Jun. 29, 2015

 Susana Serra


Susana Serra

Manager, AMB e Veritas, Grupo Meridian32

TBY talks to Susana Serra, Manager of AMB e Veritas, Grupo Meridian32, on the company's social responsibility model, non-hazardous waste solutions, and key projects for the firm.


Susana Serra has a background in environmental engineering, management, and training. She worked as a consultant at Jindal Africa and was project manager of the environmental impact assessment of OLAM Mozambique. Additionally she is a qualified quality auditor for TUV Reinhard and a certified trainer for NOSA.

How would you characterize the services of your business lines in social and environmental protection?

AMB e Veritas started as a service provider in the quality arena in 2007, but rapidly evolved to provide services in environmental advisory, sustainability, climate change, and management of social projects. The team is comprised of consultants with a high degree of specialization in several environmental and social areas. To complement these services, AMB e Veritas regularly collaborates with the main universities in the country and with renowned experts. AMB e Veritas adheres to its sustainability and social responsibility policy through the transfer of knowledge to young Mozambican university alumni, by offering internships at the company. Our service strategy rests on effective and personalized delivery in a constantly changing society and market.

Which sectors can benefit the most from your expertise in sustainability and environmental issues?

The industrial sector is the one we work the closest with; there we help our clients expand their industrial assets, improve competencies, and translate the latest process technologies into workable design solutions. In mining, we support operations throughout the lifecycle of a mine, with expert environmental and sustainability advice and legal compliance work, from start-up of exploration through to rehabilitation plans for mine closures. In this particular sector, we provide environmental monitoring reporting back on the environmental impact of the mine. Energy is also an important sector for us. We have the ability to perform studies and deliver recommendations that help reduce energy consumption and deliver environmentally friendly energy projects, helping create a sustainable future with a smaller environmental footprint. Lastly, transportation is the most challenging sector of all. It involves all of our technical skills—from noise and air quality experts, social experts, resettlement teams, to biological experts.

How would you describe the current use of non-hazardous waste in Mozambique, and what solutions can you offer for waste management?

For many years, waste management was not a priority for national leaders. Yet today, with a developing economy, the major cities are concerned by the challenges presented in effectively disposing of waste. And landfills are not the only problem; informal garbage collectors who earn their living at the dumpsites are also a factor to consider. All waste management systems must take into consideration that when dumpsites are closed, these entrepreneurs lose a source of income. One waste management solution could be the creation of Industrial Ecological Parks, with the aim of developing the integrated management of non-hazardous waste. In this approach products or raw materials that can be sold or reused are produced, minimizing their referral to landfills or dumpsites.

What are AMB e Veritas's key projects in Mozambique?

The most challenging project we have participated in to date is the preparation and implementation of a resettlement plan for 1,700 families on a road project between Cuamba and Massangulo, under the supervision of the African Development Bank, where the management of public opinion was successfully achieved. Another interesting project was the environmental impact assessment of the FACIM real estate project in the heart of Maputo that will become an icon of the city. The tall buildings will require coordination not only with MICOA (Environmental Ministry), but also with the Civil Aviation Institute due to potential interference with flight paths. Last but not least, the environmental impact assessment of a 9,300 ha rice plantation and rice processing plant—undertaken with supervision from the International Finance Corporation (IFC)—was also a project where public opinion surrounding water issues had to be managed through a detailed water supply study indicating how, where, and when water would be utilized.

What are your main investment and development projects for the near future?

Our main investments are channeled toward developing the training component of the practice in areas related to safety, health, environment, and quality (SHEQ). We recently concluded an agreement to be the NOSA agent in Mozambique and will during 2015 be delivering on the vision of becoming the trainer of choice in Mozambique. In a country with the level of growth that Mozambique is experiencing, it is important that industry be prepared to face the challenges that SHEQ provides by training its employees in accident prevention, and pollution avoidance, and work to worldwide recognized quality standards.