13 December 2018



Academic, scientific, entrepreneurial and innovation representatives from both Chile and other American countries were part of the diverse public that participated and interacted in the Latin American Circular Economy Forum, held on December 11th and 12th. It was organized by the Ministry of the Environment, the Business Foundation Eurochile and the Organization of the United Nations for Industrial Development, UNIDO, in Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile. The activity was also followed via streaming from different parts of the country and the continent.

Worldwide master lectures, conversation panels and workshops were the entries of this meeting that sought to be a space for exchanging knowledge and experiences on Circular Economy in Chile and the rest of the world.  They showed real examples of entrepreneurship based on this model in order to make the public and private sectors aware of the opportunities of this new approach and consider changing the current model of linear development into circular.

At the same time, there was a sample of stands where small companies exhibited solutions, products and innovations based on Circular Economy.

The meeting was essential to take the first step towards the construction of a Circular Economy Roadmap in Chile which will be prepared by the Ministry of the Environment. It will set objectives, goals and schedule activities to apply this new approach.

The Forum was also sponsored by the European Union, the EU's economic cooperation program in Latin America. AL-Invest 5.0: “Partnership as a strategy to improve the productivity and competitiveness of Chilean SMEs belonging to food and tourism sectors”.

First Forum Day

At the opening of the event,   Felipe Riesco, Undersecretary of the Environment, welcomed the attendants. He noted that "we are proud as ministers to be at this type of event and generate chances of dialogues on this new perspective. The idea is to install a roadmap for 2019 and establish specific actions to achieve the implementation of Circular Economy in Chile so as to improve the quality of life, dignify workers and produce jobs and benefits”.

The authority assessed that "the office of Circular Economy was established in the Ministry of Environment, the first in Latin America."

After his words at the opening ceremony,   Vicente Caruz, business foundation manager of Eurochile, commented that "Nowadays, Circular Economy is a necessity. If we do not act now, this planet will probably die before the end of the century. They discussed what it means that China no longer receives waste from Europe and North America. So today, producing waste is not part of the solution, but they must be reduced and recycled. It is also stated that resources will be totally consumed in 2060. Then a radical change is needed. This model of change is what we call Circular Economy. It has to do with people consuming and depleting natural resources, it has to do with companies production and the governments advocating for the right policies to encourage Circular Economy.

He added that "Circular Economy is growing fast in Europe. It has collected much knowledge, science and strong legislation. For example, we have been inspired by Europe to run our REP legislation (responsibility extended to the producer) .We have much to learn. This model will need the support of many companies interested in developing projects based on circular economy and Eurochile can help them make the connection to Europe to reach the technological and commercial co operations based on this circular model. "

Later,   Stella Zervoudaki, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Chile, during the event pointed out that “Circular Economy is regarded, by the European Union, as a strategy for the future; a key factor to the great challenges of the planet and of society. It seeks for a social balance, not only because the jobs of the future will be circular but the social benefits must be focused on people. The EU and Chile are important partners; they have two similar views facing major challenges, such as global warming, the need to preserve biodiversity and the need to see production models. The EU acknowledges the important roles played by companies of all sizes and the public-private partnership ".

Likewise, he highlighted that "we have much to share, from information learned to examples of implementation of Circular Economy on a large scale".

  Manuel Albaladejo, representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO, in Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile, affirmed that "the relevance of this Forum is to generate awareness of Circular Economy in 3 areas. Firstly, the academic, so that more universities back this approach by doing research at all levels. Secondly, to promote green entrepreneurship, let people know about the cases in which entrepreneurs have been able to move from the linear model to the circular one. Thirdly, to teach people from the public sector, so they can learn that there are already proven policy tools in many countries to move towards circularity, such as a differentiated VAT for circular products; increase the tax burden to natural resources extraction, tax release to R & D in sustainability; and promote the innovative public purchase that implies demand for these circular products and open market for them.

