Category: Industry Insights

Environmental Conservation and Ecological Restoration – A Business For Our Future

Leslie Cooper, Managing Partner InterSearch Chile, interviews Magdalena Valdés, Founder and Executive Director of Bosko

Today, candidates are increasingly interested in finding companies that offer meaningful jobs. Such positions not only provide a sense of purpose, motivation, and well-being but also encompass opportunities for social impact and personal growth. As society progresses and perspectives on work and life’s purpose undergo a transformation, a significant number of young individuals are actively seeking employment that transcends mere monetary compensation. They yearn to experience a profound sense of contribution, knowing that their work is making a positive difference in the world. This profound sense of purpose empowers them to work with unwavering passion, wholeheartedly commit to goals, and unleash their creativity in the realm of their profession.

Furthermore, the emerging generations demonstrate an ever-increasing concern for social and environmental issues. They possess a deep longing to make a positive impact on the world and tackle these challenges head-on. Through active engagement in meaningful projects, individuals are presented with a unique opportunity to not only acquire new skills and relevant knowledge but also to fully develop their potential.

In this context, it is especially interesting to engage in a conversation with Magdalena Valdés, founder and director of Bosko, a company dedicated to planting fast-growing native forests using the ecological restoration method devised by Akira Miyawaki. The passion and conviction with which Magdalena talks about her work is truly inspiring. In Magdalena’s own words, “I firmly believed that I had to dedicate myself to leading this project, spreading awareness about it, and thereby making a meaningful contribution to the intricate challenges faced by humanity today.”

Magdalena recalls her childhood, where she would embark on adventures to the Pirque Hills, which felt like an extension of her own backyard. These hills were once teeming with lush vegetation and a thriving ecosystem. However, as the years went by and Magdalena continued these excursions with her children, she became an eyewitness to the devastating environmental degradation that had taken place. This profound realization ignited within her a fundamental concern and an innate discomfort with the state of our environment, prompting her desire to contribute to something of greater significance.

Since Bosko’s creation in 2020, she has discovered a profound sense of inner peace. Driven by her deep connection with nature and fueled by an unwavering passion, she has found her calling. Her conviction lies in the restoration of life to the soil, with a steadfast focus on forests and regeneration. Magdalena’s dedication to her mission is unwavering, as she strives to breathe new life into the land and make a positive impact on the environment.

“There is no reason to believe that more and more opportunities to work for nature will not continue to open up” – Magdalena Valdés

What drives someone like you to make a drastic change in your profession to get involved in this issue?

Conviction and passion, probably. Although I come from the world of Social Sciences, all my life I have been in contact with nature. I have lived in Pirque since I was a girl, closely linked to the rural world and life in the open air and, therefore, I have witnessed the transformation that nature has undergone in recent years. From birds and insects that are hardly seen anymore, to the essential vegetation of the ecosystem that no longer resists the current climatic conditions. It is painful to see how the native forest of a place, which has lived in harmony for hundreds of thousands of years, collapses in a matter of years.

It was in this context that when I found out about the existence of a system that allows native forests to grow quickly, I was immediately enthusiastic about trying it to see if it would also work with our Mediterranean climate. The trial’s ultimate success served as a catalyst for me to redirect my professional path toward something that not only convinces me but also fills me with excitement.

What is Bosko? What motivated you to found Bosko? How did the idea of planting fast-growing native forests come about?

Bosko is a company dedicated to ecological restoration, in general, and with a particular “spearhead” that is precisely the Miyawaki native forests, which have the virtue of rapidly recovering small, degraded spaces, returning them to their original or reference ecosystem.

My initial motivation responded to the dream of filling the soil with native forests that also grow fast. After carrying out that first Miyawaki forest trial and seeing its impressive results, I was certain that I should dedicate myself to leading this project, disseminating it and thus contributing to the complex scenario in which we find ourselves today as humanity.

Could you explain what the ecological restoration method devised by Akira Miyawaki consists of? How do you apply it at Bosko? How well-known is it in other parts of the world?

The Miyawaki Method, as it is known, is an intensive system of ecological restoration. This means that, with the objective of reconstituting a certain reference ecosystem, it tries to imitate the conditions of that ecosystem in its mature version. For example, if the ecosystem corresponds to a type of temperate forest, the soil conditions and plant species that would exist in that place if there had been no human intervention are observed.

