Averda expertise supports GCC waste management
Philippa Charlton, chief marketing officer of Averda, on how the company intends to support GCC’s waste management authorities in the years to come
How is the GCC’s waste management market currently poised for private sector firms, and what are the key trends you’re noticing in the industry?
We are very pleased to notice an increase in the recycling efforts that are being made across the region. Compared to just six or seven years ago, the waste industry has made significant progress in raising awareness, recycling e-waste, building relationships between the private and public sector and coming up with promising ideas regarding methods of minimising waste generation at source.
The waste management sector [in the GCC] is still in its infancy in comparison to the European and North American markets. Nevertheless, there is room for growth and expansion, supported by proactive government policies across the GCC.
Would you agree that GCC governments are now more aware of ‘smart’ waste management techniques?
GCC governments are certainly more aware of these new techniques. We believe this is due to increased waste generation and the considerable development of the packing industry across the GCC such as, for example, [...] the amount of packaging around white goods and other products. Landfills are really pushed to capacity and most of them are operating right at the edge of their limits – and sometimes beyond.
Public sector bodies and industry associations have also recognised that steps are needed to ensure waste minimisation and segregation at source.
For example the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) recently launched its Strategic Plan 2016-2020, which is focused on introducing a waste classification system that will enable the separation of different kinds of waste. We look forward to working with public and government bodies and continuing to raise awareness around these sustainability initiatives.
What is the scope of Averda’s municipal expertise, and how has this portfolio been developed?
Averda provides end-to-end waste management services to cities and municipalities around the world. We handle the complete waste cycle – from cleaning and collection to sorting and recycling – all the way to disposal and landfill management. We also offer waste capitalisation and energy generation services from either waste or landfill gases.
Which three projects in the GCC are you most proud of, and how do these display your technical expertise?
All our projects have technical and challenging aspects that we are proud to have answered in the most efficient and often innovative ways. Our contracts with Tadweer in the UAE have pioneered the range of services we offer, from street cleaning and door-to-door waste collection, all the way to underground compacting containers and bio-diesel generation from used cooking oil.
Our contracts with Be’ah in Oman, be it for city cleaning or for medical waste management, are also a great example of the breadth of our experience.Finally, we have launched a number of city cleaning projects across the Saudi market too, and hope to be able to actively support its local and central governments in their plans to tackle waste.
What are the key challenges faced by GCC governments in the waste sector, and how does your international expertise help combat this?
The GCC is an extremely diverse community of states. Our international expertise and experience has taught us that each city and each street is different. The waste management system that is needed in Doha may not be applicable in Jeddah. Therefore, Averda adopts a tactical and strategic approach in each municipality it has a presence in to address their unique challenges.
This ensures that our practices are correctly tailored and optimised for every location in which we operate, as opposed to only delivering a pre-packaged system.
Which GCC markets do you expect to be among your largest between now and 2020? Why do you expect these countries to register growth?
The GCC is booming despite the wider global economic challenges. We believe that Saudi Arabia holds a lot of potential, especially with the new approach to macro-economy that the government is taking. The Saudi Arabian government has also approved $24.5bn (SAR91.8bn) in financial support for various economic sectors – including the environment – which we believe will really help spur the development of important recycling and awareness-raising projects in the country.
What are your expansion plans for the next decade?
Averda is the largest integrated waste management company in the emerging markets. We plan to continue our strong growth trajectory, particularly in the GCC and Africa.
How does the future look for waste management in the GCC, and how do you think Averda will be involved in the industry?
We are very excited about the future of the waste management industry in the region and hope that we will help the development of not only our industry, but also of population centres in the GCC as a whole. Companies like Averda have a significant role to play in helping to support the growth of sustainable cities in the face of challenges like booming populations and rapid urbanisation.