Climate change is upon us and there is an increasing demand for sustainability. In this episode, we talk to one of the entrepreneurs leading the fight against Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Maria Fujihara, is CEO & Founder of SINAI Technologies, a company that provides the technology to automate and consolidate Corporate Carbon Strategy. SINAI is a platform to help businesses not only become carbon neutral, but carbon negative using climate finance!
Additionally, Maria was the only Brazilian female founder during the Y Combinator W20 Batch.
A lifelong environmentalist, Maria has been a force within the sustainability space, she is also one of the main drivers of launching the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in Brazil, Chile, Peru, and other parts of Latin America.
With the oversight of famed environmentalist, Paul Hawkin, Maria launched Project Drawdown, which maps, models, measures, and describes the 100 most sustainable solutions to global warming. Join us in this fun and informative conversation with one of the leading voices in Sustainability & green businesses.
Jed Tabernero [00:00:01] The world is changing. Temperatures are rising, cities are sinking, fires are starting in California, Australia and in the Amazon rainforest, global warming is becoming more and more obvious on the host of problems climate change activists are working on. Our guest, Maria, chose to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Maria Fujairah built Sooni Technologies, the startup that helps companies build a better corporate carbon strategy. Hey, this is things have changed,
Shikher Bhandary [00:00:55] your host, Jessica and Adrian are just trying to figure it out, including this intro,
Adrian Grobelny [00:01:02] we meet Pioneer's breakdown topics and have a laugh. Welcome to the conversation.
Shikher Bhandary [00:01:18] Maria, we are really excited to have you, and that is just us trying to uncover everything about the work that you've done on sustainability, we had to know from your background, from the conferences that you've attended, from the 10 to 15 interviews you've got on YouTube, making you basically a celeb, the
Jed Tabernero [00:01:41] first celeb on a personal level on our podcast.
Maria Fujihara [00:01:44] Do you really
Shikher Bhandary [00:01:47] know how much you know about us? But we are super big on the strength about sustainability, like more or less every young person out there. There has been a shift from what I like to think of is from shareholder value to stakeholder value. Before there were companies that were just doing things to improve their share prices, and that also meant polluting the environment, not really considering the ecological impact of their decisions. And now does that shift is happening right in front of them. You can see it from the automotive industry to construction to even tech. So I think that's where we'd like to begin that whole trend. And one trend within that is the whole cap on carbon emissions.
Jed Tabernero [00:02:43] Right. So, I mean, the policies are coming around this this demand or this need, I should say, for a better world, a greener world. We'd like to start by trying to understand what the the cap and trade policy is and and who is adopting it now.
Maria Fujihara [00:03:01] Great question to start with. Thanks for having me, guys. It's a pleasure. OK, so from my perspective, OK, this is really my my personal point of view on everything from being this facing this industry for so long. I've seen this coming from nothing to where it is right now. Like you said, so many different people, topics coming from all over. I think the governments have been trying to I mean, they've created cap and trade systems for past 20 years. And I think it has been successful in a way. But mostly I think they have been very slow in deploying more policies and expanding these policies. There are so many different levels of governance from cities to states to federal and international policies. And it's really bureaucratic. It's a space. So I came actually from a nonprofit space that was I was working close to government and private sector and and it's really hard to create policies in this all these different levels of governance and bureaucracy and so many people. I just to be honest, I just feel like governments have been failing on us to establish policies that really regards sustainability overall. And that's why I kind of gave up on that area. I was I used to be really engaged, but I'm not anymore, to be honest. I think that there are other things that I'd rather spend my time on and end. And that's where I actually shift from nonprofit and a government perspective to go straight to private sector, because the past five years is really the companies that have been taking the lead on any type of climate initiative. That's interesting. The World Bank publishes the carbon pricing dashboard and it shows that international regulations are carbon pricing that are today over 60 jurisdictions that already price carbon. And there's another website that shows the state of carbon pricing in the US and how the states are taking the lead.
Shikher Bhandary [00:05:17] So you've seen a significant difference between execution on the private side than on the public side.
Maria Fujihara [00:05:25] Yeah, like Brazil is going to have a carbon tax, for example. This is starting off this year and it just start really moving when it got out of the Ministry of Environment and it and you went to the Ministry of Finance. So now that they are looking at environmental or climate initiatives as a financial benchmark, now things move much faster. So that's that's why carbon pricing is so important, because you are attaching a financial benchmark to to an environmental impact and it's the only way for them to move a little faster. And it's also it's also one of the biggest reasons why companies have taken the lead, because now they see the financial benefit and also all the other risks related to it. I think I would say that the economic. Perspective is really important.