Thus, the soil is worked looking for its oxygenation and enrichment with organic matter, until reaching certain characteristics that are similar to the soil of a mature temperate forest. Likewise, the possible species are chosen, from all the strata of that ecosystem and they are planted in high density, that is, three to five plants per square meter. In this way, collaboration between those species that have coexisted for hundreds of thousands of years is fostered and, in turn, their competition for nutrients and light is stimulated, just as in any forest.

Finally, the soil is covered with a layer of mulching, in order to protect it from solar radiation and thus promote the multiplication of microbiological life in it, which facilitates the interactions of the forest, making it increasingly complex.

Technically speaking, at Bosko we apply it in the most reliable way possible, trying to get it done in urban or peri-urban spaces, because this methodology is quite intensive in its work per square meter, which means that these types of forests tend to occupy smaller spaces. The parks, streets, sidewalks, public areas, etc.,.are perfect spaces for a Miyawaki forest. Likewise, gardens and plots of pleasure have been spaces where we have carried out many projects.

It has been interesting to realize that, although the methodology has existed for more than 50 years (the first forest made by Akira Miyawaki, creator of the system, was in 1971), we were the first to spread it more systematically in Latin America through our work in Chile. Before arriving here, these forests began to replicate intensely in different cities in Europe, including Paris, London, and Brussels, for example.

In this start-up, what have been the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?

The greatest challenge is to do it right. Technically, Miyawaki forests require rigor in the process and monitoring. Furthermore, each forest responds differently because conditions always vary. Therefore, we must be conscientious of those conditions. Our approach to addressing these challenges is by being responsible from a technical standpoint and sensible in terms of where and how we execute each forest.

What impact has Bosko’s work had on ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation?

Early on, we set out to broaden our perspective by incorporating different methodologies associated with ecological restoration. With the purpose that “every soil dreams of being a forest” or that every soil desires to respond to its reference ecosystem, and that our job is to make it a reality, we are already working, for example, on a pilot restoration project in Cerro Renca, which we know is a very challenging space due to its degraded conditions. In that project, we have set goals that are aligned with the degree of degradation of the area, focusing more on the erosion control and restoring the soil’s capacity to support life through physical soil remediation work, and subsequently introducing certain pioneer plants that are resistant to the extreme conditions of the location.

Therefore, we have developed the ability to address both populated spaces within the city through Miyawaki forests, as well as wild areas using other techniques more suitable for the environment. As a result, we are pleased to realize that the impact is strongly ecological but also deeply social because our projects are also exposed to people. Human beings ARE nature and cannot and should not disconnect from it. That is why we will continue to work strongly on bringing native forests to people and cities, promoting green infrastructure that is both ecological, functional, and aesthetic.

How do you involve local communities in your projects and what role do they play in ecological restoration?

When it comes to interventions in public spaces, we have involved the community at least in the planting process. This is very motivating because you can see firsthand what we intuit: that in order to promote an ethic of care, we must first and foremost foster knowledge and attachment to what we are getting to know. When there is no community connection, the conservation of the space becomes more challenging because there is precisely a lack of knowledge, attachment, and therefore, less care.

What has been the response from companies to your value proposition? What are you doing to involve more companies in the restoration or planting of native forests for different communities?

The response from both the public and private sectors has been incredibly positive and remarkable. There is curiosity, and that’s already a good sign. It’s exactly how I started myself, out of curiosity. And from curiosity comes the desire, and that’s how it has been. We are seeing increasing demand, even from real estate companies that are daring to incorporate ecological restoration and Miyawaki forests into their landscaping.

We are also on the verge of establishing a foundation branch so that companies can support projects dedicated to vulnerable public spaces, for example, which are also the areas where green spaces are most needed.

What is your dream for Bosko? What are your plans for the future of Bosko and the expansion of your ecological restoration projects?

Our dream is to gradually establish ourselves. We are striving to refine the application of the Miyawaki system, where we still have room for improvement. However, we are determined to make a strong impact on ecological restoration or rehabilitation projects.

In terms of coverage, we are currently working in the central region and the Los Lagos region in the southern part of the country, but we aim to build capabilities throughout Chile. Lastly, we believe that looking towards Latin America is also an interesting option, possibly through our foundation and alliances with local stakeholders. I see this as a highly feasible goal in the medium term.

You have just been in the Galapagos Islands receiving a significant award. Can you tell us about that?