During the first day, the keynote speech "A Circular Economy, present and future challenges" was led by Mathy Stanislaus, Senior Advisor of the World Economic Forum.

After that, the first conversation panel "Progress and Expectations of the Circular Economy" was presented. Mathy Stanislaus ; Margarita Ducci, Executive manager of the Global Compact Network Chile, Luis Martínez, Coordinator of Postgraduate and Continuing Education Faculty of Government - Central University of Chile participated.

The morning ended with speeches by Gonzalo Muñoz, CEO TriCiclos. Co-founder of SistemaB and José María Bagnardi, PepsiCo Chile general manager.

Eric Chevaillier, expert in Circular Economy, former Member of the Board of the French Institute of Circular Economy, invited by Eurochile to the Forum, thanks to the AL Invest program, presented the key speech "Business models, case studies".

The professional also participated in the second conversation panel "innovation and entrepreneurship in a circular context", where Bernadette Mancilla, Co-founder of Circular Coffee, spoke. CEC; Conrad von Igel, Director of Innovation Center UC, Anacleto Angelini, Andrés Pesce, Business and Sustainability Manager of the Chile Foundation and Linnet Solway, Project Manager and Specialist in Circular Economy and Environment of the Business Foundation Eurochile, who acted as moderator.

The day ended with the lectures by José Manuel Moller, Founder and CEO of Algramo and Errol Posso, President of Michelin Chile. Finally, the key speech given by Andreas Jaron, Head of Division of the Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in Germany (BMU)

First day image gallery:  HERE

Second Day of the Forum

After a day consisting of conferences of worldwide and local experts on Circular Economy, the second day was characterized by the enthusiasm of the attendants that were very interested in learning new experiences, reflections and cases to learn more about the topic. We could see they are willing to apply them in their academic jobs, and to be part of the creation of a future circular society.

José Aravena, Eurochile Executive manager, one of the 3 entities organizing the event, manifested that "it has been very interesting to compare different visions, some from the public sector and others from the private sector, from SME’s to multinationals. I think the final conclusion is that here there is room for everyone, for civil society, for the academic world and for all those who are interested in doing something or making a stand. Therefore, this issue is not owned by the government, NGOs, or large companies. If we do not all work together, this will never be solved. "

He stressed that "the objective of this meeting is to create a road map to enforce Circular Economy. Many ideas have emerged here, but we must work on them, agree on them, talk with all actors in order to succeed and turn Chile into a circular country. " 

  Ignacio Guerrero, Undersecretary of Economy, who presented at the opening of the day, underlined that "the traditional economy, which follows a linear production by using and disposing, is coming to an end. Circular Economy is switching the “producing-using-disposing “process for “reducing-recycling”.

He added that "it is very important to advertise the different initiatives that the government is carrying out in terms of Circular Economy, which shows the commitment of the executive for the integral and sustainable development of our country. In addition to public policies, it is also important to encourage the generations of a social culture to appreciate these benefits this will entail. "

He stressed that "both entrepreneurs and SME’s are the motors of our economy; they are the pioneers of change, the ones who hold the capital to create and innovate. Therefore, we invite you to learn about Circular economy and the advantages that this would bring to your business”

On the other hand,   Sebastián Sichel, CORFO Executive Vice President, who gave the welcoming words on this second day and gave the speech "Financing for Circular Economy projects", concluded that "Circular Economy is a key development strategy for Chile, because we continue to lose economic value, we continue in the logic of the linear economy, wasting resources by transforming them into waste. This has meant that CORFO no longer wants to be neutral. We are specifically encouraging the acceleration of circular economy projects that will soon succeed and be on the market. In addition, we are establishing cross-cutting lines in all our funds so that those projects that prove to be based on Circular Economy have greater financing from the State. Thirdly and most importantly, what Eurochile and we are doing together is to make people aware of the importance of discussing and debating this in the future.”