Shikher Bhandary [00:06:18] When we were reading into it, we kind of found it so interesting that the government sets a cap on how much you can emit. Some companies go over it. Some companies are are within it. So the companies that actually, you know, do not get to the cap can sell those credits to other companies.
Jed Tabernero [00:06:43] So there's a secondary market that's created over this this cap and trade policy, right?
Maria Fujihara [00:06:48] Yeah, no. Yeah, that's that's good. That's it. But but you forgot to mention that that our government's involved that our auditor is involved there, like lots of reports and like approvals and costs. So it is so they tried to create it to create a market out of a scientific concept, which is carbon emissions reductions, which is great. Like I said, you worked for a European Union. You work really well. It was really successful. But we need to move much faster than that and we need much, much more ambitious with targets and really achieving those targets. So governments price carbon in two different ways, which is the cap and trade systems, as you're talking about, and through carbon taxes. And then what what companies have been doing for the past five years is that they have internalized this concept. And a cap and trade system at a government perspective became an internal carbon fee for a company where they actually trade carbon credits, but only for the company inside their business units. And that's actually what we do. And then the carbon tax became a shadow price at a company perspective so they can put a price on their emissions internally and evaluate their risks internally. So this is kind of how companies had signed, I mean, incorporated this government concepts that are very broad and confusing and bureaucratic into their own business. And that's what companies have been doing. Actually, a lot of companies, almost over 2000 companies already priced carbon internally.
Shikher Bhandary [00:08:30] The second you said companies price it internally. Now, if you're a big multinational company pricing carbon in different countries, is that still considered as pricing it internally?
Maria Fujihara [00:08:42] When I say pricing internally means always at a company perspective, meaning they are pricing their own operations. So this means that they are insetting before they offset. Offset is buying carbon credits outside the companies. When you like you mentioned, you invest in a project that it's outside your company to compensate for your emissions. It's needed, but it's not the best approach you should be setting first. And because if you're just compensating our emissions, you're not really changing the way you do business, you're not changing your business as usual. You're just going to keep growing. You are going to keep emitting. You're going to keep coming. Right. And that's the reason why you have only increased emissions for the past 50 years because we haven't changed the way that we do business. Yeah. So I think we are in a turning point right now where we have advanced, technologically speaking, not only like hardware, lots of software, and now we can totally implement new technologies to change the way we do business and really change change the perspective of emissions and is set before you offset. And then there's just one thing that I want it because I'm not against offsets. I think we have to work with both, but only if it's too expensive for you to read this internally. And that's why the financial piece is so important. So, you know, how much does it cost for you to read this internally? If it's too costly, then you go for offsetting for sure. And that's the approach that most of tech companies take.
Adrian Grobelny [00:10:17] So you mentioned the about two thousand companies are pricing their carbon internally. What goes into pricing carbon and how are these companies finding a universal or adaptable way to find a consistent way to price carbon? So I'm sure some companies might be more conservative, some might be not as conservative. So what kind of trends do you see with these companies and how are they pricing their carbon internally?
Maria Fujihara [00:10:47] That's the million dollar question. Each company is different and they have different operations and they have different approaches. So it's funny, like I was talking to this coffee company, they are not our first target market. We are really aiming for bigger companies. But I was talking to this woman. She owns a coffee shops in the UK, but it's a chain of little coffee shops, but they mainly by coffee grains from Colombia and Ethiopia. And then they transport everything through ships to to eat to the UK. And then when he arrives in the port, they have to transport through roads and trucks. And basically they are a transportation company. They are not a coffee shop called. And it's really hard for them to to understand how to reduce their emissions because they don't own any of their supply chain. They don't own anything like they are renting the ships. They are renting the trucks. It's really hard for them to change. For the companies that own their own facilities, their own operations, it's easier. And for that that are specific methodologies that we can use that are based on climate finance methodologies. And they were created by these two guys that actually won the Nobel Prize of economics. Twenty 18, they were the first ones that were calculating the externalities. How much does it cost? This is basically what we call the social cost of carbon. That means what's the impact on society of pollution? So what's the cause for health care or for transportation or for whatever? Calculating a carbon price is based on the social cost of carbon. Another way of calculating is the operations way that the the example that I gave. So you can calculate what how much does it cost your entire operation and how much can you reduce? And this is basically based on CapEx and OpEx and very financial analysis for from an operational perspective, you can price carbon based on a benchmark like what are other companies doing? And if you want to have a competitive advantage, you can you should be price more. So you have in a way, a competitive advantage. And a fourth way is based on regulated markets. So if you are in a market that has a carbon tax, you're just going to incorporate that carbon tax to your business analysis and you are going to establish a shadow price that is in the same value or more that this carbon tax. So you won't have to pay a fine if you go over your limits. That's also how a carbon tax basically is through climate finance methodologies. And for each company, they they should be looking to a different approach according to what their operations are or according to which industry they are. And that's that's what that's the issue that we are trying to solve.
