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Going Green

CAIRO – 13 July 2019: Climate change is now understood as a challenge that requires the collaboration of state institutions, businesses, and consumers to avert repercussions

that would jeopardize nature and resources.

If the earth’s climate changes at the rapid pace that scientists expect, given rising levels of global warming, it would have drastic consequences for global welfare, consumption and unemployment. Although some businesses are less concerned than others about the need for green business, it is certainly important for ensuring sustainability.

What to Know on Green Business

“Green business is an enterprise that has a minimal negative impact on the global

and local environment, community, society or economy. The main idea is decreasing

the negative impacts [of the business],” Professor of Strategic Management and

Entrepreneurship, and Founding Director of Entrepreneurship Unit at the American

University in Cairo Tarek Hatem tells Business Today Egypt.

Professor of Strategic Management and

“A green business is a business that strives to achieve what we call the PPP. That is an acronym for Profit, Planet, and People,” the professor elaborates.

“Profit is the only way to sustain the business and grow. Planet is not just the environment but also the resources. We should minimize the harm that can affect people who are either part of the organization like workers and employees or outsiders such as customers, the community, and the public,” Hatem explains.

“A green business should not offer products that are harmful to health or that pollute the environment. It should also protect workers from any harm and treat them in a humane way,” Hatem adds.

In the service sector, the professor suggests that organizations more widely go paperless, using less plastic and resorting to recycling.

As for whether being green can be impossible in certain industries, Hatem suggests

lean manufacturing as a solution. The concept evolved in Japan, with the core value

of eliminating waste, and is more widely becoming common practice in manufacturing

as well as in start-ups.

One of the benefits of being green is attracting more customers, given the growing

conscious movement and support for fair trade.

“It will become more popular in Egypt and the Arab World. There is a rise in green activities

such as philanthropic work, NGOs, businesses doing CSR. That is part of the

green economy, which is really booming in Egypt. [I expect] that the concept will

resonate with the culture and grow,” Hatem highlights.

While going green might seem to entail an immediate cost, such as when factories

install filters to reduce pollution, the government could offer incentives for such

efforts, Hatem suggests. He also suggests that benefits are granted to countries that

do decrease emissions. On the long run, the transition to green business eliminates


“It’s like when we talk about the green government, which is not just thinking

about the people of today but also about future generations. A business has to balance

between the needs of current customers and future ones,” Hatem says.

Profitably Green

Third-generation Owner and Chairman of Almotassem Zein Marble and Granite Factory Tamer Zein El Abedin tells Business Today Egypt that his factory follows an environmentally friendly policy when it comes to waste disposal. The plant located in Abu Rawash manufactures stone tiles and products, engineered and cut-to-size projects for local and foreign markets, and produces two types of waste.

TamerZein (1)

Chairman of Almotassem Zein Marble and Granite Factory Tamer Zein El Abedin

One type of waste is crushed marble, which can be used for landscaping applications

or as aggregates in construction such as concrete. The second type is marble

powder, the by-product through the filtration of the water used during marble processing.

The filtered marble powder, which is primarily calcium carbonate, is used to

manufacture fertilizers and as filling material for bricks. On average, the factory recycles

up to 5,000 liters of water per minute.

Zein El Abedin says that in the beginning, the main driver behind recycling was economic,

but he later began to appreciate the importance of managing waste efficiently to create less of an environmental impact.

“In this industry, marketing ourselves as a green business may not matter most of

the time. However, it is significant when exporting to big companies,” he states.

El Abedin is the CEO of the Flora Ranches eco-friendly residential compound located

15-minutes east of Smart Village. The compound encompasses approximately 30

ranches, each of which contains one energy efficient house powered by solar energy, as

well as a geothermal cooling and heating system. The geothermal system is a network

of pipes positioned several meters below the ground, where the temperature maintains

a constant 24°C throughout the year. The stable 24°C air is then pumped into

the house through the ventilation system, providing the house with year-round stable,

pleasant temperature.

Also, each ranch is provided with an organic kitchen garden, a pet zone that can

be used to raise farm animals (e.g. chickens, ducks, or horses), as well as ample

space to plant fruit and citrus trees. “The compound ensures sustainability, serenity,

security, and can provide the residents a way for their property to generate an income,

if they choose to,” Zein Al Abedin explains.

Ranches range in size from 4,400 m2 to 10,100 m2, and include an intelligently

designed house with an approximate footprint of 90 m2 to 200 m2 for a total area of

180-450 m2.

Al Abedin adds that the goal is to have all types of waste, including plastic, as well

as recycled and organic waste composted to be used as a fertilizer in the ranch’s ecosystem.

State Initiatives

Chairman of the Central Administration for Environmental Impact Evaluation

Mahmoud Alam tells Business Today Egypt that the entity assumes environmental evaluation

to issue licenses for new businesses in accordance with the law. The evaluation

ensures that the business will not pollute the environment, and that the waste is recycled to rationalize the use of raw material and resources.

As for existing businesses, each submits a plan to reform its business to eliminate

pollutants and comply with the required standards, Allam explains. Businesses can

receive soft loans from banks as well as technical assistance to become more environmentally

friendly. The project is dubbed the Egyptian Pollution Abatement Program (EPAP), and is currently in its third phase. Funding and technical assistance are provided by a number of foreign and international organizations, as well as the Egyptian government. The duration of each phase is around four to five years, the official states.

Going green on a global scale in the sectors of food and agriculture, cities, energy

and material, health and well-being may save at least $12 trillion by 2030. Those sectors

represent 60% of the real economy, according to a report published by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission.

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