The AX Group’s ESG journey (this far)

Businesses exist primarily for profit.  Other organisations may have different objectives and these include Government, Foundations, Charities and others.

There is no doubt that climate change is a reality.  We see it and experience it every day.  Longer summers, hotter summers, sudden unexpected downpours.  Nature is struggling to cope with this.  Trees and plants are not growing as healthily as we know they did in the past.     We can close our thoughts to these changes because we believe that there is little we can do individually and the prime responsibility surely must fall on Governments and large businesses.  Realistically we do know that each and every one of us have the responsibility to do whatever is within our ability to mitigate climate change.

At AX Group our ESG journey started with defining our vision. The vision is “we want to be active in managing our ESG responsibilities, selecting actions and identifying opportunities and objectives that have a  positive outcome to minimise climate change”.  In the realisation that we can do much more if we align ourselves with likeminded businesses, and conscious that Government has a significantly greater ability to foster policies that protect the environment, we became founder members of Malta’s ESG alliance.

Let us start with short term action we have taken, mostly the low hanging actions which are within our reach.

The reduction of waste, the separation of waste into the recyclable elements, the bio degradable elements, the re-purposing of elements.  Mostly these actions simple require a change in attitude and lifestyle.   To put simply, we select goods, services, alternatives which have the lower environment impact.

These measures often come at a cost.  In our businesses, renting three skips to separate waste into different elements involves cost.  Cleaning materials to reuse or recycle them generally involves labour cost, which possibly is more than the cost of the materials themselves when all is factored in.

Consciously the AX Group has taken the route to adopt these actions.  Our ESG committees supported by management and in line with the Board of Directors’ direction, have identified many measures that have been successfully implemented with the full co-operation and support of our employees.  We are greatly encouraged by the active participation of our employees in this regard.

In the medium term we have taken other decisions and measures that will have significant positive results and longer lasting benefits.  The education and training of our employees and continually reinforcing our commitment to follow ESG principles has broadened the reach of our vision beyond the business itself.

We are selecting vendors with greater awareness of their own ESG practices and policies and we intend to do more of this going forward.

We have purchased electric vehicles to replace some of our fleet of cars and intend to do so more and more where it justifies doing so.

The longer term is an area where the AX Group has had a much more significant vision which is reflected in its choices and actions.

It is a well known fact that the construction and transport industries are among the greatest generators of greenhouse gases.

We are not active in the transport sector, being primarily a user of means of transport and not a provider of transport services.  So let us focus on the construction and development sectors, two of the AX Group’s core business divisions.

And here we have an exciting story to tell that goes back many years.  The principles of reduce, reuse, repurpose that I referred to earlier also apply here and with much more significant implications.

Allow me to broaden my analysis and put things into the social and economic perspectives of the Maltese islands.

Our forefathers over thousands of years selected the soft globigerina limestone to cut building blocks and learned to work these artfully to give us the great homes, palaces and public buildings as well as the towns and fortifications that kept them safe over the millennia.  Our stone was and still is quarried with minimal carbon being created – an axe or saw was used to extract the natural material, often in the past being cut close to the same location that the stone was going to be used.   Our stone generally has a long life but on the downside, low thermal properties, is a heavy material to work and relatively low structural strength.

In the 2000’s we experienced a marked sift in our building methodologies.  Our architects, developers and construction workers for many justifiable and valid reasons shifted the material of choice for our buildings to bricks, concrete and steel.  Materials that have much greater structural strength, are easier to work with the right machinery and possibly more relevant to the types and size of building projects that are often constructed today.   But we know that steel and concrete particularly have a very high carbon output, and bricks are the product of a manufacturing process.

Back to AX Group and its philosophy of “Building Communities” .  This philosophy ties in the Environment with the Social aspects of ESG.

How have we embraced this in reality.

When Angelo Xuereb set up his construction company almost 50 years ago he started operating out of a site on the periphery of Naxxar in what was then a predominantly agricultural area.  As the urban sprawl of Naxxar encroached on his property he realised that a construction yard with it noise, dust and frequent movement of trucks and other construction equipment was no longer compatible with the evolution of the residential area.  He applied to the Planning Authority to redevelop the site as a Retirement Village.   He was well aware of the ageing population in our islands and the demographic trend towards an increasingly ageing population were already evident even then.

Unfortunately it took him more than 23 years before the authority was forthcoming with the permit but as soon as the development had been permitted, he embarked on the building of what today is the Hilltop Gardens Retirement Village and the Simblija Care Home.  He designed the building to afford the maximum open space with just over 55% of the site being built upon, he optimised natural light into the buildings and created the facilities that residents would need to enjoy their years at the village.  He excavated a reservoir to capture rain water and reuse it as second class water.  We installed photovoltaic panels on the roofs of the buildings to ensure that the village’s carbon footprint would be minimal.

