Bernardita Araya: "The timber industry holds the key to the future"

Having a Doctorate in Biotechnology and Manager of CMPC Ventures, she sees wood as having enormous potential to help find solutions to address the climate crisis, promote local economies, and drive research, development and innovation.
Bernardita Araya is the Manager of CMPC Ventures. The Chilean forestry and paper holding company’s corporate investment fund seeks to promote disruptive technologies and sustainable solutions in various technological spaces associated with wood. The environmental chemist from the University of Chile, Master of Science and PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Cambridge (England) has more than 15 years of experience in scientific entrepreneurship and development, in startups, corporations and venture capital.

Her scientific background and career path – which includes stints at Laboratorios Recalcine, as Director of Research and Development, at Aurus Bios as Senior Associate, and at HubTec as Executive Director – earned her recognition as one of the most influential people in Latin America in 2021 by Bloomberg. The accolade highlights her forward-thinking perspective combined with her understanding of wood and its ecosystem development during times of climate crisis, global warming and climate change.

For Araya, “Innovating with wood is the exploration of all the new materials we might obtain.” / Agencies

As a jury member of the 2021 Innovation and Start-Ups Competition at Wood Week, she noted that the material is often perceived as “simple” rather than robust, like concrete or cement. However, her experience shows that this raw material can provide much more than just building materials, pulp and paper.

“For example, you can get chemical compounds, bioplastics, biofuels, textile fibers, pharmaceuticals, food additives, energy, and much more. Its potential to offer products to combat climate change is enormous, so it needs to play a sizeable role not only in terms of products, but also insofar as the forestry industry continues to certify plantations and processes to be increasingly sustainable, thus promoting sustainability in handling suppliers and partners,” she said.

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