Adrian Grobelny [00:13:59] There's like so many different ways to measure it, to quantify it, to think about it and to attack it. So that's it's cool that it's really like coming to fruition and something is being formed right now. But it does sound really theoretical until we have
Shikher Bhandary [00:14:19] more still very nascent,
Adrian Grobelny [00:14:21] until we have more case studies or more stories of how companies have implemented these different tactics to reduce their carbon and see the positive impact of that.
Maria Fujihara [00:14:32] Yeah, other examples, actually, sorry, I just mentioned the way that I'm looking to this problem, but companies have, like I said, that are over two thousand companies already pricing carbon internally. I think the biggest example is Microsoft. They have been they have been pricing carbon since 2012. They are very advanced. They just recently announced that they are going to go negative. Yeah, go negative things that they did the day that they started. So like, oh, they just also recently launched a tool that that calculates the embodied carbon on their butties. So, yeah, it's really complicated. Anyway, they are very advanced, so that's why they can do this. I don't think that's the approach for most companies, but the way that they are pricing carbon is it's basically they have an internal carbon fee. So they they calculate the impact of their business units and then the impact, meaning the carbon emissions. And then they have a cap, a limit for each one of those units. If they go over a cap that those units, they should be paying a price the way the price per per tonne of carbon to meet it, the way that they define the price is that they divide all the entire budget allocated for that year to invest in sustainability divided by the total amount of emissions for the entire company. So they come up with that number, which for me, it's OK. Yeah, I have many questions about this approach, but OK, so then they come up with, I don't know, twenty dollars per tonne. Then they, they charge the business units that go over the cap, the business units, when they pay that the money goes to a fund and this fund goes to the invest in low carbon sustainable. So that's their approach. But there are many others and I have many ideas. On how to actually approach every single company there, but that would take hours.
Shikher Bhandary [00:16:38] That's about it. From your point of view, is it better if the carbon prices are higher?
Maria Fujihara [00:16:44] Oh, it depends,
Shikher Bhandary [00:16:46] because if a company finds it harder or it costs them more to buy these credits and to to actually mitigate their emissions, their objective would be less on buying them and rather be on having internal technologies that would cut emissions altogether because Fiat and GM were actually being Tesla to buy the carbon credits. Isn't that crazy like competitors? You're giving money to the biggest challenge in the industry because that's the only way you can meet your cap. So it kind of incentivizes this this whole sustainability action.
Maria Fujihara [00:17:30] I feel this is a great question, actually. The the price cannot be super low, otherwise it won't matter. You will reduce emissions. Right. And the price cannot also be super high. Otherwise nobody is going to take it. They are not going to take it. They are going to take it for granted. Right. They are not going to use it as real changing their decisions. So that's the that's the biggest challenge, I would say. What's the optimal price that you should be pricing yourself so you can induce behavior change in the company and you can still have the economic benefit? It's yeah, that's again, another question that you're trying to solve. But there are different. Again, it's all about math and calculations. This is what I love the most, about what I love the most, about climate. Finance is all the country. So instead of like increasing profits, you have to be decreasing emissions. And it's all the concepts are completely the opposite of normal finance. And we have to use a lot of negative and positive signs. And everything kind of finance is reversed is really, really cool. I think it's it's a different way of looking to the problem and trying to figure it out how to how to achieve it. And and it is just really it's a great exercise, actually, for financial people to understand how to look into the graphs. Reverse graphs is really interesting.
Adrian Grobelny [00:19:07] So what's the background? What's the story of how you landed into working in climate finance?
Maria Fujihara [00:19:14] I actually grew up in a family that it's all about sustainability. Both of my parents are forest engineers. My dad actually brought my kids to Brazil in the 80s. Well, my mom has been working with environmental impact for over 30 years. Yeah, we we grew up like doing recycling and stuff like that. I actually have a completely different background, actually. I started a economics school and and then I got into an accident like three months after I started economic school and I got into a car accident that changed my entire life. And then while I was in the hospital, I was 18. At that time, I decided I didn't want to go to economic school, that I want to be an architect. And I did architecture school and but I've never designed a building my entire life. I've always only be interesting, Anderson, what's the impact of the built environment into the natural environment? So since the early days of college, I was looking to how to how to build sustainably. I was looking to solutions for sustainable solutions for constructions and stuff like that. And I got into and I got connected to the Green Building Council in Brazil, which was the nonprofit organization that I worked for eight years, which actually started as an intern with, like my my main job for me for a long time. And I was doing actually the Green Building Council that I started doing the first analysis for calculating a carbon impact of a building and then for a neighborhood and then for a city. And actually, when I got at the city level, I was already doing my master's in city's management and planning it and trying to to create methodologies to calculate a city's impact and the neighborhood impact and how would that impact a country. And so I think that gave me a good perspective on systems thinking and also how to get into the details
Jed Tabernero [00:21:20] then to help create a reference. Good. Yeah, for the group like the Green Building Council of Brazil. That's so crazy. Yeah. Yeah. So how do builders use that?
