Category: Energy & Renewables

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.

Sustainability – A Competitive Edge In Talent Acquisition

By Harris Karaolides, Global Lead, InterSearch Worldwide Energy & Sustainability Practice Group, in cooperation with the practice group experts.

Go ahead, ask a headhunter what her job was like in 2022, and there’s a good chance the first thing she will talk about is the shifting priorities of candidates. That is unless she starts complaining about the alarming increase in the number of counter-offers, of course.

Anyway. Only a couple of years ago, when considering a job change, candidates were primarily interested in career growth, a wider scope of responsibilities, and improved compensation. But post-COVID, and I don’t think this is a coincidence when a headhunter calls a candidate, we have noticed that the candidate’s top questions (usually in this order) are:

  1. Flex-work related: Can I work from home at least two days a week? Can I work from anywhere in the world for a couple of weeks every year? (extremely popular question in expat-heavy locations such as Dubai).
  2. Job security related: Why is the role vacant? How long was the previous guy in the role for?
  3. Sustainability related.

But what is Sustainability, exactly, and why is it important?

Sustainability refers to the ability to maintain or continue a certain process or state, usually in the context of the environment and natural resources. In practice, it often involves balancing economic development with the protection of natural resources and the well-being of future generations. In other words, and to be a bit cynical about it, companies must give up some of their short-term profits to be branded as “sustainability-friendly” if they want to be around in the 30’s too, especially those companies targeting younger millennials and zoomers, either as customers or as employees.

Sustainability can include practices such as reducing waste and pollution, conserving water and energy, protecting biodiversity, and promoting social and economic equity, and these practices have created new types of jobs that simply did not exist a few years ago. For a company to recruit for such sustainability-related roles can present a number of challenges. Some of these include:

  • Limited pool of candidates: Sustainability is a relatively new field and there may be a limited pool of candidates with the necessary skills and experience.
  • Lack of understanding: Many job seekers may not fully understand what sustainability roles entail, making it difficult for employers to attract the right candidates.
  • Specialized skills: Sustainability roles often require specialized skills, such as knowledge of environmental regulations and experience with sustainable practices, which can be difficult to find in candidates.
  • Unclear job descriptions: Sustainability roles can be broad and encompass many different responsibilities, which can make it difficult to clearly define the job and attract the right candidates.
  • Competition: Sustainability roles are becoming increasingly popular, and as a result, employers may face competition from other companies when recruiting talent.
  • Lack of perception of career advancement: Some candidates may not see sustainability roles as providing a clear path for career advancement, making it difficult to attract and retain talent.
  • Cost: Sustainability roles may require a higher level of investment for companies, which can make it difficult for them to attract and retain talent.
  • Lack of standardization: There is currently no standard way of defining and measuring sustainability skills and experience, which can make it difficult for companies to evaluate candidates.
  • Lack of diversity: There is a lack of diversity in sustainability roles, particularly among minorities and low-income communities, which can make it difficult for companies to attract a diverse pool of candidates.

One example can be found in the field of renewable packaging. Juhani Konu, Managing Partner of InterSearch Finland, says: “As the large global brand owners in packaged consumer goods become more aware of the effect sustainability has on the corporate image within the society, they start highlighting the importance of their packaging. As generally known, traditional plastic packaging is a major source of waste. As a result, there’s a large new global business area for suppliers who specialize in producing packaging that is recyclable and contains less plastic.”

According to Juhani, an example is companies that specialize in wood fiber products and are investing in this new technology. But to really find a market and success for their solutions, they need to recruit new talent who can find business for them: “These business development roles are difficult to recruit for, as the position requirements combine sales skills with a rather deep technical understanding. Furthermore, these positions are often stand-alone as they are located close to the market, but often in a distance from the production facilities and most of the internal stakeholders. Such companies often seek out the services of a search professional for these key positions, as the search is usually too specialized and difficult to conduct through internal resources.”

