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Javier Rodríguez Soler: “There are already some decarbonization technologies that work and are profitable”

“By definition, companies need to push profits. The good news is that there are already some technologies that work and are profitable”, remarks Javier Rodríguez Soler, Global Head of Sustainability and CIB at BBVA. In a recent interview with Brendan Wallace, CEO of Fifth Wall, Rodríguez Soler explains BBVA’s commitment to investing in companies that research and develop sustainable technologies that champion the decarbonization of the economy.

Javier Rodríguez Soler and Brendan Wallace agreed that clean technologies are becoming increasingly profitable and attractive, with a prime example being renewable energies and electric vehicles. Rodríguez Soler underscored the importance of identifying and supporting innovative projects: “We need to keep innovating and discovering new ways of doing things, such as changing the way we produce food. And for innovation obviously you need entrepreneurs, you need capital and, crucially, you need public support. Hence the importance of the initiatives now being deployed around the world, such as the Next Generation EU in Europe, or the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IRA) in the United States.”

BBVA’s Global Head of Sustainability and CIB stressed that the decarbonization of the global economy is, above all else, an enormous challenge “though also an immense business opportunity". As part of the global decarbonization effort, companies and governments alike must do their bit,” he remarked.

“Our purpose at BBVA is to bring the age of opportunity to everyone. We bank from the lowest-income individuals to the biggest and richest corporations in the world,” added Rodríguez Soler, who underscored the importance of sustainability for BBVA, as one of its strategic pillars.

“With the help of Fifth Wall portfolio companies, for example, we understand which technologies are working,” he exclaimed. “Once we understand this technology, we’ll be able to find some of the companies that are going to change the various sectors of the economy.”

Brendan Wallace, CEO of Fifth Wall, recognized BBVA’s leadership in the banking industry, especially in the context of the transition to sustainability. He also highlighted the importance of the ongoing collaboration between the two entities and the pioneering role that BBVA is playing in embracing sustainable technologies. “I think taking a leadership position there and investing in and understanding these new technologies is truly going to differentiate BBVA into the future,” said Fifth Wall’s CEO during their chat.

“Financial institutions that genuinely embrace the energy transition and the duty to decarbonize our global economy are going to be in a very good position in the coming decades and centuries,” he added.

BBVA and US venture capital firm Fifth Wall have joined forces to address the challenge of climate change in the construction and real estate sector. Through the Fifth Wall fund, BBVA announced in July 2022 its investment in innovative technologies and initiatives that seek decarbonization solutions along the entire building value chain.

The partnership between the two entities is crucial as this particular sector accounts for 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Investing in this fund not only seeks to achieve consistent returns, but also to anticipate the disruptive technologies needed to address global warming and to understand the additional financial needs accompanying this transformation.