Circular cities for sustainable growth

Published on Tuesday, 28 June 2022

The importance of public-private collaboration

 

 

It is an essential strategy shared by the great actors of change in the urban environment for the circular city to exist: the public sector, the private sector (companies), and, of course, the citizens.

This circular strategy will allow the transformation of the city to become a reality, combining investments from private funds and innovative approaches to urban planning. That generates greater efficiency and improves the correlation between the cost and the time spent in the development and implementation of circular initiatives.

It is no longer feasible for governments, regardless of their scale (local, regional or national), to work in isolation. Solutions for cities must involve all stakeholders to achieve more ambitious goals. It is what we call a circular ecosystem.

In this process of change, in addition to the public-private alignment, citizen action is essential. The citizen is a significant factor in the objective of achieving more circular cities: they not only carry out an individual activities but also collaborate as part of public administrations and private companies, helping to promote awareness and the commitment of the whole of society in achieving these objectives. This magic triangle of public administrations, private companies, and citizens through collaboration and mutual demands is essential when facing the challenges and needs of cities and the planet in this 21st century.

 

The benefits of the circular city

 

 

What are the benefits of transforming a city into a circular one?

Competitiveness. The circular economy makes it possible to maintain the value of materials and resources and huger interaction between producers and intermediaries, which is why it can generate business opportunities for small and large companies and individual entrepreneurs. Services are produced at better prices with better conditions and are respectful of the environment.

Environment. Rethinking the entire economic model to integrate the circular economy has environmental advantages because emissions and waste are lowered. Acting on the design of cities makes it possible to lower travel time, noise, air pollution, and energy consumption. According to the UN Environment Division, a circular city could reduce both its production of industrial waste and its emissions by more than 90%.

Social. The circular economy in a city encourages locally based job creation because products and services are developed locally.

The circular transformation creates new challenges in aspects such as taxes (which favor sustainable practices and penalize those that are not). Also, the circular transformation creates the training in new skills for city dwellers, and changes in business ecosystems, which favor the creation of new startups and SMEs or shared value business networks.

 

 

What are we doing locally?

 

 

Argentina and the City of Buenos Aires are not exempt from this context, which is why at ENEL Argentina we wanted to develop a "Circular Economy and Decarbonization Diagnosis" so that it can serve as an instrument for promoting dialogue and decision-making that promotes the transition towards a circular model through a systemic perspective, involving all the actors, agreeing on sectoral policies and instruments capable of favoring this model, gradually, without harming the sectors involved in the production models and consumption. As well as with plans for education and citizen participation, up to the creation of new economic incentives, financing, and certification.

In Argentina, and, in the City of Buenos Aires, we are supporting and participating in initiatives promoted by the public sector related to the circular economy. Each one with a particular approach, based on the priorities, the context, and the assessments of those who decide at the local level to intervene in the best way on the sedimentation of decades of decisions and economic models that favored linear models.

For this reason, we are proud to present the diagnostic study sponsored by ENEL and developed jointly with Innubatec and the Argentine Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEADS), which establishes as its objective the survey and identification of a work agenda focused on the circular economy and the decarbonization of the City of Buenos Aires, given the sustainable development agenda to 2030 to integrate, articulate and promote actions, opportunities and challenges that merit the implementation of circularity in cities.

We appreciate the collaboration of all the stakeholders, especially the GCBA, who participated in the survey and data collection process so that we can carry out our analysis and recommendations.

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