A Chat with Sérgio Ribeiro, CEO and Co-Founder at Sustainability Event: Planetiers

Planetiers is one of the globe’s most influential sustainability events. The organisation was founded in 2017 and aims to showcase the latest in efficient, clean and sustainable technology. It is Planetiers mission to accelerate the urgent sustainable transformation of the environment, the economy and society.

We tackle global challenges by working to understand both the consumers and the organisations, as well as the obstacles that arise as barriers to effective and long-lasting change. We bring together key sustainability innovation stakeholders, speakers, companies and investors, to network and collaborate on topics such as ecology, climate change, healthcare, poverty and education. For consumers, we create tools that allow us to develop what we call the 3 E’s of the Planetier journey: education, empowerment and an entrepreneurial mindset.

For organisations, we work to highlight the success stories of the innovations that will shape the future and also bring awareness to attractive investment opportunities that are socially inclusive and environmentally regenerative.

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Planetiers was conceptualised and created after I and my Co-founder left university. My Co-founder had already begun developing projects in the area of environmental education. We both felt that we needed to restructure our goals and create a movement that emanated optimism and a belief in the ingenuity and creativity of humanity.

It has been a challenging road, but highly rewarding, especially when you see how receptive the global community has been. We found many people had serious concerns about the direction the world is heading in, but they needed guidance in the process of changing their consumption habits. Overall, we decided as citizens we wanted to have a greater impact and we realised we needed to gather information, build concrete solutions, create a one-stop-shop where we could promote action and make sustainability initiatives convenient to adopt and accessible to all.

How has the company evolved over the last number of years?

It has been a rollercoaster of a journey. Particularly emotionally. We learned very quickly that two of the most important skills you can have are to be resilient and adaptable in all situations.

We started by creating an exclusive online marketplace for sustainable products. We practically tripled sales every year during those first 3 years. During this time we started designing with other founding partners Planetiers World Gathering, because we felt that these innovators, entrepreneurs and change-makers needed a larger stage and to be under the spotlight attracting investments and meeting strategic partners to scale up. In 2020, we almost saw our first world meeting, which was scheduled for April that year, fall apart entirely, due to the pandemic.

It was a very difficult period for everyone involved. We poured everything we had into it and the thought of everyone’s hard work going to waste was hugely disappointing. We had collaborated with our supportive partners Duoro Generation, Leading and the Altice Arena. But we remained true to our own philosophy and continued to work towards our goal of delivering hope and inspiration at a time when it was needed most.

The event did go ahead in October 2020, with over 1,000 people gathering daily in Portugal’s largest Arena and more than 20,000 people participating online in 60 countries. Adapting to the unforeseeable events of COVID-19 was proof that to achieve our goals we have to accept the uncertainties of the world but never lose sight of the greater purpose that led us to start our journey. I truly believe in the mantra that “we have to be stubborn about our purpose, but flexible in the process to achieve it.”

What can we hope to see from Planetiers in the future?

The future looks very bright. We have entered a phase with Planetiers where it feels as though the exciting opportunities that came about in 2020 are finally materialising. The Planetiers World Gathering event will be returning to Lisbon from the 24th to the 26th of October 2022, bringing multiple nations together to collaborate on sustainable innovation and it will be an annual event from here on out.

We also have an online platform that is being completely redesigned into a version that will be easily navigated by international users and it is focused on Planetiers community activities and empowering everyone to be an impactful member. There are also several projects to be developed, the result of international cooperation between Portugal and other regions. The future of Planetiers and indeed the planet is bright.


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