Cedar Environmental: Innovation vs. Corruption in Lebanon?
The case follows Ziad Abi Chaker, founder and CEO of Cedar Environmental, an environmental engineering company in Lebanon, as he weighs his options for how to grow the company despite facing barriers to growth, most notably the prevalent public corruption in his industry which he refused to participate in. Abi Chaker had established Cedar Environmental soon after the Lebanese Civil War with a vision of introducing a "Zero-Waste" concept to Lebanon by building and selling recycling plants, which used his proprietary dynamic composting technique, to local municipalities. But he soon found the public sector lacking the capacity to manage these plants as he envisioned. In parallel, Abi Chaker continued his research and development by developing new innovative products, most notably Eco-boards, a multipurpose building material made out of recycled plastics. In 2015, Lebanon suffered from a severe garbage crisis as the main waste collection companies had stopped collecting household waste, leading to country-wide protests. Seeing an opportunity, Abi Chaker aimed to shift his business model to run his plants and charge the municipality for the service, instead of selling them the plant and let them run it. While he launched a successful pilot, this model was fraught with other challenges, most notably finding the right municipality to partner with. Meanwhile, an opportunity presented itself to take his business abroad but might require moving his operations to that country. As his home country's economic and social stability were under increasing pressure, he needed to decide on the future direction of the company. Should he remain in Lebanon, despite the challenges, to fulfill his dream of a "Zero-Waste" Lebanon or should he focus on growing the company and use his innovations to help other countries manage their municipal waste?
- 2021 HBS
- Book Quality:
- Harvard Business Publishing
- Date of Addition:
- Business and Finance, Nonfiction,
- Usage Restrictions:
- This is a copyrighted book.
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