Roadmap for a Circular Chile by 2040

In July 2021, the Ministry of the Environment published the Roadmap for a Circular Chile with ambitious goals by 2040, including four lines of action: Circular Innovation, Circular Culture, Circular Regulation, and Circular Territory, and the 118 concrete steps to achieve them. As a result of a cross-cutting and comprehensive work of all sectors of society, the document envisions that by 2040 the regenerative circular economy will drive Chile towards a sustainable, fair, and participatory development that puts the welfare of people at the center. Through the care of nature and its living beings, responsible and efficient management of natural resources, and a society that uses, consumes, and produces sustainably and consciously, fostering the creation of green jobs and opportunities for people and organizations throughout the country.


In 2019, on the eve of COP25, the Ministry of the Environment (MMA), together with the Ministry of Economy (MINECON), the Production Development Corporation (CORFO), and the Sustainability and Climate Change Agency (ASCC) initiated a process to develop a circular economy roadmap to accelerate the country's transition to this economic model. The work involved the participation of a Strategic Committee (33 representatives from the public and private sectors, civil society, and academia), an Executive Committee, and an International Advisory Committee.  Also included were different ministries and organizations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, IDB, and OECD, which concluded mid-year.


The initial phase in 2019 included workshops and interviews with key stakeholders. It identified the country's several gaps and opportunities towards a circular direction, including the lack of financing and industrialization; development of trained human capital and technical expertise in all economic sectors; the need for regulation in line with innovation and its scaling; and the importance of establishing public-private collaboration mechanisms.


Once this initial phase was completed, in May 2020, the strategic committee developed a shared long-term vision and a strategy and action plan to achieve it. At this stage, 11 thematic roundtables were formed with more than 100 stakeholders to discuss and propose ideas and actions related to developing markets, regulation, territories, and local economies. Talks also included eco-design, prevention, reuse and repair, energy recovery, scaling up of Industry 4.0 innovation, education and culture, incentives and disincentives for citizens, incentives for companies. 


The first draft published for public consultation in December 2020 will reflect the results of these roundtables. This citizen consultation received more than 500 comments. It allowed us to move the text's focus from waste management to one that puts people's quality of life, the efficient use of resources, innovation, and a greater awareness of our planet's climate urgency at the center.


The final Roadmap, approved by the Council of Ministers for Sustainability, which was published in July of this year, establishes intermediate goals for 2030 and longer-term goals for 2040:




1° Job Creation

100 thousand new green jobs

180 thousand new green jobs

2° Generation of municipal solid waste per inhabitant


10% decrease


25% decrease

3° Total waste generation per GDP

15% decrease

30% decrease

4° Material productivity

30% increase

60% increase

5° General recycling rate

40% increase

75% increase

6° Municipal solid waste recycling rate

30% increase

65% increase

7° Reclamation of sites affected by illegal disposal

50% recovery

90% recovery

Source: Roadmap for a Circular Chile by 2040

Four main lines of action have been established to achieve these goals: Circular Innovation, Circular Culture, Circular Regulation, and Circular Territories, with 27 general initiatives that contemplate 118 concrete actions to be implemented collaboratively among the country's different stakeholders.


Each axis's action focus is multiple and presents a great challenge, but even more so the opportunity to accelerate the transition towards a sustainable production and consumption model for Chile and its citizens. The focuses of action for each axis are as follows:


Circular innovation: we seek a life-cycle vision in the design of products, services, and processes, more circular business models, growth in the valorization of industrial waste, increased financing for circular investment projects, and accelerated research, development, and innovation for the circular economy.


Circular Culture: the aim is to migrate to sustainable lifestyles based on circular habits and practices, a greater focus on education in environmental awareness and skills for a circular economy, improved transparency and traceability around waste management, and more forward-looking monitoring of progress towards sustainable development.


Circular Regulation: the aim is to establish economic instruments to promote the circular economy, complement the sanitary approach with a circular economy approach in waste regulation, increase citizen involvement in the solution of linear economy problems, and improve collaboration and joint work among key actors for the transition.


Circular Territory: the aim is to increase the presence of circular economy principles in regional development trajectories, more citizen participation in decisions that affect their local environment, preference for production techniques that care for and increase the country's natural capital, and the development of infrastructure and equipment that enable circular solutions.


Today, the Ministry is working to activate open and collaborative governance to implement the Roadmap actions and follow up on fulfilling the proposed goals. Today, Chile celebrates having a navigation chart to move towards a regenerative circular economy that creates value for all and actively contributes to the planet's sustainability.


Recommended bibliography: