WIDENING THE SCOPE

UAE, Sharjah 2017 | GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee'ah, on building a circular economy, branching out beyond waste management, and expanding geographically beyond Sharjah.

Khaled Al Huraimel
BIOGRAPHY
Khaled Al Huraimel has served as Bee’ah Group CEO since 2009. Prior to joining Bee’ah, Huraimel spearheaded the growth of companies such as ENOC, Nakheel, and Arabian Global Investments. He is a board member for several prestigious institutions including Wekaya, AGI, and Alliances for Global Sustainability. His managerial skills have earned him several awards, including CEO/Leadership Award 2016-2017 from CEO Insight Global. Huraimel holds an MBA from the University of Bradford in the UK and is among the first graduates of the Dubai Leaders Program at the Wharton Business School.

Bee'ah's new headquarters will be completely powered by renewable energy. How will the new HQ help Bee'ah develop its services?

Bee'ah has been growing rapidly and has big ambitions for building a circular economy in Sharjah, and our new headquarters must reflect this big ambition. Today, the building is already under construction, and the projected completion date is in the last quarter of 2018. The building will be an icon and example for other energy efficient buildings. It will be platinum certified, which is the highest certification for sustainability in a building. It will also be 100% powered by renewable energy. We have also signed an agreement with Tesla for the building's battery storage. Other than being sustainable, it will also be a smart building and an example of how the office of the future should run. We will no longer be just a waste management company; we are working on many other projects. This is how the building reflects the vision of Bee'ah.

What has been the motivation behind diversifying into different sectors?

We believe in a circular economy, and Bee'ah in Sharjah has almost completed the move toward that circular economy, specifically when we look at waste. Currently, we have the highest waste diversion rate in the Middle East, at 70%. Recently, we signed a joint venture with Masdar for a waste-to-energy project for that remaining 30%. Once we reach that 100%, we will have completed the waste management loop, which is why we have to start looking into other sectors. In the end, the overall vision of Bee'ah is to improve the quality of life in Sharjah, the UAE, and the region. Technology is an area that touches everyone as well, and we also wanted to improve the quality of life with digital transformation. We created EvoTeq, which focuses on digital transformation in the public sector. This will have a strong impact on healthcare, education, logistics, and areas where we can influence and improve people's quality of life. It is about making things more convenient, healthier, and potentially life-saving through technology. We have also developed our first product in partnership with SAP, which is called SmartTrack. This is an advanced track-and-trace mechanism for pharmaceutical products to fight counterfeiting. We created a product that tracks a pharmaceutical product from the manufacturing facility to the end-user where the consumer can scan the product with a mobile app to know whether or not it is counterfeit. Also, this will enable health authorities to manage the supply and storage of medication across the country.

You recently expanded your operations outside of Sharjah. What is unique about these operations?

We started operations in Sharjah, and now we operate across the UAE. We manage one of the largest contracts in downtown Abu Dhabi and have around 1,000 people mobilized there. It is our largest government contract outside of Sharjah. To date Bee'ah has around 7,000 employees. In Abu Dhabi we provide waste collection services as well as street cleaning. Now we are exploring the recovery of waste and recycling. In Dubai we manage many iconic projects like Burj Khalifa, the World Trade Center, Internet City, and Media City, among others. We also seek to extend our services to Saudi and Oman. In Saudi Arabia, we have signed an MoU with the Public Investment Fund to explore partnership and project opportunities. Having become the leader in waste management, we now want to utilize our skills in other areas across the region. In addition to expanding geographically, Bee'ah is expanding into new services, such as technology, air quality, and water quality.