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PANAMA - Green Economy

Gustavo Adolfo Rodríguez

CEO, Terpel Panama

Bio

Gustavo Adolfo Rodríguez has more than 30 years of experience in the energy and automotive sector, 23 of which he has worked in Terpel. He is an active volunteer in initiatives to protect children (such as Hogar San Mauricio in Colombia) and contributes to different social and environmental initiatives to add value and development to Panama.

"When the group arrives in a country, it works to generate added value for all stakeholders, including clients, suppliers, and also the community of the country in general."
How have social projects contributed to the company’s success?

When the group arrives in a country, it works to generate added value for all stakeholders, including clients, suppliers, and also the community of the country in general. We have the best stores and infrastructure and also characterize ourselves as a country-allied company. Being a country ally means we always place the most relevant principles and needs of the country before those of the company. We are clear about the concept of sustainability, which ensures the entire operation is carried out in a way that does not harm, affect, or put future generations at risk. The operations should not affect those who come after us. When dealing with the issue of sustainability, it is necessary to deal with social responsibilities, environmental responsibility issues, gender equality, reducing inequality gaps, and so on. Our Travel Centers are large roadside service stations, with convenient access, large parking lots, and a comfortable store. In the city, the Va&Ven stores have almost the same assortment as Travel Centers, with a wide assortment of food including hot dogs, hamburgers, the best pizza in Panama, and amazing desserts and coffee. This is a standard across all Va&Ven stores. Meanwhile, our chicken is known throughout Panama. We add value and ensure a high and consistent quality with our stores and service stations, both on highways where we are much more relevant as well as in the city, where we are also open 24 hours with full facilities.

What social initiatives is Terpel implementing in Panama to become the perfect ally of its communities?

We have diverse initiatives. One is interactive classrooms, which we have just implemented in Puerto Obaldía, on the border with Colombia, in the Darién area. This initiative benefits Guna Yala, Panamanians, Colombians, and migrants. It is a classroom where students are provided with the best conditions in terms of infrastructure and digital aids. It is a fully autonomous classroom that derives its entire power from solar energy. In addition, we have an AI assistant called Tomi for teachers, and we provide students with the opportunity to access the latest in technology and innovations. With this, we are giving many children living in more remote areas the opportunities they would have if they studied in Panama City or anywhere abroad. I am sure that in the future we will see the efforts of this interactive classroom bear fruit.

What added value do these initiatives give to the country?

In our case, this means we have to ensure in the best way that Panama has the best conditions for sustainability. It is necessary to assess the most complex gaps in Panama. There is the issue of inequality, as Panama is among the most economically unequal countries in Latin America. We have the highest GDP per capita in Latin America, but also one of the highest levels of inequality on the continent. A country cannot be sustainable with such inequality gaps. We have a pressing issue of education, and Panama ranks lowest in reading comprehension. If I remember correctly, statistics say that globally each person reads eight books a year on average, while the figure for Panama is 0.5, which perpetuate a vicious circle. Therefore, we focus the most energy on giving Panamanian children opportunities at all levels, and especially to the most vulnerable, who generally lack opportunities of those living in cities. We go to the places of fewest opportunities with the various programs that Fundación Terpel operates, where depending on the local need we implement one or more programs.

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