About this ATALK
In this insightful episode of ATALKS, we sit down with Luis Costa, Founder and Partner of Get2C. Luis shares his journey from electrical and computer engineering to becoming a leading figure in sustainability, and provides a deep dive into the world of carbon markets, the role of technology in driving sustainability, and the impact of regulations on achieving carbon neutrality.
This episode explores:
- Understanding carbon markets: Luis provides a comprehensive overview of carbon markets, explaining their significance and how they operate.
- The role of technology in sustainability: Luis emphasizes the importance of technology and innovation in propelling sustainability and discusses the potential of nature-based technology solutions.
- The impact of regulations on carbon neutrality: Luis talks about the influence of European Union regulations and legislation on the path to achieving carbon neutrality.
Join us for this enlightening conversation with Luis Costa as we delve into the complexities of carbon markets, the role of technology in sustainability, and the journey towards carbon neutrality.
You can find the full transcript of their conversation below.
|Joana Alves||Welcome to ATALKS where sustainability has a voice. At APLANET, we have created this space so that we can discuss the most important sustainability hot topics and for that we interview relevant sustainability professionals from different sectors and geographies so that they can share their experience with us. Today we are delighted to have Joao Meneses is with us as the guest from Portugal, to introduce our guest speaker: Joao is currently the Secretary General of the Business Council for Sustainable Development in Portugal, which is a member of the Global Network of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the WBCSD. Previously, he has been the General Manager of a venture fund, director of two incubators, Secretary of State for Youth and Sports, Head of the team in charge of the rehabilitation of a historical area in the center of Lisbon, Moreria and Intendente, cofounder and CEO of a Portuguese NGO working in Portugal and Africa, and CFO at Chapito. Welcomes Joao. It is a pleasure to have you with us here today.|
|Joao Meneses||Hi, Joanna. Thank you so much for the invitation. My pleasure.|
|Joana||Thank you so much, Joao. You have a very, very impressive CV. You have a very solid and and diverse management and leadership experience in different sectors. You have worked for the private, public and nonprofit sectors. What is the key driver that moves you and that has made you embrace so many different professional. OK.|
|Joao||Thanks again for the invitations. It’s a great pleasure to talk to you, Joanna. So I think that on one hand, for a long time I have a clear interest to express myself and use my lifetime, if I may say so, in a way that might be impactful to help other people’s lives and improve the planet. And that entails, of course, nature. But that entails tackling social dilemma, social issues such as social exclusion, poverty, and it’s where I’ve started. And on the other hand, I tend to strive and find more interesting those tough challenges that usually are not that much what is a mainstream challenge for a manager. So I tend to to find more interesting cultural, social, environmental challenges because in those fields you need to be efficient as you need to be. If you’re a mainstream manager, you need to make sure that you create value for your customers and that you are economically viable. But then you need to add to that some purpose. You need to be able to create some positive change. And I mean like 20 years ago I found myself and that’s what strikes me. I mean, I have 20 years ago, I found myself like asking me how can you spend 40 years, 50 years of your, you know, single lifetime, selling shampoos or useless stuff and trying to make yourself rich in your shareholders? I mean I I think I expect a bit, a bit more from life and looking backwards, yes, as you were mentioned in the introduction, I was very fortunate so far that I had bold experiences in many different fields and learning curves and the journey has just started. I mean life has just started.|
|Joana||Well, I love that. And I think it’s very noble that that you embrace projects that are aligned with your purpose, that you have this awareness of all your purpose is, which is not a selfish purpose. It’s a purpose that has the drive for change and innovations and that you want to contribute with this impact not just for social aspects and social issues of society but also environment. Because sustainability has to be seen also in the holistic approach. And I’m sure that you having worked with so many players from in the system, you have a broader perspective of how it works and you can add value to your to your projects. And I’m sure that this is experience is very valuable to your current role because you are the Secretary General of the Business Council for Sustainable Development. Joao, for those listeners that don’t know what the BCSD is, can you explain what is the type of work that you do and what has made you want to embrace this project and work and dedicate your life to sustainability?|
