Juan Azcarate Venegas - Faculty Story | IE University

Juan Azcarate Venegas

About me

I’ve always loved nature; that’s one of the reasons why I dedicated my studies and professional career to the pursuit of sustainability. For a long time, my work and research have focused on strategic environmental assessments and their utility as a guide for effective decision-making in companies worldwide. I also believe they can be powerful tools for environmental conservation, climate change mitigation, capacity building, and development planning in various contexts. I use my practical experiences as a sustainability consultant, environmental planner and research program coordinator to enrich my classes and my students in the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability.

shapeJuan Azcarate Venegas
case2Adjunct professor of Population, Territory and Environment

"I am deeply passionate about sustainability, having learned, researched, taught and worked in sustainability for nearly 20 years."

Juan Azcarate Venegas

A career championing sustainability

Juan Azcarate Venegas is a true sustainability professional. For the last 20 years, he has spent his career studying, researching, teaching and working in the field of sustainability. Apart from giving him an opportunity to create a positive impact, his work has taken him across the world, stationed in a diverse list of countries that includes the United States, the United Kingdom, Colombia, France, Libya, Sweden and Spain. Now, he’s passing on his knowledge to the next generation of change-makers as an adjunct professor for the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability.

Juan’s journey to academia started in the US, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in international business at Bradley University in Illinois. After a brief stint in the corporate world, Juan went back for his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden; five years later, he started working on his PhD in Land and Water Resources Engineering at the same institution—Juan completed his doctoral degree in 2015. More recently, he became an accredited corporate social responsibility and sustainability specialist after relevant programs at Instituto Superior del Medio Ambiente in Spain.

He has also built an impressive profile in the professional world. Juan worked as a lecturer and teaching assistant throughout his master’s degree and PhD. He’s also held numerous roles in research, environmental planning, sustainability consulting and program management, working for big-name industry leaders such as Ericsson, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Instituto Humboldt, among several others. In fact, just before joining the faculty at IE University, he worked alongside other talented researchers at the Earlham Institute to preserve, manage and sustainably use the natural biodiversity abundant in Colombia’s stunning landscapes.

Juan Azcarate Venegas - Faculty Story | IE UniversityThroughout his career, Juan has focused his efforts on one topic of research: strategic environmental assessments (SEA). He, more specifically, studies how decision support tools like SEAs give companies a framework they can use to include sustainability considerations in their strategic decision-making processes. For Juan, these periodic audits are invaluable assets that, if used correctly, are capable of boosting environmental conservation planning efforts and improving climate change observation and monitoring systems. “[They also] enhance capacities in nongovernmental organizations and improve development planning and sustainability transitions in post-conflict contexts,” he explains.

Juan is currently exploring the potential of SEAs to provide nature-based solutions to challenges commonly associated with green infrastructure and various urban ecosystem services. His work could have numerous implications for both spatial and infrastructure planning activities.

Today, leveraging his vast and varied professional experience in the classroom, Juan strives to make every session as informative, immersive and engaging as possible. He first started teaching during his doctorate, sharpening the skills to deliver knowledge in sustainability science, environmental management and strategic assessment to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. “I make use of the practical experiences I have gained from my research and work as a sustainability consultant, environmental planner and research program coordinator,” he says.

The professor manages to carve out opportunities to rest and recharge in his busy schedule. He spends any downtime indulging his love for natural and cultural diversity, visiting historic sites or contemporary art museums in the cities he travels to. Juan also enjoys exploring by bike or on foot, playing tennis, taking long hikes in nature and spending quality time with family and friends.

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"I am deeply passionate about sustainability, having learned, researched, taught and worked in sustainability for nearly 20 years."

Juan Azcarate Venegas