedan, the world’s second best-selling electric car. Speaking of the Model S, there are several models available, each differentiated by the size of battery, which also indicates range and power of the motors. But the one that has caught public attention is the P100D – the King Pin – known, not just as an electric car, but a monster on the drag strip that has decimated the likes of Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini in the race to the quarter mile. It does so comfortably, even after being a heavy family sedan that can seat up to seven individuals.

If you’ve ever wondered how it does it, you should know that electric motors are able to deliver maximum torque at launch; the traction of all-wheel drive systems help too. But let’s admit that although most of us would like to get one, the near Dh600,000 price tag means that we will settle for the cheaper versions that start at under Dh300,000, with smaller batteries, and lesser range and acceleration.

Tesla is not the only manufacturer in the game. You also have French company Renault, which makes the smart car-like Twizy and the more conventional-looking Zoe hatchback. Even BMW has one and it’s called the i3.

Now, if you purchase one of the aforementioned models, besides having the opportunity to drive something snazzy and unique, you’re also doing your bit to save the planet, by not directly consuming petrol. There are plenty of perks.

The Dubai government has recently incentivised the ownership of electric cars in order to promote green mobility and sustainability around the emirate. Owners of such vehicles can avail free parking spots in 40 different locations provided by the RTA. They will be exempt from RTA registration and renewal vehicle fees, and will get a free Salik tag upon registration. The RTA will also provide a unique plate number sticker for electric vehicles to help inspectors differentiate the vehicles in public places. Similarly, DEWA will enable these motorists to charge their vehicles at 100 green charging stations across Dubai for free until the end of 2019. Do keep in mind that this is exclusive for public charging stations and does not include home charging stations.

SHARJAH GDP GROWS 4% TO DH152B

Sharjah’s GDP grew 4 per cent last year to reach Dh152 billion, driven by manufacturing, construction and other sectors. Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman, Sharjah Economic Development Department (Sedd), said the emirate’s manufacturing sector expanded 6 per cent followed by construction at 5 per cent, restaurant and hotel at 5 per cent, real estate and services sector at 4 per cent and wholesale and retail at 3 per cent.

While releasing the Sixth Annual Report 2016, he said the department implemented a number of economic initiatives and policies that helped achieve customer and investor convenience. In addition, Sedd e-services reached 75 and 46 smart services for mobile apps.

The department added 72,000 active licences with a growth rate of 61 per cent. Furthermore, the Department contributed in the development o the economic field in 2016 which was based on sustainability and competitiveness, simplifying procedures, as well as relying on international competitiveness indicators. The department also focused on the development of national industry, improvement of commercial sector, and establishment of economic centers throughout the Emirate.

BESPOKE JEWELLERY IS THE WAY TO GO

When it comes to the latest trends in the world of jewellery and fashion, large, eye-catching statement pieces have taken a bit of a backseat, experts at the 43rd edition of the Middle East Watch and Jewellery Show noted.

“People have scaled down a little,” said Kanishka Bangera, marketing director of Stargems. “Small, delicate, intricate designs are in, and price is a huge factor currently. Arabic designs are less popular compared to more Western ones.”

In addition, Bangera also noted that buyers are increasingly going for bespoke jewellery. “In our retail division, we do a lot of custom work. Many of our customers will come to us with designs that they have seen on the Internet, and we do our best to make it for them.”

However, demand for custom pieces also has a lot to do with the occasion that they are created for. “Special occasions might lead women to commission a set that will be extremely exclusive.”

Asked how interested buyers had been since the start of the exhibition, Bangera answered that the response from customers was “good” and that if something caught a visitor’s eye, then they would go on to buy it. “Sharjah, and this exhibition particularly, have always been good to us in terms of sales and business opportunities. We have been here for 10 years now, and the response from customers and traders has always been great.”

Speaking on market trends and preferences, he revealed that white gold was clearly the metal of choice. Another metal that was fast catching the public’s attention, was rose gold. “It’s a very unique colour, and that is exactly why many buyers like it,” Bangera said.

As far as engagements and weddings were concerned, the mindset was still clearly pinned on ‘bigger is better.’

“It depends on the budget, but single solitaires are always going to be the go to trend among consumers. Variations are present though, and many women like having a coloured stone, maybe surrounded by smaller diamonds,” Bangera said.

Bangera’s observations on market trends were echoed by Poonam Gupta, a designer at Diamond Constellation. She explained that minimalistic, and simple jewellery pieces were preferred by buyers, who often wore them for a night out. She also revealed that many young buyers were looking for unique contemporary designs that were extremely exclusive.

UAE MORTGAGES: HOME A LOAN

Developers in the UAE are increasingly looking into offering more off plan projects that welcome foreign investors and home buyers contemplating long-term living in the UAE.

Community living, which has been the dominant residential trend for several years now, continues to attract home buyers. However, affordability remains a challenge across the UAE’s residential market. With household incomes strained by rising living costs, underpinned by inflation levels of over two per cent and the looming new VAT regime, the dream of home ownership continues to drift further away for many.

Average incomes remain at around Dh200,000 per annum for expat households across the UAE, based on the Ministry of Economy’s last income survey. According to Cluttons’ Property Report for 2017, most households would be hard pressed to purchase a family home for between Dh600,000 to Dh800,000 anywhere in Dubai.

Many buyers who are invested in a long-term stay in the UAE are increasingly looking to purchase off plan homes with a handover time of two or three years, or a mid-market offering in existing affordable communities.

“Real estate development has to be sustainable in the coming years,” said Khalid bin Kalban, managing director and CEO of Dubai Investments. The UAE is considered a safe haven and a lot of people like the environment that it offers; they want to visit and many want to live in Dubai. Also, you can see the ‘Expo effect’ taking place already, and this has created a lot of job and investment opportunities in the region.”

Cluttons’ data shows that the number of affordable housing districts in Dubai remains primarily limited to well-known areas such as International City and Discovery Gardens, which together house some 120,000 residents, spread across circa 48,000 units. The limited supply in the affordable segment of the market, coupled with steady, but robust demand, has helped to hold values relatively steady over the last 12 to 18 months.

Ann Boothello, senior product marketing manager for Property at dubizzle, spoke saying: “Our research has shown that six out of 10 searches for villa communities were in the affordable bracket. For example, Dubai Land as a master development was a popular search on our website. People are looking for prices that are less than Dh1,000 per square foot.”

Dubizzle’s most recent report showed that Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah Village Circle, and International City were the top searched apartment communities.

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