Exclusive interview with Francesco Lipartiti, Global COO, Maccaferri
Meet Francesco Paolo Lipartiti, COO of Maccaferri Malaysia and South East Asia, Pacific and India region.
Please share with our readers your professional journey in the industry and what things inspired you to start your career in this industry?
In 2008, I joined Maccaferri as Financial Controller for international subsidiaries. As a naturally interested person, I have always tried to take advantage of every opportunity a multinational company offers its employees. Initially, I traveled between South Africa, North America, Mexico, Greece, Portugal, India and Nepal for short to medium adventures. I fell in love with India during a short stay of a few months, and when I was 30, I moved to New Delhi to supervise the Finance division of the Indian subsidiary. In 2014, I was asked to pursue a new JV project between Maccaferri and a Belgian multinational focused on underground and tunnel applications and solutions, so I undertook a new trip to Belgium as a member of the direction. Three years later, in 2017, I returned to Asia as Chief Financial Officer for the APAC region.
Maccaferri also gave me the opportunity to show myself in a variety of roles with increasing responsibilities and that really inspired me a lot. I assumed many functions during the various moves. I was quickly promoted to Chief Financial Officer in India, and I was now in charge of human resources management both in Belgium and Asia, in addition to continuing to oversee the Finance division. These roles, like the one I’m in now, were often created from scratch, and it was a fantastic opportunity because it took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to improve my skills.
What are your current roles and responsibilities within the Officine Maccaferri group?
I was the COO for ISEAP, a large and diverse region that includes India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, for almost a year. My responsibilities include overseeing operations and marketing, engaging in regional strategy and development projects, and helping create synergies between regional management and Corporate and Region. My work encouraged me to have direct contact with many business divisions and to travel frequently, which allowed me to have a deep understanding of regional dynamics, despite the ongoing pandemic posing significant challenges and requiring effort. much more focused on the digital front. Along with the position of Regional COO since February 2022, I have also been appointed General Manager for the export markets of Malaysia and South East Asia.
What are the basic elements and factors that emit CO2 in the construction industry? How can traditional building materials impact the environment and what are the best alternatives to save the environment?
The use of traditional materials such as concrete, steel, wood, clay or gravel in infrastructure projects contributes significantly to the embodied carbon of each project. The construction industry in India accounts for around 22% of the country’s total annual CO2 emissions.
Long-term solutions that are more environmentally friendly than traditional solutions are required in India. India must build a green economy that puts sustainability at the center of its growth strategy. The embodied carbon inherent in these projects will be minimized by eliminating or reducing the use of these materials and replacing them with similar geosynthetic materials. Compared to traditional constructions, the use of mechanically woven double-twisted wire mesh solutions, such as Reno mattresses and locally available stone-filled gabions, can save up to 70% on CO2 emissions. Long-term sustainability should be a primary construction goal, and reducing the carbon footprint may be the fastest way to net zero carbon emissions. The goal of developing solutions should be to improve the quality of life while preserving the environment.
How can the construction industry overcome the major problem of adding carbon footprints? Can you please tell me about some effective solutions?
Building authorities should put more emphasis on sustainability. The construction of new roads requires the extraction of natural materials, which is unavoidable and creates an additional carbon footprint. The construction of green roads can be achieved through various methods such as the reuse of resources acquired from the site, revegetation and integration into the natural environment. Another solution to reduce the carbon footprint is the adoption of geosynthetics. These have become an increasingly popular option in modern construction due to the wide variety of applications for which they are suitable such as pavements, retaining walls, drainage, erosion control, soil improvement, hydraulics, etc.
Maccaferri has a wealth of experience around the world in providing sustainable solutions using geosynthetics. We have invested in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in India and supply materials worldwide.
The construction industry is booming in India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific region. How are you leveraging this opportunity for your business?
Over the next five years, Asia-Pacific is expected to see a boom in the construction industry, with a good mix of projects in the residential, industrial and infrastructure categories. Government intervention in the region, coupled with increasing urbanization, investment, and government and consumer spending, is propelling the economy forward. Although infrastructure investment has been a major driver of the construction industry’s boom, it has yet to take a comprehensive approach to long-term sustainability.
In India, infrastructure spending is increasing due to government policies that encourage it. This fuels economic growth across the country. There are several development aid programs, such as Gati Shakti, Parvatmala and connecting the remotest parts of India. With increased investment in Indian infrastructure, as well as an increase in large-scale projects across the country and government recommendations on the quality of materials, sustainable building approaches are becoming increasingly important as the country improves. strives to achieve net zero emissions by 2070. Maccaferri is committed to making a tangible difference in reducing the carbon footprint in the construction industry, the circular economy, the protection of natural resources and the educating our stakeholders on advanced infrastructure solutions that contribute to the development goal of a prosperous and sustainable low-carbon future. .
Do you think switching to sustainable building materials should be a priority for the construction and infrastructure industry?
Yes, switching to environmentally friendly building materials must be a top priority for the building and construction industry, no doubt about it. It is important that all the proposed solutions include both the improvement of the quality of life and the preservation of the environment as main objectives. Global warming and climate change are illustrations of what can happen if we do not develop sustainably. Ignoring the challenges of sustainable development can lead to a variety of effects, including sea level rise, extreme droughts, erosion and loss of forests, species extinction, and more. Due to recent climate change and global warming, the intensity of geohazards is increasing. Limiting the effects of these hazards will be difficult without early action and significant emission reduction measures across all sectors.
What are sustainable building techniques? Please provide some ideas and applications of these techniques for faster delivery of projects.
We provide a variety of sustainable building techniques with a variety of products available to us. Conventional stone pitching is used for erosion control which involves placing stones manually. An alternative to this is the use of geomatics. These are part of our durable product range and are used for surface erosion protection. They are also known as Rolled Erosion Protection Mats (RECP) and provide instant protection to sensitive slopes against erosive forces such as wind, rain and surface runoff. These are easy to install and require less time compared to stone pitching.
The similarity for soil retention, reinforced soil structures or gravity gabion walls is used. These are simple to build and require less time while blending in aesthetically with the environment. Reinforced soil structures are built in less time than conventional RCC retaining walls.
The transport sector and the construction industry are interconnected. Please highlight some of the best practices that can make them sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Today, the transportation and construction industry is aggressively adopting sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. There are many green building and green transportation practices that are also cost effective and can be easily adopted by businesses. Some of these practices include choosing alternative building materials and bespoke engineering solutions. This not only makes infrastructure green, but creates an ongoing focus on recycling materials like concrete and structural steel, which will help companies avoid the additional costs associated with removing toxic materials from sites. Additionally, with energy costs soaring, investing in solar power also presents a long-term sustainable solution.
The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (also known as UAVs) is one of many possible options that could be explored. Drones in the construction industry provide an unparalleled view of a site at a fraction of the cost, helping to monitor issues, track progress, save time and develop better site plans. It also reduces the need for manual vehicles, leading to lower costs and lower fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Additionally, the infrastructure industry is constantly looking for better and more efficient ways to design and build in order to meet growing demand and help create smarter and more robust structures. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a smart 3D model-based method that not only helps design and construction teams work more efficiently, but also allows them to collect the data they generate in the process. for use in operations and maintenance. BIM will give infrastructure projects more visibility, better decision-making, more sustainable solutions and cost savings.