You know, I think to believe in a very specific than emotional facts rather than rational figures or assessments of how urgent it is to act. For instance, I think we were able to ban the CFC’s from the air conditioning and refrigerators, etcetera in 1987 through this protocol called Montreal Protocol led by the United Nations. Because at that time, those ruling the world, Thatcher and Reagan, they could clearly understand in their own terms the importance of the ultraviolet protection. On one hand, Thatcher was a chemical engineer and Reagan had cancer, skin cancer. So that’s kind of pre knowledge understanding of the importance of the issue of what was at stake clearly ignited their willingness to act and act promptly. So in my case, there’s also this kind of, you know, this kind of personal story if I may, I I was going through an internship at Hollenberger, the consultancy firm, and I was at the office when the 9/11 happened occurred. And I remember entering this room filled with the partners of Hollenberg and it was a very fancy office in the center of Lisbon. And I remember, clearly remember the comments and the way it was being perceived. And and and that that that tragedy and that was a trigger that was a wake up call for me. I mean, how could I, you know, invest my single life as I said previously in a in on, you know, on these very fancy offices trying to improve the revenues of very large companies and my own revenues when there’s so many dilemmas, so many challenges across the world. Environmental dilemma, cultural diversity issues. Social issues, as I said. So I then moved to the financial markets. But it wasn’t enough, of course. In a couple of months afterwards, I started to have these anxiety problems and some panic attacks, and I had to deal with it. It was clearly my body telling me, I mean, find something else, it doesn’t suit you. And so I listened to that my inner self kind of. And step back and apply to a master’s degree on development studies and a while after I was landing in East Timor with a scholarship to study the, to study microcredit. The microcredit industry in East Timor which is a very poor country has a tool to tackle poverty. And so that’s how it all started. I then so I entered this sustainability issues through the social door. Then I became CFO has you said of a circus and performing arts schools which also has a social area dealing with use at risk and in improving their you know school performance and their inclusiveness through performing arts and many other experiences followed. So regarding BCSD and it’s interesting that all that all those experiences mixed together. Bundle in what I’m currently doing, I mean our our main goal is to help transform the economy for the benefit of the people in the planet. That’s that’s our purpose. We organize our activity, as you know, mainly within or around the private sector, supporting companies on their journey towards sustainability and that involves all the ESG, so the social, environmental and the ethical or governance factors. And it applies and we involve all kinds of companies from all kinds of sectors.
So we are very horizontal and to help them incorporate the ESG to their strategies, their value change, their business models… We build with them communities of practice, working groups. We have many training programs as you know we I mean we build many events along the year we we developed many communicationals platforms and also we publish many reports, and for instance we currently manage a very interesting project in the field of fashion sustainable fashion and the idea is to help to help the Portuguese SME’s in that area textile fashion become more sustainable which means a shift towards a circular, a biocircular economy way of you know, doing their businesses and it’s a project that involves 54 partners and an investment over one €150 million. But we grant, so it’s we on one hand empower our members through knowledge, applied knowledge through working groups as I said in training programs and events. And on the other hand we also gather, convey our members into projects, hands on projects, hands on approaches. That’s help some sectors or some companies fasten the pace towards sustainability with very clear milestones, usually around the innovation towards sustainability.
