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Patricio Salazar

ECUADOR - Green Economy

Patricio Salazar Benítez

CEO, GPS Group

Bio

Patricio Salazar Benítez is President of GPS Group since 2014 and is mostly active in innovation and sustainability solutions for the agro-industrial sector. Before that, he served as Ecuador’s regional commercial ambassador for South America and the Caribbean and as director of business development and foreign investment at the Ministry of Commerce. He started his career at LAN Airlines and later acted as its regional sales director. He holds a degree in economics from Escuela Superior Politécnica del Literol and an MBA from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

“Today, GPS Group is focused on continuing to professionalize the business ecosystem.”

GPS Group has played a major role in Ecuador’s shrimp and agriculture industry, facilitating its energy, technological, and ecological transition by providing comprehensive solutions and infrastructure.

What are the challenges facing the shrimp industry in obtaining environmental licenses and how is the public sector working to address them?

Today, the most important challenge is the lack of coordination between three ministries—energy, production (including aquaculture), and environment—and the lack of leadership within the government to accelerate and ensure maximum coordination in the public sector. Despite the fact that in 2017 we promoted and managed the signing of an agreement between the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Production to create the Electrification Program for the shrimp sector, which was updated in 2019, the Ministry of Environment is not part of this agreement, which we have been insisting should participate as soon as possible, especially since it is also called Ecological Transition. The environmental licenses require for the construction and energization of transmission and sub-transmission power lines for public and private use continue to be a major bottleneck since this public infrastructure today still requires environmental licensing by the Ministry of Environment, Ecological Transition, and Water. Focused on the solution and given the lack of resources from the public sector, we decided to prepare and present an environmental and legal technical proposal based on international regulations and protected by the Ecuadorian legal framework, guiding a process of recategorization and classification of the transmission and sub-transmission power lines that has already been formally submitted to the Ministry of the Environment, and we are awaiting a favorable response. Above all, it is essential that the Ministry of Environment joins and actively participates in this agenda to really accelerate the ecological transition and decarbonization of the shrimp sector from an energy transition approach.

What is GPS Group’s role in the shrimp and agriculture industry, and how has it impacted the industry as a whole?

Our fundamental role has been to act as copilot in order to accelerate and facilitate the energy, technological, and ecological transition process of both sectors: shrimp farming and agriculture. Although GPS Group was born as a consulting and management company, the trust of our clients has allowed us to evolve and become today a vertically integrated business ecosystem that offers an integral and tailormade solution for each project, being 100% responsible for: the viability, the design, supply, execution, operation, and maintenance of the infrastructures and equipment included in every electrification and automation project. Our impact has been directly related to solving three main problems: improving the competitiveness of the private sector; improving the fiscal deficit by promoting the use of clean energy and generating income for the Ecuadorian state from the sales of energy from the public utility company Cnel Ep; and mitigating the effects of climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of the sector. It fills us with satisfaction to look back and visit projects that are now a reality and confirm the substantial benefits from the point of view of operational efficiency, profitability, and sustainability for our clients, as well as the social benefit of facilitating and accelerating the development of rural areas where we have been able to bring clean energy and technology.

What factors have contributed to the achievement of the GPS Group’s goals, and what challenges have you faced along the way?

The fundamental factor has been the perseverance and technical capacity of our team to achieve fundamental changes in public policy, but above all, a close understanding of the challenges and needs of our clients with a comprehensive and long-term perspective. We have been able to quickly adapt to the requirements of our clients by investing in the generation and consolidation of capacities that have led us to the creation of new companies, new business units, new structures, going from 20 people in 2017 to more than 250 people at present. Today, GPS Group is focused on continuing to professionalize the business ecosystem, strengthening the organizational structure, perfecting its processes, and, above all, maintaining the essence and culture of an advisory and service company.

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