"The circular economy is a gold mine that not everyone takes advantage of"
More companies are becoming fully involved in the practice of sustainable policies, partly out of a sense of responsibility and in order not to lose track of the green trend that has been growing in the country.
The circular economy is one of those friendly models that are beginning to appear on the horizon of corporate strategies; however, there are still doubts about its correct definition, application and benefits.
Víctor Umaña, director of the Center for Sustainable Development of INCAE, responds to some questions about the panorama of this strategy and its corporate application.
What is the circular economy and what benefits does it offer?
It is a new concept of waste reuse based on recycling, but that focuses on the capacity of production systems to understand the useful life of materials and reduce the purchase of new ones, as well as lower waste production. The main benefits are reflected in savings in the purchase of supplies, energy and a lower environmental impact.
Is this model applied correctly in the country?
There is still much to do to educate companies, I would say that it does not apply in the country except for one or two companies that have invested time and resources to change, the circular economy is a gold mine that not everyone takes advantage of, in the long term it could be a good financial and environmental solution.
What is the first step a company seeking to apply the circular economy should take?
Consider reviewing your current recycling and waste management policies; From there, education and training in this model are very important for effective sustainable development, it is also key to involve clients, suppliers and collaborators in these objectives.
Do you think that public-private partnerships can encourage more companies to apply this system?
The private sector is the one that is getting the most involved, the interesting thing is to see what the Government can do to adapt it to its work plan and its institutions, obviously it would be necessary to invest in training, equipment, etc., but it would be a very good initiative that I do not doubt it will be replicated by more companies.
Which companies are most conducive to adapting the circular economy to their business model?
Undoubtedly those that produce the most waste, such as manufacturing, agricultural, real estate, just to mention a few; We try to impact free zones as well because the current recycling model will get us nowhere, this country has no more garbage.
How to change the mentality of companies to convince them of the urgency of sustainability?
The most important thing is to create a conscientious thought about the benefits of the model and then speak with results to the companies, the competitive advantages are important: there is a reduction in costs, optimization of economic resources and a better reputation of your brand with customers, which they highly value sustainability actions.
Interview published by the Costa Rican newspaper La República.
Next edition: September 18, 2017.