|Joana||That is a very important mission because in fact companies are fundamental, are key to accelerate the sustainability agenda and it’s great that you have so many diverse members from large companies to SME’s and different sectors. You just mentioned the textile sector, which is one of the most polluting sectors in the world. And you have, as I believe many large companies or maybe the biggest companies in Portugal as members. And these companies are obliged to disclose their non financial information by law. And I think that it’s consensual that nowadays these companies are a bit overwhelmed with so many mandatory and even voluntary sustainability standards and frameworks that they have to report and sometimes they don’t have time to dedicate their work to what is important, which is to generate a better impact. I know that there for instance the new ISSB has announced that they will establish a global baseline for sustainability disclosures. How do you see this, this problem? Do you think that this the interoperability and harmonization of standards is an urgency? Is imperative? Do you see that it will happen in the near future and how do you see this Companies that are mostly stuck during the year to present their sustainability report and not actually being true agents of change.|
I mean that’s a great question. And I mean I completely feel and agree, but I mean I can feel the pain of these companies, especially the SME’s. It’s the context currently it’s a bit messy, it’s overwhelming and you can’t rely on a single standard. There’s plenty of standards and I mean there’s that it’s really difficult to navigate current, this current wings, cross wings etcetera, but I think we already noticing a clear trend towards harmonization as you’re saying. I mean like to use the management jargon for M & A’s mergers and acquisitions in these fields of the standards of the certifications, third party opinions etcetera. Just a few guys, days ago, as you know, the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosure, TCFD have asked the International Sustainability Standards Board. Now we’re becoming a bit technical here, but and this is the board, ISSB establishes international financial reporting standards, S1 and S2 on sustainability disclosure to take over the monitoring of sustainability standards for reporting. So these cements. The IFE Area Standards. This merge has the framework of choice for companies making climate related disclosure risks globally. But of course there’s many other areas to disclose and report rather than climate, so I’m not sure if agree the Global Reporting Initiative will follow and react to this, but I would say that in the near future, we will that will happen. So I think that GRI will merge very soon with IF areas too and that will lead the way towards that will lead the storage a common global standard charter of disclosure and reporter and reporting. So, and that’s very important because you know, sustainability 10 days ago was like mostly a challenge for dreamers. And innovators, but now it’s also a challenge for accountants. Accountants who save the world. We’re we just entered this decade of you know for action and delivery. And so it’s not, it’s not any longer just about staring at the moon and asking why not, but it’s also how can we get there, how can we deliver. It’s about planning. It’s about monitoring. So it’s about the analytical part of the of a shift. That every shift requires and that must rely on metrics, that must rely on accountants. And that’s why I mean, trust me, Joana, accountants will save the world and now it’s their time.
|Joana||Yes, I totally agree. And even for investors now with the new legislation like on sustainable finance, the new taxonomy, SFDR, etc, they cannot make decisions if there’s not harmonization in metrics and in standards because then they wouldn’t understand what activity is more sustainable or not so.|
|Joao||It’s a bit foggy at the moment, yes, totally still.|
|Joana||I think it’s still a big foggy and it’s still, there’s still the way, a way to go.|
But you know, like 15- 50, I mean 50 years ago we had the same discussion globally around, the accounting and economic performance standards And so 50 years ago, I mean in this debate, while going through this debate, many people, I mean, I mean faculty members, journalists etcetera were arguing at that time that we will never be able to have a common universal accounting, financial accounting standard that would allows allow us to understand the performance of any company from every geography, every size, every industry because they’re simply too different. And now currently we we were able to set the standards and currently you’re able to read the reports of any company from every sector, every geography, every size and and I believe that the ESG will, just will also follow that kind of path.
|Joana||Hopefully yes as well. I also truly believe in that and I think that a lot of changes are already happening. But also I think that companies cannot just wait for the law to oblige them to dispose their non financial information and to be aware of the urgency of integrating sustainability in their business models. And personally I’m worried about SME’s. Portugal is a country of SME’s, Portugal, Spain, Italy, the UK. You have a lot of SME’s I believe as members of the BCSD, many of them are still not obliged by law to disclose this non financial information. Many of them are struggling to survive to pay their employees, taxes, etcetera. There’s inflation, there’s an economic crisis. Do you think that this companies are aware of the urgency for them to integrate sustainability in their business models or do you think they are still not yet there?|