Maria Fujihara [00:21:29] So I don't know if you guys are familiar with the lead certification, the LA. Al Qaeda leadership in energy. Oh, OK, yeah, yeah, yeah, so it's really it's a certification to for green buildings. They it was created by the US Green Building Council 20 years ago in Brazil. Ten years ago, it was nothing, absolutely zero. And yeah. So I actually started at the Brazilian Green Building Council, which was kind of an arm of the US GBC, and I started adapting the two to the Brazilian reality and I started looking. So they actually break down into like main groups. Like they they look into a building, into the energy perspective, into materials, into the side air quality, but never on the the carbon emissions part. And this was something that was a big criticism that I've always had and that this part was missing the carbon calculation, because the construction industry has always been so siloed from the rest of the world and really communicate with like international policies. And things like carbon emissions is really the only metric that translates any kind of environmental impact into one single metric. And that singular metric, which is carbon emissions, is the only one that can be translating into a financial benchmark. So that's why I believe it so, so heavily that this is really the way to translate science into finance. And then, yeah, so I helped actually to to launch leading Brazil to actually establish the certification of the home certification for Brazil. And then I have five other countries in Latin America to do the same in Colombia, Chile years into nine others. And then doing this time I magpul how can I don't know if you guys know him. Know so he's a writer. He, he, he's an environmentalist and a writer. He wrote the first books about how businesses should be looking at environmental sustainability back in the 90s, early 90s. His first books was the College of Commerce and Natural Capitalism, which were amazing books. And he just recently launched me 2000 Draw Down, though, and I was advisor to the book.
Jed Tabernero [00:23:59] Yeah, that's so crazy. By the way. I saw your video on that. My gosh, that's funny.
Maria Fujihara [00:24:06] That was four years ago. Oh, there was actually at the Superdome in New Orleans and that was two to thirty thousand people.
Shikher Bhandary [00:24:15] So in addition to all the stuff that you do, you also sell out stadiums.
Jed Tabernero [00:24:22] OK, just a little impressive. Yeah.
Maria Fujihara [00:24:26] Yeah. I used to have a career back in Brazil before being an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. And, you know, I was being homeless in the most expensive city on the road. I'm kidding. Now. Now I'm always good. I've never starved or anything. But at the beginning, you know, it's part of the process, I think. Yet I also went to Singularity University. That was actually the tipping point of when I decided to get out of the the government, a nonprofit group and Teko private sector
Jed Tabernero [00:25:02] was another company that sounded very similar to, say, United that apparently came out of Singularity University. Does that have any relation to superb intelligence? Does that have any relation to and
Maria Fujihara [00:25:11] oh, that's my previous company. So I did the Global Solutions program at Singularity Twenty Seventeen. They don't have this program anymore, but it was a program that they sponsored, like Google sponsors 90 people from all over the world. I actually moved from San Diego to to NASA headquarters at Munfordville here in Mountain View and we stayed there for two months and a half with all these people living there together and they teach at exponential technologies. And my the theme of my heart was climate change. So we were actually learning on how to use exponential technologies to fight climate change, reverse climate change. And then and then the next step was to get into an incubator. And for that, we had to open companies, tech companies, because really the goal was to start businesses. And then I started urban intelligence, but it didn't work. I was my first failure. Failure. I felt it was it was I was mostly looking at how to make cities more sustainable. And my again, my customers would be governments. But I was like, oh, my God, I cannot be doing this. I have to do something smarter. And then I had already the carbon pricing in my head. But, you know, it's not like you wake up and you have an amazing. For a startup, it takes time to process everything, right? I don't know, you guys must be nice to
Shikher Bhandary [00:26:43] just have a mic. We have headphones and you're talking to some really inspiring people. Yeah, that's great.
Maria Fujihara [00:26:49] But cool. So that's the part, you know, is this idea is going to mature and you're going to figure it out so many other ways as you go for it.
Shikher Bhandary [00:26:57] Thanks a lot. That means a lot. You mentioned exponential technology. So has there been something like that within this whole sustainability space?
Maria Fujihara [00:27:08] No, no. There are so many opportunities actually to bring this role to the techno tech space.
Shikher Bhandary [00:27:16] So seems like it could be the most promising technology in that space just because of how like a unit of solar power has dropped since, I don't know, the last 10, 15 years.
