How a Social Innovator from Chile Measured Pope Francis’ Footprint

Marc Beckmann / Ostkreuz
Sustainable Development

Gonzalo Muñoz has helped make the recent visit of Pope Francis to Chile a standard for sustainable major events of the future, measuring the actual footprint and all impacts of the Pope's trip. Gonzalo is the co-founder of TriCiclos, the first certified B Corporation in South America, based in Santiago de Chile.

Can you tell us a bit more about your Pope project?

Gonzalo Muñoz: The visit of the Pope in January in Chile was completely committed to sustainability. And I was part of the commission of twenty people that the Catholic Church invited to measure things that traditionally have not been measured in the context of such an event. So we measured all impacts of the visit to create a manual that now can also be used in other countries – including for presidential visits and other major events. We not only considered the carbon footprint, the waste and water usage by the Pope and his delegation, but also the impacts generated by the providers – people selling food, electricity or souvenirs, car rental companies, etc.

How did you organize that?

Gonzalo Muñoz: We invited all the providers to measure their impact through the B Impact assessment. That is the tool that is used by certified B Corporations. So we created a special link with a special version of the Quick Impact Assessment for all of these companies. This way, we could aggregate it and demonstrate that this kind of assessment can be replicated.

Gonzalo Munoz is the co-founder of TriCiclos, the first certified B Corporation in South America. Marc Beckmann

Who took the initiative?

Gonzalo Muñoz: That was a wish of the Church, because sustainability is very important for the Pope. He wrote an encyclical on environmental and social impact and wants to bring more sustainability to the Church. So the Chilean Church decided to form that commission. And now we expect this to become a standard.

What is your message to others who want to become social innovators and responsible leaders?

Gonzalo Muñoz: The sense of urgency. There is a theory about exponential growth when you have a finite ecosystem like our planet. When you are in minute 59 of a 60-minute period when everything is going to be finished, you don’t recognize that you’re in danger. Today it still looks like there is plenty of space, plants, air. We don’t have the capability to recognize the danger, because we are still in a mood of exponential growth. Therefore my message is: Try to understand what the 59th minute means.

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