Dubai, 2nd february 2011.  Lisa Durante the publisher of Clean UAE book, which will be launch tomorrow, held at The Desert Palm Resort and Hotel.  (Jeffrey E Biteng / The National)
Lisa Durante, who spent a decade working as a development journalist in India before moving to Dubai, is publishing a book called CleanUAE.

Keep it clean, keep it green



DUBAI // An Italian expatriate is hoping to inspire us all to live and work more sustainably.With high-impact lifestyles and rapid development, the UAE has a long way to go, says Lisa Durante.But the good news is, the nation has the means and opportunity to do so.

Ms Durante, who spent a decade working as a development journalist in India before moving to Dubai, is publishing a book CleanUAE.

She is the managing group editor for the book's publishers, GVP Media, a company known for its "best of" annual book series, which started with Dubai guidebooks and spread to Belgium, Singapore, South Africa and Australia.

The company plans to update CleanUAE on an annual basis and expand to the region, with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia the initial targets. The book, which was showcased to the press yesterday in Dubai, covers a variety of topics including organic agriculture and the water-saving potential of vegetarianism.

It lists ways to reduce waste and trim individual carbon footprints and highlights companies that offer responsible products and services or have implemented their own sustainability programmes.

"The book does not aim to be an in-depth scientific compendium on sustainability, we will leave this to the experts … but rather something that people can pick up and have a sprinkling of inspiration," said Ms Durante. "I got the idea by looking at the kinds of key messages in the West, where … consumer choices are made based on the sustainability criteria applied by companies."

The biggest hurdle was finding reliable, objective information on individual companies: those that ended up being included in it became a "coalition of the willing".

"In terms of doing the research, it has been a big challenge," she said. "I invited companies to participate and tell me their stories. Many have and many have not."

Ensuring greater transparency - both from companies and the Government - is a key factor to starting meaningful dialogue on sustainability and incorporating it in people's lives," she said.

The UAE has "got the highest tower and the biggest shopping mall," she says. "Let us start building our infrastructure in a sustainable way."

While environmental performance - reducing pollution and waste and protecting habitats - is a key focus of sustainability, social and economic considerations matter too.

"It is just as important to look after people, it is just as important to have good labour laws," she said.

At the official book launch tonight, which comes the day before the UAE National Environment Day, a high -profile US politician best known for her work on human rights and peace activism, will be addressing guests.

Cynthia McKinney was the Green Party presidential candidate in the 2008 elections. Speaking in advance of tonight's launch, she said that control of precious resources can often motivate state policy in a way that violates basic principles of human rights - even in western democracies such as the US.

"My personal self-definition would involve the struggle to have the promotion and protection of human rights at the centre of US policy," she added.

"In the past, it might have been difficult [to rally people around such issues] because things were going very well. As long as you would put cheap gas in the car or there was employment for almost everybody, there was little incentives to question. Today, things are greatly changing.

"The winners and losers are becoming more clearly evident and the vast majority of the people are losers, and Mother Nature is a loser, too," said Ms McKinney.

Not facing the significant financial constraints experienced by other countries, the UAE can make quick steps towards a sustainable future, she said.

"They have the means, they have the opportunity, all they need is the motive," she said. "Perhaps the UAE can show the US a thing or two about how to live sustainably."

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

The Crown season 5

Stars: Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, Lesley Manville, Jonny Lee Miller, Dominic West, Elizabeth Debicki, Salim Daw and Khalid Abdalla

Written by: Peter Morgan

Rating: 4/5 stars

SPECS

Toyota land Cruiser 2020 5.7L VXR

Engine: 5.7-litre V8

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 362hp

Torque: 530Nm

Price: Dh329,000 (base model 4.0L EXR Dh215,900)

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

The specs

Engine: 3.8-litre V6

Power: 295hp at 6,000rpm

Torque: 355Nm at 5,200rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 10.7L/100km

Price: Dh179,999-plus

On sale: now

Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya

Directors: Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Dharmendra, Dimple Kapadia, Rakesh Bedi

Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Graduated from the American University of Sharjah

She is the eldest of three brothers and two sisters

Has helped solve 15 cases of electric shocks

Enjoys travelling, reading and horse riding

 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

General Classification

1. Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA) Trek-Segafredo
2. Gaia Realini (ITA) Trek-Segafredo 7 secs
3. Silvia Persico (ITA) UAE Team ADQ 1 min 18 secs

Tributes from the UAE's personal finance community

• Sebastien Aguilar, who heads SimplyFI.org, a non-profit community where people learn to invest Bogleheads’ style

“It is thanks to Jack Bogle’s work that this community exists and thanks to his work that many investors now get the full benefits of long term, buy and hold stock market investing.

Compared to the industry, investing using the common sense approach of a Boglehead saves a lot in costs and guarantees higher returns than the average actively managed fund over the long term. 

From a personal perspective, learning how to invest using Bogle’s approach was a turning point in my life. I quickly realised there was no point chasing returns and paying expensive advisers or platforms. Once money is taken care off, you can work on what truly matters, such as family, relationships or other projects. I owe Jack Bogle for that.”

• Sam Instone, director of financial advisory firm AES International

"Thought to have saved investors over a trillion dollars, Jack Bogle’s ideas truly changed the way the world invests. Shaped by his own personal experiences, his philosophy and basic rules for investors challenged the status quo of a self-interested global industry and eventually prevailed.  Loathed by many big companies and commission-driven salespeople, he has transformed the way well-informed investors and professional advisers make decisions."

• Demos Kyprianou, a board member of SimplyFI.org

"Jack Bogle for me was a rebel, a revolutionary who changed the industry and gave the little guy like me, a chance. He was also a mentor who inspired me to take the leap and take control of my own finances."

• Steve Cronin, founder of DeadSimpleSaving.com

"Obsessed with reducing fees, Jack Bogle structured Vanguard to be owned by its clients – that way the priority would be fee minimisation for clients rather than profit maximisation for the company.

His real gift to us has been the ability to invest in the stock market (buy and hold for the long term) rather than be forced to speculate (try to make profits in the shorter term) or even worse have others speculate on our behalf.

Bogle has given countless investors the ability to get on with their life while growing their wealth in the background as fast as possible. The Financial Independence movement would barely exist without this."

• Zach Holz, who blogs about financial independence at The Happiest Teacher

"Jack Bogle was one of the greatest forces for wealth democratisation the world has ever seen.  He allowed people a way to be free from the parasitical "financial advisers" whose only real concern are the fat fees they get from selling you over-complicated "products" that have caused millions of people all around the world real harm.”

• Tuan Phan, a board member of SimplyFI.org

"In an industry that’s synonymous with greed, Jack Bogle was a lone wolf, swimming against the tide. When others were incentivised to enrich themselves, he stood by the ‘fiduciary’ standard – something that is badly needed in the financial industry of the UAE."