The Business Year

Alexandra Hidalgo

ECUADOR - Green Economy

Alexandra Hidalgo

CEO, ANAVANLAB

Bio

Alexandra Hidalgo is CEO of ANAVANLAB. She is an Analytical Chemist having studied at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, Quito. She has a Master’s in Environmental Engineering from the Institut Químic de Sarrià, Barcelona. She is a technical expert and auditor of ISO 17025 Laboratory Standards and Auditor in ISO 14000 Environmental Standards, as well as an expert in ISO 17029, ISO 14064, 14065 Green House Emissions Standards and Professor of analytical and environmental chemistry.

“We provide services to any type of sector, from textiles to the cut flower industry.“

Can you provide some background on the history of the company? Why did you decide to enter this industry?

ANAVANLAB was created in 2013 by four women partners including myself. We work to empower women especially in the sciences. The four of us who created the company had been working together since 2001. Some of us were professors at chemistry school at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. We accredited the first environmental laboratory in Ecuador within the university. We were accredited with the accreditation entity in Spain (ENAC), because there was no accreditation center in Ecuador at the time. Since 2000, we have worked intensely on environmental, quality systems, and accreditation and laboratory issues. I studied analytical chemistry at the same college and completed my Master’s degree in environmental engineering in Barcelona. We identified a need for quality laboratories in Ecuador that could produce products meeting international standards. Furthermore, certain regulations prevented us from continuing to work within the university sphere, whereby we opted for the private approach. And so ANAVANLAB was born. We are conscious of taking care of the environment in our country and beyond.

What solutions do you offer in order for companies to handle chemicals responsibly?

We provide services to any type of sector, from textiles to the cut flower industry. We also focus heavily on the oil and mining sector. What we do is environmental analysis, where our technicians in the field take samples, such as wastewater. Our service is oriented to generating reliable and actionable data for companies that also allow them to demonstrate their environmental compliance with the authorities.

What distinguishes this particular laboratory?

There are several laboratories offering environmental analysis, but our difference lies in our proximity to our clients. We design customized services for each company’s needs, offering reliable and confident data, in order to take care of our environment together. We also work extensively with the decentralized autonomous governments (GADS) of Ecuador. We support the different regional governments and industries in the environmental arena, backed in our technical expertise.

What added value does the laboratory bring to the environmental industrial sphere?

Our added value is an understanding of our client needs. We want to achieve sustainable development and gender equality. We also work on environmental education. We have a different way of working. Regulations exist, but each customer applies them differently. We, as a value proposition, become a customer partner instead of just a supplier. A supplier is simply less involved. In the meantime, we work on gender equity issues at ground level. We are part of Pacto Global Ecuador and I2SL, the International Institute of Sustainable Laboratories. We participate in technology and knowledge transfers with labs from Europe, Asia, and the US. For example, we are working with equipment manufactured in Germany that employs the latest technology. We measure all kind of metals in the water with this system (ICP-MS), at parts per billion levels. In this way we want to contribute with the mining industry to achieve environmental sustainability. We want to be at the forefront worldwide.

What is your perspective on the national drive to reactivate the economy sustainably?

This is the only way to do it. There has to be development but it has to be responsible. Otherwise, within a few years there will be nothing to develop. I believe that the current environment ministry has clear ideas. We are part of the 100 pioneers industries in a program called “Ecuador Zero Carbon”. Our intention is to be a conformity evaluation body, an external organism that verifies the process of Green House inventories compliance. This part of environmental awareness and sustainable development is an area where we have much potential. We believe that quantifying greenhouse gasses is the first step, but then we have to implement programs for organizations to become carbon neutral. We aim to become one of the first organizations in Ecuador that can verify greenhouse gas emissions inventories.

How would you like to position the company in Ecuador?

We intend to become the preeminent laboratory in Ecuador for environmental issues. And so we are set to work with all sectors for the sustainable development of Ecuador and the wider world. One of the programs I’m proudest of is called “I am a scientist,” where our idea is to bring science to children. We want them to lose their fear of chemistry and physics and work with the related communities. Science doesn’t end in a laboratory. We also want to work in education as a branch of our social responsibility.

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