On May 27, we held a new iFriday session for World Environment Day (June 5). We invited Gonzalo Sáenz de Miera, Director of Climate Change and Alliances of Iberdrola, and he explained the main action lines Iberdrola has put in motion to fight against climate change and how innovation is a key element to achieve those goals.
Iberdrola makes a strong pioneering bet on renewable energies. Thanks to their innovation model, they have positioned themselves as a world leading company, with highly ambitious climate-related goals: being carbon-neutral by 2030 in Europe, and by 2050, globally.
Concern and sensibilization towards environmental conservation keep increasing as we learn about climate risks. To revert the situation, the roles of society in general, and companies in particular, will be essential in the coming years, giving special attention to the goals in the Paris Agreement to prevent an even more dangerous climate change and keep global warming effects below 2 ºC.
Key messages to understand the new models in the fight against climate change
Our speaker stressed several important points to understand the current context that nations face to slow down climate change, and what lines of action are needed.
Sáenz de Miera spoke about climate change speeding up. “After the latest IPCC report, we need to act with haste. The goal is to increase renewable energy use, as it is the principal and most economic option to cut back on emissions”.
The second message he stressed was the war in Ukraine: “This situation has brought to light the risks of energy dependance. Gas prices are on historical highs, and that is affection the entire service industry and the economy, causing inflation”, Sáenz de Miera clarified.
In this third message, Iberdrola’s Director of Climate Change explained that, in order to face the current energy dependance issue, we need to change our energy system for a more efficient model, one that consumes less energy and replaces fossil fuels for renewable energy sources.
On the other hand, he also addressed the importance of pushing for a faster energy transition. “There are four sectors that are making faster progress: electrical, transportation, construction, and industry, with significant relevance to green hydrogen solutions as a new model”.
In his next point, he focused on the European Union’s goals in the fight against climate change towards a zero-emissions energy system by 2050 and reducing emissions by 55% by 2030. The expert pointed out that this is an economic development-driven strategy. This is a particularly beneficial opportunity for Spain as a country, since it has more renewables than the rest of Europe, thanks to its climate and terrain conditions.
To summarize, he stressed three points: “There is no sustainable economy without a sustainable environment; we need to act quickly, from both a financial and an environmental standpoint; innovation is indispensable. We need to set ambitious climate goals and well-oriented public policies so that everyone moves in the same direction”.
The importance of technological innovation on the path towards decarbonization
Marta Gil, Chief Strategy, Innovation, and Sustainability Officer of Sacyr asked our guest about the importance of sustainable innovation in Iberdrola. “We are currently undergoing innovation projects on several sectors, creating alliances and synergies. For instance, we are working with 50 different startups on photovoltaics to improve our technology.
Plus, we are launching a compatibilization project on climate and biodiversity topics. We think it is of vital importance to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises regarding the loss of species, with Spain being a highly rich country in terms of biodiversity and there will be an increasing social and regulatory pressure in this regard. We have just approved a new Strategic Biodiversity Plan to make positive biodiversity impacts by 2030”, he explained.
Finally, he addressed the importance of tackling changes toward more sustainable infrastructures. He also highlighted the need to stay ahead, mitigate, and adapt, think outside the box and study opportunities in other industries.