Middle East and Caspian Plastics Campaign
Back in January 2019, the Altrad Middle East and Caspian team set themselves the challenge of reducing their use of single use plastics across the region.
Steve Connolly Regional MD explains: “it is sometimes difficult to comprehend the impact a single individual can have in taking a stance against plastics when you see the scale of the global problem, however if we can positively influence the behavior of 14,500 people which we carry at peak in the region, then that could have a huge tangible impact, so we laid down the challenge to the team to cease using single use plastics from the first of March this year, and the response has been pretty amazing”.
The initial focus was single use plastic bottles which were outlawed and replaced with reusable water containers, along with water coolers with paper cups, this has been supported by a poster and an ongoing “tool box talk” campaign, presentations from senior Altrad-Cape and client management supported by “talking heads” videos from many Altrad employees.
In the KSA and Bahrain the teams went even further with banners on the side of the buses that transport the teams to the place of work, not only re-enforcing the message within Altrad but also spreading the message wider to customer’s and fellow contractor alike, something the other countries will replicate.
In addition, the teams have also targeted food packaging, which was previously in plastic containers. The teams have now sourced more environmentally friendly alternatives, which with a peak workforce of 14,500 personnel to feed for 365 days a year, this equates to in excess of 1.5 million meals a year, and with a significant amount of these meals historically used plastic packaging, this is a great opportunity that will have a huge impact.
These same initiatives are now being driven by the other business units in the region as they share best practice.
In addition, the teams are also supporting more dedicated recycling segregation to ensure any identified plastics go into the recycling chain.
Steve concluded: “I am very proud of what the teams have achieved in such a short timescale, and how the guys have really embraced the challenge, and they should be proud of themselves. It is very easy to set an aspirational challenge at a high level, the real hard work is implementing at an operational level and making it sustainable and part of the culture of the organisation, the guys have wholeheartedly embraced the challenge and hopefully will inspire others to do the same, why wouldn’t you?”.