Absolutely! It was a wonderful experience because we indeed won in our category of Resilient Architecture Design at the “Premios Verdes”, which are like the “Oscars” of Sustainability for Latin America. There were over 3,000 projects submitted, and we managed to become one of the three finalists in this category. It was a delightful surprise when they announced us as the winners of the Galapagos Islands. It is a stimulus and a reinforcement that we believe we are doing things right and that there is room to continue doing our work in the best possible way.

What is your message to those who wish to get involved in environmental conservation and ecological restoration?

I believe there is every reason to believe that more and more opportunities will continue to arise for working towards nature. Our company exists because we are structurally facing an unparalleled climate and ecological crisis since the existence of our species. And although it may be late, we are now witnessing growing awareness and action from international organizations, governments, and businesses. The forms that these actions take are diverse, and if carried out appropriately, this crisis can gradually be mitigated for the sake of the planet and humanity as a whole.


Click here to see more articles from the InterSearch Energy & Sustainability experts.

InterSearch Worldwide’ s first in-person Industrial Practice Group convention in Paris

In late April, the industrial segment experts of InterSearch Ww convened in the beautiful city of Paris, France for a two-day knowledge exchange.

This gathering provided an opportunity to share best practices in executive search, ensuring the delivery of the highest quality service to InterSearch Ww’s clients across the globe through international assignments.

Hosted by Godefroy De La Bourdonnaye, Head of Industrial Practice Group of InterSearch Ww, the event also featured a round table discussion with representatives of clients of Grant Alexander -InterSearch Member of France: Charlotte Delmas, HR Director at Datawords and Alain Everbecq, Senior Executive at Poclain.

In the course of the discussion, InterSearch delegates from 10 countries across Europe, Middle East & Africa provided market intelligence while the guests present also shared their perspectives, current challenges and expectations resulting in a dynamic exchange of insights and ideas.

Be sure not to miss out on the upcoming article that participants of the Paris Industrial Practice Group meeting are preparing based the key learning of the event by following InterSearch Ww on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter).

About Intersearch

InterSearch Worldwide is a global organization of executive search firms consistently ranked amongst the largest retained executive search practices in the world. InterSearch is currently operating with over 90 offices in more than 50 countries, able to operate in 70+. Established in 1989 in the UK, InterSearch carefully selects the best executive search firms to partner with as a member of a global entity with high integrity, transparency, and depth of experience. InterSearch prides itself on having a global reach with local impact.


About Grant Alexander

For over 30 years, Grant Alexander has been a partner in the performance of organizations and their leaders, providing them with comprehensive support for all their skills management and development needs, always with a tailor-made response. A multi-specialist HR consulting and services group, with 4 activities (Executive Search, Executive Interim, Leadership Development, HR & Organization Transformation), it operates in all sectors, on all functions (managers/experts /rare profiles), throughout the world. It has several offices in France (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Toulouse), an office in Abidjan for Africa, and is an active member of InterSearch, of which it is the exclusive partner in France. A socially committed player, Grant Alexander is Lucie 26000 certified.

French Member of InterSearch Ww – Grant Alexander to host the International Meeting of Industrial Experts in Paris

The Industrial Practice Group of InterSearch Worldwide, is holding a 2-days international meeting to exchange market knowledge and develop common projects.

“Grant Alexander has been the French partner of InterSearch for one year now, and hosting this first In-Person meeting of the Industrial Practice Group in France, an industry territory, is an honor for us. Grant Alexander is very happy to contribute to the organization of this event and to welcome its partners. I am convinced that the discussions will be fascinating and that this time together will help to create more links and trust, to develop synergies within the network.” – Says Henri Vidalinc, President of Grant Alexander, French member of Intersect Worldwide.

The discussions will be led by Godefroy De La Bourdonnaye – Global Leader of Industrial Practice Group at InterSearch Ww, Regional Director of Grant Alexander:

“With representatives from 10 partner countries, this meeting will allow us to better understand the specificities of our markets and the trends in recruitment in the industry.

By sharing our analyses and best practices, we will develop our expertise and our ability to support our industrial clients in all their international projects, always with the highest level of quality, whether in terms of relationships, consulting, or services, anywhere in the world.

I am looking forward to bringing together the partners of the Industry Practice in this magnificent city of Paris and to contribute to strengthening our beautiful InterSearch network!”

