How two diverse teams can work together in a dynamic and agile way, enriching each other to achieve their common goals in the social impact economy.

The Challenge

In 2019, Repsol Foundation and Ilunion signed a Letter of Intent to jointly analyze the opportunity to develop business projects that favour the global challenge of energy transition and sustainability with a clear social impact, allowing the creation of job opportunities for people at risk of social exclusion.

As an attempt to become a player in the Social Impact Economy, Repsol Foundation created Repsol Social Impact, an investment programme which together with Ilunion founded in 2020 a Newco called Recycling4all, SL. This newco consolidates 4 previous existing companies that vertically integrate the e-waste value chain recycling process (collection, transportation, processing, management and valorization).

In short, the challenge was: how two organisations that have such different backgrounds would be able to work together?

The Practice

Repsol Foundation and Ilunion created a Collaboration System specifically for Recycling4all in order to carry out their common goals at different levels of collaboration which has become the key element that makes the relationship between both companies as dynamic and agile as needed to perform the Strategic and Operational targets.

The collaboration system was created on the basis of “formal collaboration structures” and “informal collaboration sutructure”. By formal collaboration structures, a set of meetings with different periodicities was created; Recycling4all Board of Directors (quarterly), Follow-up meetings (monthly), Business Development meetings (weekly) and Special Purpose meetings (when needed).

However, one of the key elements that makes Repsol Foundation-Ilunion relationship a success case has been the informal collaboration. Despite the short life of Recycling4all, there’s a high level of trust in the way both organizations work. The reduced number of the teams (4-5 people in each team) and being a young “Joint Venture” (which makes that all of us have been involved in this project since its inception, and therefore feel it as “our own”) have helped to build this relationship.

This partnership is an example of mutual cultural learning, and of how two organisations that have different backgrounds are able to work together. Merging both visions, we add the best value of each partner and define a shared vision of the future.


Although Recycling4all is less than 1 year old, through the Collaboration System described above we have guaranteed that both organizations give the right impulse to the development of the strategy to continue growing and increasing environmental and social impact. Some examples of the output of this collaborations are: a new investment in an existing facility to increase its capacity and to give operational flexibility has been approved and the project is being launched; new sites are already under evaluation for future facilities; new feedstocks and technologies are being studied as potential future market opportunities; Recycling4all was able to submit two Expressions of Interest for the development of new infrastructures for two different Ministries in Spain. These were part of the Call for Expressions of Interest in the framework of the Next Generation EU Funds.

Key Insights / Advice to Peers

When consolidated companies decide to collaborate, their different cultures can arise difficulties when both start to work together. In our case, defining clear and periodic ways of collaboration as well as getting to know each other at a personal level (meetings in person, travels…) helped us overcome those difficulties as it helped increase the level of confidence and collaboration withing Recycling4all. Our three pieces of advice would be:

  • Define clear goals that are shared by everyone from the beginning. And, if you define yourself as a social impact organization, the social goals must be as a permanent guideline in your strategy
  • Define different degrees of collaboration that enables the information flow between the different players at all levels
  • Create not only formal but also informal collaboration structures that fill the gap that may appear between the formal levels of collaboration

Further Resources


Paula Utrera (Investment Analyst at RIS):

Ane de Ariño (Senior Investment Manager at RIS):

Rodrigo Paris (Investment Associate at RIS):

Mario Gutierrez de Teran (Investment Manager at RIS):

Alejandro Fernandez (Executive Director of Circular Economy at Ilunion):

Ana Uruñuela (Business Development Director at Ilunion):

Pedro Antonio Martín (General Manager at Ilunion Reciclados):

Borja Vallespin (Director at Ilunion):