Maria Fujihara [00:27:28] Yeah, that's really interesting. So, yeah, I like the concept of exponential technologies is that it's basically based on Moore's Law, right. That the power of the computing processors, the boat ride. I think what the beauty about Moore's Law is, is that it's not only applicable to to tech, I mean, it's applicable to any kind of industry. And then when you and you when you look at solar panels, graphs or wind energy or LED bulbs or electric cars, now all these sustainable technologies, you see that they have already achieved the tipping point of where they became exponential because the costs to be implemented are even sometimes 100 times less like Ladbrokes, for example. And the technology has been increasing so much the potential of applications and stuff. So this could be used for any industry. And I think that's what what I like the most about this law, that it's not only for computers. Yeah, I think the sustainability space, not only for energy, I think the energy sector is one of the few sectors that had evolved so much faster than the others, basically because of the source of energy we have here in the US. And most north hemisphere is so polluted that it was where most funds were allocated. But there is like so many other industries, like wastewater and water itself and fuel and other types of fuel. And anyway, I think it's just when is that time that they are going to disrupt right where they are getting to the graph that really changes. And it's only because emissions again and if so, Moore's Law goes up. Right. And when you think about climate finance again and we talk about job down is exactly the reverse that and it's where the tipping point of the graph them is when you are going to start reducing emissions. So that's that's the funny thing about associating this these concepts together. But, yeah, I think there are lots of opportunities in sustainability in many areas. I have a friend for I have many friends from Singularity that are building companies in sustainability. One friend she's actually working with, like wastewater treatment using biotech. Another friend is this 3D printing coral reefs another. Yeah. Like so many different things happening. And people can, you know, just pick a problem. So maybe climate change, good problems and sit down and try to work out of the solution.
Shikher Bhandary [00:30:21] Does you know, those different kinds of emissions? Does that also come into carbon pricing or is it just air pollution that you guys try to price? Do you consider even like wastewater and that sort of thing?
Maria Fujihara [00:30:34] Yeah, everything like my second customer is the biggest waste water utilities in Brazil. They are over six hundred municipalities. Anything that you can change the way that you do business, we can price.
Jed Tabernero [00:30:47] Could you actually go over what the crux of the product is for tonight?
Maria Fujihara [00:30:52] A little bit.
Shikher Bhandary [00:30:55] We have like four right here at the second you tell us what you're doing, we're going to get it going to be a competitor.
Maria Fujihara [00:31:03] No, no, don't worry about competition at all. It's just that we have to be a different scenario now. So it's a very analytical tool. We do lots of different scenario analysis. So we do we calculate business as usual scenarios and then we calculate the low carbon scenarios, this part that are lots of solutions that companies could be using. We are building a data base for those solutions to give better recommendations and then we calculate the price. For applying those kind of solutions and then in the final steps of their carbon strategy journey, because that's kind of what you organize them to, what they can do after they have carbon footprints, what's the next step? And the final step is really combining the financials of implementing mitigation options, options to reduce emissions and and how much emissions they're going to be reduced. And then we combine these into, again, financial methodologies to calculate the optimal carbon price and the optimal approach if it's either a carbon fee or a shadow price. This is going to rollout for their business units, which units should be charged with. Units should be rewarded and they can do this every year. That that's how they should be rolling out every year because their budgets change every year. They're going to be allocating budget for enhancing their operations or investing something every year. So they should be looking out for their emissions reductions every year. I believe they should be doing this actually every quarter, every time that they release a financial report, they should be releasing an environmental report together and measuring everything really close because otherwise they are not going to achieve targets that are for 20, 30, 20, 50.
Shikher Bhandary [00:32:57] That's coming really fast.
Jed Tabernero [00:32:59] It is a tool that will help companies also report to the government. Is that what's mainly pushing this or is it OK? So it's internal. It's internal management
Maria Fujihara [00:33:08] evaluation. OK, yeah. There you go. Someone can create a reporting tool. I'm kidding. And I think they should be looking more for mitigation options. I would say Jordan has so many solutions that they so draw their own map solutions. They are launching draw down to very soon. Yeah. That are so. And not only look at the solutions like look what's the problem and maybe work it out from there, like try to to now work with the solution first. That's not really how you should be building a company, but yet there are lots of problems relating to the options that this company have available to implement and ultimately reduce emissions in costs.
Jed Tabernero [00:33:59] But it I think it would be good, though, if if companies were to use your tool, for example, for reporting. Do you think that's an option that can come out in the future? Because I feel like
Maria Fujihara [00:34:09] I'm just putting we are launching, OK.
Shikher Bhandary [00:34:12] OK. It seems like there are quite a few gaps in the whole space and there's so much potential for you guys to kind of keep that intermediate body between, I guess, the company, the EPA, the government.
