2015 Land for Life Award Winners

SEKEM, Egypt



SEKEM, founded by Ibrahim Abouleish in 1977, has been adopting biodynamic agricultural methods to rehabilitate more than 2,000 hectares desert land in Egypt. SEKEM has successfully developed into a thriving agricultural business and was a world pioneer in developing organic cotton cultivation. It has helped to reduce 90% of chemical use in the textile industry in Egypt. SEKEM has also created 1,500 jobs through its subsidiary groups. Today, its work not only covers sustainable land management, but extends to social human development. Through SEKEM Development Foundation (SDF), SEKEM has established the Waldorf kindergarten, schools, vocational training centre and also the Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development which started its operation in 2012.

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Land for Life – this is what Egypt needs very urgently. The growing desertification causes big troubles in many dimensions. Egypt is depending on imports, the country is living below the water poverty line and the nutrition of the population can’t be secured. For 38 years, SEKEM has been committed to reclaiming desert land, turning it into fertile soil for Biodynamic agriculture. Thus, we not only maintain, but also build soil fertility, which is the basis for sustainable agriculture, especially in an arid country like Egypt.

— Helmy Abouleish, CEO of SEKEM





Elion Resource Group


Elion 2

Elion Resource Group was established 27 years ago, with a focus on eco-environmental restoration and rehabilitation work in desert land and also degraded land in the city. The Group has carried out works based on Elion’s greening ecosystem model, which has improved the livelihoods of 100,000 farmers and herdsmen in Kubuqi Desert. Elion has transformed over 11,000 km2 of degraded land into productive land and has been promoting the production of green energy. It has developed a “micro-coal atomization” technology that aims to minimize coal pollutants in the generation of energy. The group also launched the “Green Silk Road Equity Investment Fund”, together with other private enterprises, for the eco-environmental restoration project along the Silk Road.


Turning deserts into rich and civilized ecological oases is the dream of Elion, and we have contributed 27 years of the best years of our lives to pursue this dream! For 27 years, Elion has created a unique and balanced green development path of ‘restoring and rehabilitating degraded land, ecology, livelihood and economy’, and we will keep walking this path to create a beautiful homeland with green mountains and clear waters.

— Elion Resources Group