The circular economy is a more sustainable alternative to our current “take-make-dispose” model and represents an enormous financial opportunity for businesses in Latin America.
This circular alternative views waste as a resource, identifying opportunities to create new revenue streams and drive commercial efficiency.
Thanks to the digital revolution and the new technological infrastructure it has created, those opportunities will soon become realities for many companies in the region. In fact, this transformation is already starting to take place.
Every year, The Circulars celebrates the businesses, entrepreneurs and policy makers working to make the world a more sustainable place. Since the launch of these awards, we have continued to see an increase in the number and quality of entries coming from Latin America. Indeed, we hope this trend will amplify in coming years, notably due to the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) that the World Economic Forum are building in the region to drive public-private cooperation and advance the circular economy agenda.
There has already been some great progress achieved by businesses. Here are five initiatives from The Circulars using digital to make Latin America more environmentally sustainable.
Sinctronics | Reverse Logistics Recovery
Category: Small and medium enterprise
Sinctronics is a pioneering business unit of the global electronics manufacturer Flex, created to support Brazil’s National Solid Waste Law. The company introduces circularity to Brazil’s electronics market, processing discarded equipment into raw materials for reuse in new products. By using technologies such as RFID tags, cloud-based logistics programs and advanced recycling capabilities, 97% of recovered material is now returned directly into the supply chain, allowing Sinctronics to speed up collection times by 50%.
WiseWaste | Digital Dumping Solution
WiseWaste has developed recycling solutions, design thinking and lean methods to identify uses for end of life products, utilising digital as a key aspect of their solution. Within the public sector, they have helped local governments manage illegal garbage dumps by creating a free mobile app, allowing any citizen to report in real time illegal dumps, using geo-location and image integration. This has enhanced the productivity of public waste collecting by 30%. WiseWaste has helped clients such as P&G, Nestle, Adidas and Mondelez find innovative solutions to reduce the amount of waste reaching landfill.
Recicladora Urbana | Electrical End of Life
In a continent producing 9% of the world’s e-waste, Recicladora Urbana offers companies and organizations a certified end-of-life telecommunications and IT product service, managing waste electrical equipment in the B2B market. With a focus on maximizing the value extracted from all items they collect, the company has developed solutions to manage products when they reach end of life. From collection to either recycling, or remanufacture for sale through its Remakker line, the company closed the loop by finding an end of life solution for over 400 tons of equipment in 2015. The company also prepares equipment to support social impact projects through a partnership with the Centre for Digital Inclusion.
New Hope EcoTech | Formalising the Informal
New Hope EcoTech is a technology solutions company that uses informal recycling flows to create a formal pathway for manufacturers to fulfil their government mandates, all in an economic, transparent and inclusive way. Their award-winning software platform connects informal street waste collectors with the biggest manufacturing polluters who, since the launch of Brazil’s Solid Waste Policy, are required to collect and recycle their packaging materials. By using ‘Recycling Certificates’ as tradable environmental securities, companies can track and trace their waste footprint while supporting the 250,000 Brazilians who rely on collecting and selling solid waste.
Valopes | Circular Economy in the Cloud
Valopes has developed a cloud-based platform focused on recovering value from waste streams and un-used materials. Across the value chain, their technology allows enterprises to document, track down and understand their waste stream, resulting in accountability and traceability. It also helps match potential exchanges between companies. In addition to helping companies maximize the value of their assets in an idle state, Valope’s Resource Management Platform helps guarantee adequate disposal in line with regulations.
The emerging leadership from the entrepreneur community is indeed very encouraging news. The transition to a circular economy, however, requires a systems change approach that converges industries and sectors, and addresses both supply and demand side relationships.