Maria Fujihara [00:34:28] Yeah, definitely. I think what's the biggest problem we are solving is actually combining all these building blocks for a real robust carbon strategy, because right now there's only solutions in calculating carbon footprints or offsetting and there are no solutions in the middle. And that's why we provide and and also like lots of different types of analysis. And yeah. So now these companies really know what's their target and how to achieve it year by year or quarter by quarter. They can really track and they can really find optimized. Right. Optimized for for for financials and optimize for emissions. And we focus on sustainability teams and companies and we are creating a tool that bridges between operational teams, teams that are operating these facilities or really doing everything and bridges to the sea level of the company that wants to build a strategy but don't have the data to. And then the operation team don't really have like they have actually only the demand from the sea level, but they don't really know how to apply anything. So we are providing tools to empower sustainability teams. Basically, we are the sales force for sustainability for as long as this inability to reason. I don't know if you guys saw that. Oh, really?
Jed Tabernero [00:35:57] Oh, OK. You just better trust me.
Maria Fujihara [00:35:59] Oh, I'm. And I'm sure they don't
Jed Tabernero [00:36:05] have money or food you have to know.
Maria Fujihara [00:36:08] Yeah. I mean,
Shikher Bhandary [00:36:09] I mean they do have Marc Benioff but I guess it's just, you
Maria Fujihara [00:36:17] know. No, it's different.
Adrian Grobelny [00:36:19] So who's your target audience? You mentioned that you had a story about working and speaking with a coffee shop. What's like the cut off or are there certain industries or certain? The size of teams or companies that you guys are trying to target and really focus on,
Maria Fujihara [00:36:39] yes, we are targeting carbon intensive companies right now, companies using five main sectors of the economy. First one would be manufacturing, like industrial manufacturing, from cement to aluminum up to our mobile and electronics. Second one would be transportation from anything from air, road and Marine. Third will be food and beverage for things, for anything from agriculture to growth, logistics and groceries and supermarkets. Fourth will be retail and apparel, also anything from production and to selling. And Fefe is real estate asset owners, managers and builders. So yeah, we are not even Amy. I mean, of course is oil and gas also and gas is always there. These other industries are very carbon intensive and that are not some of the solutions for them.
Adrian Grobelny [00:37:42] I was reading somewhere I think it was the World Bank or some kind of report that agriculture uses about 70 percent of fresh water and there's so much water use and land use just to grow beef, having cows, the whole dairy industry. How do you communicate effectively with people that aren't as data and tech savvy as you are because you really understand the numbers and how to calculate these things? So how do you communicate the benefits and the impact that these kinds of carbon aware solutions provide?
Maria Fujihara [00:38:19] Yeah, that's that's actually a challenge that we are trying to overcome right now, because, yes, there is like specific language, like if I start telling you, like, really the methodologies that we use and how all this kind of fine reverse climate finance looks like, it's it's very confusing. My confusing, if you're looking at this for the first time. But, yeah, we do have to work with education for sure. This is one of our biggest bridges that we have to build. And we are already thinking of how to do this in a smooth way that anybody could be understanding. I mean, so many people hate to do their own finances. Imagine doing climate science like even. But, yeah, we are trying to build this knowledge base right now. But I think it's a long way to go. But to be honest, this is the company's perspective. But I want to give you my personal perspective on this. And it's just that I I became vegetarian eight years ago, said yes, just because I wanted to reduce my carbon initially. That was the main reason. And then. Yeah, like what?
Adrian Grobelny [00:39:36] Practicing what you preach. That's.
Maria Fujihara [00:39:38] Yeah, exactly. Working. I mean, I bike to work. I don't use car. I don't have a car at all. I really apply everything that I'm saying to my my personal life just because you cannot be a hypocrite anymore at some point. But, but, but learning, you know, being this space and seeing all the impact out there, you really have to change your behavior. And I think that's the biggest challenge like behavior change. And and I think that the apps and software that are trying to how can we do FEJO emissions there? Really challenge is this one is how to change behavior. And it's not really to show how. What's the number of you know of your how much carbon did you meet on by eating that beef? Because nobody will care if it's 10 million tons or if it's five million tons. They have no clue what this means. But when they understand that the entire impact, you know, the value chain of producing that beef, then they might. Oh, OK, now I get it. Now, maybe I should stop eating beef every day. Yeah, I would rather work with people on the behavioral change side and then have the data to prove my point. I think that's kind of the way that we are going.
Shikher Bhandary [00:40:57] You know, you need to have a talk to our friend Jado because he's always on doltish. He's getting there's so much plastic being generated in this house. It's quite annoying, but.
