Indigenous Consultancy to be RevisedTue, 03/10/2020 - 17:01
Q: What key topics will define social and environmental responsibility in Mexico in 2020?
MM: The social and environmental frameworks are up and running but some crucial elements like the indigenous consultation are still missing. Natura EST has worked with these issues in Spain since 1997 so we can recognize the differences with Mexico and their impact. For instance, when the government in Spain demands an environmental impact assessment, no stakeholder would contradict the decision. In Mexico, if any interest group is against a project can impose an amparo against the project and delay its development by up to seven years.
JM: What is generating interest, but also uncertainty is the indigenous consultancy topic. This is a key aspect for the industry and we are waiting to see the rules of the game from this presidential sexennial. To date, there is no specific law covering this issue, which leaves it open to interpretation. The industry is aware of this and is willing to follow all the required procedures to maintain a respectful position regarding human rights. Therefore, it is important, in my opinion, that the government sets a clear framework that lets room for a steady development of the projects, if they are envisioned from a human rights perspective, collaborating with the stakeholders.
From the environmental perspective, we are in a transitional period. Although there have been positional changes at SEMARNAT, essentially things will mostly remain the same. This industry is very aware about sustainability and most of the developers want to construct flagship projects that lead by example. Once we know this administration’s criteria, every player will respond accordingly.
Q: How does Natura EST approach the environmental, social and technical dimensions as a whole?
JM: One of our main values is specialization. In Mexico, we have a great deal of experience in offering different services, from delivering environmental assessment studies, to participating in the complete value chain of a project. Working in the construction stage helps us deliver studies with a long-term vision and foresee what implications might arise during operational activities. We integrate many internal dynamics to translate our on-field experience to the services we deliver. Environmental impact assessments are quite transversal and can be applied to many sectors.
In addition, not all technologies have the same impacts. In order to conduct adequate environmental studies, it is necessary to understand the technology. By including a technical approach, we can better foresee every risk related to a specific technology.
Q: What has been the company’s experience in the clean energy segment?
JM: Many of our projects are from renewables, most recently solar PV developments. We are collaborating with the majority of the companies that have operations in Mexico, from private international groups like Iberdrola, EON, EdP or Enel Green Power to national businesses like Zuma Energía. We are satisfied with the evolution of the market, but there is a great deal of uncertainty. Some projects are paralyzed. To date, we have not stopped working but no one can guarantee the same dynamic in the coming months, although the signals in 1Q19 were good. We strongly believe that for us to have success in this industry, the other market players must be successful as well.
MM: In addition to the renewables segment, the company supports the development of transmission lines, roads and ports. We are also involved in the natural gas segment, delivering services to natural gas pipelines and cogeneration projects.
Q: What short-term actions is the company taking to maintain its leading position in the market?
MM: We are in the process of certifying as a B-type company in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Initiative in which governments commit to tackle at least one of 17 objectives, including the eradication of poverty, achieving zero hunger, and so on. To bring these principles into the business world, Natura EST bases its activities around governance, environment, social, clients and providers and internal management practices. The B-type certification will help guarantee ethical business practices within our operations.
Natura EST is a consulting firm that addresses environmental, social and technical issues. Through integral training, innovation and collaboration, the company offers multidisciplinary teams that analyze, develop and execute any project in the energy and infrastructure industries.