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Khalid Al-Bawardi, Founder and CEO of TAD Group.



Leading By Green Example With the level of waste generation in the Middle East rising due to increasing populations and consumption, waste management solutions are becoming all the more crucial. Enter Saudi’s TAD Environment.


espite the number of green and sustainable initiatives being implemented by governments and businesses across the Middle East, the fact remains that waste is still being produced in unmanageable quantities. And with growing populations and rapid urbanization, it has become imperative to implement improved waste management solutions. No place is this truer than Saudi Arabia, which plays host to TAD Environment, a company with over a decade of experience tackling the region’s refuse. Under the leadership of Khalid Al-Bawardi, the unsung exploits of his company are relevant now more than ever. “TAD provides government and companies in Saudi the help they need in order to protect the environment and raise awareness of the risk attached to mishandling hazardous waste,” comments Khalid Al-Bawardi, Founder and CEO of TAD Group. For the past decade, Al-Bawardi and his group have worked diligently in Saudi


TAD provides government and companies in Saudi the help they need in order to protect the environment Arabia to deliver specialized hazardous waste management services. An ISO 9000 and 14000 certified company, TAD Group has brought site remediation services, interim storage, and consultation services that have helped keep the local market not only clean, but green. In addition to his role as the group’s head, Al-Bawardi also manages both of the group’s subsidiaries, TAD Environment and TAD Logistics. While the latter has garnered popularity for providing third party logistics for chemical and nonchemical cargo, with one of the largest

chemical warehouses in the region at almost 70,000 sqm, it is in fact TAD Environment that has been actively clearing the collective waste of the Middle East. Operating across 17 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, TAD Environment provides package and shipping services for hazardous waste that conform to international regulations and the Basel Convention, a treaty dictating how waste is managed. With few disposal facilities available in Saudi Arabia and even the region as a whole, the company exports the majority of its harmful cargo—almost 70%—to Europe. While traditional disposal solutions include recycling and chemical treatment, demand for waste in Europe has spiked due to its viability in energy generation. When burned, hazardous waste boasts a high calorific value, a factor that has made this unlikely resource an ideal candidate for renewable energy. Back in the GCC waste management has become a critical discussion within national infrastructure


By Alexander Sophoclis Pieri



development. In the wake of increasing population levels and a rapid transition towards urbanization, accelerated consumption rates have led to the increased generation of waste. According to the latest statistics released from the third Green Middle East environment management and technology exhibition, held in October, 2013, gross urban solid waste generation in the Middle East has grown to over 150 million tons per annum. Unfortunately, the statistics also show that recycling in the GCC is as low as 10%, a factor that severely limits the value recovery of materials that can be reused in industries such as construction and manufacturing. Additionally, within the realm of water waste, the Green Middle East expo reported that while sewage collection in the GCC stands at a healthy 52%, a dismal 4 to 8% of water comes from a recycled source. With the Gulf region’s water requirements in the agriculture, domestic and industrial sectors expected to grow to 49 billion cubic meters by 2020, there is growing demand for national leaders to aggressively implement advanced water and wastewater treatment solutions. Currently, GCC countries are water-stressed with the per capita of renewable water resources below the


It is not only our vision but also our target, to be the largest, as well as a market leader in what we do, and to exceed our customer’s expectation critical level of 1,000 cubic meters per day, but development to address demand is already underway. Predictions from the expo foresee GCC’s water and wastewater treatment equipment market reaching $2 billion by 2016. “It is still far behind when compared to Europe, but far better when compared to some countries in Asia,” comments TAD Group’s Al-Bawardi. Still, the lack of local facilities and initiatives has proven more a boon than a hindrance over the past decade for the experienced CEO, who has fostered an extensive European partner network. From its branches in Riyadh and Dammam, TAD Environment operates within the GCC, additionally servicing the countries of, Afghanistan and Djibouti. Primarily, the company focuses on packing and shipping

