Committed to sustainability

Since joining the UN Global Compact in 2001, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) has been firmly committed to sustainable commerce, winning numerous awards for its environmental work. Samer Khoury, CCC’s president of engineering and construction, explains how committing to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a chance to combine ambitious business strategies with effective environmental practices.

Samer Khoury joined the UN Global Compact in 2001. How has this benefitted your business?

Samer Khoury: As a company that values ethics, integrity and sustainability, joining the UN Global Compact was in keeping with our core principles. Signing up has given us a practical framework for adopting sustainable practices, helping us address global challenges through our business strategies.

Most importantly, it has helped us shift our approach towards corporate sustainability from a moral imperative to a material one. We recognise the commercial case for sustainability and that greater environmental, social and economic practices can benefit everyone.

As members of the UN Global Compact we are inspired to take bold steps towards realising the 2030 Agenda and the UN’s ‘Sustainable Development Goals’.

What sustainable development goals (SDG’s) has CCC prioritised and how are they being fulfilled?

We have aligned our sustainability objectives with the UN’s SDG’s for 2030 and have committed to achieving specific goals. For example, we’re focusing on improving quality education alongside work and economic growth. CCC concentrates on vocational training in various countries. Our vision is to foster technical skills among the local workforce, increasing competency across all of our projects.

The MENA region has the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, especially among women. To improve this, we have an ongoing partnership with Education for Employment (EFE), a regional NGO that helps create job opportunities for young people.

The UN’s sustainable development goals include building infrastructure and fostering innovation, as well as making cities sustainable. These are directly related to our core activities of providing infrastructure that matters. CCC’s projects in transportation, water infrastructure and green building provide sustainable solutions for the delivery of reliable energy, clean water, transportation and housing.

For us, sustainable consumption and production means managing the sourcing, use and disposal of materials across a project’s life cycle. We apply a combination of material procurement, technology use and community engagement to alleviate projects’ environmental impacts, including on-site sewage treatment systems, reuse of construction waste, recycling materials and the procurement of local goods.

How is CCC contributing to the global efforts to tackle climate change?

CCC has established energy efficiency and carbon footprint management programmes. As part of these we are increasing the use of renewable energy in our operations, investing in innovation to make the company's fleet more environmentally friendly and deploying improved air-conditioning technologies to reduce energy consumption in our accommodation camps.

Additionally, drawing from our experiences in green building, we are applying sustainable practices in core categories such as site works, waste management and energy conservation. According to recent data, these specific and measurable actions have led to a 9.8% reduction in our carbon footprint.

How can upcoming trends in the construction industry support sustainable development?

Technology and innovation have great potential to drive sustainable development. CCC’s culture of innovation drives faster, more efficient business results, thereby activating good sustainability impacts.

For example, we incorporated digitalisation in the design and construction process of our projects very early on. Since CCC’s first BIM success story a decade ago, numerous projects have been completed using BIM 3D modelling. At the moment, we have been increasingly focusing on solar batteries for our project camps and 3D printing in construction.

Partnerships are also an important tool for realising sustainable development. Inspired by the World Economic Forum’s vision for the future of construction, we have launched a research and development initiative to partner with innovators working on disruptive built-environment technologies.

How is CCC responding to the increased public focus around companies’ corporate accountability and sustainable reporting?

Sustainability plays a pivotal role in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges and we are one of the organisations committed to sustainability, transforming the world and improving lives.

Our data-driven sustainability approach provides us with valuable business intelligence and opportunities to innovate. Our clients are increasingly demanding environmental performance data, and tender processes now include governance and social criteria. Our sustainability programme and reporting procedures provide CCC with a robust competitive advantage.

Samer Khoury.