I mean, there’s many differences across the SME’s, of course, but let’s put aside for a moment what’s mandatory the regulation. I think that the SME’s, especially those that are more open to the world, that are trading in demanding, demanding markets across borders, already understood that they can’t skip sustainability. I mean, it’s precisely what happened 15-20 years ago with the digital transformation. Those that didn’t see it coming completely lost competitiveness and resilience and in many cases no longer exist. As you know, there was this major reshuffle, this major shift 15-20 years ago, those that lag behind, some of them no longer exist. So regarding sustainability, I always summarize the benefits of sustainability even for SME’s of course in six major, around six major benefits or six major subjects. So on one hand, the first benefits and they are completely understood that already the SME’s is cost reduction. I mean, if you save energy, if you save water, if you save materials, packaging, etcetera, you save money. So it’s good for the environment and it’s good for your wallet. That makes completely sense. And some of them are trying to improve their energy efficiency, for instance, because of that and that’s cool, that’s good. So the second is it enhances your risk management skills capacity and in many ways for instance legal compliance as you were mentioning I mean has these rules. Yes you rules are becoming more tight. You need to incorporate the SG into your risk management, into your assessments, but also the risk management of your reputation. I mean the world is flat today, flat and fast. You can ruin the, ruin the reputation of a company or of a brand with a single tweet. So, for instance, companies are brands that pollutes or that fake their greenhouse gas emissions or that have situations of like child labor or harassment in their offices or factories. Those companies, I mean it takes ages to build a reputation in a single tweet might ruin themselves instantaneously a bit, but also risk management of scarcity of raw materials or the increasing of their price. I mean, many natural resources are becoming really scarce. More than half of the world’s GDP has, you know, rely on nature, on natural resources which are finite, which are scars. So you need to manage at risk too, but also the risk of the impacts, for instance, of climate change. I mean Portuguese banks already have assessments of if how much of their assets stay below water will drown. If the sea level rises like half meter and meter etcetera that will that will have that will be a huge burden for them because it will mean default either from a company or from you know a private household. It will mean default for short. So there’s many, there’s plenty of risk management issues related to ESG, You can’t skip it at the level and management is basically a risk management activity. So the but the third of the six benefit is sustainability in many, many selling of many SME selling abroad already understood that because they’re B2B businesses, but they’re selling to brands that are B2C and because of that they already understood they’re being pushed forward. I mean search benefit is the new generation of consumers are trying the Z, the Z, millenials, etcetera are trying to positively impact the world through their purchasing habits choices. So it’s called like citizenship through consumption. If you can, through the products and services that you buy, impact the world positively. Impact of the lives of the people and nature of the planets. I mean, you tend to do that and that makes sense.
We are not serial killers. We are not like Dexter, if we can act positively or if you can be a better human being today than we were yesterday, we will choose that, right. So that makes completely sense. So sustainability will give you this edge of that will be increasingly important to attract and keep your customers in the future, but also the same applied to your workforce. I mean currently you have these problem in developed markets called the great resignation. So the new generations are no willing, no longer willing to work in dry places with no purpose. So if you don’t have that positive edge, sustainability edge, if they don’t sense that through their working hours, they positively impact the world and the lives of the people they tend to live. And that’s the great resignation. And they rather go to the Portuguese West Coast and become digital nomads and surf and you do yoga. And because they don’t feel, they don’t feel the sense of they don’t feel has something meaningful their work and they need that to thrive. And so to attract and keep talent you need sustainability and talent. It’s the most important asset for a brand, for a company. Of course I don’t need to tell you that the fifth of the sixth benefit is the capital is becoming cheaper for those that are more sustainable. And that’s just the markets, the rationality of the market working towards sustainability. I mean it’s if you’re more riskier by not being when you’re not sustainable, then the capital you have to pay this risk, this risk price, this extra price and it will increase in the future. Larry Fink as you know from BlackRock, the world’s largest investment fund, he always says you need to have a purpose in order to have a profit. And this is the yard. They need to have a purpose and they have, they manage assets that account for more than 40 times the Portuguese GDP, more than 40 times the Portuguese GDP. And they’re saying in order to be profitable, you need to have a purpose, a higher purpose. And so I mean even in the credit markets, you have not the green bonds markets etcetera. So if you want to get money, cheaper money you need, you better become more sustainable. And the same if you want to have bonding relations, positive relations with other partners, I mean no one wants to be part of a, you know of a cheap movie you want to, you want to get along with the good guys because the good guys will positively impact your brand when you do partnership. But if that’s not the case, I mean you’re taking a risk, a serious risk. So it’s also a, it’s not just about the customers, not just about the workforce, not just about the investors, but about the, the the stakeholders in general. And last but not the least and especially currently in Europe and in Portugal, I mean sustainability is a huge investment opportunity. I mean there’s plenty of public grants funding this shift or sustainability. The European Green Deal itself will invest until 2030, 1 trillion, €1 trillion, one million of €1,000,000 until 2030 which is 7 years and the and the money will won’t be thrown away from an helicopter to the sea. These it will mean specific opportunities for specific companies, specific sectors, but also there’s a tsunami of money from the coming from the private sector. I mean you have the private equity funds willing to invest in ESG business business models, investments, but also the credit markets, the debt markets etcetera. And and last but not the least of course you have the, this new traction coming from the market, these new behavior from your customers that I’ve already addressed. But in many cases and I think the SMEs is already got it does the market is still smaller but the growing rate is completely disruptive. For instance, electric, the electric vehicles, I mean it is still a small market when compared to the fossil fuels cars based on, cars based on fossil fuels, but it’s there.
