Development is great but it should be in harmony with the well-being of the environment. Use of renewable energy resources is an important factor in ensuring environmental sustainability. Sustainable development is one of the most important goals of the United Nations Organization. Businesses that use renewable energy resources today play an important role in ensuring environmental sustainability. It is important for organizations to invest in sustainable and renewable energy resources as they provide long term viable solutions and are important in ensuring contribution to sustainable development goals. Responsible consumption and responsible production is also a very important part of the sustainable development.
The leaders that are the promoters of environmental sustainability through a variety of innovative ways are very passionate in ensuring the protection of the environment as well as its development. Ahmed Detta is one such innovative business leader who is cognizant of ensuring environmental sustainability and balancing development and sustainability. Ahmed is the CEO and Founder of Enviroo, a company that provides a solution to post consumer plastic waste. He is a circular economy focused entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional industry experience across UK, Europe and the Middle East.
Being Environmental Activist
Ahmed’s industry specialism spans across the Sustainability and Technology arenas with a deep-rooted focus on plastics recycling. He has previously supported international campaigns including United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (UNCDP) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to help raise awareness of our damaged environment.
Ahmed is pioneering the development of recycling methodologies and best practice in the United Kingdom. He has helped established two international recycling plants focusing on consumer electronics, corporate information technology equipment, plastic waste and print cartridge materials. Prior to setting up Enviroo, he concluded a significant amount of plastic waste and materials trade deals across the GCC and Europe.
Creating a Sustainable and Circular Economy Using PET
Enviroo recycles 100% of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastic waste and creates ‘food-grade’ polymers that are used to recreate food packaging and plastic bottles. PET plastic is not going to instantly disappear and remains embedded in everyone’s lives. Not only does it take up to 400 years to disintegrate but is also the primary material used in packaging for food and beverage and will remain for many years to come. PET can be infinitely recycled and the technology Enviroo uses can recycle 100% of this material. Enviroo has created a closed loop recycling method incorporating long term viability as it ensures transparency, circularity, and sustainability.
Changing Behavioral Habits of Plastic Users
Enviroo’s mission is to change behavioral habits of plastic users to ensure plastic does not enter oceans and landfill. It advocates responsible recycling that creates unity amongst all circular economy stakeholders, thus ensuring 100% of PET plastic waste is recycled.
Enviroo’s vision is to provide recycling solutions for PET plastic waste across the United Kingdom by creating vitreous recycling protocols that encourage commitment from all stakeholders. The company merges social impact with technological innovation to create a better environment — both for today and for future generations.
Being Resilient in Navigating Through Life
Living abroad has made a huge difference to Ahmed’s life as he has had to make serious life decisions without the support of his inner circle of friends and family. He states that by not having them close by to have a chat about something important really helped develop an independent mindset. Living abroad has also made him more resilient as the transiency of expat communities can create a lot of loneliness as people move onto their next location. He expresses that you become very close to people very quickly as you are all away from your support bubble and then that person relocates and creates a massive void. Through this, you become more resilient as you adapt to the cycle of expat life.
Ahmed mentions that he has come across some fascinating characters in business and they taught him to really introspect. He dealt with people from all facets of society and realized that not everyone has your best interests at heart. He says that learning that some people have a hidden agenda and not knowing what that is can be detrimental to one’s success if it is not aligned.
Besides this learning, books have been really instrumental for Ahmed, as they helped him navigate through life.
Currently, he is reading ‘what happened to you’ by Oprah Winfrey which is about dealing with trauma, resiliency, and healing all of which affect and creates new entrepreneurs.
Driving the Growth of the Company
Like every leader, Ahmed also had to face lot of challenges. He mentions that building a management team of trusted individuals was quite challenging. Moreover, lack of legislation to support organization’s products was another challenge he overcame to establish the organization.
Besides, Ahmed has also witnessed the bureaucracy and lack of transparency in the industry sector. The company had faced high barriers to entry. Currently, Ahmed is driving the growth of the Enviroo by raising investment for the company’s projects. He is keeping the industry abreast of changes and direction.
Investing in Long term Viable Solutions
Ahmed states that Covid-19 has had minimal impact on the industry compared to other industries. Despite lockdowns, consumers’ consumptions have remained consistently high especially, as Enviroo is operating in an industry that deal with food and beverage waste.
In the opinion of Ahmed, Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of investing in sustainable and renewable investments as they provide long term viable solutions. Investors have become more attune to the renewables and environment industry as it does not present the volatility of the stock market or hospitality and airline industries.
Creating Empathetic, Smart Working and World Class Team
Ahmed states that it is absolutely important to have a positive work culture. He says that everyone faces challenges in their personal lives so the professional environment people work in should foster growth and allow them to be in a harmonious environment. He mentions that transparent communication between all parties within a team or group lead to positive work environment. Transparency engineers empathy and empathy builds a foundation for positivity and trust.
At Enviroo, Ahmed has created an open work culture where his team can contact him whenever they wish. Ahmed is focused and motivated to creating a world class team. He allows his team to work on their mental health and are welcome to use a mentor to help them through any challenges. He is a huge advocate of fitness and mental health and thus, encourages his team to go do a yoga a class or spin cycling class and do some meditation. Ahmed does not inflict strict working hours, as work smart is his motto.
Promoting a Cause of Recycling Materials with Ease
Enviroo is currently developing a program to help the problem of rough sleepers in the country. The company is undertaking a vast amount of research and partnering with leading academic institutes to really figure out how it can motivate consumers to donate towards charitable causes through recycling their plastic waste. In order for this program to be successful, it would need a real change in how plastics are collected in the industry.
Ahmed states that the UK really needs to advance its commitment to a deposit return scheme whereby people can recycle their materials with ease. He mentions that the industry is still massively guilty for exporting its waste to other parts of the world and this needs to change.
Currently, all the efforts of Ahmed are in the direction to take Enviroo from being a PET plastics recycling plant to becoming the powerhouse plastics recycler in the UK for all plastics.
Seeing the Bigger Picture
In his advice to emerging entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into plastic industry Ahmed says to really understand the stakeholders they are dealing with and the key motivators behind why they are involved in the recycling industry. He suggests them to always plan for constant change – products and packaging will always change so they need to be flexible and adaptable. He advises them to have a 10- year outlook and look back at the past 20 years to understand how things have changed.
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