Collaboration with External Partners is Key to Success

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What is collaboration in business? The definition of collaboration from the Oxford Dictionary is “The action of working with someone to produce something.” But in business it is more likely to be working with someone outside your team, and potentially with different expertise to achieve a common goal or product. Organisations are now reaching beyond their internal employees and collaborating with external partners to achieve their goals.

Harvard Business Review surveyed business leaders worldwide about how collaboration is changing with their organisations

  • 72% say “effective team communication” has become more important over the past 2 years
  • 54% are investing in easier-to-use collaboration solutions
  • 64% report that collaboration with external parties has increased in importance

(Retrieved from

During our 20 years in business we have supported and collaborated with our industry architects, designers, suppliers and project managers to create high quality interior solutions for our clients. We have also collaborated with industry groups like the Dubai Chamber of Commerce who has helped guide us on our CSR journey, and The US Green Building Council (USGBC) to achieve our LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and LEED EBOM (Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance) certifications. Without external collaboration with other likeminded businesses we could not meet our client’s expectations or achieve our ‘green’ and CSR goals.

In 2017 Summertown is extending our collaboration with external partners to form a global alliance – The United Workplace Group – which is a much more formal external partnership.

The United Workplace is a network of likeminded businesses, sharing a passion for the workplace– inspiring design, innovation and a culture of collaboration underpins everything we do. All members share common ethics, values and goals bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. The fundamental goal of The United Workplace is to provide consistency of service and local insight on a global scale- to fulfil your workplace design, fit-out or commercial furniture consultancy and installation needs.

Globalisation is accelerating and having the ability to link businesses, exchange best practices and share knowledge is seen as a distinct advantage. The United Workplace consists of a handpicked collection of businesses selected in recognition that each country and market has specific requirements.

Summertown is very excited to be part of The United Workplace Group and we will share more details in the coming months.


Contributed by Sally Jones, Marketing Manager

Summertown Interiors Achieves LEED EBOM Gold Certification

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By Marcos Bish, Managing Director

We are very proud to announce that we have been awarded the Gold LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM) certification for the ongoing operations and maintenance of our headquarters.

The LEED EBOM certification identifies and rewards current best practices and provides a framework for buildings to use less energy, water and natural resources; improve the indoor environment; and uncover operating inefficiencies. The certification requires implementation of policies such as the sustainable purchasing of materials, equipment and consumables, and the extensive monitoring and tracking of operations.

To be the only company in our industry according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) among a total of eleven companies in the UAE is a huge achievement. We would like to thank both our team and our green partner Green Technologies for their continued support in helping us to lead a ‘greener’ lifestyle.

For us, achieving the LEED EBOM certification was the next step on our ongoing CSR journey. As a company that walks the talk, placing our clients, partners and the business community at the forefront of our operations; the next step for the team in achieving sustainability excellence was to go beyond our Gold LEED certification for interiors and develop an ever-evolving sustainable framework for the premises, its operations and maintenance.

Specifically, we created a number of policies to document the organisation’s operational procedures detailing everything from operating hours to waste management. We were then able to track and monitor our activities inline with the policies, and implement measures that would enable us to further reduce energy and water consumption, or manage business operations in a more environmentally friendly manner. Targets were set in accordance with the LEED EBOM certification system, helping to further embed sustainability into our internal processes.

In addition to improving the operational activities across the business, LEED EBOM also recognises the value of human capital and considers the importance of employee wellbeing as a critical success factor to achieving excellence in sustainability. At Summertown Interiors, we have witnessed how the implementation of LEED EBOM has resulted in greater employee satisfaction and encouraged productivity by keeping staff more motivated and committed to the business – this has positively contributed to our company’s bottom line.

CSR is an ongoing process and we believe that our LEED EBOM framework will be a vital tool to further progress our efforts in achieving carbon neutrality by 2020. Next step will be to embed these policies and procedures into our ISO processes to ensure we strive to continuously improve on our carbon footprint measurement in our bid to become carbon neutral by 2020.