About Grant Alexander

For over 30 years, Grant Alexander has been a partner in the performance of organizations and their leaders, providing them with comprehensive support for all their skills management and development needs, always with a tailor-made response.

A multi-specialist HR consulting and services group, with 4 activities (Executive Search, Executive Interim, Leadership Development, HR & Organization Transformation), it operates in all sectors, on all functions (managers/experts /rare profiles), throughout the world. It has several offices in France (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Toulouse), an office in Abidjan for Africa, and is an active member of Intersearch, of which it is the exclusive partner in France.

A socially committed player, Grant Alexander is Lucie 26000 certified.

About Intersearch

InterSearch Worldwide is a global organization of executive search firms consistently ranked amongst the largest retained executive search practices in the world. InterSearch is currently operating with over 90 offices in more than 50 countries, able to operate in 70+. Established in 1989 in the UK, InterSearch carefully selects the best executive search firms to partner with as a member of a global entity with high integrity, transparency, and depth of experience. InterSearch prides itself on having a global reach with local impact.


Succession planning in modern agriculture

Article by the US member of InterSearch Worldwide, Charles Aris.

Traditional agricultural organizations relied on passing their business down to younger generations as the owners reached retirement. But as young people continue to pursue different careers, the talent pool has become significantly smaller for farm owners to find viable successors, a trend our Senior Associate Practice Leader Dana Mull witnessed firsthand.

Dana grew up on her family’s farm in southeastern North Carolina. Their cash crop is tobacco, but they also grow other row crops like corn, wheat, and soybeans. She always thought the business would stay in the family, but younger generations followed different paths.

“When I was a kid, we had high school students working on the farm,” Mull explained. “But new regulations and a lack of agricultural programs in education have made it more difficult for them to get involved in this industry.”

According to the most recent agricultural census data, the average age of a farmer in the United States is around 60 and Americans continued moving from rural to urban areas at a steady rate between 2010 to 2020. This means that young people aren’t as inclined to take jobs in agriculture and there are fewer people, in general, residing in rural, farming regions.

Against these odds, Dana’s father was lucky enough to develop a relationship with one young man who took a liking to agriculture and is currently slated as the farm’s successor. But to find this eligible person, he had to become more vocal about his need for farm workers in the community.

One way we’ve seen agricultural organizations successfully connect with their communities is through education. For communities that do have agricultural programs implemented in school, there are generally opportunities for career fairs, meet and greets, or even site visits to local farmers or businesses that can pique students’ interest in this field.

For communities without agricultural programs, we’ve also seen farming organizations create their own school programs to educate young people and inspire careers in agriculture. Got to be NC is one example of a program created by farmers to raise awareness of North Carolina agricultural products and educate children about the local impact of farming. Opening the gates for students to pursue agriculture should be the top priority for any organization, planning their succession strategy, and getting involved in local education is a great way to achieve this.

Dana’s father also had to widen his search parameters to find an eligible successor, which meant recruiting someone from an atypical background. According to Dana, keeping an open mind about your talent pool is essential for the modern succession plan. Young people who have gone to school for agriculture spent time in a relevant agricultural career path and express interest in farm ownership are worth considering when your organization is evaluating its future.

“Every family wants generational succession,” Dana said. “But people don’t have to come from an agricultural family to be successful farm owners. If someone has the interest and is willing to put in the work, they can be trained either by formal education or hands-on work experience.”

One thing to keep in mind if you’re the hiring authority or candidate on either side of this equation is that the best relationships are formed from a mutual stewardship of an agricultural organization’s heritage. Succession between non-family members is a relatively new concept in this industry, so both parties should be open and transparent about how they plan to honor this legacy moving forward. Having candid conversations about the transition with the senior leadership team is one way to increase understanding from all directions.

Dana also explained that outside hires, especially those in line with an organization’s succession strategy, are often successful when mitigated by a third-party advisor. Whether you employ an executive search firm, or you hire outside family members to consult on finding the right candidate, it never hurts to have multiple perspectives on big decisions.

To learn more about the Agriculture Practice of the US member of InterSearch Ww, Charles Aris, contact Eric Spell or Dana Mull.

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Can the combustion engine be eliminated within a short time?

It is beyond discussion that mankind needs to make changes to preserve the Earth as a long-term habitat – and of course, the automotive industry plays an important role in this challenge. What can and should be discussed, though, are the means to do that.

Article from the experts of Automotive Practice Group of InterSearch Worldwide, a leading organization of Global Executive Search Firms Woldwide.

