In recent years, the clear devastation of climate change on our planet has been heightening awareness of the need to take more care of Mother Earth. But, at the same time, myths about sustainability have spread. Some of Santander X’s most decorated startups and scaleups join us to look at a selection of the most prevalent.
Since International Mother Earth Day emerged over 50 years ago in the US, it has provided the perfect opportunity to show the importance of protecting the environment the world over, where pollution, overpopulation and the loss of biodiversity pose a severe threat.
To address this challenge, people, not-for-profit organizations, private companies and government agencies must act now. On top of our commitment to help fight climate change, we also support entrepreneurs for being drivers of a sustainable economy and for their ideas on how we must tackle the climate emergency.
To mark International Mother Earth Day, some of the winners of the awards handed out by Santander X, Santander Universities’ global entrepreneurship community, will help us to debunk myths surrounding sustainability.
Winner of the Santander X Global Award in 2020, RatedPower is a team of engineers and developers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid who developed leading software pvDesign. It designs utility-scale solar farms through technology and engineering, with over 1,000 GW optimized in more than 100 countries. It provides a more cost effective, faster and flexible solution than traditional engineering firms.
According to RatedPower CEO Andrea Barber, “a common myth springing up even more amid the energy crisis is that countries can’t produce all their electricity from renewable sources because we depend on fossil fuels”.
For Barber, its merely a question of will. “Iceland is a shining example. Almost all its energy is sustainable and non-polluting. Households and industry alike are benefiting from geothermal power. Though they still have a lot of work to do with vehicles, which are mainly powered by fossil fuels, more petrol stations are installing charging facilities”.
COGO (Connecting Good)
Briton Emma Kisby, CEO of startup and winner of Santander X Environmental Challenge's “Be Sustainable” category COGO shoots down another misconception. Her company's app helps millions of consumers understand the impact of their carbon footprint on the planet.
In her experience, “there’s a general belief that sustainable living is expensive. Many people thinking they simply can’t afford it.
COGO helps people not only reduce their carbon footprint, but save money, too. On our app, we encourage people to buy second-hand clothes, which can save them up to EUR 500 a year; or adopt plant-based diets, which can save up to EUR 800”.
COGO is expanding its technology to help large banks and other companies offer eco-friendly solutions to their customers and start to have a real impact. COGO’s personalized carbon footprint tracker plugs in the bank’s app to create an ethical money management tool.
Scoobic Urban Mobility
Spanish startup Scoobic Urban Mobility also emerged triumphant in the same category as COGO. Its CEO, José María Gómez Márquez, and other founders are all motor enthusiasts. So much so, they took on the challenge of designing more sustainable and efficient last-mile vehicles.
José María has lost count of the times he’s had to dispel the industry myth that “electric vehicles pollute more because of how their batteries are made”. Debunking this myth is simple: Throughout their shelf life, “combustion-engine vehicles give off much more CO2 than emissions than electric battery production. What's more, we at Scoobic recycle those batteries, which helps reduce emissions by 70%”.
Plastecowood took home the prize in Santander X Environmental Challenge's “Be Mindful” category, which sought solutions that promote green finance and investment. It recycles waste plastic to create durable and ecological outdoor products as an alternative to wood, steel, concrete and virgin plastic. The material is fully recyclable at the end of its 30-year shelf life.
According to CEO Henning von Spreckelsen, “there’s a misconception in construction and furniture design that we need to keep using wood, concrete and steel as we always have because of a lack of alternatives.
Our Smartawood, made from waste plastic, is a long-term replacement for those materials. For every tonne of it, we save 700kg of wood, recycle 25,000 pieces of waste plastic, and stop the cutting of two and a half trees”.