Nacho, you have jumped in with both feet into the Spanish CDR group, which formed last summer, participating in research, due diligence and outreach activities. Can you explain what the group is up to now, and what the objectives of the mission are?
Our main objective at the moment is formalizing CDR as part of the PERTE for decarbonization, a Spanish government strategic project to support the decarbonization of the industrial sector. CDR is not mentioned as part of the key objectives of the project and we believe its explicit inclusion would encourage the development of interesting projects at a national level. We also aim to educate the Spanish public on CDR, for which we are developing a webinar.
You have your own professional home in sustainability. Can you tell us a bit about your own work, and how that relates to your specific interest in carbon removal?
I work on two main lines. The first is Corporate Sustainability, which relates mainly to helping companies integrate environmental, social and governance considerations in their day-to-day operations and strategic thinking. We help companies navigate the regulatory uncertainty in the EU and beyond, prevent greenwashing practices, and set clear non-financial objectives to which they will be held accountable. The second is Climate Change, which is mainly related to helping companies measure their GHG emissions footprint and setting objectives for decarbonization that are SBTi-aligned. Both are clearly aligned with OpenAir’s mission, and can be directly linked to carbon removal. Large corporations who cannot fully decarbonize their operations and supply chain will have to engage in carbon removal projects to adhere to their net zero pledges.
What makes Spain an interesting place to think about CDR? What’s missing – policy related or market-related – that would help it take off sooner?
CDR is still not common or elaborated in Spain. However, we do have the necessary resources and sociopolitical support to advance these types of projects. Areas like the Canary Islands are a sweet spot for carbon removal due to their natural conditions and need to embrace innovative technologies and techniques to decarbonize their economy. What is missing is education and policy. People are not yet aware of the need for carbon removal. The most important thing is to create a sense of urgency, and neither the government nor companies are doing that. That’s where we come to play.