FLI Global – The Value is in the Solution: A Firm Protecting the Things that Can Never Be Replaced

FLI Global is an environmental services and technologies business focused on the protection of air, land, and water.

Its experienced team, knowledge base, expertise and focused approach — using Cleantech and Greentech integrated solutions — sets the firm apart as a sustainable solutions partner with its clients.

“Our particular expertise are in Brownfield and Contaminated Land Remediation, Industrial and Municipal Water and Wastewater Treatment, Semi Modular Precast Concrete Infrastructure, Mining Waste Containment and Engineered Landfill Construction,” says CEO and executive chair Michael Flynn.

Landfill Mining UK: Residential Development on a former and recently remediated landfill site

Landfill Mining UK: Residential Development on a former and recently remediated landfill site

FLI, born in the 1980s, operates from locations in Ireland, UK, France and China; the headquarters is in Waterford, Ireland. It passed through the millennium and all the excitement of that period, lived through a couple of global economic crashes, left the industrial age, grew through the technological age, and now lives happily in the information age. “We have gained extensive experience and witnessed significant changes in our sectors of operation,” says Flynn. “Adaption to change has become a core part of our evolution as a business.” Data Centre communications infrastructure manufactured off site is now part of our core technology offering, whereas data centres did not exist back in the 80’s – and nor did the technology for high quality off site manufacturing of concrete infrastructure.

“We also have to recognise our limitations — we cannot create water, land or air.”

The core values and character traits in FLI are grounded in teamwork, experience, knowledge-sharing, open communication, innovation, adaptability, reliability, flexibility, dependability and respect for staff and clients. The firm supports personal and professional development, embraces technology, and plans for the future through talent development and the strengthening of leadership and management structures. Change is a constant that must be embraced.

Society and the natural world are in a long-term relationship of balance and trust, says Flynn: “If one party is dominant then the other is insignificant.” The natural world does not have a voice; it can communicate only through signs. Cracks in the relationship are fuelled by a failure to listen. “In our private lives, or in our business or corporate lives, two-way communication and active listening are key components in the process of reconciliation, finding a resolution, making decisions and moving on. The human race and the natural world are inextricably linked and can find a balance that works if we focus on achieving it.

“Our ability to reflect, see the other parties position, accept that the status quo is not working, have a willingness to change, agree to compromise and adjust our expectations will help contribute to re-establishing balance in our relationship with nature.”

In 2020, there are 7.8 billion people in the world, and this will grow to 9.9 billion by 2050. The natural world has been sending messages of distress for some time now, that are saying it cannot cope and is under severe stress.
“These are messages that we can all understand and interpret: climate change, global warming, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, flooding, food shortages, droughts and disease, more plastics than fish in the sea. Clean air, land and water are finite resources, and we cannot continue to abuse and exploit them and not expect consequences.”

The information data base that we as humans have amassed is constantly being analysed and updated. If viewed as a diagnostic dashboard, it can provide indicators of imbalances and shortfalls — and opportunities. Damage to our environment is being registered and recorded as part of this data collection. “We are well on the way to creating advanced devices and computers driven by algorithms that can do many good things to enhance our lives,” says Flynn. “Globalisation has created demand for consumer goods and has exaggerated the imbalances in our global society, fuelled further by the information age.” This has caused several red light warnings that society is not currently acknowledging.

As stakeholders in society we have responsibilities to each other and to the natural world, he believes. “We also have to recognise our limitations — we cannot create water, land or air. No App can solve this problem. We have to find a balance in the relationship with nature so that we can extend and re-use the resources that nature has provided.”

Population growth will create even greater strains on the natural environment. “The opportunities and potential for continued wealth generation across society are immense,” says Flynn, “but the disparity between human ambition and the limitations of the finite elements of air, land and water must be recognised and addressed so that balance can be restored in our relationship with nature.

“Nature sent us its most recent message in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have all been forced to change the way we live and work. Technology has enabled us to adapt and work from home as part of the social distancing process and to stay connected as families and as businesses. The pandemic has also highlighted our vulnerability to an airborne disease that had the power to bring society as we knew it to a halt, despite our advanced technological confidence and our collective belief that we are unstoppable.”

The ESG investment community has an important role to play in the building-back process and could be instrumental in shaping the model. “The FLI Global business model is built around the core values of ESG, as these are traits in the company DNA” he adds.

“Our sustainable solutions can ensure that the majority of the contaminated soil and water can be cleaned and retained on-site. We avoid the removal of significant quantities of materials to landfill, reducing the carbon impact of transporting materials and helping to ensure that the greenfield land and groundwater can be protected and brownfield land re-used as part of the brownfield first policy in the UK.

“There is a chronic under supply of housing in many countries. The use of brownfield land, promoted over other land uses, allows houses to be constructed on previously developed land. Coupled with the FLI Global off-site residential homes manufacturing capability, it can help reduce the housing shortage in the UK and Ireland and rapidly accelerate delivery.”

New Caledonia: CCD Tank Farm in a Nickel Mine

New Caledonia: CCD Tank Farm in a Nickel Mine

FLI is heavily involved in the treatment of wastewater, both municipal and industrial. Zero Liquid discharge (ZLD) ensures that all water is returned for re-use, and the solids that are retained are re-used in other process streams. Recycling and re-using process water has to be part of the big industry response to limited water supplies and can be achieved.

FLI engineers focus on technologies that improve the quality of wastewater while minimising the carbon footprint of the equipment used. Value engineering is a critical part of providing sustainable solutions, where existing technology can be repurposed or coupled with new technology to improve operating efficiencies.

Investment in R&D to develop alternative renewable fuels such as hydrogen, biomethane, wind and solar is hugely important for reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels into the future. “There should also be an awareness that the technologies are already available for recycling industrial-process water to potable standard,” says Flynn, “and to bring brownfield land back to greenfield value. And to build off- site. Big industry requires vast amounts of water and the technology exists to treat and recover process water so that growth and expansion can be accommodated without drawing further from our water resources.” Creating integrated solutions is value engineering and performance enhancing.

The technology already exists for modular, passive energy homes, rapidly constructed on site with less labour, reducing health and safety risks and accelerating building programs. Continuing investment in off-site construction methods and technologies will be an integral part of the drive to address current and future accommodation needs globally. “Getting drinking water and housing to regions of the world where droughts occur and where our data tells us population growth is going to occur is the collective responsibility of all of us,” he says. A global co-ordinated call to action of all stakeholders is required to solve this challenge.

“The collective and co-ordinated worldwide initiatives to fight the Covid-19 pandemic have been extraordinary – and proof that we can work together for the greater good. To protect and enjoy our environment and maintain the continuing development of mankind we have to work in tandem with the natural world, and not to attempt to conquer it.

“The FLI Global culture and unique selling point is to offer its clients solution focused action and enhanced efficiencies and performance based on its experience and knowhow. The value is in the solution.”

For more information, please visit fli-group.com

FLI-Strap


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