We follow the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. For example, influencing others to manufacture affordable solar cells and modules and improving their accessibility directly in emerging markets. I could say with confidence that we are perhaps one of the first Foundations that is paving the way for others to understand that clean energy in developing countries means “highly affordable and accessible”
We want to implement a coherent ESG strategy with and across partners. To achieve this, we not only want to bring the latest technology of the most sustainable solar modules in the world, but also set new standards as a green Foundation - and this includes the value chain of our products.
We also work with local entities to drive sustainable economic growth and productive employment, thus supporting the SDG "Decent Work and Economic Growth".
In addition, with so Being The Future Is 50/50 a foundation, how do you separate sustainability from profitability?
We also create growth through alliances and partnerships, those that clearly understand that setting a renewable business cannot succeed alone. Our strong relationship with manufacturers in Europe and north America means we work together towards a common goal: affordability of solar solutions in emerging markets. Also, our strong relationship with local universities and well renowned local entities means development of local content and therefore prosperity.
As we learned from COP26, investment is crucial and we are constantly looking for selective partnerships locally and abroad that have worked in not only renewables, but also in creating prosperity through making products and services more affordable. This is how we could unlock growth for a community, a city or a country.
More and more we hear about circular economy, how does The Future Is 50/50 apply this?
We have high expectations of ourselves, initially to create sustainable services working towards sustainable products through the foundation scheme. That's why we also must align our supply chain i.e., panel structure manufacturers with producing the lowest possible CO2 emissions and creating transparency about processes and the use of materials. Also, considering the lifetime of these solar solutions and the recycling opportunities as a new business model in LATAM.
If European solar manufacturers do it well why can we not do the same in Colombia?
As we progress with our footprint, we want to expand our channels paying great attention to the diversification of our suppliers helping them to understand our unconditional principle of circular economy. Our goal is to help others in an emerging market to make the leap to responsible sustainability.
How do you see the future of solar panels in Colombia and LATAM?
It has improved tremendously when compared to several years ago. Colombia is now the second LATAM country with the biggest growth of solar energy deployments. However, we need to make it brighter; we need to have vertically integrated producers of solar cells and modules locally. People may think this is a panacea, and it is. However, Colombia has the some of the raw resources, the talent, the companies that could switch intelligently towards a sustainable renewable energy. We saw it with Argos a company that produces one of the most contaminants “cement/concrete” and they were fast enough to setup a separate unit, today a separate business called Celsia. However, their prices are too high for many to access.
These kinds of changes will allow us to make conscious decisions about the design of our products for the local market. Unfortunately, manufacturers in general do not understand the importance of this. By producing our own products and offering our own services we will be able to reduce solar solution prices considerably and it is for this reason we try to bring foreign manufactures and research institutes to see our capabilities and understand that Colombia could be the home for their LATAM distribution. Local manufacturing could also mean that we could create a balance between the environment, society, and the economy. For us, this means, for example, the selection of sustainable materials, and a positive ecological footprint, as well as the creation of long-term jobs.
Sustainability is also becoming an increasingly important topic for young people, certainly in Europe… do you see the same in Colombia? And how can The Future Is 50/50 help?
Colombia has great talent! We want to be part of the creation of the solar industry in Colombia. To spark creativity, we fund solar panels proof of concepts competitions aiming to explore the latest capabilities of our local talent. Young people these days can work professionally on sustainable solutions, and let’s face it…it is challenging but very exciting times as we work towards solving one of the gravest problems facing humanity “global warming” and thus actively helping to shape the energy transition. That is something that appeals to many people, not just young people.
Some Countries are just starting to address the issue of sustainability, Colombia included. However, when comparing Colombia with many other developing countries, it seems it is lagging.
Why is it worth fighting the battle?
Individual efforts in the context of sustainability can halt or even reverse climate change. COP26 is an example of it, collaboration and building alliances is key to solving the climate change crisis so that everyone can succeed. I am convinced that companies and institutions that implement sustainable approaches early on and collaboratively will have a competitive edge.
This also means that having a sustainable product or service on the market means standing out from conventional products, or services increasing the market value of the goods, and leveraging additional innovation potential. I can only encourage every Colombian company, institution, supplier to deal with this increasingly important topic and to develop solution strategies. It is what will allow them to survive in the future.