Three women from the Cerro Obligado neighborhood, from the municipality of Coronel, made history by creating the first eco-furniture venture at local and regional levels. The entrepreneurs were trained in bioconstruction, eco-carpentry, and business management techniques by Enel Generación Chile and the Sembra NGO. The acquisition of these new skills gave the women the right tools to put into practice their venture which they named "Entre Pallets".
The SME manufactures furniture made from pallets that the women get from Coronel's industrial parks. The furniture, both for residential and commercial use, is produced to high quality and design standards. By incorporating Circular Economy concepts, "Entre Pallets" is a company committed to the environment and seeks to reduce the environmental impact of each of its processes.
Cerro Obligado is a neighborhood facing the Coronel Bay and close to the Lo Rojas fishing cove. Its community is made up of about 1,600 families who, for decades, have lived in this area. In the early part of the 20th century, the income sources of the resident families were linked to artisanal fishing and coal mining. Today, it is a socially vulnerable neighborhood, consisting mainly of houses and small businesses.
In October 2016, Enel's Sustainability department established a dialogue with the leaders of Cerro Obligado community. Thanks to the conversations both partners agreed on a work plan focused on creating shared value. Subsequently, the parties agreed that the active training and participation of neighbors in the management of this plan was of utmost importance. In February 2017, Enel invited four local women to train in bioconstruction at the Eco-Technologies Exploration Center of the Sembra Association, in the municipality of Nogales, Valparaiso Region.
Elba Gutiérrez, Letty Núñez, Claudia Sandoval and Lorena Sandoval began their training as eco-carpenters and entrepreneurs. In the 2017-2018 period, they started to produce eco-furniture following the guidelines provided by the Sembra Association and Enel. In August 2018, thanks to the training they received, they set up a micro-enterprise called "Eco-Mueblería Limitada", whose fantasy name is "Entre Pallets", an SME whose members are Elba Gutiérrez, Claudia Sandoval and Lorena Sandoval.
His SME manufactures furniture with pallets, which are waste products that come from the various production processes from Coronel´s extensive industrial parks. Had they not been recycled, they would have been used mostly as fuel for wood-burning stoves, adversely affecting the air quality of the area already declared as saturated with particulate-MP 2.5 material. "Entre Pallets" manufactures office, home, and community furniture.
For Enel, this project has consolidated the bond of trust and collaboration with the Cerro Obligado community, creating shared value and contributing to SDA 8 of "Decent Work and Economic Growth", with a strong seal of gender equality.
The community can now access recycled furniture while four women from Cerro Obligado have acquired the skills to generate income on their own. Furthermore, industrial waste produced by local industries is also significantly reduced thanks to the eco venture.