Carlo Figà Talamanca
Founder and CEO of OTAGO Pte. Ltd.
Carlo started his entrepreneurial career in South East Asia as the founder and CEO of Khmer Green Charcoal Co, Ltd. (KGC), an award winning social enterprise producing eco-friendly charcoal briquettes in Cambodia. In 2012 Carlo created KGC starting from an NGO pilot project, and in only 6 years grew the business thirtyfold, making it the largest char-briquettes factory in a developing country. As a natural progression of the experience gained with KGC, in 2018 Carlo founded OTAGO Pte. Ltd. in Singapore, an engineering company specialized in the processing and transformation of solid biomass energy.
Carlo has always been passionate about technology, innovation and sustainable development. After graduating with honors from a Masters of Science at the University of Rome, he started his professional career working on international technology transfer projects for consulting firms in Italy and in the USA (Boston). In 2008 he attempted to open his first own high-tech start-up company, which however didn’t turn out and therefore decided to take a sabbatical, travelling around the world. This is how he ended up in Cambodia where he started leveraging his engineering skills and management experience, working as a consultant for international organizations and NGOs.
Thanks to the production of sustainable biomass fuel which substitutes local unsustainable charcoal, to date, OTAGO has been able to reduce deforestation and save a forest area equivalent to over 900 football fields. This translates to a reduction of over 30,000 tons of CO2 emissions. For the future, Carlo envisions that through OTAGO he will be able to finally put an end to worldwide charcoal driven deforestation by 2030.
In 2020 Carlo was awarded “Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia” by Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy. The title recognizes Carlo’s entrepreneurial endeavours in sustainable green energy in Cambodia and Southeast Asia. It is also appreciative of Carlo’s support in building bridges between Italy and Cambodia.