The increased rate of this market is completely outperforming. Of course the the, the, the, the mainstream, still mainstream market of steel engine cars. So, so that’s why I always tell to the SME’s leader, listen, first of all leaders focus, focus yourselves on purpose, go beyond the bottom line. I mean, if you need, if you develop this clear sense of purpose, you’ll create a clear way in which your company thrives by creating value to the people, to the world, to the planet. Then you’ll have all the stakeholders with you, They’ll be motivated, you’ll increase the productivity. I mean, you’ll increase a lot your competitiveness and resilience. And so very specifically, if you’re not yet obliged, if it’s not yet mandatory for you, I mean start reporting on your ESG risk. Start to assess and report your ESG and risks and dependencies. Start to pay or consider paying for your carbon emissions. Sooner or later you’ll have to and the services provided to the to you by the ecosystems start to incorporate in your labeling. The ecological and social impacts of your products, disclose your value chain. Sooner or later you’ll have to do it. It will be mandatory. I mean start. I mean, completely review your procurement policies and start to take care of your start to due diligence upstream, your value change because sooner or later you have to do so. And if you move now, you have a first mover advantage and that will strengthen your competitiveness. Of course, even if it’s not yet mandatory, it will become it’s like the digital it was never mandatory, but it made all the difference.
|Joana||Exactly. You get very important insights and advice, because companies shouldn’t wait for the law, it will come. But all stakeholders are are pressuring, pressuring companies to change their business models into sustainable ones. You mentioned internal stakeholders, investors, employees, shareholders, but also external stakeholders like consumers. So I think that it’s inevitable. That’s not just to have a longterm sustainability strategy, but to survive in a short term companies that don’t embrace sustainability, they will disappear. And Joao, do you think that of course there are different sizes of SME’s, there are different realities, but talking about this SME’s that don’t have internal resources don’t have sustainability experts that are a bit a bit lost on where to start and what to do. Do you think that the larger companies that are in their supply chains, you think that this larger companies have the responsibility to support the smaller companies in their supply chain to make this transition?|
|Joao||Yes, I mean completely and but actually they need easy solutions we need to make it easier and and actually we’re we’re launching PCSD Portugal. We’ll launch until the end of the year something that I mean the name is not yet written on on wood or but anyway it’s this is the concept the name I’m not sure yet if it it’s going to be like this but we’ll launch as I was saying this first step towards sustainability kit. You know we have you can buy on retail stores those experiences which is like when when nights overnight in a hotel with dinner included in a massage or something the spa. So the equivalent for sustainability B2B, you want to have, you want to you want to have I mean you want to have the first contact with sustainability for. So we sell you a kit, the first step kit and the first step kit will include several products for instance an assessment. You must assess your value chain and now we have a tool for that. But then also you must start planning to improve your ESG the incorporation of the ESG across your value chain. So it will be it will come with a tool another sub product which is the materiality metrics. And of course you might need to measure your carbon footprint, maybe to include a very do it yourself easy tool to measure your carbon footprint. And maybe to become, we’d like an explanation of what we’re talking about here, like a two hour course, digital course and some tutorials and maybe to include to for instance a ticket to one of our for instance to the BCS annual conference or 1 ticket that might allow you have benefit of one hour with us checking with us. So you have a credit of one hour you might call me or you might call someone from the team. So the idea here is to help companies move, enlarge the number of companies, democratize, democratize the