Archive for the ‘CSR and Sustainability’ category

Air space station for the Galapagos islands with almost zero environmental impact

April 14, 2009

The IT company Indra has developed an air space surveillance station whose environmental impact has been reduced to almost zero in the Galapagos islands (Ecuador), one of the areas with the strongest environmental laws in the world.

The new facilities are equipped with a secondary radar system located on the San Joaquín hill, in San Cristobal Island. UNESCO  has designated the area as a World Heritage Site, to protect it from excessive human ecological footprint.  Two centuries ago, the island’s flora and fauna diversity contributed to shape Darwin’s  Theory of evolution.

Nowadays the archipelago is a National Park rigorously protected by Ecuador’s authorities. For this reason, Indra had to be careful in order to avoid damaging the environment. The company was extremely observant of the standards regarding electromagnetic issues as established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). It also conducted a study of environmental impact prior to the works to obtain the license conferred by the country’s Ministry of the Environment and worked alongside the National Park’s technicians who supervised the works at all times.

Landscape HDR - Galapagos

Landscape HDR - Galapagos

That proved the way for Indra to meet all environmental requirements and overcame the added difficulty of the remoteness of the area, located at 621 miles off Ecuador’s mainland, which implies a significant amount of logistics obstacles. To deal with this, the company appointed a team of 12 people, most of them from Ecuador and others from the island itself.

The team worked for several months ensuring that accesses, materials, energy systems and equipment employed had a minimum impact on the environment. Even the colors used were chosen to make the station mimetize with the surrounding environment.

The area where the station is located is home to many species of birds, including the black neck stilt (tero), a bird that builds its nests  n the ground. Therefore, practically all systems used in the project are aerial structures mounted on poles. The main radar is enclosed in a sphere so birds do not crash against it.

Ecuador’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation is now equipped with a new system to survey Galapagos’ air space whose air traffic management depended on radio communications that also supported aircrafts in their approach to San Cristobal and Baltra airports until now. It will also control the ocean corridor that joins the archipelago with mainland completing Ecuador’s control area.

The data collected through the radar system will be distributed via VSAT satellite terminals and through a microwave link so that airports in the island and the control centres in Guayaquil are able to supervise all the traffic.

The new station will undergo an annual environmental audit to make sure standards are being met.


Vice President Al Gore Touts Spain’s Leadership in Energy and Infrastructure

March 20, 2009

Vice President Al Gore recognized Spain as one of the world’s top innovators of renewable energy and high-speed rail transportation.

Speaking at the Spain-U.S. Business Sustainability Conference on March 17, Gore cited improved energy and climate technologies as the key to solving three of the most pressing global issues – the global economic crisis, climate crisis and security crisis. He said that if you looked for the common thread between the three, it is an overdependence on outdated, heavily polluting carbon-based technologies.

“The convergence of the problems is very clear,” Gore said. “Green infrastructure is the option of choice to solve the climate and economic crisis. We need sources that are free forever, like the sun, wind and earth. Spain is one of the leading countries in all of these areas.”

Al Gore, speaking at the Spain-US Business Sustainability Conference

He also stressed the close working relationship between U.S. and Spanish businesses and their role in helping speed the creation and adoption of advanced, green technology.

“Renewable energy production, high-speed transport systems and infrastructure construction and management are the best ways to stimulate the global economy and help address the climate crisis,” Gore continued. “We need leadership in both the political and business sectors. The close working relationship between Spain and the U.S. in these areas is a model for all others to follow.”

His Royal Highness, Felipe de Borbón, reiterated Spain’s political commitment to solving environmental problems, stimulating investment in these sectors, promoting business cooperation and ensuring Spain remains at the forefront of renewable technologies.

“This conference is a major milestone in the relationship between Spain and the United States, both in the private and public sectors,” said the Prince. “The idea of sustainable growth should underlie the solutions for Spain’s economy and environment. Only by working together with U.S. businesses and government as well as coordinating our needs and priorities can we get our countries, and world, back on track.”

