“To ensure organizations remain resilient and flexible, we must work together as an industry, embrace innovation to continue providing value for our customers,” Naser Aldousari, President and CEO, EQUATE Group, shares his thoughts on the ways to build resilience post-pandemic
What were some of the leadership lessons you learned and tactics you adopted at EQUATE during the pandemic?
The pandemic is unlike any other period in recent history; it has affected not only our company but the entire world as we know it. Since the pandemic was marked by unfamiliarity and uncertainty, new and effective responses were required.
Leveraging our core values and decision-making mechanism, we learned to appreciate and value our efforts in ensuring readiness through continuous investment in our people, processes, and tools.
With determination, our organization accelerated in adopting new and flexible work arrangements and aligning objectives across the team.
The immediate tactics adopted were to safeguard our employees and communities through a series of protective measures aimed at reducing the risk of exposure and any impact on our operations.
Due to the ever-evolving circumstances, we first put in place pandemic crisis management processes and measures that leveraged our fundamental values. This helped us develop behavioral shifts that kept us looking forward, and ensured our employees’ health and safety while fulfilling our customers’ expectations and commitments.
Our company values served as an internal compass that guided us through times of uncertainty.
We’ve recently seen the successful commissioning of EQUATE’s MEGlobal Oyster Creek facility in the US. What is the significance of this milestone in EQUATE’s journey and growth strategy?
MEGlobal Oyster Creek is the Group’s first manufacturing facility in the United States. The project marks the emphasis of global growth for EQUATE Group.
The successful completion of the project highlights EQUATE’s ability to harness best-in-class practices throughout the world. From safety to scheduling to cost management, our Oyster Creek site exemplifies our dedication to operational excellence and efficiency, to meet the expanding global customer demand for EG.
MEGlobal was named ENR Texas & Louisiana’s Best Project in the Industrial/Energy category in 2020. Additionally, Engineering News-Record named the project as the Best Project Winner – Texas and Louisiana.
The facility produces mono ethylene and diethylene glycol, products used in a number of market applications including polyester fibers, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and packaging, antifreeze and coolants, paints, resins, de-icing fluids, heat transfer fluids and construction materials.
You recently released EQUATE’s Sustainability Report. What were some of the key highlights that you’d like to share? How do you approach the sustainability and ESG agenda at EQUATE?
The theme of the 7th edition ‘Leading with agility to maximize growth and build resilience amid the Covid-19 pandemic’ highlights EQUATE Group’s organizational resilience and adaptation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a number of case studies on responses undertaken during the reporting period.
In 2019, we refreshed and expanded our sustainability strategy to align with The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our strategy is now comprised of 11 strategic objectives mapped to four pillars: environment, economy, society, and health and safety.
Our approach started with our commitment to the sustainability journey. At EQUATE, we are committed to meeting our targets, with particular emphasis on emissions reduction, social and governance practices.
You’ve been selected by the GPCA Board Members to be the sponsor of the GPCA Youth Council due to your passion for developing the region’s youth. What is the significance of this initiative for the regional chemical industry and the importance of developing the regional youth and talent?
Our youth account for a significant proportion of the GCC population, they are our society’s most valuable resource, with the ability to significantly contribute to economic diversity, and sustainable growth.
The region’s success will be determined by its ability to invest in the youth and build new skill sets to adapt to and shape the future for us all.
As the future leaders in their fields, our youth have the opportunity to contribute to the progress of their societies as well as the productivity of the industry and the GCC regional economy. The GCC will be able to expand faster and continue to build knowledge-based economies as they pursue their ambitious goals.
This is not only a matter of getting more young people interested in the chemical and petrochemical industries; it’s about providing opportunities and opening possibilities.
As regional chemical companies emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications, what will be the role of innovation and collaboration in shaping a positive and speedy recovery?
To ensure organizations remain resilient and flexible, we must work together as an industry, embrace innovation to continue providing value for our customers, and develop sustainable solutions that adhere to global standards. In a post-COVID-19 era, the learnings gained from the past two years will be translated into programs that will ensure an agile global organization that can weather future challenges and are more susceptible to flexible transitions. The pandemic has heightened the GCC’s focus on critical issues such as sustainability, digitalization, and self-sufficiency. Strategic collaboration and innovation will assist us in shaping the “new normal” in order to recover and prosper.
How do you anticipate regional and global economic recovery as well as the rising oil price to impact the downstream industry performance in 2021-2022?
We continue to be optimistic as we see growing recovery signs and a return to healthy levels of demand in our downstream markets. The fundamentals of our industry are sound and the need for our products are very well established as evidenced during the various phases of the pandemic.