number of companies that embrace sustainability. And the big companies whether they come into the story how, I mean they can buy these as vouchers and offer them to SME’s providers or whatever. So and that’s why I, I brought here the example of the benchmark of these experiences, B2C markets that you buy like small trip with with on a night on it and the dinner and the meal and the the spa. I mean Portuguese banks already have assessments of if how much of their assets stay below water will drown. If the sea level rises like half meter and meter etcetera that will that will have that will be a huge burden for them because it will mean default either from a company or from you know a private household. It will mean default for short. So there’s many, there’s plenty of risk management issues related to ESG, You can’t skip it at the level and management is basically a risk management activity. So the but the third of the six benefit is sustainability in many, many selling of many SME selling abroad already understood that because they’re B2B businesses, but they’re selling to brands that are B2C and because of that they already understood they’re being pushed forward. I mean search benefit is the new generation of consumers are trying the Z, the Z, millenials, etcetera are trying to positively impact the world through their purchasing habits choices. The same in a B2B market. So you’re a large company. Next Christmas offer to 10 of your SME’s, the kids first step towards sustainability and it will be a very triggering but very intuitive also and do it yourself kind of tool like those experiences have all in one and very easily activated the, you know, the hotel plus the meal plus the massage plus whatever. And because otherwise, I mean you know for instance we have in Portugal 40,000 around 40,000 SME’s that are open to the world exporting. They need to become more sustainable but they are 40,000, 40 thousand. So what kind of assessments, what kind of certifications, what kind of strategies, what kind of quick wins incremental but also what kind of disruptive movements might they aspire to, should they aspire to. I mean as I said before, sustainability requires a lot of innovation and we always work innovation industry in three horizons, different horizons, the incremental, the disruptive and the moonshot. And I always tell to the SME’s and every company, you must concentrate 60% of your energy in the incremental lane, then 30% in the disruptive line and 10% in the moon shot. Moonshot is like, I mean how, what kind of shift could happen five years from now, 7-10 years from now. It’s the man on the moon, the woman. The disruptiveness is like three to five years. So like 10 years from now, my I could completely shift my business model and instead of selling products, it might become a product as a service. So I could, you know, sell access to services instead of selling products. And we all have many examples of sharing economy models and that might be a very interesting shift in order to, you know, save resources etc. That’s moonshot, maybe that’s moonshot.|
But disruptiveness here is like how can I change materials from fossil fuels to biomaterials, How can I change my design etcetera to streamline my valid chain, reduce waste, etcetera. But incremental is it’s key, How can I become more energy efficient? How can I invest today on diversity, equity and inclusion? How can I, you know today change my procurement guidelines So this kit will give you the sense of these three different horizons. It won’t give you a strategy of course. It’s just this kids first step then you might want to join PCSD or might you might want to hire consultants or you might want to hire or pay for software such as yours. But this first kit will open your mind and we’ll allow you very easily on a weekend and very in and you’ll try to gamificate it as much as we can. You know just the final remark on that I’m… The dance, the the painter who came to dance. I mean he used to say the French painter that he just Matisse. Yes Matisse. He and he has the dance it’s it’s it’s lying in MoMA in New York, the Museum of Modern Art. He usually said that… He usually said I paint and I’m quoting I paint for a lawyer who gets home tired at the end of the day. And so this key to be for like a lawyer or the CEO that gets home tired the end of the day and he still feels the trigger to open the kits and move on.
