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Given recent international events in the environmental sphere, Ecuador has the potential to become the green capital of Latin America. This roundtable seeks to generate discussion on how the Ecuadorian private sector is providing innovative solutions to achieve economic development in harmony with society and the environment. Each panelist, a key figure from their respective field, brings insights into the trends contributing to Ecuador's ecological transition.
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Valeria Cadena de la Espriell is Director of Production and Sustainable Development at Ecuador's Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition. She is an environmental engineer, having graduated from Escuela Politécnica Nacional, and holds a master's degree in integrated management systems for occupational risk prevention, quality, environment and corporate social responsibility from the International University of La Rioja in Spain. She also has a diploma in corporate social responsibility, certified by the General Foundation of the University of Salamanca and the United Nations Global Compact of Mexico. She has experience in engineering, project management, training, education, research, and environmental consultancy for companies in different productive and service sectors nationwide. Her current role focuses on promoting public-private articulation for climate action, as well as promoting sustainable production and responsible consumption.
Carolina Proaño-Castro took over the leadership of Fundación Futuro at the end of 2018 to develop and implement a new strategy focused on sustainability. She has extensive experience in climate change and regenerative economics and is convinced that the private sector can and must play a transformative role in society. Previously, she was part of the climate change team at Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano, promoting low-emission developments in Peru and Quito. She also collaborated with Talking Transformation (UK), integrating climate change into biodiversity and development programs in global organizations such as RARE, FSC, and IPBES. She is a biologist by profession. She holds a master's degree in conservation leadership from the University of Cambridge and specialized studies in international affairs, development, environmental sustainability, and management.
Pedro Ospina is an Ecuadorian lawyer with more than 15 years of experience in the food industry. In addition, he has held management positions in companies, guilds, and associations. He has extensive experience in legal and sustainability matters, having managed important areas of the company in Ecuador, Chile, and Switzerland. He is currently Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs of Nestlé Ecuador and holds the position of Secretary of the Board of Directors of Terrafertil. From this position, he has identified that sustainability is a cornerstone for successful business models and brings benefits to the country in the economic, environmental, and social spheres. In the business framework, he promotes the idea of shared value, which entails balanced relationships that generate a win-win for the parties, recognizing their work and achieving positive long-term relationships. In this line, he is aware that ambitious goals require the commitment of suppliers, producers, intermediaries, and consumers.
Katarina Zdraljevic is an engineer in agricultural business management with a master's degree in agribusiness from the University of Belgrade. Additionally, she has acquired knowledge on climate finance and finance for renewable energy projects at the Frankfurt School of Finance and for sustainable housing at INCAE. Over the course of the last 10 years, she has worked at ProCredit Group in several Latin American countries, with a focus on sustainable agriculture finance and green finance for the SME segment and the residential sector. Currently, she works at Banco ProCredit Ecuador as Head of the Environmental Management Unit and is responsible for the implementation of the environmental management system and management of green finance lines.
Diego Díaz is an executive with 30 years of professional experience in Ecuador, Oman, and Egypt, 20 of them leading multidisciplinary and multicultural teams committed to effectiveness, productivity, and obtaining sustainable results in the banking and oil sectors. As a result of his management as CEO, in 2021 he left ENAP positioned as one of the most profitable companies in Ecuador, at its highest level of production and with an outstanding work environment rating, according to Great Place to Work. He is an economist from the Catholic University of Ecuador and has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame in the US. He also specialized in the oil and gas industry at ADEN International Business School. During his career he has been a member of several boards of directors and was vice president of the Ecuadorian-Chilean Chamber of Commerce.