Startupper's Swing / Andrea Maggiani / Carbon Sink Group

Pubblicato il 03 Lug 2012

We love to describe Carbon Sink Group as a company “for benefit”. We believe that our activities and services have a great value added for the society and to get a real sustainable development

Not many people would find attractive the emissions of CO2 and other GHGs, which are considered the most important causes of the global warming.
Maybe, there is a bit of super-hero spirit who will save the planet in one like Andrea Maggioni, who decided to dedicate his studies and his business to “boring” things like the certification of emission reductions, carbon credits , reforestation, the carbon market.
Andrea was born in La Spezia, Liguria, and attended University (economic studies) first at Milan's Catholic University and then at the State University of Albany (New York) where his interest in the link between sustainability and economic incentives has grown through participation in a research project of period of one year. Between 2008 and 2010 he worked at ClimatePartner, a German company that operates in the voluntary market for CO2 emission credits, and in 2009 with CO2 Balance Ltd in England and Kenya, where he followed the activities related to financial and environmental feasibility analysis of projects Gold Standard for energy efficiency for the generation of CO2 credits.
In the article below, he tells us how the Carbon Sink Group was born and why.


The idea of Carbon Sink Group was born on a summer evening: we are in 2010, at a restaurant in Viareggio. My friend, Stefano Vaglio and I, are having dinner with a slice of baked fish, dreaming about the opportunity of founding the first company in Italy able to approach professionally the issues of CO2 emissions.

I had gained professional experience in Carbon Market, and I was dealing with energy efficiency projects that generate carbon credits. Stefano, researcher and teacher, was working on projects aimed at conservation and environmental sustainability in developing Countries. We said to us, “why don't we share our past experiences and make of it the starting point – and the force point – to create a new company?”

I lived and worked between Milan, Bristol and my hometown, La Spezia, while Stefano was based in Florence. So after days of phone calls, skype calls and meetings between Lombardy, Tuscany and Liguria, Carbon Sink Group was born.

Initially it was not easy, but the enthusiasm was so much and it allowed us to dedicate ourselves to the new project at every moment: after working hours, on night and on weekends. Now I remember with pleasure the Sunday afternoons spent at the computer to develop ideas and screening any proposals potentially useful. In this way, day after day, the self-confidence in our ideas was growing, and was increasing the awareness that we could really do it!

The time has proven us right, and after a year, in the summer of 2011, the first order arrives: it is the first customer.

Needless to say that our enthusiasm has skyrocketed, so we applied ourselves, and soon we realized that our business model needed a stronger and better organization.

We decided to join the Incubatore Universitario Fiorentino, to learn how “do business”, following the path of pre-incubation, aiming to become a spin-off of the University of Florence. In nine months of pre-incubation Carbon Sink has received the necessary support from teachers and experts of the University, to write the Business Plan, a tool that is proved to be essential for the beginning of a start-up. And now, I'm very proud that tomorrow Carbon Sink Group will be officially recognized as Academic Spin-off of University of Florence!

Surely it hasn’t been a simple path, since the company’s foundation we have lived stressful moments and different point of views. Fortunately the reciprocal respect and the desire to do something great together has kept the team together. In addition, the carbon market sector is not simple for various reasons: the long “time market”, the risks associated to Countries where the projects are realized, the economic conjuncture that influences the CERs value (Certified Emission Reductions), and the difficulty to explain the mechanisms and rules of carbon market.

At the same time, there are big chances and challenges to take like, for example, in Africa where Clean Development Mechanisms projects could generate certified carbon credits, getting economic development and reducing of environmental sources.

This is the reason why we love to describe Carbon Sink Group as a company “for benefit”. We believe that our activities and services have a great value added for the society and to get a real sustainable development.

Today, Carbon Sink Group is a company composed of 5 associates with complementary backgrounds.

On 5th July Carbon Sink Group is official recognised from University of Florence Rector, as an academic spin-off.

Now we’re working with NGO, multinational oil and gas companies, associations and foreign companies.

he most of the jobs are about research and technical-scientific planning for initiatives aimed to reduce and offset GHG.

Some examples are given by reforestation projects (A/R Jatropha Project in Senegal, “Bonobo Peace Forest” Project), efficiency energy projects (Mozambique), carbon footprint and Life Cycle Assessment.

The greatest challenge for Carbon Sink Group? Make of carbon projects, and more in general the carbon finance, a chance of fund for Italian companies as well as sensitize public awareness about social and environmental benefits associated to carbon projects.

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