Another venture of the AX Group was the rehabilitation of its quarry at Imselliet and the installation of one of the islands largest photovoltaic plants.  Another measure to minimise the Group’s carbon footprint.

In the last years the AX Group has bought three buildings in Valletta and repurposed two into boutique hotels and another into a prestigious office.

In designing our development at Verdala we have set a lifespan for the building of 100 years.  In practice this means considerable additional cost in the materials we use for the finishes of the building, the type of insulation to ensure it is energy efficient and at the same time provides the residents with the comfort and privacy expected of a luxury development.  It takes a lot of time to convey these qualities to prospective buyers of the property who often make decisions based primarily on price.

The AX Group is steadfast in its commitment to the Environment, to good governance and to being a business with a strong social conscience.  We show this in our decisions, in our action both in the short, medium and long term.  This is what makes us proud and comfortable to say “This is AX Group”, a leader in so many ways.

Nothing great ever came out of comfort zones

We grew up with big names like Oprah Winfrey, Stephen King, Christina Aguilera, Mark Wahlberg, and numerous others, including the notorious Albert Einstein, being mentioned among us and looked up at with great admiration. People that had the greatest successes! But guess what? None of them came out of their comfort zones. It happens that most of the time, those that have been most successful are the ones that faced the most adversity and the ones that managed to conquer those adversities with great determination and resilience. Unfortunately, people don’t realize this, as they cannot imagine the journey they would have had to go through to get to where they are today. People judge from where they stand because that is what they know. Which leads me to say that the more we go through in life, the wider our perspective becomes, if we are open to learn from them and allow them to change us for the better.


People that have been through hardship and have succeeded in life are the ones that just walked right through it. Felt every inch of that pain, took it all in, and managed to break it all down to the smallest fraction in order to process it all properly to be able to give it a new dynamic and a new shape to themselves. It is THAT that makes us become bigger people. To me, pushing those boundaries is what it is all about. It is only when we dare to challenge the norm will we discover the real inner strength that we have, and where it can take us. Restricting our mind and body will only restrict our possibilities.

What all this means is that if we are afraid to go out of our comfort zone, that’s exactly where we shall stay, leading us to an average life with a surely average result. Don’t expect anything great to come out of that. I was brought up with the philosophy of ‘no pain, no gain,’ and now that I’m all grown up, I realize how true that expression is. How can we expect extraordinary results if we don’t go the extra mile or two?!


I can comfortably say that I have been living out of my comfort zone now for the last twelve years. When I look back, I realize what a different person I was back then. I see a totally different version of myself. Still the same characteristics but much more dynamic, confident, bold, and fearless. Through my hardship, I have acquired skills that I would have never managed to accomplish had I not been through those difficult moments of adversity. Don’t wait for something major to happen in order to get to the depths of your true potential. Try with baby steps as a start. On a simple note, dare yourself to do something you have never done before and explore what that will lead you to with an open mind or dare yourself to do things differently rather than use the same tried and tested methods. Learning new things, meeting new people, seeing new places, and trying new experiences. What’s most important, however, is the next step after that. To see where that has led you. Stop to observe. Literally watch yourself as though you are watching from a different angle. See how applying a new way has led you to a better outcome or not and how that might have opened new horizons in different areas. Once you have identified that, it will help you witness growths as small or big as they are, that will give you the right dose of courage to take it further and dig deeper.


This continued process will lead you to completely different avenues than you once knew. It will give you a deeper understanding that there is so much more than what we are used to. It will give you perspective. Once you accomplish that, the roads for growth are endless. You realize that you can literally apply this to anything. The more you apply it, the more confident you become and the bolder your thinking process becomes. You have surely heard this saying before “we are what we have been through” and it is so right. Our mind is a machine and for that, I must add that it is the most powerful tool that we have. The more we feed it, the more it works but it can also work in the negative if we feed it negativity. On the contrary, if we feed it possibilities, it will give us numerous alternatives to allow us to reach our goals. The more we give it feedback, the more accurate the new alternatives/solutions to our challenges will be. Just like a muscle, it will become leaner and stronger. Don’t be afraid, allow yourself time to explore. I promise you it will lead you to roads you have never been through before, sceneries you have never seen before and scents you have never dared to smell. Build on it and shape yourself into the human being you want yourself to become. Please, enjoy the process. Don’t sabotage yourself. Do not panic or stress. It might give you some anxiety and insecurity, just be prepared and don’t let it overtake. Just acknowledge it and be conscious of it so you make your fears smaller than they really are. Be patient and remain optimistic, no matter the struggle. If your feet won’t allow you to make those steps for a few days or so, don’t worry, it is perfectly normal; we are humans after all not programmable robots yet, thank the lord. Just breathe it out and let yourself be BUT keep your mind focused because one day your mind will take you there. It will be waiting for the right opportunity. Just keep it in the back burner until it is ready. Then just trust yourself and go with it. Allow the flow to lead you the way.