|Joana||I love, I love that analogy and and it’s great that that you have this to this kits to simplify the sustainability journey of companies that don’t know where to start. Actually in and they talk, you know, it’s Francisco Neves. He said that companies sometimes are waiting for the perfect moment or the perfect strategy to start a sustainability journey. But there is no perfect moment. You just need to start. And of course, having knowledge of what are the main steps is fundamentals.|
|Joao||So… That is a box you pay 1000 or 2000. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s comprehensive in a way.|
|Joana||That is great. That is that is great great initiative and besides that, Joao, of course companies have the pressure to disclose their profits quarterly, annually and they have a lot of pressure from investors. How can you advise, Companies in general, to make this trade off between short term profitability and long term sustainability successful like companies deliver both purpose and profit? Or can sustainability also mean profit?|
|Joao||Yes, I mean, yes, of course it means profit as much as the digital transformation also meant profit and still means profit. Incremental and disruptive and moonshot. I mean it’s a, it’s you know it’s it’s that’s why I said you have like 6 benefits at least the first one is cost reduction. So that doesn’t need any argument around it. I mean if you, if you save energy, water, materials, as I said, I mean you save money. But then if you want to, if you want to, I mean if you want to start thinking about strategically about your future, about business development, product development. And if you take into considerations the shift that we can anticipate for seeing from your, for your, from your stakeholders like what’s expected to happen, regarding your customers, as I said, they’re expecting to positively impact the world through their purchasing habits and options, but also from your workers, from the regulators at the cost of capital. I mean if you start thinking about all the all of those you know layers all in once, I mean it becomes very clear that there’s no way back. And yes I mean has in the digital transformation you need to invest upfront in many cases, but in many cases are also quick. There’s also quick wins that do not require investment. So I think it’s it’s specially you know I’ve studied marketing back in time and no marketing was something that you know grew. I mean it it comes from the aftermath of the Second World War like strategic planning when the markets when you’ve started to feel the heat in the markets so starting to you have the company started to feel the pressure to understand their customers and to differentiate from their competitors. And and so they had they had to hire human skills such as sociologists and psychologists and etcetera to understand the habits of these of their customers, the purchasing habits but and then they’ve started creating marketing departments. But of course Kotler the first guru of marketing always said in marketing must be a state of mind a mindset and the same with sustainability. I mean I think that and the digital world now it’s the same. I mean, you don’t create like the digital department, it doesn’t make any sense. And marketing department still makes sense of course, but it must be upfront, first of all, a state of mind, you know, like a mindset. It’s so the way you embrace continuous improvement towards the satisfaction of the needs and desires of your customer. You have worked for the private, public and nonprofit sectors. What is the key driver that moves you and that has made you embrace so many different professional. OK. And that shouldn’t be like a department. It’s like a gender equality department doesn’t make any sense. It must be underneath everything you do must be so culture. So that I think that’s yes sustainability. I think the boards I mean BCSC Portugal used to have has interface on the Portuguese companies that are our members like 10 years ago, even 6-7 years ago, those second layers, sea levels, but second layers and now it’s the boards talking to us, it’s in many cases board members CEO’s and they’re bringing on board their innovation departments, product development departments because they’ve completely understood that this is just about operations and becoming more efficient. It is also but not just those incremental steps this is about the future and and I mean it I mean if if we completely, I mean if we don’t respect the planet and they all understand that we won’t be doing businesses like 15 years from now, 100 years from now. Once I met this astronaut who went to the moon in the 70s. He’s now almost 100 years old and on his way back and he was returning to the Earth. He saw the Earth, you know, like shining in the universe, this very blue circle. And he had this epiphany which was the Earth needs a plan, a strategic plan for the coming 250 years. And then he dedicated his old life with the United Nations to try to build design these strategic plan towards you know like 2300 or whatever.|
So I don’t, I’m not sure if it’s like 250 years, but we, we must take into consideration the long term and managers and companies understand that everything that ruins the world, we ruin the profits of the company 20 years from now, 40 years from now. And that’s already, it’s not just a philanthropical or ethical or concern. It’s also a business concern, a business not in the present and they won’t be there but it’s a business concerning the future. For instance, just to give you an example, I’m sure you know the book from Prahala, the fortune, the bottom of the pyramid. So Prahala, his last book, this guru management guru is clearly states that if you want to still keep on growing, develop developed world companies. If you want to keep on growing these multinational companies, I mean you must address the bottom of the the bottom of the pyramid which are 2/3 of the population which are out of the markets because they earn less than like $4.00 per day whatever. But I mean the 1/3, the wealthier 1 certain Portugal is within that 1/3 is a red ocean. You have lots of blue oceans lying underneath and underneath means like 5 billion people unserved. These are opportunities for, you know, providing energy, you know, foods, water, sanitation, so many industries that could flourish, micro credits. But you need to tackle those opportunities in different ways. Of course you need to become then you need to develop this triple bottom line approaches that are not just about being profitable, but also creating social and environmental value. And if you do so, I mean you’ll you grow a lot in the future, not just in terms of immediate competitiveness and resilience and license to operate, but also you open many ways to to to create new businesses and new profits that you carry your competitiveness in the future.