hazardous waste. According to its CEO the company has exported nearly 20,000 tons to date, a significant portion of which can be attributed to its most prominent contract. “TAD is the U.S. Army’s main contractor for hazardous waste removal in 11 countries, and is one of the few companies approved by the United Nations,” comments Al-Bawardi, on the contract first awarded back in 2003. Initially tasked to handle the waste of six countries, the agreement was renewed in 2008, adding another five nations to the list. With costly insurance and austere transportation requirements, shipping harmful contaminants is not without risk. “There are very strict regulations in shipping hazardous waste…you will need to deal with as many as four to eight countries at the same time, and any delay by one, will delay your delivery,” shares the CEO. He adds that it can also be extremely dangerous to work in conflict zones because of the security challenges. In terms of challenges at the regional level, Al-Bawardi points to significant shortage in the MENA market of experienced talent with the right technical background, as well as a lack of viable facilities for handling waste. In order for the sector to match the


Established in 2005, TAD Logistics provides third party logistics for chemical and non-chemical cargo.

standards of the European market, the Saudi national believes the region will need to become self-sufficient. To realize this, Al-Bawardi’s TAD Logistics recently signed an agreement with the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON) to construct a center for planning services in managing chemicals and general cargo. “The state of the art facility will manage and store brand new chemicals in Saudi Arabia…this will help the group expand its logistics business in Saudi,” comments the seasoned entrepreneur. The agreement which was signed in January, 2013, calls for the construction of a new 12,000 sqm facility in Dammam’s second industrial district that will provide integrated supply chain solutions. With a dedicated team of 90 and huge success in capitalizing on an underserved market, the vision of the group’s founder and CEO is underscored. But just as notable as his vision is the origin of the TAD Group itself. Born into a modest middle-class family, Al-Bawardi’s entrepreneurial roots date back to the tender age of 18, where the up-and-coming businessman tried his luck with a handful of startups. Each project resonated with his energy and diverse interests; a car import business,

a dry cleaning shop, and a printing press that saw modest success. It was during this time, back in 1994, that the young Saudi founded Tadawulat, the precursor to TAD Group, as it is known today. Rather than growing his innovative idea however, Al-Bawardi opted to put his new venture on hold, moving to the U.S. to further his education. Following his graduation from George Washington University with a Master’s of Science in Project Management, the budding entrepreneur returned home, starting a brief, but successful career with Seder Services, a company specialized in operation and maintenance services. Not content with climbing the ranks, Al-Bawardi resigned in 2003, choosing instead to dive headfirst into what he describes as a niche market. Returning to his dormant company Tadawulat in 2003 and with a meager startup fund of almost $32,000, he cleared the dust from an aged idea and transformed it into a success story that is still going strong. By 2012, Tadawulat was rebranded the TAD Group with its two subsidiaries safely under its umbrella. “It is not only our vision but also our target, to be the largest, as well as a market leader in what we do, and to

exceed our customer’s expectations,” shares the ambitious CEO. Hoping to grow the business even further in 2014, the green-fingered entrepreneur unveils plans for expansion, both locally and globally. Eyeing the world stage for new possibilities, Al-Bawardi and his group have already reached out to Russia and China to establish new ties. Not forgetting the home front however, the CEO adds that plans to establish a state of the art hazardous waste disposal facility are already being discussed, an important move that could help fill the void currently lingering in Saudi and the greater region. True success is not always measured by the numbers, aggressive expansion or by besting the competition. Sometimes it is about the impact— about what a company can do to influence innovation and enact positive change to society. In both Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, there is a responsibility for companies like TAD Group to help pioneer the way towards a self-sustainable waste recycling region. Leading with example, Khalid Al-Bawardi has laid the path for others to follow; one he hopes will bring about a cleaner Saudi Arabia and a greener Middle East.


Leading by Green Example  

This is an excerpt of the story run in the 20th issue of Forbes Middle East (December 2013) featuring TAD Group CEO Khalid Albawardi.

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