August 9, 2020

The circular economy will generate a global wealth of more than 4,500 million

Circular Economy If you do not know anything about her, you should know her because it is a model that is gaining more and more weight and will star in the future. LA RAZÓN, in collaboration with Naturgy, organized a panel discussion in which the corporate head of Environment and Energy Sustainability, Nieves Cifuentes; Accenture Strategy Strategy Manager, Julio Lequerica; the representative of the Forética Circular Economy Action Group, Elena Ruiz; the president of the Spanish Biogas Association (Aebig), Francisco Repullo; the director of Knowledge Management of the Cotec Foundation for Innovation, Adelaida Sacristán, and the president of the Circular Economy Foundation of Spain, Ángel Fernández.

This model is mainly supported on two pillars. On the one hand, sustainability, linked to the care of the environment. On the other, the revaluation of resources and, thus, give them several lives to reduce the amount of waste generated. With these bases an economy is developed much more adapted to the needs of the 21st century and that can generate a wealth of 4.5 billion euros in the world, according to Lequerica.

BUSINESS: To be so, all agents must do their part. From citizens changing their modes of consumption to administrations, promoting legislation that encourages this model, through companies, which must apply it. As for these, Lequerica celebrated that "the circular economy has been incorporated as a business discourse, although in many cases it remains in pilots."

As always, we must distinguish between large companies and SMEs, because their possibilities of access to news are very different. In this sense, Fernández admitted that "probably large corporations do know what the subject is about, but SMEs think they have total ignorance", and are the true engine of the circular economy because they make up 98% of the business fabric.

You have to work in that direction because "companies have a key role, not only for production but also for encouraging this type of consumption," said the representative of Forética, who expressed optimism and, at the same time, added that sectors that are most interested in this economic model are those that can lead to greater cost savings.

SECTORS: Among them, Adelaida Sacristán stressed that it would have a greater impact on «construction, which has a lot of material that can be used. Also in food, which generates enough waste that can be used in various ways. The pharmacist can have a more environmental than economic effect ». In addition, activities related to tourism, such as hospitality or aviation, which produces 40% of emissions must be added.

ADMINISTRATION: This obstacle could be overcome with a line of credits from the Central Administration, similar to the one that exists to boost the electric vehicle. However, the circular economy is one of the great forgotten of the Government. Cifuentes argued that this new model will bring a revolution in the rules of the business game. "We will have to collaborate between companies, not each doing business on their own," he said.

Fernández recalled that there is a draft circular economy strategy in Spain. «He was born dead because it was for the biennium 2018-2020. It is a declaration of good intentions ». And he maintained that "at the regional level there are programs," but "what is needed is a national one."

Cifuentes said that for «Naturgy the circular economy is a fundamental pillar of our environmental strategy. It is based on the production of renewable energy, energy and environmental efficiency in our facilities and customers and boost renewable gas ». Lequerica said that "the Administration must be made aware that it is the way."

And also to his workers, Repullo said: «You have to train the officials because they don't know what we're talking about. You want to set up a biogas plant in a town and they say no because it's going to make it smell bad. But it is the opposite, it will capture the emissions ».

REST OF EUROPE: If we look at the countries with which we share the continent, we leave very badly. For example, "in organic waste, our situation is dramatic compared to the rest of Europe," said Repullo. In France, Cifuentes explained, it is "a source of income for the rural world", as farmers earn a lot from the production of biogas from animal waste.

The EU itself recognizes that Spain is in the queue. Ruiz explained that "the next president, Ursula Von der Leyden, has proposed" a new Europe with a "Green Deal", in which social cohesion funds incorporated the circular economy within their criteria. But to receive them, countries should meet certain conditions. And Spain will not, at least, until 2021 ».

With a view to the future, Sacristan maintained that “there is hope that the objectives of the circular economy will be gradually achieved. The question is whether that is worth it or should be done fasterido".

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