Mr. Ammar Al Ani, the Desert Board General Manager, sits down for an interview

1. As the General Manager for Desert Board, can you share with us your leadership style?

"Any organization must have a unique culture that suits the company's goals and vision and should be built on people. I firmly believe that a culture is always a top- down approach.

Any manager should have two essential tasks, Developing People and Achieving results! And there is no doubt that you need to develop your team first to achieve results.

My preferred leadership style is to "lead by Example," where we model the behavior we want to see in our team members. We should not just push team members towards excellence but actively demonstrate that excellence. Leading by example is the difference between saying, "You can do this" and "We can do this together." Though the support and encouragement in the former are great, the latter builds connection, camaraderie, and trust."

2. Desert Board is a new company in the market to introduce a new sustainable material (as the first in the world). What are the strategies that you are using to convince the market to use it as a material in the business?

"The sustainability concept is developing in the UAE market and the region though it is not yet implemented to the right level. Our task is to build awareness in the UAE market as one of the best manufacturers of sustainable products. There are three main channels to educate the market: first entails having a direct sales force to inform the end users as a short-term strategy, and second, approaching the engineering & design firms. Then last but not least, approaching the authorities is a long-term strategy. "

3. For Desert Board, what does it mean to be ‘Sustainable’?

"It is important to understand the four pillars of avoiding causing harm to the local environment, namely "To Be Sustainable," which many companies around the globe are trying to implement to achieve a high level of sustainability as a global initiative.

The four pillars start with reducing pollution and emissions. Following that, the DB energy plant is designed to be operated using natural gas, considered one of the cleanest fuels. The second pillar is cutting waste of raw materials and other resources; DB's core raw material is the waste of palm frond and tree wood logs which have a high level of raw material sustainability. The third pillar is to reduce the consumption of energy, water, and other limited substances; DB recycles the water used in the manufacturing process to reduce consumption. On the other hand, DB re-uses the dust generated through the manufacturing process in developing energy to reduce gas consumption. The fourth pillar is to increase safety for workers and nearby communities; DB implements a high level of H&S precautions to minimize the risk of employees and environmental damage.

Implementing all four pillars of sustainability positions proudly sets Desert Board as a leading sustainable manufacturer, not only on a regional level but globally as well. "