The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Marcelo Aráus

Marcelo Aráus
I am the founder of Greenroad (www.greenroad.bio), a startup company that aims to widen the knowledge about the concept on biomimicry both in English and Spanish. This discipline provides a sustainable framework that are applied to wide different disciplines, from engineering to social sciences. This model could be used, using nature’s inspiration to transform our built environment and societies in different ways.  Now the company is in an exploratory phase, but its vision is to provide sustainable, ethical and businesses networks for customers and industries globally

Personally, I fell in love with the concept of biomimicry once I read about it during the master’s at DPU. I work on it during the dissertation process, trying to create a framework that combines the biomimetic model with a social approach to poverty named “relational poverty” for assessing productive systems. As a case study, I employed the tool in the farmer’s agricultural model of quinoa in Peru and Bolivia.  Most of all, I believe this topic combines my passion for biology and chemical engineering with an innovative model to tackle sustainability topics such as climate change, energy transition and resource management among others. The challenges now are several. First, I would say that making people become aware of the concept and easy to “digest” is problematic. The first approach we have taken is to create strong relations with sustainability which is closely linked, with the additional feature of taking nature as a model. Second, creating a wider audience that are eager to visit the website and read our content is tricky. Third, we have a section about biomimicry and communities, in which I hope to create positive relations between ideas inspired by nature and vulnerable communities. For instance, looking for affordable solutions such as Lo-TEK (technologies based on indigenous knowledge) could be a good option for large communities. However, I’m still in a developing phase and sometimes the outcome becomes blurred. Finally, the next steps for the project will involve funding, and I am currently in the phase of creating attractive business plans for different stakeholders. 

My journey during the SDP program was revealing and allowed me to add the importance of participation of communities to build their desired future. Also, I learnt about the relational approach to poverty and acknowledge how powerful it is and how can it positively impact social development. Specially, adding the social aspect of sustainability for ethical business to my mindset has been enriching and compelling, complementing my previous knowledge on economical and environment. I hope these insights could be incorporated successfully in the Greenroad Project.