If you are like me, I would want to know if I am on the right track or not. How will you know? Very simple… if you are not familiar with the ground you stand on and it makes you feel uncomfortable, you are on the right track. Congratulations, you are starting to exit your comfort zone 🙂 In theory, the more uncomfortable you are the more you are out of your comfort zone. However, always remain true to yourself. Is there still you in there? We don’t want to become somebody else, remember that. We love how we are; we just want to become fitter and stronger, so that doesn’t mean losing our souls. Remain loyal to who you are, in the process. Losing yourself will only lead you to confusion in the long term and to lose the whole plot.


Expand your awareness into the world of possibility. It is right there where your possibilities start to become visible, and your journey starts to be truly explored. Once you reach this stage, you have altered your state of mind for life. This, ladies and gents, is the greatest gift you can give to yourself in this one life that we have been given. You will never look back after that.

Empowering Progress: The Crucial Role of Women in STEM Professions

In the realm of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), women have historically been underrepresented. However, strides have been made in recent decades to break down barriers and encourage more women to pursue careers in these fields. The inclusion of women in STEM professions not only fosters diversity but also drives innovation and progress in society. This article delves into the pivotal role women play in STEM and explores the challenges they face along the way.

The Importance of Diversity in STEM

Diversity is crucial in any field, but particularly in STEM disciplines, where problem-solving often requires varied perspectives and approaches. Women bring unique insights and experiences that enrich research, development, and innovation. Studies have shown that teams with gender diversity tend to be more creative, productive, and successful in problem-solving than homogeneous teams.

Moreover, the representation of women in STEM professions is essential for creating inclusive technologies and solutions that address the needs of all individuals. Without diverse voices at the table, there is a risk of biases being embedded in products and services, leading to unintended consequences and inequalities.

Challenges Faced by Women in STEM

Despite the increasing recognition of the importance of gender diversity in STEM, women still encounter numerous challenges in pursuing and advancing their careers in these fields. Stereotypes and societal expectations often discourage girls from showing interest in STEM subjects from an early age. Additionally, the lack of visible female role models in STEM can make it difficult for girls to envision themselves succeeding in these professions.

As women progress in their STEM careers, they may face discrimination, implicit bias, and a lack of support for work-life balance. The pervasive culture of male dominance in many STEM environments can create hostile or unwelcoming workplaces for women, hindering their professional growth and retention in the field.

Encouraging Women in STEM

Efforts to encourage and support women in STEM must begin early in their educational journey. Schools and educational institutions play a vital role in providing opportunities for girls to explore and excel in STEM subjects. Firsthand learning experiences, mentorship programs, and initiatives aimed at challenging gender stereotypes can help spark girls’ interest and confidence in pursuing STEM careers.

Furthermore, organisations and employers must prioritise diversity and inclusion in their recruitment and retention strategies. Creating supportive work environments, offering mentorship and professional development opportunities, and advocating for gender equality policies are essential steps in fostering an inclusive culture where women can thrive.


The Role of Female STEM Leaders

Female leaders in STEM serve as inspirational figures and mentors for aspiring professionals. Their accomplishments and contributions not only break down barriers but also pave the way for future generations of women in STEM. By sharing their stories and experiences, female leaders can empower other women to pursue their passions and overcome obstacles in their STEM journeys.

Moreover, female STEM leaders bring unique perspectives and insights to their respective fields, driving innovation and addressing societal challenges with creativity and empathy. Their leadership serves as a catalyst for change, promoting diversity and inclusivity in STEM organizations and driving progress towards gender equality.

The participation of women in STEM professions is not only a matter of equality but also a necessity for driving innovation, solving complex problems, and building a better future for all. By breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, and fostering inclusive environments, we can empower more women to pursue and succeed in STEM careers.

As we celebrate the achievements of women in STEM and recognize their invaluable contributions, let us continue to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion in the pursuit of scientific and technological advancements. Together, we can create a world where every individual, regardless of gender, has the opportunity to thrive and make a meaningful impact in the STEM fields.