Sustainability seen as a way to rise again in a post-pandemic phase. A way to restart by thinking on the environment, which we have been seeing completely transformed in the last few months of coexistence with Covid-19. Dr. Corrado Sommariva is the Founder and CEO of SWPC, a Consulting Firm assisting clients in achieving sustainable and cost-effective solutions.
Corrado, you have been a resident in the UAE for over 30 years now. How do you see the country development over this period?
I have been residing in the UAE since 1989 and I could see how this country, under a very enlightened leadership, has continuously and sustainably grown to become an international model in many sectors of our day to day life. The UAE have been spearheading several initiatives in the industry that serve as role model for the whole world and the commitment to sustainable development with milestone solar projects has become an important and wonderful benchmark for the whole international community. The thrive for future has been accompanied with a vision of preserving the country cultural heritage and embracing concepts of tolerance and individual and social happiness that are unique.
Sustainability in water resource has become a very important part of your Company – SWPC – activity. How is the future of water generation looking like in the GCC in the short and long terms?
Clearly in the UAE and in the GCC at large, desalination provides the only new and possible source of fresh water. No real development in society or industry in the area would have been possible without the parallel development and implementation of desalination. The desalination industry moved gradually from subsidised energy tariffs that discouraged the application and development of energy efficient desalination to new minimum power efficiency values which pushed industry to develop more and more energy efficient solutions. Consequently, efficiency records are broken at every new tender. In future I hope to see desalination plants judiciously powered by a renewable energy grid and waste water being totally reclaimed for non domestic use; that would turn the desert green.
What has been the main motivation for you to study engineering and commence a career in the UAE?
When I enrolled in the university Europe was very polluted and almost all rivers and lakes were dead or eutrophicated. My dream when I studied chemical engineering was to find a solution to World water pollution problems. My work took me on a slightly different path when I moved to Middle East but UAE and the GCC at large are a dream place for a young engineer. Several new innovative projects, are launched in this part of the world every month, this offer the possibility to a young engineer to acquire a professional experience like nowhere else in the world. However in the last ten years sustainability in water solution became an important aspects of the industry so I retrieved my old dream and founded Sustainable Water and power Consumption hoping to give a contribution to energy efficiency and a sustainable development of the society at large.
What message would you like to send to students and young professionals to succeed in their career?
Many students going outside of the academic walls to face the challenges of professional life should think of this moments as the start of a new and continuous learning and growth process that will accompany them throughout the all life. Ambitious to reach high and well remunerated managerial positions often take people away from their initial professional aspiration and purpose in life and in work.
It is important to remain connected to the initial drive for choosing the profession; sometimes the work environment may be competitive and ruthless, so it is important to maintain enthusiasm for knowledge and remain hands-on with the work. Students should think of themselves as the inventors of tomorrows who are going to solve world problems and have been vested with the responsibility to make of this planet a paradise for the generation to follow.
You recently published your book “sustainability a way to abundance”. How do you think sustainability can reconcile now with a difficult moment for the economy?
It is very important that the economy post pandemic will be different from the one pre-pandemic as various sectors of the economy need stimulus to restart what is better, rather than reshaping old and inefficient infrastructure with new sustainable and green economy, and restart in a sustainable way. During this pandemic many sectors (engineering is one for instance but also education) learnt how to remain operative curbing on meetings and travelling and I believe that and aspect of this shall remain in future .