In an exclusive interview, Sideways Sports (SWS) Industries CEO, Rainier Nouhra, shares his company’s journey from rapid growth to a commitment to sustainability and the environment.
Can we have an idea about your company and its unique business model?
Sideways Sports Industries is an OEM manufacturer of action sports boards, including wakeboards, kiteboards, wakesurfing boards, snowboards, skateboards and Surfboards. We supply our products to some of the leading brands in the world.
It was established in 2004 with a hub in Dubai and an ambition to build the highest-performing and most durable action sports boards possible. Through our business ethos of always working “Towards a Better World”, we continuously strive to better the brands we partner with, the surrounding communities we are a part of, and the planet as a whole.
How did you balance sustainability and profitability to achieve growth in your business?
‘Towards a Better World’ is not only a part of our business philosophy, but it also defines our sustainability promise. As per the UN Sustainability Goals and Directive (SDG), we focus on three pillars; Environment, Economy/Business Growth, and Society/Community.
Sideways Sports Industries has made significant efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, ensure a sustainable product lifecycle, and maintain a sustainable workforce. The company relies almost entirely on solar power to meet our factory’s energy needs, and we focus on building high-quality and long-lasting boards with the greenest material possible. As a result, we have become a leader in sustainable production and one of the largest kiteboard and snowboard manufacturers globally.
Has operating from Jafza helped you meet your sustainability objectives?
Our base in Dubai and Jafza was strategically chosen and is aligned with our sustainability focus. It places us close to our suppliers and offers us great connectivity to our customers, being right in the centre between East and West.
Our close proximity to the largest container seaport in the world further reduces our required energy resources for dispatching the boards. Additionally, due to the logistics capabilities of Jafza, we can offer quick turnarounds and short lead times to our customers, a key component that has enabled the company to expand our business exponentially year on year.
With our export focus, we also benefit extensively from Jafza’s tax-free operating model.
Jafza’s ambitious vision and continuous logistics innovations have been a large contributor to our success. The strong trade network of DP World has also helped expand our global coverage. Our strategic expansion plans with the addition of our warehouse in Jafza, align with the industrial strategy of the UAE to create additional in-country value. We also hope to grow the portfolio of ‘Made in UAE’ products that are exported around the world. The UAE strives to be a global leader in adopting sustainable practices, demonstrated by its commitment to the 2030 UN SDG targets, most recently its 2050 Net Zero pledge, and not to forget by hosting COP28 this year.
Jafza and DP World are significant contributors to these commitments. We are proud to be part of this journey and will do our share to contribute towards the UAE’s sustainability ambitions.