In 2020, Spain’s CO2 emissions fell by 18% year-on-year . The cause of this fall was, obviously, covid-19 and the multiple restrictions on economic, social and mobility activity that were implemented to appease the pandemic. The reduction of greenhouse gases was one of the few positive notes left last year and meant that Spain returned to records prior to 1990 in terms of pollution.
Are we facing a temporary event or is it a trend that will continue? It is quite evident that the collapse in emissions would not have occurred without the outbreak of the coronavirus . However, it does seem that the pandemic has had a certain effect in raising awareness about the importance of caring for the environment.
Citizens, large corporations, Administration, SMEs and the self-employed… They all play an important role in the fight against climate change. And to encourage and recognize the work in this area carried out by the last two mentioned actors, BBVA and the Fundació Antigues Caixes Catalanes launched in 2019 the BBVA Award for Environmental Innovation for SMEs and the Self-Employed , of which the Awards ceremony for the second edition at the Sant Pau Modernist Campus in collaboration with EL PERIÓDICO .
“We understand sustainability as a matter of urgency. The next 10 years will be vital to carry out the profound transformation that the planet needs ”, said Toni Ballabriga , global business director responsible for BBVA .
“As a financial entity,” continued Ballabriga, “we have the duty to accompany companies and society as a whole to achieve the transition towards sustainability, both by providing financial solutions and advice, and by getting involved in collective challenges.”
For his part, Jaume Ribera , president of the Fundació Antigues Caixes Catalanes , highlighted that this award is about “encouraging companies to bet on innovation and sustainability”. “We must become aware of the importance of taking action now in all the activities we carry out in our day to day,” Ribera said.
The Administration was also represented at the event, in this case through the acting ‘Minister’ of Territori and Sustainability, Damià Calvet . “To combat the climate emergency, we must develop mainly in three aspects: the circular economy, sustainable mobility and the energy transition. We all have to be determined to achieve them and from the Administration we must create the conditions so that it is possible ”.
The ‘minister’ also pointed out that to overcome this challenge “an alliance between the private sector and the institutions” is necessary and stressed that the BBVA Award for Environmental Innovation for SMEs and Self-Employed is “a good example of this alliance.”
Four finalists and two winners
After the parliaments, the awards ceremony proceeded. In total, 36 projects were presented by SMEs and freelancers based in Catalonia that have developed a sustainable project or process from which two winners were chosen. Shotl , a start-up that has developed a solution for transport operators and municipalities to make better use of their bus fleets by implementing an on-demand service, and Oimo , an eco-design firm that develops new types of biodegradable packaging sustainable, were the two finalists who failed to win the award.
The second prize was awarded to the Cargobici company , which will receive an endowment of 5,000 euros, for being a company that offers logistics solutions to face the last mile in a more ecological way. The firm is the exclusive distributor and technical service for XYZ CARGO cargo bikes in Spain and Portugal and is also involved in urban distribution projects for composting goods that allow waste to be converted into a resource.
In this case, the jury valued its status as a “sustainable and replicable initiative, which offers logistics solutions and encourages local trade and sustainable mobility of goods in small and large cities, reducing emissions and adding value to current times”.
Finally, the winner of the first prize, endowed with 10,000, was announced. The winner was The Predective Company (TPC), of which the jury highlighted “its especially innovative project, with clear environmental benefits that allow reducing C02 and supplying energy and economic savings for users, replicable in all types of commercial buildings and born of university research “.
Alonzo Romero, CEO of TPC, was commissioned to go on stage to receive the award from Toni Ballabriga and deliver a brief speech. “The economic part is always very important for a start-up, but what we appreciate the most is the symbolic value it has. It helps us not to feel alone and to know that there are people who support us ”, proclaimed the entrepreneur.