Closed Looped Cycle Production Highlighted at the 2014 World Resources Forum

Monday, November 10, 2014

An ECPA initiative that encourages sustainable, “closed-loop” production methods was the focus of two workshops held as part of a major international event—the 2014 World Resources Forum in Arequipa, Peru.

Through the workshops, several partners in the “Closed Looped Cycle Production in the Americas initiative highlighted innovative production methods designed to improve business productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability, and facilitate the transition to a circular economy. “Closing the loop” refers to an approach to production in which materials that have reached the end of their useful life can be re-inserted into continuous production processes or returned to the earth as nutrients.

The OAS Department of Sustainable Development, which implements the initiative, organized the technical workshops on October 21 and 22, in conjunction with ECPA, the Latin America & Caribbean Regional Platform of the Low Emissions Development Strategies (LEDS) Global Partnership, and Peru’s Center for Co-Efficiency and Social Responsibility (CER).

The first workshop, which included close to 60 participants, was opened by the OAS Representative in Peru, Pablo Zúñiga, who gave an overview of OAS efforts to advance sustainable development. Other speakers included CER Director Marcos Alegre, who provided a Peruvian perspective on eco-efficiency projects, and Ken Alston of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), who talked about the “cradle-to-cradle” (C2C) design concept and its positive, “eco-effective” approach to product design.

Also participating in the workshop were two OAS experts involved in the initiative. Rubén Contreras discussed closed-loop production and related concepts and talked about the paradigm shift this approach represents, while Kevin de Cuba moderated a question-and-answer session.

The second workshop included the participation of several strategic partners involved in the “Closed Looped Cycle Production in the Americas” initiative, which was first implemented on a pilot basis in Ecuador and is now being carried out in Colombia, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago. Gloria Restrepo of Colombia’s National Center for Cleaner Production—which belongs to the initiative’s international consortium—shared some findings from technical studies done in Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago.

In opening remarks, Aída Figari, Project Manager of the Peruvian consulting company Libélula and a member of the Latin America & Caribbean LEDS Regional Platform, discussed the importance of applying closed-loop production methods and concepts to achieve lower-carbon development in the region’s industrial sector. Lourdes Fernández of CER discussed the current situation in Peru and talked about business models that could contribute to a circular economy based on sustainable production.

The 2014 World Resources Forum drew more than 1,000 participants from many different countries, including opinion shapers, private sector representatives, and leading environmentalists, among others. During the three-day event, participants could attend plenary sessions, workshops, and scientific sessions on issues related to innovation, efficiency, and low-carbon production.

More than 250 visitors stopped by an OAS booth set up to highlight the initiative on closed-loop production, where Kevin de Cuba, Rubén Contreras, and Gloria Restrepo were on hand to share information and answer questions.