23 Jul

MESPIL and The Planet

Sustainable development: what we’re doing to make a difference.

At MESPIL we feel it irresponsible to conduct business in 2019 without taking into account our impact on the planet. We are committed to providing sustainable development and management of real estate for our clients, and offsetting our impact where possible by operating clean energy projects. We want to provide our clients and investors with peace of mind that MESPIL are thinking sustainably, acting sustainably and developing sustainably.

Currently, MESPIL real estate investment and development is focused on Portugal and particularly The Algarve, a region that would be at great risk of destruction if current trends were to continue. Creating a sustainable development and investment template for The Algarve is important to MESPIL and with that in mind we recently sponsored and spoke at an event organised by the IBPN (Ireland Portugal Business Network) bringing together thought leaders on different areas of sustainable business development, and the alignment required for the future plans of the region.

The event, “The Future of The Algarve: Circular Economy and Smart Sustainable Development” was a panel discussion and awareness evening that sought to discuss the Algarve’s ability to support development addressing the environmental impact of current trends.

The Algarve, like all regions, does not have a backup planet at the ready. In fact, ecological footprinting shows that if everyone in the world consumed as much as the average person in the Algarve, we’d need three planets to support everyone.

MESPIL imagines an Algarve where everyone, both locals and visitors alike, live happy, healthy lives within the limits of the planet, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness, respecting and learning from local communities, culture and wisdom.

In order to achieve this however, a completely new approach to a circular and sustainable economy is required. One that can sustain the local community, visiting tourists, biodiversity, food, fauna and wildlife, without further exasperating our current global environmental predicament.

This is not out of reach and also represents a massive business opportunity to redesign the infrastructure, housing, energy, water and food supply and approach to healthcare which was one of the most interesting aspects of the panel’s expertise on the night.

In an effort to facilitate these goals on a global level, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were conceived, and at the event, we discussed how the Algarve can respond. Indeed the opportunity exists for the Algarve to lead the way for other regions, and demonstrate how future communities can coexist with nature, and in particular, heavy tourism areas that are generally very damaging to the environment and disruptive of local communities.

The IPBN were delighted to invite Declan Conway, Andrew Coutts, Charles Weston-Baker, Tom O’Connor and Marc Rechter to have an open conversation about what needs to happen to realise these goals and leverage the advantages the Algarve has in terms of natural capital, culture and heritage to create business opportunities in the circular economy and sustainable development.

The speaker's’ credentials in sustainability, development and The Algarve were formidable:

  • Andrew Coutts who moderated the debate is a member of the IPBN Algarve committee, CEO of ILM Group Portugal and Development Planning Leader of the new “Plantation” eco-tourism project.
  • Declan Conway is a member of the IPBN Algarve committee, a successful Entrepreneur, Investor & CEO of Global Sustainability Initiative (GSI) with experience promoting sustainable and circular economies.
  • Marc Rechter is a renowned Blue Economy Entrepreneur and President of Enercoutim, which manages the implementation and operation of the Martim Longo Solar Demonstration Platform.
  • Charles Weston-Baker is a distinguished Development Consultant with 30 years of development, consultancy and sales & marketing experience in residential property.
  • Tom O’Connor is co-founder of MESPIL, and has also facilitated £50M of solar energy projects since 2014.

The debate was extremely well received and the start of tangible plans were discussed. The IPBN will continue to focus on sustainability in all areas of business development in The Algarve and this event certainly has helped promote engagement with the business community and helped develop important networks of like minded people.

Very shortly after the event, the IPBN met with the CCDR (Portugal’s Commission for Regional Coordination and Development) to discuss the setup of a road map for the development of a sustainable local economy in the region with the  ambition of presenting some tangible projects in the region at the next Davos Symposium 2020 where the GSI (global sustainability initiative) will be launching its SDG+ strategy.

MESPIL came away from the event more aware, more enthused for change  and opened up conversations internally among its different teams to push forward with what we could be doing better. So far MESPIL clean energy projects has saved over 13,000 tonnes of CO2 with this figure projected to hit 31,000 tonnes by the end of 2020. 

Alongside our carbon offsetting, MESPIL is also making step-by-step changes to introduce sustainable development processes and procedures across all of our projects. We are creating awareness and understanding within our own team which will impact on the future decisions we make regarding suppliers and contractors. We plan to review our real estate investments ensuring we adopt a holistic approach addressing energy saving, water consumption, selection of sustainable materials and carefully managing waste.

We are committed to constantly striving to improve our environmental credentials and will keep our clients and investors updated on the steps we take in this direction as they happen.