“Steel, mining, paper, cement, and even beer manufacturing are good examples of industries that have been pioneers when it comes to creating and recruiting for sustainability roles”, adds Malena Juarez, Managing Partner of InterSearch Mexico. “This is because of their need to optimize resources, water, and energy for instance, but also because they are constantly in the public eye about how they behave in reducing their footprint.” Ana Ber, Managing Partner of InterSearch Romania, confirms she has noticed an increase in requests from her clients across Central-Eastern Europe for a variety of new roles/job titles that are sustainability-related. These include:

  • Energy efficiency auditors: These professionals assess energy use in buildings and identify areas for improvement to reduce energy waste and increase efficiency.
  • Green building architects and designers: These professionals design buildings that are energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable, using techniques such as passive solar heating, natural ventilation, and green roofs.
  • Sustainable energy project managers: These professionals oversee the planning and implementation of sustainable energy projects, ensuring they are completed on time and within budget.
  • Sustainable energy policy experts: Governments and organizations need experts who can develop and implement policies that promote sustainable energy and reduce carbon emissions.

Says Ana: “For jobs like these the talent pool is still limited, and executive search firms like InterSearch can add a lot of value to companies looking to attract qualified candidates as we transition to a more sustainable future. The right search partner should have sustainability expertise and should support the hiring organization in building a diverse and inclusive workforce, contributing to a more sustainable and socially responsible business. Your search partner should have the ability to identify candidates with a passion for sustainability and the motivation to make a positive impact and support you in benchmarking sustainability performance, identifying areas for improvement, and recommending candidates with the skills and experience to drive change. By providing ongoing support to the clients as they implement sustainability strategies, your search partner helps ensure that sustainability remains a top priority and that progress is being made towards sustainability goals.”

For more information, please contact our Energy & Sustainability experts or read the Practice Group e-brochure.

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 members of a global entity with high integrity, transparency, and depth of experience. InterSearch prides itself on having a global reach, but local impact.


Is Green the New Black?

InterSearch Worldwide considers the impact of the green revolution – solar-powered by newly elected President of the USA – on the talent market.

by Harris Karaolides, InterSearch Energy & Renewable Energy Practice Leader

Harris Karaolides
Harris Karaolides

Across the globe we are all feeling the effects of climate change and the inaction of world leaders – on our health, finances, and overall quality of life. The coronavirus pandemic, which emerging research suggests is aggravated by air pollution, has shed new light on this reality.

While the Trump administration favoured the oil and gas industry, Biden’s team will also be paying significant attention to renewable energy. Biden’s policies respect the incontrovertible scientific evidence that swift and robust action is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid serious socio-economic consequences.  He has pledged to build a more resilient, sustainable, clean energy economy to meet the 2050 Paris Agreement deadline.

Trump described Biden’s focus on climate change as a recipe for economic devastation, accusing him of risking millions of American jobs. However, Biden has promised a clean energy revolution that creates millions of unionised middle-class jobs. His vision requires policy makers and clean-energy companies to replace the number of fossil-fuel jobs that could be lost in the transition from coal and oil.

According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, salary and benefits in the wind and solar power industries, fundamental to a clean energy transition, lag those in oil, gas and coal. Once established, solar and wind energy installations usually require less staff to maintain than oil and gas infrastructure, and both industries rely on imported components to keep costs low, potentially affecting job creation. However, Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan, relatively double the cost to put the first man on the moon, not only envisions a measured transition, it also intends to create jobs across a variety of other sectors, including construction, power transmission, electric vehicle manufacturing, and charging infrastructure.

Commenting specifically on the automotive sector, Malena Juárez, Regional Leader Americas Energy & Renewables Practice Group of InterSearch, says:

Malena Juárez
Malena Juárez

“Biden’s climate and clean energy plan will have a direct impact in different industrial sectors, one of them the automotive industry. His project will include building a strong structure of skilled trades like engineering workers in order to help make the clean energy economy possible. Electric vehicle manufacturing could be particularly attractive to those countries with a currently high dependency on oil imports and a positive electricity trade balance.  Of course, one important factor is both the development and variation in the price of oil vs. electricity in the different countries.”