Many countries around the world have chosen the e-vehicle as a suitable alternative (or successor, respectively) to the combustion engine and have consequently developed incentives in the form of subsidies or tax breaks to promote those. The individual goals, however, differ greatly: While the Chinese government aims for 20% of all vehicle sales to be electric by 2025, Canada pursues 60% in 2030 and 100% in 2035. The latter is in line with the EU’s plan to ban the sale of new cars with combustion engines from 2023. However, the wisdom of this measure is hotly debated among the EU countries, as alternatives like efuels or hydrogen are not considered at all. Limiting the focus solely to EVs entails risks. What should not be forgotten: Big OEMs produce for the whole world, so they can hardly restrain themselves to just one technology and thus lose relevant market shares.

E-cars require an infrastructure that can easily be set up in some places, but hardly in others. There are tremendous differences between not only individual countries, but even regions within one country – e.g., think of rural versus urban areas. In country terms, the gap becomes even more obvious.

Apart from China, the U.S. and Europe, progress is slow in other regions of the world due to government policies, lack of public charging infrastructure and high prices for e-vehicles”,

says Malena Juarez InterSearch Mexico.

While Mexico has a total of 290 charging stations, there are 115.000+ stations in the Netherlands.

Even in the EU, though, there’s still a lot of work to do since the current ratio is 13 cars versus 1 charging point, which is far from the required 9 to 1 ratio”,

as Francesco Righi InterSearch Italy knows.

Acceptance, too, is a big issue: Due to the much lower range of an e-car, drivers vastly need to adapt to new schedules – which is highly problematic in some professional areas such as field sales.

As Igor Svatoš of InterSearch Czech states:

Their clients demand time flexibility – but limited range of the cars and the network of charging station make it difficult for EV users to meet the tough time schedules.

Hybrids are an obvious solution as they use the infrastructure available at each individual spot, may it be fuel or electricity. In terms of acceptance, price is of course the most important argument: Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavarez recently stated that the main challenge for car manufacturers today is to sell electric cars that are more affordable for the average consumer. If e-cars are not cheaper or at least as expensive as combustion cars, consumers will hesitate to switch. A price reduction can be achieved through the aforementioned incentives, but in the long run, only mass production can be the solution. This requires security in the supply chain – which is why European companies are starting to build their own battery production to meet demand without depending on China, which is still very dominant in this market. In the U.S., the action is going even further, with a new law on the way that will require batteries to be manufactured in one of the USMCA contracting states: USA, Canada, or Mexico, with the raw materials having to come from one of these countries or another trade ally of the USA.

Binita Ghosh of InterSearch India reminds us:

One country, many do not yet have on their radar regarding resources is India, that could become a net exporter of lithium to global markets in bulk.

In principle, e-cars only make sense if the electricity is generated from renewable energies, otherwise, one evil just replaces the other. So far, only very few countries in the world can provide that prerequisite. And in this context, affordability on the road must be considered as well: fluctuating electricity prices aren’t the best basis to further establish the desired green technology. Homeowners of course can erect their own solar charging station – but those are a negligible minority.

And why does nobody talk about climate problems? Not the general ones, but those in relation to battery runtime. Winter temperatures still are a major problem and considerably reduce the range of e-vehicles. This leads us to one of the most essential technical aspects of the discussion: the batteries. There is still a lot of headroom in the development, just to name a few challenges: availability of resources, recycling, duration…

Widukind Baier, InterSearch Personalberatung Germany and Global Leader of the Automotive Practice Group:

As of today, we are in an advanced, but certainly not in the final stage of battery-driven vehicles. Radical regulations, such as those planned in the EU, should therefore be pursued with caution only. We shouldn’t lose sight of the alternatives.

Contact the InterSearch Automotive Industry subject matter experts

Global Practice Leader Americas Asia Pacific Central Eastern Europe North West Europe & MEA
Widukind Baier
Melena Juarez
Binita Gosh
Igor Svatos
Francesco Righi

About InterSearch
InterSearch Worldwide is a global organization of executive search firms consistently ranked amongst the largest retained executive search practices in the world. InterSearch is currently operating with over 90 offices in more than 50 countries. Established in 1989, InterSearch prides itself on carefully selecting the best executive search firms to partner as a member of a global entity with high integrity, transparency, and depth of experience. InterSearch prides itself on having a global reach but local impact.
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