The fight against climate change and for sustainability, both social and environmental, are unavoidable challenges for the survival of the human species. And to address these challenges, the competition of technology is increasingly important. That is why El PAÍS Retina, in collaboration with the technology consultancy Capgemini, has convened this year the first edition of the Retina ECO Awards, in order to reward the best projects of 2020 in the aforementioned areas.
“We are interested in innovation, but with a purpose”, says Jaime García Cantero, director of Retina, “digital is here, but we understand that it only makes sense if it is to make life better”. In this first edition, the award is inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to the environment, but it is not ruled out that future editions will also take into account others related to the social, such as the end of poverty or reduction of inequality.
“These awards are intended to promote awareness of these challenges in the business environment”, Laurent Perea, CEO of Capgemini Invent, who has served as secretary of the jury. In addition to awareness itself, there are several reasons why sustainability is increasingly important for companies. “By being sustainable, companies are better able to attract customers, investors and talent,” adds Perea.
In this first edition, 115 applications have been presented, of which 97 have been accepted, submitted in a timely manner. The jury has selected 12 finalists, of which four will be awarded in the four categories: Green Generation, Efficient Consumption, Smart Mobility and Sustainable Economy. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony, scheduled for September 6.
“Sustainability and digitization are everywhere, and it is clear that we are going in the right direction, the question is whether we are going at the right speed”, says García Cantero. These awards want to encourage large, medium and small companies to start this path, and not for joining the fashion bandwagon or by way of greenwashing, but with a concrete and real impact. These are the selected projects.
- In recent years, the Heineken brewery has been committed to the environmental (and also social) issue to be green as are its bottles. It has focused on protecting water as a resource and reducing its emissions, in order to achieve zero-emission beer.
- Repsol’s Solmatch solar communities are another of the selected projects: they produce energy through solar panels installed on the roofs of buildings, which is then shared in the neighborhood, thus achieving a 100% renewable shared self-consumption. The energy of the neighborhood for the neighborhood.
- The wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) of Butarque, Madrid, Negdia injects biomethane into the gas network: the treatment plant generates this fuel from wastewater and uses it, thus creating renewable energy and collaborating in the circular economy it deals with to reuse waste, as it happens in nature, minimizing environmental impact. It also allows the consumption of this biogas by adapted cars, through a service station (gas station).
- They say that it is “the most sustainable bottle in the world”, and it is manufactured by the Vidrala Group 100% with recycled glass, using low-emission energy thanks to biofuels. With these bottles, which can then find various commercial uses, the carbon footprint can be reduced by up to 90%.
- Cepsa’s Details project involves a drastic reduction in emissions and increases worker safety (by eliminating hazardous chemical compounds from the processes) in obtaining linear alkylbenzene, the basis of most detergents. Also, following the philosophy of the circular economy, it reuses most of the waste.
- The Zero Emissions Rural Site (ZERS) project, by Cellnex Telecom, is an energy solution for the deployment of connectivity in rural areas, where it will be necessary for the operation of the autonomous car, the Internet of Things or a good connection in the small villages. Through this project, the equipment necessary for connectivity, scattered throughout the territory, manages to be energetically autonomous, all in a sustainable way and favoring digital inclusion in the so-called Empty or Empty Spain.
- Online shopping is booming due to increased reliance on Internet security, pandemic restrictions, and other reasons. Citibox smart mailboxes have an impact on last-mile sustainability: these are mailboxes to be installed in the portals of buildings in which to receive the packages that are arriving in greater numbers, even in the absence of the receiver, and through an accessible platform to all operators. This prevents the courier from having to make several trips if he cannot find the neighbor, with the savings in emissions that this entails.
- Smart electric mobility, proposed by Repsol, is committed to installing more than 300 fast (or ultra-fast) charging points for electric cars, based on its network of service stations and strategic locations, thus favoring the implementation of electric cars and always using renewable energy sources.
- In recent times, the contribution of airlines to Climate Change (up to 3.5%) has been put on the table and the elimination of short flights has even been proposed. Airbus proposes a way to alleviate these pernicious effects of aviation emissions through its zero-emission aircraft (ZEROe): several prototypes of hydrogen-powered aircraft that could be operational by 2035. The company estimates that hydrogen has the potential to reduce aviation CO2 emissions by up to 50%
- Another of the most pressing environmental problems, and that has penetrated the public opinion the most, is that of plastics. At Preco they tackle this challenge by producing, with their own technique, bioliquids from plastic, in another example of a circular economy where waste is used. With these bioliquids it is possible to produce new plastics.
- The Energy Waste & Management (EWM) landfill 4.0 recovers organic waste through accelerated decomposition. The Waste Master system, of small or medium capacity, for use in rural areas, allows one ton of organic waste to be recovered per day to generate fertilizers, feed or biofuels without using water or chemical products.
- Técnicas Reunidas, in collaboration with Reciclalia, has developed models to recycle fiberglass and carbon fiber waste, the growth of which will grow exponentially in the coming years. Today there are no efficient solutions to carry out this recycling.
“Many projects of interest have been presented, especially to be a first edition,” says Perea, “and among the finalists, initiatives of different sizes and in different degrees of maturity have been combined. I perceive potential to create a dynamic in the years to come ”.