ASDF provides training at workshop “A Circular Approach to Business” to support transition towards Circular Island Economies
Kevin de Cuba | January 2017
On January 17th 2017, ASDF launched the Circular Islands Economies Program with its inaugural workshop “A Circular Approach to Business” at the University of Curacao in the Dutch Caribbean. The aim of this workshop was to start stimulate the Caribbean’s transition towards a circular economy, which will boost competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and create new business and job opportunities.
This training was tailored to CEOs, Managers and Senior Staff in charge of Corporate Social Responsibility at companies in different economic sectors on the Island of Curaçao. Participants benefited from the guidance of global experts from McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) and ASDF who shared their knowledge and discussed the most relevant circular opportunities for the island and the wider region. In addition, local guest speakers on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Government of Curaçao, the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten, the University of Curaçao (UoC), the Curacao Green Foundation, the Curaçao Business Council for Sustainable Development (also known as Bedrijvenplatform Milieu- BPM) and IFB Consulting provided insights from the local context and assessed the feasibility to achieving Circular Islands Economies.
Curaçao’s Minister of Economic Development, His. Exc. Eugene P. Rhuggenaath, who opened the event, said that a circular economy goes much further than sustainable development and highlighted the importance of seeing how to use scarce resources throughout the lifecycle. He applauded this initiative, because by becoming partners of platforms such as the CEP-Americas an important step can be taken towards this direction and help strategically position Curaçao as a small island state in this paradigm shift.
For his part, the Director of Projects and Senior Chemist at MBDC, Howie Fendley, introduced the Circular Economy concept and Cradle to Cradle® design principles and showed practical examples of products designed under these frameworks, highlighting the relevance for island nations. He said that “Cradle to Cradle design for the Circular Economy allows businesses to reduce liabilities and increase assets”.
Building on that, Director of ASDF and Senior Sustainable Development Specialist, Kevin de Cuba and ASDF Project Manager, Soraya Hamawi opened the discussion around the feasibility of a transition towards Circular Island Economies through the review of a wide range of circular business models and by using different innovation management tools. In his intervention, Mr. Kevin de Cuba said that Cradle to Cradle® is the basis for a circular economy opening a wide range of business opportunities for the Caribbean while Ms. Hamawi highlighted that a circular economy will force us to come with new innovations, which can be achieved by collaborating with each other.
Subsequently, Chairman of the Curaçao Business Council for Sustainable Development, John Amarica noted the specific local circumstances of Curaçao and the Caribbean that would support a circular economy transition. He further explained the BPM’s Minimum Sustainability Standards, which embrace Cradle to Cradle® design serve as a suitable strategy to foster better business practices. Mr. Amarica also explained that Selikor, the largest waste management company in Curaçao, has an important role in facilitating the circular economy transition, and showcased good examples in the re-use of construction waste streams on the island.
Different circular business opportunities for the island and the region were identified together with the participants from the public, tourism, academic, sustainable development, renewable energy and water sectors which attempt to mitigate climate change effects and give effective solutions to access to freshwater, food and primary goods in the island nations.
The workshop closed with a Partnership Agreement between BPM and ASDF for promoting among other Circular Economy in Curaçao. This agreement marks a new path to production and consumption patterns in Curaçao and the Caribbean by fostering competitiveness and sustainable growth under a Circular Economy paradigm.
As founding members of the Circular Economy Platform of the Americas (CEP-Americas), ASDF and MBDC are committed to engaging with like-minded individuals and organizations to explore, identify, and realize innovative solutions inspired by the Circular Economy principles to address the different sustainability challenges of the Caribbean and the Americas. For more information about the Circular Economy Platform of the Americas, please visit: www.cep-americas.com