First Edition of “Expo Circular y Carbono Neutral” in Colombia

Published on Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Colombia launched its first “Expo Circular y Carbono Neutral” (in English, Circular Economy and Carbon Neutral Expo) within the framework of its National Circular Economy Strategy (ENEC) and the Colombia Carbon Neutral Strategy (ECCN).

From July 27-29th, the Bogota Chamber of Commerce hosted the first edition of Expocircular y Carbono Neutral, a space designed to promote synergies and commercial connections towards circular economy and zero emissions, in order to showcase the progress made in the implementation of the National Circular Economy Strategy (ENEC) and the Colombia Carbon Neutral Strategy (ECCN).

The event was organized jointly by the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism, the European Union, the German Embassy, the Italian Development Cooperation Agency (AICS), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the Consumer Goods Forum, whose representatives gave the opening speech to kick off the event.

The event consisted of many different activities, including the Circularity Metrics Panel, moderated by Santiago Velásquez from the  German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), with the participation of the 30/30 Vision  Manager from ANDI (the National Association of Industrial Companies), Mónica Villegas, Jenny Rosado from the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), and Diana Ramos from the Climate Technological Center and Network (CTCN). This panel presented a statistical approach to climate change and circular economy metrics in Colombia.

Meanwhile, the 30/30 Vision Manager placed great emphasis on the importance of innovation to make circularity more efficient and highlighted the importance of statistics-based information for decision-making. “Circular economy goes beyond waste management, it affects jobs and people’s way of life, for example, the recycler community,” she said, adding that “innovation is a key component of circular economy, and technology and innovation can make an effective contribution to circular economy.”

This panel also mentioned the importance of having a baseline as a purpose for understanding extended producer responsibility (ERP) and the importance of understanding what is measured and why measurements are taken.

On the second day of the Expo Circular, Felipe Belalcázar, Coordinator of 30/30 Vision (ANDI) moderated the Containers and Packaging Panels, where he talked about 30/30 Vision and the objectives of this program. He also presented some of the program's top results, highlighting 306 production company affiliates, 27 production sectors, and 14 team members who have managed to cover 180 municipalities and 374 collection sites. He also talked about its fulfillment of regulatory resolutions indicated by Law, with 12.5% reuse, equivalent to over 55,000 tons of containers and packaging, thanks to coordination among the different allies, including 35 manufacturers, 62 managers, and 47 transformers.

The Expocircular y Carbono Neutral also included a business fair offering solutions in circularity and carbon neutrality, with a section of company stands where participants could ask questions and learn more about programs, products, and services to promote and facilitate the implementation of circular economy through extended producer responsibility (ERP). This was a clear sign of the great interest among hundreds of companies to join efforts to achieve the container and packaging reuse goals.

The 3-day event also included talks and meet-ups aimed at strengthening sustainable business models. And to top it off, the Circular Economy Laboratory was launched was launched on the last day, thanks to collaboration between the National Learning Service (SENA) and the German Agency for International Development (GIZ). This new laboratory will be dedicated to training, certification of job skills, research, and the design of prototypes using recycled materials, thus promoting innovation for the transition to a circular economy. The laboratory will be located in the SENA Center for Industrial Management, in Bogota, and will benefit around 2,000 Colombians each year.