|Joana||Exactly. That is a great note. If you integrate this triple bottom line ESG, you will also increase your profits. And it’s fundamental that there is this awareness from top managers. To look at the sustainability strategy or the sustainability departments, not as an isolated strategy or department, but something fundamental that has to be embedded in the business strategy, right?|
|Joao||That’s the world I was looking for embedded. That’s it.|
|Joana||Yeah, great. And you also mentioned the importance of innovation, the importance of being disruptive and being a planet attack company. What you think it’s the role of technology and innovation as a lever to sustainability?|
|Joao||I mean one of the thanks for that question because one of the areas we’ve been exploring at BCSD Portugal for the last five years is precisely the power of technology to harness or has a leverage of sustainability. We call it Society 5.0. It’s a concept that the Prime Minister of Japan presented it at Davos in 2018 and basically it means what? What does it mean? It means taking the power of industry 4.01 step forward, meaning taking the power of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, robots, drones, blockchains, 3D printing, nanotechnology, you name it, and find ways to improve not just the productivity, not just the bottom line, but also the lives of the people in the planet. So how can we become a super connected, super smart, smart society, but people in planet centered. And I truly believe that by taking technology to its greatest achievements we can to create lots of value to the people in the world. And I mean you know it’s the next, I was just came to my mind that the the next conference that we are now preparing the PCSD particle, the subject will be those extremes, the that that seems extremes on one hand, technology at its highest potential, on the other hand nature based solutions. And so there’s this trend towards you know make the most out of technology as you can as long as it is people in planet Center of course. And on the other hand let’s go back to nature to nature based solution solutions and we what we stand for the PCSD Portugal, it’s that we need both I mean we need and that’s a higher level of technology might allow a step back a higher level of nature and and that these are not enemies but but but of course not that we should embrace both with no prejudice from one towards the other. So moving from industry 4.0 to a society 5.0 5 dot O is one of our is, it’s one of the, it’s something that you’re taking very seriously actually we’re participating in September in this very large conference that will be held in Portugal in Lisbon, Melodina and it’s like the Web Summit of social of digital for good digital with purpose it’s called and we’re going to be part of the of the, I mean at the conference because we really believe on the power of technology as much as we believe on the power of nature and nature becomes first of course, so technology must serve nature.|
|Joana||Totally agree with what you just said. I think that we should use the this innovative skills and inventive skills of humankind. And use technology and innovation in service of nature and the people. So we should not look it as an enemy but as an enhancer as a lever, so we can can accelerate the sustainability agenda. That was great, great message. And lastly Joao, we always make this question to our guests.|
|Joao||Who would you like to see here interviewed at a talks listen. So I’m not sure who else have you talked to already, but but anyway, do it twice you if you already did it with the Antonio Miguel from Mace and Impact investing funds.|
|Joana||Not yet. He’s on my list, actually. But not yet.|
|Joao||Try to surprise you. You can always consider another Prince. So Anthonio is a Prince, Said great mind. Very bright mind. But there’s another one, and maybe this one you don’t have in your shortlist yet. Called Joao Rafael Bridge , So Joao Rafael Bridge currently involved in a project in Amazonia after spending a couple of years in New York taking care of a soft drinks company Valley chain Upstream A/B and Beth. Joel is like 32 years old and he’s the clever and most human person I’ve ever met in this field. Yeah, yeah. Joao Rafael Bridge |
|Joana||Okay, I’ll, I’ll take that that suggestion. And and for sure, it would be great to invite them and to also hear their inputs. Joao, it was a pleasure to have you today. You you, you really gave great contributions and insights from from different perspectives. Thank you so much. Thank you so much everyone who’s listening. I hope that you have enjoyed it and see you in the next ATALK.|
|Joao||Bye, bye, bye. Thank you. Thank you, Joana .|