Jed Tabernero [00:41:09] Yeah, but it's this man still eats meat. So should a very, very rarely.
Maria Fujihara [00:41:14] Yeah, well that's that's actually I, I was using that company hello. Fresh because I really like cooking and I cook a lot at home but oh my God. So much package. Half of that
Shikher Bhandary [00:41:27] like the ice thingy that keeps it cold.
Maria Fujihara [00:41:30] Exactly. Amazon also like when you order oh my God is like the almond guy. And I was like I can yeah.
Shikher Bhandary [00:41:37] I don't know what to think about it. I need this stuff. I cannot live without it. But it's so wasteful. I order like a set of one spoon and it'll come in like a big box full of hot air.
Adrian Grobelny [00:41:49] Have you heard of Leupp?
Maria Fujihara [00:41:50] No. What is loop?
Adrian Grobelny [00:41:52] So Loop is this company that is trying to reduce containers, plastic. You know, you go to the grocery store, you buy toothpaste or you buy a bottle of honey or something. And what do you do with the bottle? You throw it away and it's not recycled very efficiently. And what Loop is working on is creating these metal containers that can be reused for products from ice cream to honey to cereal to anything. And because it's made of metal, it's able to keep the temperature at a consistent level because it's insulated. And it's also really easy to wash and basically return and reuse. Back in the day we used to get milk. I don't know if they did this in South America or Europe, but you glass bottles, do you have the glass bottles of milk? And we used to have that which was relatively sustainable. Now we have the plastic cartons. Now, a lot of companies are focusing on creating clever ways to reuse containers and make people more aware of it and lessen their waste because we order on Amazon and get something to go and there's just so much waste that we create coffee cups. That is a huge waste. That's crazy.
Maria Fujihara [00:43:04] That's really cool. There is this supermarket in Germany. It's like it's like a Whole Foods where, you know, you can't you get grains and everything, but there is no package, zero packaging and you have to be your own well your own bodies and stuff to. By there, yeah, yeah,
Jed Tabernero [00:43:21] I mean, you're you're in the Bay Area, I think, have you heard of the initiative of BlueBell where they got rid of all the Cups Global as a coffee shop in the bay? They had promised to get rid of all their cups. So you have to come in now to this coffee shop with your own.
Maria Fujihara [00:43:36] Oh, that's great.
Jed Tabernero [00:43:38] Yeah, I didn't know that they have it in San Francisco as well. Adrian, you're in the biz. Check that out. And it's in Oakland.
Adrian Grobelny [00:43:45] I will have to bring it back to what we're talking about, talking about these companies, what they can do to lessen their carbon footprint. What would you say to the everyday person? What are things that they can focus on to help reduce their carbon emissions, create a positive influence or externality for others to be influenced in a way where they are aware of carbon emissions, what their emissions are, and ways that they can maybe not really inconvenient ways, but ways that they're just more aware and can implement in their lifestyle to be more carbon neutral.
Maria Fujihara [00:44:26] Yes, I rethinking rethinking the way that you operate, the way that you make decisions. Right. I used to buy so much series like years ago. Oh my God. I was that crazy consumers like I had this, I had had a problem. And and then when I, when I decided to move to the US and I had my apartment in Brazil and I had to close my apartment because I needed to move, I decided to go to the US in December, February 1st. I was here, so I had to move to close everything, everything. And that's how kind of like the way that I make decisions in my life. So I sold my car was the first thing and it was the best. I'm never buying a car again in my life. I had all these crazy things in my apartment that I couldn't get rid of. My mom. She was living in Rio and she had to fly to San Pablo to help me close my apartment because I had so much shit and I gave away 80 percent of my stuff and and I just kept really what mattered to me. Just so you have an idea of how we relate to stuff. I came to the US with only one bag three years ago. I just the ME I don't know, it just doesn't connect to me anymore buying stuff. So funny how how my mind changed so much and to be free of that stuff, it made energy flow and I felt so much better about myself and I just, I just don't connect with that. I think I've learned how to look into things differently. I mean, I'm still learning. So the way that I buy food is also very natural. I try to not I try to get lots of fresh stuff by local vegetarian, mostly for me. Yeah, it's super and everything so much cheaper when you when you go, when you go fresh and vegetarian, then the other way around and then transportation is. Yeah, I bike everywhere whenever I can. I take the public transportation. Oh good. Here is, is, is harder.
Shikher Bhandary [00:46:41] Is, is that the best way to join the fight. Like for us, like for our listeners there's been a push towards OK Derek actually does this meet us this. So from your point of view, what's the easiest changes that someone can make that can actually have drastic impact?
