How do your activities impact Lebanon?
GILBERT TEGHO e-EcoSolutions is a sustainability consulting firm specialized in green buildings with a team experienced in the top international rating systems (LEED, BREEAM, and EDGE) that advocates sustainability by organizing paramount sustainability events at the local and regional level. It was established in 2009 when the market began thirsting for awareness on sustainability. Today people have a greater understanding of sustainability terms such as energy savings and efficiency, as well as waste management and recycling. What's more, the Central Bank of Lebanon started including financial incentives for green buildings and sustainability, a movement that encouraged real estate developers in Lebanon to truly consider incorporating green measures into their projects. The need for sustainability awareness has also pushed us to organize the Build It Green—Lebanon Annual Sustainability Solutions Conference, a leading green building event that has been organized for nine years now and welcomes more than 700 attendees from the different fields of construction and real estate industry every year: architects, engineers, consultants, contractors, and developers. That is in addition to bankers, activists, students, professors, and activist NGOs. As in most of our events, we do our best to minimize the conference's carbon footprint through different measures that ensure better environmental responsibility, especially when it comes to waste reduction. We also brought the Urb-Hackathon to the Middle East for the first time after it was conducted in Paris and South Korea. Held in collaboration with the French institution Universcience-La Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris, it addressed the special theme: “Data-urbanism: Reducing City Air Pollution from Transport" and was held under the patronage of the Council of Ministers of PM Saad Hariri.
ZIAD ABICHAKER Cedar Environmental is an environmental and industrial engineering company whose specialty is building recycling plants and sorting waste at the municipal level. We promote a decentralized approach to waste management, where groups of municipalities get together and contract us to build a sorting, recycling, and compositing plant. At the same time, we are also machinery designers and builders; we build the machinery we use. We have two sister companies: Greenius and Green Ideas. Greenius handles the part of eco-board, which is a technology we patented to recycle plastic bags and scraps into palette boards, which we promote and then use. We produce street recycling bins, build vertical green walls, and implement urban farming structures using eco-boards. The idea is to use waste material to create new economic activity.
What are your main business objectives and expansion plans for 2018?
GT Our objectives are to be able to transform or carry out the projects we have designed and started in Lebanon in order to export them to the surrounding region. This is our ambition, and we are currently working with a few entities on certain specific local and international programs. To further expand the Green Building Certification in Lebanon, we are working on promoting the EDGE certification by the IFC–World Bank for different types of buildings, especially since we recently certified the first healthcare institution in the Middle East under EDGE, a milestone we are extremely proud of. We are also working on the Lebanon Climate Act program organized by Green Mind NGO and the UNDP in collaboration with the Banque Du Liban and the Federation of the Lebanese Chambers in Lebanon with the aim of engaging the private sector in policies against climate change. We are supporting the government in its goal of reducing emissions by 15% that it committed to in 2015 at the COP21 in Paris.
ZA While we currently do not have any activities with the municipality of Beirut, during the trash crisis, we signed a contract with the Beit Mery municipality, among other municipalities in the Matn area, to build a small sorting recycling compositing facility with a capacity of about 18 tons per day. As for the immediate future, we are currently expanding our eco-board production facilities and will need to invest about USD1 million to do so. We are preparing for the next garbage crisis and are ready to sign contracts with municipalities as soon as it hits. We have a third sister company that deals with organic agriculture and compost marketing; we are also expanding our reach to farmers through this initiative.