“The economy and the world are low-emission” 

Meeting carbon neutrality targets by 2050 is an ambitious mission that requires reinvention, innovation to create technologies that still don´t exist, and to take advantage of the ideal moment we are living in to make the transition to a more competitive world

“It's a matter of time and speed rather than direction”. This is how, in a simple and straightforward manner, Juan Verde, a government and business strategist and an advocate of the green economy, justifies the opinion that “the economy and the world are low-emission”. Called on to participate in an informal chat addressing popular topics in today´s world, the man who worked alongside American politicians such as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton accepted the invitation of Galp COO, Sofia Tenreiro, to take part in an Energiser Talk in which they shared experiences, ideas and opinions.

With regard to the challenges of the inexorable path towards carbon neutrality, both defend the importance of technological innovation “to keep up with the pace”. Juan Verde believes it will be the changes brought about by technology that will transform the world in the post-pandemic period and throughout the decades that still separate us from the goal set for 2050. “Innovation has to be continuous and companies and businesses need to reinvent themselves on a continuous basis in order to remain competitive”, he stresses.

“Innovation has to be continuous and companies and businesses need to reinvent themselves on a continuous basis in order to remain competitive”.

An idea shared by Sofia Tenreiro and which reflects the path Galp has already taken, aware that “sustainability – environmental, corporate and financial – is synonymous with the future”, she says. In the opinion of the strategist, leading the process of change and having the vision to show others the way is an opportunity to innovate and to change the world. Companies that choose to wait before reacting will tend to disappear. Juan Verde recalls that all forms of transition, in particular historic energy revolutions, began slowly, but “gained momentum after a time and sped up dramatically”.

However, for this to happen, and to achieve a transition to a more competitive future, the traditional business model in the energy sector needs to be changed. “And that´s exactly where we are”, says Juan Verde, adding that “everything is waiting to be done; the world is full of opportunities”. The arrival of new players in the energy market is already a reality, however, believes the strategist, rather than being a 'threat' to the incumbents, this is an opportunity for innovation and an entrepreneurial incentive for all those working in the sector. “We need to be agile, quick and courageous”, agrees Sofia Tenreiro. The Galp executive admits that the company intends to continue supplying fossil energy to consumers still using combustion vehicles, while investing more and more in electric mobility, renewable energies and photovoltaic panels.

“Everything is waiting to be done [in the energy sector]; the world is full of opportunities”

The conversation also addressed other key points of the challenges currently faced by the environment, the world of business and citizens and consumers, and the changes that will occur post-Covid. As far as the strategist is concerned, consumers will be a central part of the carbon neutrality process, as they will determine which companies will survive by making more responsible consumption choices. "They want companies to be more eco-responsible and are no longer satisfied with green washing tactics or any other alternatives that fail to ring true, especially after Covid-19", he argues, stressing that meeting consumers´ desires opens countless business opportunities for companies that are attentive. “The companies that changed the world were always those with the courage to reinvent themselves and to look for opportunities where others couldn´t see them”, he concludes.

Read the highlights of the Energiser Talk in volume two of Energiser magazine here, watch the video, and listen to the chat podcast.