He added that what he expects from this forum is "firstly, to spread these fresh ideas and to realize that Circular Economy is strategically crucial for the development of our country. This must be an acquired input for all of us. Secondly, to strengthen the business development by using the Circular Economy. Finally, to ensure the topic discussion in Chile. We have seen wonderful international experiences. We hope that 3 or 4 business leaders will take this issue into consideration and do what we are doing with the government, that is to say, to understand that Circular Economy is an asset.

  Guillermo González, Chief of the Circular Economy Unit for the Ministry of the Environment presented the lecture "Bye waste, under a Circular Economy view", commented that "Circular Economy is a concept that has not been entirely fabricated. We started decades ago from logic of recycling economy but that still followed linear economy patterns. We just disposed of waste. But Circular Economy seeks to avoid generating waste. What we have seen is a general interest from different areas to move towards this new direction. We thought it important to take the leadership, not take over the issue but to articulate different actions through different public bodies to work on the topic. As we are a regulatory body, we are making great progress. For example, the REP bill, (responsibility extended to the producer), has been a real back up. We have move up to other key subjects, such as the organic issue ",

"At the same time, we think we have to promote this by pushing the whole world of entrepreneurship and innovation to make fruitful progress. That is why we have allied with CORFO and the Agency for Sustainability and Climate Change to articulate actions. The most important thing is the creation of a road map to reprogram Chile in the next 20 and 30 years. Therefore, we need to create a common vision of the ways we will take for the future. For that to happen, we need to identify the gaps and the problems we must overcome. We want to invite all the actors in 2019.  We are announcing it today but the hard work will be done next year. The roadmap to Chile is set to be finished the second half of 2019.

During this second day, speeches were also given by Sandra Andreu, Director of Sustainable Development to Aguas Andinas and Michel Compagnon, Comberplast General Manager.

After the coffee break, the presentations on "How tools, such as AL INVEST program, could facilitate collaboration between companies and institutions that want to move towards more circular business models or processes by Bernardo Llobet  Responsible for monitoring Al-Invest 5.0 program; "How can networks support the integration of Latin American SME’s in the Circular Economy circuit, given by Natalia Martínez Páram, Head of COSME Unit (Competitiveness of Companies and for SME´s) of the European Union ,invited by Eurochile.

Then, the last 2 speakers participated in the conversation panel "Circular Economy opportunities in Latin American countries." They were accompanied by María José González, National Coordinator of the UNIDO BIOVALOR Program in Uruguay, Petar Ostojic, and CEO of Neptuno Pumps. Center for Innovation and Circular Economy (CIEC), Andrés Abecasis, Innovation manager to AVINA foundation, moderated by Manuel Albaladejo, representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.

Ricardo Valencia, Deputy Director of the National Administrative Department of Statistics - DANE, was in charge of closing the day.

During the course of the afternoon, 2 parallel workshops were held. One dedicated to the circular production of food and the second around circular business models.

Attendants appreciated the Latin American Circular Economy Forum

Paulina, entrepreneur and engineer in conservation of natural resources, said that "I loved this forum; I found it very informative and presented cases and concrete examples. People from different countries came and that was great. I am very interested in learning more about Circular Economy and this forum gave me that. I believe that all companies must take the same road: Circular Economy.”

Valentina, civil industrial engineer, commented that "the meeting has been very motivating, very inspiring, I was delighted that actors from all areas have participated, such as the public sector, private sector, the entrepreneurial and innovative world, universities and NGOs, so I’m very happy. It is very important to learn more about this topic about and I hope to apply it in my profession ".

Finally, Gabriel, who works on innovation projects positively, thought the forum “has been excellent. The international experts that exhibited yesterday gave a full idea of the global vision of what is being considered in Circular Economy worldwide. We are still far behind but Chile and Uruguay are leading the issue in the continent and having a great start.  Lots of professionals, academic, entrepreneurs, students and innovators have attended this forum, so we hope that 2019 will be fantastic. "

Gallery of Images of the second day   HERE