It is rather impressive how Hassan Allam Holding has contributed to a wide number of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Is this part of your long term vision, or has this been happening naturally?
I think it is a mix between the two. We were fortunate enough to be involved in businesses that provide excellent value to communities and society, like water treatments, renewable energy, engineering, design and construction. But, at the same time, for the new Hassan Allam Holding, we want to develop the business and move away from traditional general contracting services into a more sustainable future or lines of business that not only contribute to the welfare of the company and the people who work for it, but to the communities in which we operate.
For your company, energy use is a critical factor in environmental sustainability. How is Hassan Allam Holding facing the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy?
We are one of the leading players in solar and wind project development. We own assets that produce renewable energy. We are also the largest private-sector desalination plant operator and owner. We sell desalinated water to communities that have water scarcity. Some people live in these cities without the relevant infrastructure, but we have been able to put in place a business that provides clean, usable water for these people across the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. The more we evolve as a solution provider for clean water and water treatment, the more value we add to the community, and the more we grow as a business on that front. So, to summarise: In terms of renewable energy, we are a designer, contractor, and developer of renewable energy assets. In terms of water treatment and water solutions, we design, build and invest in putting together plants that provide clean and potable water on a large scale.
One of your business areas that most caught our attention is building "Sustainable Water Treatments". Could you explain in detail the achievements of the quality of life improvement? How do you measure the impact on the environment?
About two years ago, we embarked on a project called Al Mahsama agriculture waste treatment plant. At the time, it was the largest agricultural waste treatment plant globally. It took wastewater generated from agricultural use which was thrown into canals and was unbelievably polluted. This plant was the fastest plant ever built in the world of this nature and size. It was a million cubic metres per day where it took this agricultural water, reused it and recycled it. It was redeployed again to create agricultural opportunities in the Sinai, one of Egypt's poorest areas in terms of water availability. To develop an excellent agrarian business on a large scale in the Sinai, this water needed to be of a certain standard of cleanliness and clarity. These plants transformed the area and the project now creates substantial agricultural opportunities in the Sinai for the people who thrive on being farmers in this particular area of Egypt.
Additionally, we are now building the largest agricultural waste treatment plant in the world, amongst other companies. It is called the El Hammam waste treatment plant, and it is going to produce eight and a half million cubic metres per day. This plant will receive most of the agricultural wastewater coming in from the New Delta area of Egypt.
According to your perspective, which is Egypt's role in the net-zero carbon goals?
I think the world has become more conscious about climate change in recent years . However if you look at companies and what they have to achieve in order to become carbon neutral, the cost associated with this is rather high. Companies need to make decisions that allow them to grow and be sustainable at the same time. Therefore carbon neutrality will have to start with government incentives and their support to businesses to be more responsible for reaching carbon neutrality. If there is no incentive behind it, then the business is required to pay out of their pocket the cost associated with achieving this goal. Hassan Allam Holding is moving there. We are seeking the support of experienced consultants and investing in suitable industries.