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“Small moments and changes can add up to make a big impact to support the world” With Daniel Martínez-Valle & Penny Bauder

Small moments and changes can add up to make a big impact. I encourage individual citizens to think about the small things they can do every day to support the world, from turning the water off while brushing their teeth to recycling. As for corporations and governments, we must work together to leverage our resources […]


Small moments and changes can add up to make a big impact. I encourage individual citizens to think about the small things they can do every day to support the world, from turning the water off while brushing their teeth to recycling. As for corporations and governments, we must work together to leverage our resources in the best ways possible and hold ourselves accountable to the results. We are strong believers in collaboration. Just like our different business groups work together on solving global challenges, we aspire to collaborate with governments, non-profits, and corporations that share our beliefs.


I had the pleasure to interview Daniel Martínez-Valle. Daniel is CEO of Orbia, a purpose-led company that aspires to advance life around the world by tackling the world’s biggest challenges. Daniel joined Orbia in 2018, after serving as CEO of Kaluz, Orbia’s holding company. 2018 proved to be a historic year for the company, in part due to Orbia’s acquisition of Netafim, the global leader in precision irrigation. Prior to his role as CEO of Kaluz, Daniel served as director of worldwide strategy & planning at Cisco and before that, worked as managing partner at Nebli Capital Advisors, a private equity and investment advisory firm based in Spain. Daniel was also founder and CEO of Aquanima, a global leader in the practices of procurement, cost analysis, and vendor strategies, bringing value to businesses in Europe and Latin America.


Thank you for joining us Daniel. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Before I was part of the company directly, I was the CEO of Kaluz, Orbia’s holding company. Mexichem at the time, now Orbia, was growing rapidly based on acquisitions and demonstrated great success across multiple industries. When I joined as CEO last year, I realized that while we are focused on selling great products, we also have a rare opportunity to impact people’s lives. That was when I discovered our “why,” and that led us to kick off a major transformation on a path to become purpose-driven, future fit, and more customer centric.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

Orbia is a community of companies bound together by a shared purpose: to advance life around the world. We are passionate about solving the challenges that define how people live and thrive, today and tomorrow. We are focused on ensuring food security, reducing water scarcity, reinventing the future of cities and homes, connecting communities around the world to global data infrastructure, and expanding access to health and wellness with advanced materials. Our impact comes to life through the stories of the people we have served. Our decades-long history began as a leading producer of commodities. Through investment and strategic growth, we became a global leader in polymers, materials, and infrastructure. Today, we are a global company, operating in more than 40 countries, employing more than 22,000 people worldwide. We have multiple headquarters — in Mexico City, Boston, Amsterdam, and Tel Aviv — to reflect the global nature of our customers and challenges.

Can you tell us about the initiatives that your company is taking to tackle climate change?

At Orbia, we focus on developing a wide range of smart, energy-saving solutions, recycling, and construction optimization technologies that mitigate climate change. These include energy efficiencies that reduce the environmental footprint of homes and buildings, reducing the energy dependency and costs of municipalities through district heating (which is also a lower-cost option than batteries for storing energy), and establishing a new facility for refrigerant recycling and infrastructure.

We recently introduced our ImpactMark, a dynamic logo which will put our progress towards these goals on display and hold us accountable to progress.

What was the most difficult thing you faced with this transformation to become purpose-driven? Can you share how you overcame that? This might give insight to founders who face a similar situation.

We have made a long-term corporate commitment to transforming into a purpose-driven, future-fit, customer-centric company in order to pursue solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. It is an ambitious and far-reaching goal. This transformation would not have been successful if our employees, our customers, and our investors were not all on board and committed to being part of our transformation. We involved them all in the process, which can be hard to do in an organization as large as ours, but we recognized the importance of making this feel less like a “me” decision and more like a “we” decision. Founders and entrepreneurs should recognize the value of collective purpose and leverage it to inspire their own workforces, partners, and investors. Our chairman, Juan Pablo del Valle, has demonstrated great vision and bravery in supporting this bold journey from the beginning. We have seen excitement and motivation among our 22,000 employees in 41 countries. This journey is about creating a change movement. It will not happen overnight, but I am optimistic about where it will take us.

Many people want to start a company to tackle environmental issues, but they face challenges when it comes to raising enough money to actually make it happen. Can you share how were you able to raise the funding necessary to start your organization? Do you have any advice?

Our aspiration is to become best in the world and best for the world. The real impact is generated by the combination of the two. While we are cultivating for tomorrow, we always need to make sure we are optimizing for today. Orbia has an annual revenue of $7.2 billion and that means we have many customers, partners, employees, and investors that rely on us. Being responsible with our business today and continuing to respect that commitment is what enables us to be able to focus on our tomorrow and evolve into being the best for the world.

We are lucky to have investors and employees that understand that this is a long-term journey, and that the results aren’t always immediate. One way we communicate our progress transparently is through our ImpactMark, which demonstrates the intersection of people, planet, and profit through the metrics we measure.

Do you think entrepreneurs/businesses can do a better job than governments to solve the climate change and global warming issues? Please explain why or why not.

In the most successful scenarios, governments and businesses work together to address climate change and global warming issues. Governments have the advantage of access to established channels, people, and processes, and of course know their local communities and challenges better than anyone. Businesses can be nimble and innovative. By putting these strengths together, all parties are in the best position to have a real impact.

What are some practical things that both people and governments can do help you address the climate change and global warming problem?

Small moments and changes can add up to make a big impact. I encourage individual citizens to think about the small things they can do every day to support the world, from turning the water off while brushing their teeth to recycling. As for corporations and governments, we must work together to leverage our resources in the best ways possible and hold ourselves accountable to the results. We are strong believers in collaboration. Just like our different business groups work together on solving global challenges, we aspire to collaborate with governments, non-profits, and corporations that share our beliefs.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I learned from my grandfather, and his experience in the Spanish Civil War, that a whole generation may have reason on its side and may still be defeated. Force may destroy souls and sometimes courage is not rewarded. But if we live long enough, we realize that life comes in circles and we discover why optimism is marked by being convinced that tomorrow can always be better than today.

What are “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

I was lucky to get very good advice from many smart people along the way. These are a few things I wish I had known:

  1. Everyone is fighting a battle even if it doesn’t show.
  2. Empathy matters above all.
  3. We need to enjoy the journey and not just the destination.
  4. Ships are safe in harbors, but that’s not what they were built for.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring a great amount of good to the world, what would that be?

With population growing rapidly and urbanization on the rise, I aspire to make every city in the world livable and lovable. For me what that means is –

  • Optimize mobility — no cars
  • Facilitate green public spaces that enable happy communities
  • Ensure fresh air, without pollution
  • Sharing resources fairly across different communities and society tiers

This vision could be a reality in any city in the world — it is relevant for Mexico City, where I live, but it is also relevant for any other city in any other country and continent in the world.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-martinez-valle-8026a/

Twitter: @danielmv1

https://www.linkedin.com/company/orbiaglobal/

Twitter: @orbia

Instagram: @weareorbia

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