Bill Clinton praises Spain’s fight against poverty and climate change

November 19, 2007


zapatero_clinton.jpgFormer U.S President Bill Clinton praised Spanish efforts to fight poverty and global warming as Spain’s Prime Minister committed to raise contributions to the ‘Clinton Global Initiative.

«The collaboration with this initiative is going to be extraordinary important» said Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero after meeting with Clinton for an hour at the Moncloa palace. «It’s going to benefit millions of people and it’s going to help the good intentions of many citizens become a reality».

Spain contributed 1 million dollars to this private foundation via the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation in September, in funds destined for projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the donations were going to increase, especially in the areas of global warming and education.

The Clinton Global Initiative strives to be a ‘non-partisan catalyst for action, bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.’

Mr Clinton praised Spain at a joint press conference with the Spanish PM as an example of economic growth compatible with the fight against poverty and climate change.

«I’m very happy about the announcement today because of the example that Spain has set» said Clinton. He added that the contribution and cooperation of governments with private institutions and groups like his one «could literally change the future».

This announcement comes hard on the heels of another pledge by the Spanish Government made at the Ibero-American Summit recently held in Chile.  Zapatero commited to grant 1.5 billion U.S. dollars to establish a water fund in the next four year, saying 58 million people lack access to drinking water in Latin America and another 138 million lack sanitation.

Profit and sustainability: not mutually exclusive

March 28, 2007

A team of MBA students from Instituto de Empresa (IE) came up with the Grand Prize at the Thunderbird Sustainable Innovation Summit competition, taking home $20,000 and the title “2007 Global Champions of Sustainable Innovation.”

The IE team competed against 85 teams from 45 universities from the US, Europe and Asia. German students Philipp Pausder and Tobias Schirmer, Macedonian Blagoja Hamamdziev and Mexican Guillermo Ortega presented their work called “Disruptive Thoughts” to a jury integrated by experts in innovation and CSR, including entrepreneurs, business men, consultants and academics.

IE Students also won in 2004 and were in 3rd place last year at the same competition , which was named Global Citizenship Challenge back then.

The 10 teams in the final round of the competition were challenged to develop the most innovative and sustainable business plans that addressed real-life challenges faced by Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co. Inc.

sustain_innovation.gifMerck asked the MBA teams to develop a plan for the company to shape the overall healthcare landscape in the emerging markets of China and India, thereby producing sustainable markets for its products. Johnson & Johnson’s posed the question of how the company could provide its high-tech health care solutions in emerging and developed economies at an affordable price for growing middle and lower income consumer groups.  

The winning solution for Merck suggested way that the company could become a knowledge leader in rural markets by integrating technology to educate the rural consumers about health-care practices and solutions available for their unmet needs.

The solution the Instituto de Empresa team developed for Johnson & Johnson had the company closing the affordability gap by partnering with other large corporations to provide affordable payment plans for employees in the middle and lower income markets.

“Innovative, real-world solutions presented by the student teams that participated in the  summit exceeded our expectations in many ways,” said Neil Currie, a spokesman for Johnson & Johnson.

An MBA team from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University placed second,  and a graduate team from John Hopkins University placed third.

“The summit demonstrated the power of integrating business thinking and sustainability thinking,” said Greg Unruh, director of Thunderbird’s Lincoln Center for Ethics in International Management. “The teams showed that real gains come from innovative commercial solutions that simultaneously create business value as well as collateral social and environmental value“.

The Financial Times has ranked Thunderbird No. 1 in International Business in the first year the publication included that category in its annual worldwide ranking of full-time MBA programs.

Instituto de Empresa (IE) is a leading business school based in Madrid, Spain, routinely recognized as being among the top 15 business schools worldwide. It is characterized by its global approach, its applied research projects and the promotion of socially responsible initiatives.