In the case of Santiago, the first virtual discussion forum was attended by the general manager of Enel Chile, Fabrizio Barderi, who, in his welcome message, emphasized that "cities have the responsibility to combat climate change, mitigate it, and adapt to it." He also reaffirmed the company's commitment to advance in a new circular urban configuration.
Natalia Correa, head of Circular Economy at Enel Chile and presenter of the study, said at the end of her speech: "Through this publication, we seek to continue contributing to circularity in all its dimensions. Also from research and development of knowledge so that cities focus on human impact while building resilience and quality of life for its inhabitants."
The panel discussion included presentations by Estefani Rondón, research assistant of the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division of ECLAC; Rubén González, an expert in construction and demolition waste (CDW) of the Circular Economy Office of the Ministry of the Environment (MMA); Mauricio Fabry, coordinator of Environment, Biodiversity and Climate Action of the Regional Government of Santiago; and Camila Fernández, advisor of the Life Sciences Innovation Center of UC Davis Chile.
Each panelist addressed their expert area, including advances, needs, and barriers currently hindering the transition to circularity. Estefani Rondón postulated that the circular economy is "an essential step" to achieving the climate goals imposed by the international community. She also called for a focus on product redesign and not only on recycling.
Rubén González, explained the risks to which the city could be subjected if it does not develop resiliently. "Human beings outweigh ecosystems, so we must return to cities that recognize their capacity to generate life—also inviting reflection "to achieve regenerative cities that produce their ecosystem services. We must start developing more compact, inclusive cities that are adequately linked to biosystems".
For his part, Mauricio Fabry remarked that the Metropolitan Region is "subject to strong environmental pressures and is showing some signs of exhaustion." And that to move towards a circular Santiago, it is necessary to articulate voices in local, regional, and central governments. It is also required to develop a new climate action plan that organizes public investment to make the region more sustainable", concluding that "it is important that governments, industry, academia, and social organizations have a roadmap that leads towards circularity."
Finally, Camila Fernández, a specialist in the food area, reflected on production and consumption patterns, warning that currently, "the soil is degenerating instead of regenerating." He bets on local production and shortening the food distribution chain to achieve lower environmental impacts. "In a circular economy, nothing is wasted, and everything is used. Food is living carbon and must be kept on the land and not be fugitive," he said.
Relive the I Conversatory here:
The second Conversatory in Antofagasta resulted from a co-organization and collaboration between the Regional Government of Antofagasta, the Eurochile Business Foundation, and Enel. The meeting was held in the Wladimir Saavedra auditorium of the Universidad de Antofagasta (UA) and brought together important actors from the institutional, academic, and private sectors.
The panel on the Implementation of Public Policies and Governance for the Circular economy included Fernando Varas, in charge of the implementation of the Responsibility Extended to the Producer (REP) Law at the Seremi del Medio Ambiente; Ingrid Jamett, director of the center for circular economy in industrial processes (CECPI) of the UA and Andrew Trench, vice-president of the Chilean Chamber of Construction (CChC) of Antofagasta.
The second panel of Innovative Solutions for a Circular Antofagasta was attended by María José Larrazábal, UA academic and director of Valora Alimentos, an initiative that recovers and valorizes food waste generated in large vegetable and fruit marketing centers in the region; Nicolás Sepúlveda, executive director of CREO Antofagasta, an urban planning and coordination office that works for the sustainable development of the city; Pamela Pérez, executive director of Ecorayén Park, which promotes environmental education spaces for children and senior citizens to learn about recycling, self-cultivation and composting, and Leticia González, Director of Environment, Cleaning and Ornamentation of the Municipality of San Pedro de Atacama, who, together with the municipality, won the Competitiveness Innovation Fund (FIC-R) for the project "Energy recovery plant for solid waste", which through a pyrolysis system has managed to treat 1.3 tons of tires to obtain biofuel, gas, carbon black and steel.
To close the day, the Regional Governor of Antofagasta, Ricardo Díaz, highlighted the initiatives promoted in the territory and pointed out that the environmental problem must continue to be faced with efficient and sustainable actions collaboratively. He also mentioned, "We have to understand that our deserts are not landfills, that there is nature there" (...). "This implies a change of mentality that we will not achieve immediately. We need to commit ourselves to generate this dynamic, which implies community discipline in every act we carry out".
Relive the II Conversatory here:
The III Conversatory held in Concepción, as in Antofagasta, was co-organized by the Regional Government of Biobío, the Eurochile Foundation, and Enel. The event was attended by various authorities, from the regional ministerial secretariats, regional councilors, representatives of the industrial sector, academics, and different local entrepreneurs.
In this opportunity, we had the remote participation of José Espí from the Technology Center of Catalonia (EURECAT), who presented "Governance must also be circular: Technology and sustainability hand in hand." He talked about the main causes and consequences of climate change, the importance of cities in resource consumption and waste generation, and how EURECAT has developed various projects to improve the management and efficiency in different cities in Europe, contributing to the development and implementation of new public policies.
The panel on the Implementation of Public Policies and Governance for the Circular economy received attendees such as Óscar Reicher, Seremi del Medio Ambiente; Óscar Ferrel, Head of the Infrastructure and Transportation Division of the Regional Government of the Biobío Region and Javier Valencia, Director of the Environment of the Municipality of Coronel.
Cristina Segura, head of the Bioenergy area of the Technological Development Unit (UDT) of the University of Concepción, an entity that seeks to solve problems through technological solutions and the transfer of capabilities, participated in the Innovative Solutions for a Circular Concepción panel. Marietta Montenegro, director of sustainability at Empresa de Servicios Sanitarios del Biobío (Essbio), explained the company's carbon-neutral goal by 2050. Also, the initiatives and processes want to implement circular water and reintegrate nutrients to treat active sludge in the city. Fernando Pérez, project director at Corporación Ciudades, commented on the articulation of various actors in the territory, including public-private, academia, and industry. The latter aims to collect data and indicators that allow, through artificial intelligence, to make urban simulations to improve decision-making in sustainable urban development. Clahudett Gómez, manager of the Biobío Solidario corporation, indicated that the primary mission of this initiative is to recover food that has lost commercial value to transform it into social value. The latter has allowed the corporation to recover an average of 60 tons of food from different social organizations. However, he stressed that there is still a need for better traceability of the food and waste generated at the regional level and that recovery should be an intuitive step in value chains.
And as the meeting's milestone, participants were invited to sign the commitment to move towards a Circular Concepción voluntarily. Authorities, panelists, private companies, NGOs, and entrepreneurs from the civil world joined the agreement.