Wanted: Women with green minds who care and dare

CEOs, entrepreneurs, engineers, managers, marketers… the world needs a strong network of women with green strategic minds. To achieve sustainable goals, the industrial sector needs to transform its energy supply, and it has been proven that women’s participation accelerates environmental decision-making.

The industrial sector needs more women with green skills and green minds, women who know that caring is a strength, not a weakness.

Caring means thinking strategically to plan for the future, to be aware of the needs around us, to consider how many resources we have and how we can manage them. Caring also means being creative, finding solutions and passionately pursuing the projects that we know will improve our lives.

Throughout human history, caring has been delegated to women as unpaid, unrecognized and undervalued work. It became an undesirable trait that defined the professional paths of women, usually in subordinate and service positions. But now the world needs leaders who care… and women care.

Green care, green decisions

“Caring” is beyond the discourse of women having it like a natural “gift”, but a set of skills that are useful for people when making decisions: Supervision, vigilance, to look after, concern and responsibility, management skills, judgment, and more.

All these interpersonal skills are absolutely necessary to create a whole network of empowered people who can drive the energy transition that society needs to tackle climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We need more women to take these steps. It has already been proven that female leaders are more likely to support climate action and sustainability decisions.

Worldwide, the countries with a bigger share of women in their parliaments are more prone to ratify environmental treaties and adopt policies to address climate change. And we observe the same behavior in the private sector. According to a study by Bloomberg NEF and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, companies with a higher proportion of women on their boards are more likely to improve energy efficiency, reduce the environmental impact of their businesses and invest in renewable energy

Women play a key role as promoters of a sustainability approach in their workspaces. Women’s leadership is, usually, long-term orientated which helps taking decisions to tackle issues like waste of energy and promoting the shift to renewable energy, according to a study conducted by the University of Urbino, Italy.

Energy sufficiency and efficiency and the integration of renewable energy sources are three processes women can lead in the corporate world.

It takes guts to become truly sustainable

Perhaps female leadership would take the green revolution to a deeper level: into the engine room of the factory, the heart and guts of any business. Using renewable energy sources from the origin to make products with a low carbon footprint or to offer clean services should be relatable to their very nature. Conventionally, decision makers in the industry have not dared to move away from fossil fuels in various stages of production. Apparently, the traditional option is reliable, efficient and cheap enough.

However, climate change and the geopolitical crisis have proven the opposite. Moreover, the development of clean technologies is mature enough to compete with the highly polluting options. Maybe the renewable energy lobby is not as powerful and aggressive as the fossil fuel lobby, and leaders still lack confidence in moving away from gas, oil or coal. More than 70% of global final energy consumption in the industrial sector is for heat generation, and 95% of this is met by burning fossil fuels. We, like humanity, must care about of this data. What if women change that?

There is a wide range of solar heating technologies that complement and synergize with other renewable energy sources to become the dream team of clean heat for industrial users from almost all sectors: food and beverage, chemical, pharmaceutical, automotive, mining, etc. The options range from plastic absorbers or air heating collectors that reach the temperatures required for drying processes in the agro-industry, to high-efficiency flat plate solar thermal collectors combined with heat pumps that reliably supply up to 90 °C for various processes, to concentrating solar systems that deliver heat above 350°C.

German brewery with solar thermal collectors from AKOTEC on the facade. Picture from Enersolve.
German brewery with solar thermal collectors from AKOTEC on the facade. Picture from Enersolve.


The shift to the relatively unknown solar heat may seem scary and risky. But if it takes guts, female leaders who care may be the ones daring to change. Alexandra Sutu from Solar Heat Europe is one of the female leaders in the renewable energy sector pushing for a better policy landscape in the European Union. Katrin Sprenger is the CEO of AKOTEC, a leading solar thermal collector manufacturing from Germany. Marisol Oropeza is the founder of the Heat Changers, the founder of the Heat Changers, an international initiative raising awareness about the market readiness, reliability, and potential of solar heating technologies for residential, commercial and industrial users. Take 17 minutes to listen what they have to say about decarbonization with solar in Europe.

Are you one of the female leaders in the industrial sector daring to become a heat changer and use solar heat in your factory? Reach out and, together, we can figure out how to take your sustainability efforts to a deeper level. There are plenty of female and male experts in the solar energy industry who will be more than glad to connect with leaders on the demand side to design tailored-made solutions.

Growing a green web

Despite women are half of the population, worldwide, only one-third is part of the renewable energy workforce, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). According to IRENA, there are some reasons why this is the case: firstly, there are cultural and social barriers based on perceptions of gender roles that can put girls off STEM careers from a young age. Then, the lack of flexibility in the workplace can lead to women hitting the glass ceiling and finally, the lack of mentorships.

However, there is data which backs the necessity to bring more women into the world of decision making. To bring about the necessary changes in companies towards renewable energy, we need women with STEM skills, but also CEOs who are convinced of the benefits of these decisions, women marketers, women salespeople, women managers – they can all act as mentors and collectively contribute to a strengthened green network.

The future will grow out of the green minds of women who really care.

Pass on the message to a woman who cares and is making a difference!

Written by Laura Yaniz Estrada, Communications Consultant.

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