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Meet our Solar Warriors: Djian

At Sungevity there are some 180 Solar Warriors that work towards that one goal: powering 5 million lives with sunshine by 2030. Making our office a fun place and passionately selling solar panels is however not the only thing they do for a better world. Sustainability does not end at our orange front door. That is why we will interview some of those people that inspire us: our Sustainable Warriors. 

Djian is a hardworking Solar Warrior and a bridge builder around the clock. He is passionate about sustainability but doesn’t like to point fingers. He believes that every person and every company can play a role in winning the fight on the climate crisis, it is only when we work together that we can achieve great things. Djian tells us how he brings the environmental discussion to the table.

Hi Djian, what exactly do you do at Sungevity?

“Well, I started at the Customer Care department. While working there, I also started working on the Impact Report within the Impact team. After nine months I applied for the Spark team, or otherwise sometimes called the moonshot team, where I try to spark discussion and organize knowledge sharing within our international solar community. I wanted to work there as well, mainly because I wanted to know how the business works and to work internationally. I was pretty positively surprised. At our first Spark event for example, people from other Engie business units told us how much they liked how mission driven Sungevity is. I think that’s our key to fighting climate change: being passionate about that fight. I see a lot of potential to inspire. I am optimistic by nature in the sense of: what is there to lose? We can make this work.”

Why was your name mentioned when I talked with others about Sustainable Warriors?

“That’s a good question I also want the answer to, haha. I guess because I am quite vocal about sustainability. I do try however not to shame people. I grew up in Latin America, and sustainability there is very connected to social status, education and living situation. You cannot blame people for wanting to eat meat, as for some it is a sign of finally being able to afford it. Some people for example in the Western world nowadays reject flying because of environmental reasons. However, most of them can reject it because they already had the opportunity to fly. In Latin-America people still strive to get to this level. It’s a sign of success and pride that says ’ “I can also now go and explore what the world has to offer.''

“Still, implementing those choices in your life is important, like eating less meat, flying less, switching to a non-dairy diet, using less water while showering, etc. I try to implement them as well in my life. But I think it is also important to bring people together that don’t normally talk to each other. It is not always productive to point fingers to people that in your eyes don’t do enough. Above everything, it leads to rejection of the thing you want to convince them of. So that is why I started as a sustainability speaker. I talk with people about the changes they can make, but I will always leave room for scepticism. There are the environmentalists, the businesses but there are also the sceptical people.”

Cleaning the area around this office during the World Clean Up Day

Do you think then, that you can convince those people of the need to make changes in their lifestyle?

“Well, yes. As a customer, for example, you have a lot of power. Businesses have to listen to their customers. I have seen however, that often the most unwilling to change, is the customer. I like to spark the discussion with them. It is not always an easy discussion, and sometimes you have to accept that not everyone is willing to change. You have to try to put yourself in the shoes of others.”

“Not everyone is aware of what kind of changes they can make. That is why I like working at Sungevity, where we introduce people to sustainable alternatives. Also because I believe solar energy is critical to the fight of climate change. Turning the light on and off will not solve the core problem, we need to change our energy sources. That is critical to winning the battle of climate change.”

“I believe in systemic solutions, and I also think that big businesses are key to that. Although some businesses have a huge negative impact on the environment, it also means that they can change that into a huge positive impact. To get those businesses into the conversation is therefore something I find crucial.”

Could you ever work somewhere where they are not sustainability-aware?

“Well, I am very mission driven myself, its embedded in myself and what I do. Therefore I think I can only work at a company that is mission driven as well - its ambitions towards sustainability have to be sincere. Sustainability is about our future, it concerns everything and everyone.”

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