The FINANCIAL -- Interview with Evgeny Nesterenko – Chief Administrative Officer of MAQRO Group
Eco-Development is a complex subject based on design and construction standards. Its development level directly depends on achievements of science and technology, industrial engineers’ activities, and public awareness of environmental principles.
Eco-Development standards are designed to accelerate the process of transition from traditional and now-outdated systems to a more sustainable system and are based on the following principles:
• Safe and healthy living conditions;
• Reducing adverse environmental impacts;
• Considering future generations’ interests.
Q. What role does environmental sustainability play in Maqro Construction’s overall strategic plan?
A. Despite the fact that the technology of ‘green construction’ is constantly improving, the main purpose of the idea remains unchanged – that is, reducing the overall impact of the construction process on environmental and human health. This is achieved through factors such as efficient use of energy, water and other resources; caring for the health of residents; creating a comfortable working environment for employees; and a reduction of waste and environmental pollution.
It is also important to consider the situation we have in the world today. One of the main directions of the global problems of the new millennium is ecology, and it holds a special place in the list of these problems.
Getting out of polluted air has become a daily concern for our population. Surveys conducted by various organizations and public opinion polls show that environmental pollution for Tbilisi’s population has become one of the most serious problems.
This directly reflects on the real estate market and trends in this field. If we do real estate market analysis, the highest priority of residential neighbourhoods in Tbilisi is changing because of high pollution levels. Local customers have new requirements, have changed their tastes, behavioural trends and preferences in the acquisition of real estate.
By accommodating the above-given factor, our company tries to maximize the development of residential complexes that will enable residents to enjoy maximum comfort, whether in the city centre or in the suburbs.
Green cover; greening of residential complexes; and an ecologically clean environment – these are issues that we attach great importance to. An example of this is our multi-complex ‘Green Budapest’ in Saburtalo, on Panjikidze Street, and ongoing project ‘Green Diamond’ in Digomi, near the American Embassy.
During the selection process for new housing complexes in Saburtalo and Dighomi, a priority of ours was the respective area’s ecology, greenness, clean air, and infrastructure – all of which contribute to the establishment and promotion of a healthy lifestyle among residents. This is the main motivator of “Maqro Construction” and this is how our slogan Green Standards of Life plays out.
In addition, in the process of construction, we use modern, heat-based materials that maximally provide minimal costs for heating apartments, hence resulting in less resource consumption and air pollution.
Q. What are the main social and environmental challenges and opportunities at Maqro Construction?
A. Our company is trying to respond to all of the challenges that exist today in the world and in Georgia. Our activities are totally oriented towards our customers, which are no less important than our employees’ satisfaction and well-being. With these factors in mind, we created the ‘Smart Living’ and ‘Smart Working’ concepts that envisage improved standards in every aspect of life and employment and this is not just an image, it’s a credo for Maqro Group.
Considering that one of the key factors in eco-development is to care for the health of one’s employees and to promote the efficiency of their activities at all stages, these concepts help us to offer them all the conditions that promote a healthy lifestyle, a stimulating environment and a safe one.
For our residents, our complex is equipped with a green yard, treadmill, sports grounds, swimming pools, open and closed fitness spaces – in essence, all of the benefits that people seek out from different locations in different areas, are available in one space here and absolutely free for them to use.
As for the employees, all safety standards are maintained in the construction process: strict norms of safety; insurance; uniform; feeding; various bonus systems for stimulating staff, etc. In a word, all the conditions are designed for them to feel maximally comfortable in their working environment.
I would like to emphasize another important factor for eco-development – the reduction of waste and environmental impacts – along with everyone else, this remains one of the major challenges for us.
Essentially, there is no waste management system in Georgia, and this is one of the main factors in environmental pollution. We are trying to create a habit of waste sorting among the residents of our projects; we want to offer them different containers for the disposal of different types of waste.
A few days ago, the Mayor of Tbilisi made a statement in which he said that in the nearest future Tbilisi will move to such a principle of waste management, which will be very useful for environmental protection. We welcome this initiative and will do our best to support our residents in the matter of waste disposal.
Q. What are the objectives and targets of Maqro Construction’s sustainability efforts?
A. In countries where so-called ‘Eco-Development’ is developing rapidly, they are creating a national standard for ‘eco-building’ based on aspects of the country’s socio-economic conditions. Such conditions include: legislation; country policy; energy and ecology issues; climatic conditions; energy efficiency and environmental issues pertaining to the degree of awareness across professional circles and wider society.
We are working actively on trying to get comprehensive information on eco-development, technological innovation and successful experiences. We want to create a platform for sharing the experiences that promote the growth of green development.
Ultimately, our company aims to create a national standard in Georgia following the example of successful foreign experience. This will help to increase the number of green constructions in our country and will have a positive impact on our environment.
We also plan to introduce aspects of eco-development in our future projects, which are not present at this stage – such as effective use of energy, water and other resources. We will actively consider such alternative ways of heating and ventilation, such as geothermal systems, recuperation, and solar energy. Although modern technologies are quite expensive, the social benefits obtained by these initiatives are so significant that it would be unthinkable to ignore them.
Alternative ways to minimize negative impacts on the environment reduce costs by 25% on average – another important detail about eco-development. All of this is positively reflected on the environment, as well as on people and their health, therefore caring for people is absolutely our company’s credo!