The circular economy is a production and consumption system which, unlike the linear model based on use and disposal, encourages reuse, repair and recycling. This translates into considerable energy savings compared to the extractive industry (we avoid generating new materials), makes the best possible use of the scarce natural resources available, and reduces deforestation.
This is the opinion of Sara Fernández, MAPFRE’s Environment expert, who believes that the threat of climate change demonstrates that it is now more necessary than ever to move decisively towards this green and sustainable model, “With which companies not only improve their results, decrease costs and reduce their environmental impact, but which could also generate up to 160,000 jobs in Spain by 2030.” This is according to the report Economía Circular en Pymes en España [Circular Economy in SMEs in Spain], recently presented by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and MAPFRE. This publication examines the situation in Spain in 2019, as well as in the European Union, and explains the performance of SMEs on the basis of a survey of 400 organizations from all sectors.
The circular economy saves energy, makes better use of scarce natural resources and reduces deforestation.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are steadily adopting this model, which could generate up to 160,000 jobs before 2030
“It is important to consume responsibly, buy higher quality products, opt for secondhand goods, and repair things more.”
In the circular economy, almost everything is used, but for this to happen, we need a cultural change, something that has not yet taken place. This is the belief of Sara Fernández, who maintains that “Citizens must be more aware about the impact of not reducing and recycling, and to this end it is important that they learn to sort waste properly, to maximize its use and give it a second or third life, so that it does not end up in a landfill site. This is one of the ways we can contribute to the survival of the planet”, she says.
To be more circular citizens, the environmental expert is also convinced of the importance of responsible consumption, “One aspect that the pandemic has undoubtedly favored in some way, is by making us more aware that we don’t really need half of the things we buy. I also think we should buy higher quality products, which generally last longer, get rid of things when they have finished their useful life, opt for secondhand goods, something that young people have fully taken on board, and, of course, shop locally. It is also important to repair things more, separate our waste properly, make better use of recycling facilities, measure our energy and water consumption at home, avoid water and air pollution, and even noise pollution, and of course opt for renewable energy sources.
CO2 Calculate your carbon footprint
Thanks to the collaboration of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and MAPFRE, SMEs will have the opportunity to receive advice, training, technological support and information aimed at improving their competitiveness and increasing their contribution to sustainable development. They will also be able to calculate their carbon footprint using a specific tool that lets them see how energy efficient they are and to what extent they are implementing the circular economy in their organization.
Hospitality, the most committed
The hospitality sector is clearly the sector in which companies are the most proactive in terms of preventing waste production and promoting recycling, as well as the most committed to training and involving their employees as well as demanding environmental certificates from their suppliers. Almost half of the companies in this sector take specific steps to separate organic matter from other waste, a measure that prevents it from decomposing and polluting the environment. Bars and restaurants are also demonstrating how strongly they are committed to eliminating single-use plastics (33%), using return and refund systems (20%), and have taken the most initiatives to promote energy efficiency.
MAPFRE, ZERO waste in 2021
MAPFRE aspires to be a benchmark in the Circular Economy, a commitment included in its sustainability strategy. To achieve this, it has recently joined the Pact for a Circular Economy, an initiative that establishes nine challenges for promoting energy savings and reducing the company’s environmental impact. It has also undertaken to minimize the generation of waste (paper, plastic, cardboard and electronic equipment, among other things) throughout the Group and to achieve the Zero Waste Certification for the Majadahonda complex (Madrid) by 2021. Also significant is the MAPFRE Without Plastic project, in which 80 percent of its employees in Spain and Portugal took part in 2019, and which avoided the consumption of one and a half million plastic bottles and two million single-use cups.