The Biden administration acknowledges the possibility of initial growing pains as the nation transitions to a cleaner energy infrastructure, but his plan includes retraining and other support for traditional fossil fuel workers who might be affected.

While workers are eager to retrain to escape “black gold’s” boom-and-bust cycles, recently evidenced during the pandemic as people drive and fly less, some are concerned about the lower salaries in the renewable energy industry. However, salaries are likely to increase automatically as the renewable energy sector grows, becomes unionised and is pressured to attract more workers. Jobs such as wind technicians and solar panel installers are the first and third fastest growing positions, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, and electric vehicles and other related industries are powering ahead led by visionaries such as Elon Musk.

In fact, some analysts and economists believe that Wall Street’s increasing investment in the renewable energy sector has the potential to provide more jobs than any fossil fuel industry. Says Ana Ber, Regional Leader Central & Eastern Europe Energy & Renewables Practice Group of InterSearch:

Ana Ber
Ana Ber

“Jobs in renewable energy can be created directly and indirectly along the entire value chain, including in the manufacturing and distribution of equipment; the production of inputs such as chemicals; or even in services like project management and operation. We all should be aware that the success of implementing green policies is dependent on the availability of skilled people. With the green revolution just starting, upskilling and reskilling are indispensable and companies as well as governments must take responsibility for this. To implement such a program you need a clear strategy and answering key questions, such how to finance it. In Europe we already see some initiatives, for example Enel in Romania including upskilling in their CSR program, and the CSR Europe/JP Morgan initiative ‘Upskill 4 Future’ which launched pilot projects in Spain, Italy, France and Poland.“

The agricultural sector will also likely benefit from jobs through the increased harvesting of feedstock and other biomass, and roles related to natural pesticides, efficient land management and aquaculture.

Improved energy supply through renewable sources, as opposed to diminishing traditional fuels, will contribute to the expansion of existing economic activities in other sectors, and jobs in renewable energy production involve less hazardous working conditions. This not only means additional jobs, but better quality jobs.

Indraneel Dass
Indraneel Dass

“Biden will be keen to push for exports of energy as USA is largely self-sufficient in energy, and this will augur well for fighting climate change at a global level, this is the need of the hour and he will lead from the front on this aspect,”

comments Indraneel Dass, Regional Leader Asia Energy & Renewables Practice Group of InterSearch.

The executive search & recruitment industry is observing the rise of new training programmes and roles pertaining to energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage, energy trading, green manufacturing and construction, environmental specialities, public transportation and recycling. Just as the digital revolution created brand new jobs such as Data Analyst, Scrum Master, and Digital Strategist, so too is the green revolution sprouting job titles such as Soil Planning Specialist and Environmental Protection Manager. And, of course, there is the question of corporate leadership:


Jan Oinaes
Jan Oinaes

“How do you recruit senior people for an industry that hasn’t been around long enough to have enough senior people in it? This is what our clients are asking” Jan Oinaes, Regional Leader North & Western Europe Energy & Renewables Practice Group of InterSearch.“ That’s where an executive search firm with a proven deep understanding of the sector can really add value.”

Amid a devastating pandemic and economic calamity, the 2020 U.S. election is the first in history with climate change playing a role; a trend that will no doubt permeate the rest of the world. While some may continue to argue the expense of addressing global warming; the devastating costs of leaving climate change unchecked can be considered much more so.

InterSearch Worldwide is a leading global executive search organization. Established in 1989, InterSearch ranks as one of the top international executive search organizations in the world, with more than 90 offices in over 50 countries. Through a network of partner firms and their breadth of knowledge and expertise, InterSearch provides clients with access to exceptional candidates anywhere across the globe, with experienced locally based consultants in each individual market.


Are you facing challenges recruiting top-notch talent for the Renewable Energy sector anywhere in the world? Please contact Harris Karaolides on +971 50 5502701 for more information on how InterSearch Worldwide can help.

Energy, Energy and renewable energies, Oil & Gas and Renewables Practice Group

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