José Aravena: “Our work in circular economy has gone hand in hand with contacting regional governments”
During a radio interview for the program Conexión Empresarial, the executive director of Eurochile talked about various topics, including current issues on national and international economic, but mainly about the activities that the foundation has been developing in various regions of the country, in the framework of the circular economy and sustainability.
One of the first focuses of the interview was to reflect on the current situation in Europe due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This is due to the fact that the main activities of Eurochile are related and connected to Europe and, in this context, the director highlighted that the foundation’s activities have not been affected and continue as planned.
Likewise, in the conversation he also addressed the economic panorama that this context produces. “In Latin America there are different effects for each country because all countries are different in aspects such as, for example, fuels. However, Latin American countries are exporters of raw materials, and that has a positive effect. By closing trade with Russia and Ukraine (producers of raw materials) there is a positive effect that has been reflected in a rise in stock markets in this area”, he concluded.
Regarding Eurochile’s lines of action, the executive director also mentioned issues such as the circular economy and the role of the foundation around it. “The foundation has a very important focus on sustainability and circular economy issues because we think it is a mechanism that should help maintain development, decoupling the extensive use of raw materials or the generation of greenhouse gases,” he said.
In that same context, Aravena stressed the importance that circularity is having in Europe: “In short, this is a new way of growing that is having a high development in Europe, since they have defined it as their way of continuing to develop and fulfill the commitments made at the COP21 in Paris in order to prevent the growth of global warming”.
Regarding the actions of Eurochile in the promotion of this area, the executive director spoke about the experiences of the foundation recently. “Our work has gone hand in hand with contacting regional governments, asking them what their main objectives are from an economic point of view, considering their most important activities at the regional level, and what could be the lines of action action to make these activities more environmentally friendly.
The director explained that this contact has been developed with the regions of Los Lagos, Biobío and O’Higgins focused on different sectors. “This activity had a first dissemination stage where European experts participated – remotely – and ambassadors from Italy, Ireland and Belgium. Now, after this comes a second stage, with a common language, to see more specific actions to advance these issues in the different regions”.
Following this line, José Aravena valued the reception by the authorities on these initiatives. “At the highest level, the governors themselves have described this edge as one of their tasks to fulfill, so they are very aware that they must find another way to develop, as well as very aware that in the future this is going to be the norm, so they have to jump on this bandwagon of circularity.”
Alliance with ENEL
Another aspect highlighed in the program was the agreement signed between Eurochile and ENEL at the end of last year, for which the director of the foundation told what the alliance is about and what it aims at. “At the end of last year we signed a collaboration agreement with ENEL to work on different circularity issues. Specifically, touching on the issue of solar panels, which has been a very important element in the modification of our energy matrix”, highlighted José Aravena.
Finally, the director explained what is sought with this project and what it aims to reach, which, on the one hand, is to face a big problem and, on the other hand, how to incorporate small and medium-sized companies in this challenge, generating opportunities in this business of the future and that generates benefits for SMEs. “The agreement also aims to visualize an environmental threat that this process implies. There are millions of solar panels that will end their useful life, so it is important to know what will be done with them. So what was discussed with ENEL was to find a way to generate an industry where SMEs, in this case in Antofagasta, could disassemble and recover the raw materials that are in those panels.”
To see the full interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gaPv3876K4&t=1177s