Maria Fujihara [00:47:01] There's also the investment part like that. There are so many banks. So if you have your money on Chase or I think Bank of America or something, I have a list of the dirty banks. They they invest in oil and gas and you can actually shift your money to to cleaner banks. This is also one thing that you could do. I mean, if you want to join the fight. Yes. I think the first thing is learn where how these things are connected and and see what resonates with you, really. Because, you know, I mean, I'm going to judge you if you eat meat every day. But that's just me. This fish count only counts. Look, OK,
Shikher Bhandary [00:47:47] I was just trying to test the waters I love.
Maria Fujihara [00:47:51] The oceans are the waters are the most polluted place on the planet right now is the oceans. When you eat fish, you are eating microbe plastics, you're eating chemicals, you are eating or hormones from lots of CHY or the other animals that they are using, hormones, antibiotics and but they're buying low. If you if you know, the providers just don't assume that everything is horrible and they're. Good providers, you should start caring and doing your homework and asking questions and doing research and finding the best options and I guess and start step by step, you need to change your whole life again. Like I said, it's a process. It takes time to learn about how this world is messed up and how we can change.
Jed Tabernero [00:48:42] Is there somebody in particular that inspires you to be in this fight?
Maria Fujihara [00:48:46] When I met Paul 2011 here in San Francisco, actually, so it was funny. It was a funny I came for Greensville, this event about sustainable constructions, and he was the keynote and it was the first time I saw him speaking. I also have not heard of his books before. And then and then I, I was like, oh my God, this guy is amazing. And when he finished, I, he he went to the backstage and then I ran to the backstage to follow him to get something. I didn't know what I was doing. It was just like, oh my God, I need to talk to him and then I have to go over like three security guards. And where he goes, oh, I'm going to talk to put up and OK, it sounds like a rock concert. Yeah, I like Greensville. If they have like this huge. Yeah. It looks like a little bit like but they offset, they compensate for their emissions anyway. And when I got topos I introduced myself was like, oh I'm for the Brazilian Green Building Council and I want to invite you to come to Brazil. I didn't know it just came out of my mouth. I wasn't thinking. And then he was like, Oh, of course I love to the Brazil, I, I just didn't have anything to say. And that's what I said. And then and then he was like, I would love to go to Brazil. And I was like, can I get your email to send you an official inviting us? Like of course. And then he gave me what his email was like surfing. And then I left the event. The year later, I actually convinced my boss, my previous boss, to pay for him to to to sponsor his team coming to Brazil. And then I actually made it and I invited him. I email him the next year and I invited him to go to Brazil to to be our keynote. And so 2012 he went, yeah, it was really fun.
Jed Tabernero [00:50:41] He met you for like five minutes and decided to go to Brazil. Yeah, yeah.
Maria Fujihara [00:50:50] That's that's how it happened. And and then when he went to Brazil 2012, we became really good friends. We became really close. I took him to Rio. I was like his official guide in Brazil. I was taking to all these meetings and we got to yeah, we get to know each other really well. It was amazing. And he's an amazing person. Yeah. I to be honest, he's he's one of my favorite person in the space. There are others that I look out from, from far away that I don't know personally, but him I know personally. And then we started we created a relationship the year next year after 2013, he invited me to speak at Green Bay, the one that you saw, the video that you saw. I spoke with him at the opening plenary, and then he invited me to be an advisor to his book. And then. Yeah, and then we're friends. He lives here in new value that's created.
Shikher Bhandary [00:51:49] You just took your shot. Yeah. You don't really hear these stories where you have this idea of just walking there. You just run up to him, you get past security and you're like, come to Brazil with me. I'm going to show you. Great. I'm going to show you video and all that. And he's like, Yeah, sure.
Maria Fujihara [00:52:04] Yeah, I know, right. Maybe maybe back in the day it is easier. I don't know. And I think it work because I wasn't thinking at all. I just did it with my intuition, was telling me it was funny. I would say yes. Do I think that's that's good advice. Like listen more to your gut. I think we can get a lot of great outcomes if we listen more to our guts. Actually, I do this. I make a lot of decisions based on my good work.
Adrian Grobelny [00:52:37] Can our listeners support and follow your company tonight and what you guys are up to? You mentioned the blog
Jed Tabernero [00:52:45] also also for you. Where can they reach you and where where can they learn more about your awesome
Maria Fujihara [00:52:50] story, I guess, in your podcast? OK, I'm not so I'm not kidding. That's Tolan's. This was really like a super honest conversation. I just I was just really telling everything from my heart. This is actually how I operate the and Sinai is Sinai technology Starcom.
Shikher Bhandary [00:53:17] Thanks for listening to things have changed.
Adrian Grobelny [00:53:20] Be sure to subscribe to never miss an episode and follow us on our Instagram at THC Underscore Pod.
Jed Tabernero [00:53:27] We're going to see you next time.