Heroes of the UAE was a national campaign designed to increase awareness of energy shortages and the impact of climate change. It provided the public with an overview of easy to follow tips and guidelines to avoid wasting energy. Adopting some simple changes in behaviour will ensure that everybody living and working in the UAE can participate in the global efforts to reduce energy consumption.
The Heroes of the UAE campaign was organised by the Emirates Wildlife Society in association with the Worldwide Fund for Nature (EWS-WWF) and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD). It was endorsed by the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Environment & Water, the Ministry of Education, MASDAR and the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA). The campaign gathered a lot of support from local and foreign businesses including some major business and finance portals like the FX trading website bestfxbrokers.com. This was the first voluntary programme in the UAE to have set reduction targets verified by a third party.
According to the WWF’s Living Planet Report, the UAE consumed far more natural resources than people in other countries. In order to tackle the UAE’s ecological footprint, Heroes of the UAE was first launched in 2009. It was soon expanded to also focus on water conservation, the responsibility of companies and on educating school children on saving energy.
The campaign’s energy conservation component was launched in February 2009 in order to urge the UAE society to take direct action at home. The publication of an overview of simple tips are presented on the Heroes of the UAE’s website, particularly related to oil and natural gas.
In December 2009, the Ministry of Education initiated the first nationwide campaign designed to raise school-children’s awareness of climate change. The campaign’s two key elements were an inter-school quiz that rewards student knowledge and the “Energy & Water Reduction Competition” that motivates students to take collective action.
Launched in January 2010, this phase was focused on water conservation, particularly important because almost all of UAE’s drinking water is desalinated, an energy-intensive process that releases carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
The Watersavers campaign aimed to fit every household, mosque, school and commercial and government buildings in Abu Dhabi with water saving devices on taps free of charge. These small devices regulate the water flow and will significantly reduce Abu Dhabi’s water consumption.
The Heroes of the UAE’s private sector programme, launched in April 2010, invited all companies in Abu Dhabi to make a commitment to move towards sustainable business practices. The campaign provided participating companies with a tool-kit that helps raise awareness with staff and contains an overview of management tools to develop a water and energy conservation strategy. The tool-kit had more than 880 downloads by different companies. On average, each company saved 12 percent on energy, 35 percent of water and 16 percent of carbon emissions over a year-long period. Results have helped to identify policy recommendations and other solutions to facilitate large scale reductions in energy and water consumption in businesses throughout the UAE.
The Heroes of the UAE campaign was centеred around an interactive website. Energy and water saving tips and pledge options allowed every individual and every company to join the campaign.
There is a Virtual Water Calculator that shows how much water it takes to produce the things we consume daily. There is also a Carbon Calculator that overviews how much energy every resident is using and how much money could be saved.
The Heroes of the UAE website also presented case studies of best practices on how households, businesses and institutions have reduced their individual carbon footprint, with rewards for most successful corporations.