"The country needed to generate this opportunity"
Is the founder and CEO of Terrasos, with over 15 years of experience in natural resources policy design and implementation. As CEO of Terrasos, Mariana has led the design and implementation of the first habitat bank project in Colombia through key partnerships and investments from IDB Lab, as well as the development of over 30 000 in conservation projects and has 2500 hectares in habitat banks under management She has worked with companies, government, and international agencies Prior to Terrasos, she worked with Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund, BSD consulting (now Elevate Group) The Yale Institute for Sustainable Forestry and the Colombian Ministry of Environment She has expertise in environmental policy design and implementation, environmental
markets, corporate environmental sustainability, stakeholder engagement and environmental conflict analysis Mariana graduated Tulane University where she studied a B A in Political Science and Environmental Policy She has a Masters in Environmental Management from Yale University Josephine Louse Fellow and Mulago Henry Arnold Fellow.
Who is Mariana Sarmiento?
I am a curious, optimistic and hard-working woman. I am a mother of two wonderful girls who enlighten me as soon as I see them. I like to travel and feel the places I go to.
Where does Mariana's love for the environment come from?
From my dad, the farm, the vacation in the eastern plains and in Providence.
Where did the initiative to implement the habitat bank strategy come from?
In 2012, when the first Compensation Manual came out in Colombia, we identified that there was going to be a need to generate solutions for companies that had to meet their obligations and for the country to have compensation projects that would accelerate the deployment of investments. in compensation and make it easier for environmental authorities to follow up.
I had worked in 2009 in the United States in an organization that managed Habitat Banks in Mississippi for the infrastructure sector and I saw first-hand the benefits and the impact it generated. At that moment I realized that the country needed to generate this opportunity. In that moment we began to work with the owners of the Rey-Zamuro Matarredonda Reserve and BIDLab to create a pilot project and later, with the Ministry of Environment to generate a regulatory framework that catalyzed the development of Habitat Banks in both public and private properties.
What is the vision of Terrasos?
To be a leading company in developing environmental conservation and restoration projects with private investment, which leverages the commitments and needs of the territories in the long term.
What is the most ambitious goal of the company?
100,000 hectares of threatened ecosystems protected through private investments.
What is the professional goal with which Mariana would feel satisfied?
That Terrasos become a self-sustaining and profitable company based on the projects it operates and develops.
What is the biggest environmental challenge that Colombia has?
Informal and illegal mining.
Is Terrasos working to overcome this challenge?
We work in territories such as El Bajo Cauca Antioqueño to generate a conservation fund for the swamps that will generate employment and development opportunities based on the conservation and restoration of ecosystems.
Do we lack commitment in Colombia to face environmental challenges? To the rulers, to the citizens, to the private sector?
We need to work as a team and share knowledge to solve problems and challenges. In order to overcome the challenges, it is necessary to democratize the management of biodiversity and direct it towards results. The authorities have to fulfill their function of control and vigilance and there have to be consequences for not complying with environmental regulations. In Colombia we settle for environmental degradation.
Will the world be different after the pandemic?
I wish. We at least learned to work virtually with our local partners and with each other. I believe that this empowers communities and helps build trust in work teams. Nowadays we value more and more each encounter and each face-to-face conversation. We feel privileged to work together. We also value more the time that was previously spent on trips and planes.