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Interdisciplinary Knowledge, Diverse LCA Experience Make Joel Bonales Revuelta a Valuable Addition to Our Team

Joel Bonales Revuelta

Like many in the sustainability field, Joel Bonales Revuelta, EarthShift Global’s newest Sustainability Analyst, brings a lifelong love of nature to his work. But the real power behind his success in life cycle assessment (LCA), carbon footprinting, and impact evaluation has been a broad knowledge base and his ability to apply it effectively across a diverse range of sectors.

“I was sensitized to environmental topics from an early age but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do until I had to choose a college major,” recalls Joel. The breakthrough came when he explored an environmental sciences program at Mexico’s prestigious national university, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), which has a campus in his home town, Morelia, Michoacán.

“I realized that studying environmental sciences would give me the opportunity to analyze environmental problems with an interdisciplinary approach – biology, geography, political science, economics, some engineering,” says Joel. “All of these perspectives are needed to help improve the relationship between society and nature.”

The bachelor’s degree program proved a good match. Joel was awarded a medal for the highest grade in his class and went on at UNAM to earn a MSc in Sustainability Sciences; his thesis consisted of an environmental and economic assessment of a waste-to-energy system based on waste orange peels as feedstock. Joel published several papers during this time, including an LCA-based evaluation of environmental aspects of orange production in Veracruz, and a literature review of LCAs on forest-derived solid biofuels.

After graduation Joel joined SAMBITO - Soluciones Ambientales Totales, an Ecuador-based environmental consulting and solutions company, where he worked on life cycle inventories, impact evaluations, and a range of projects for clients in agriculture, food, construction, telecom, and other sectors.

“I had a couple of clients in the cement sector, which I found very interesting,” recalls Joel. “They had massive systems, and it was fascinating to learn about the emission sources and work with them on strategies for improvement.”

Joel also extended his LCA-related knowledge through a number of courses, including some taught by Amalia Sojo, then a lecturer and now an EarthShift Global senior sustainability analyst.

Working with a wide range of commercial LCA software and custom footprinting apps has given Joel an appreciation for the importance of well-constructed tools. “Of course, software has to do the calculations accurately, but it should also make things easier,” he says. “LCA is challenging enough, with the huge requirements of data and the way all the stages have to connect, even before getting into allocation and other advanced topics. With LCA modeling work growing so quickly, and more professionals getting into it each year, there’s a real need for apps that are both effective and intuitive.”

The connection with Sojo, his former professor, was an important factor in Joel’s joining EarthShift Global. “From the moment she said ESG was an LCA-focused consulting firm I was interested,” he says. “EarthShift Global’s R&D involvement in advances in footprinting and other areas, and the diverse clients — established companies, startups, early stage products —all sounded amazing. And even in the short time I’ve been here, I see that she was also right about the work environment. There’s a shared passion in advancing sustainability and a positive team mentality where people help one other.”

Outside of work, Joel is an avid student of soccer, music, and film; in 2019 he served as moderator of a debate on “Environmental Cinema in Development, Business and Politics” at the University of Michoacán’s Institute of Economic and Business Research.