The Spanish Centre for Innovation on Climate Change (the Spanish node of the European initiative Climate-KIC), the Institute for European Studies of the Catholic University of Valencia, in cooperation with SEIMED, organised a one-day session on the Circular Economy. The event brought together environment experts to discuss the opportunities provided by the European strategy on the Circular Economy. Amongst the speakers were Daniel Calleja, the European Commission’s General Director for the Environment, and Valentín Alfaya, Ferrovial Director for Environment and President of the Spanish Green Growth Group. Also attending the debate were experts from different fields and sectors, such as José Luis Muñoz, Director General of Climate-KIC Spain; Teresa Ribera, Director of France’s Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations; Carmen Iglesias, Director of the Energy Lab research centre; Francisco Álvarez, Director General for Economy, Entrepreneurship and Cooperatives of the Valencia Regional Government; and Juan Sapena, Director of the Catholic University of Valencia.
During the event, the European Commission’s most ambitious strategy in connection with the fight against climate change, the Circular Economy, was discussed from different perspectives and sectors.
According to the official press release, Daniel Calleja stated that “Sustainable development can be the driver for consolidating the European model of integration” given that the context of the European Union is changing, with new challenges emerging in a very complex situation of economic crisis coupled with a migration and borders crisis and, for the first time in the history of the European Union, a request to leave the Union from one of its member states. “The challenges are huge, but sustainable development could very well be the driver for consolidating the European model, since 95% of European citizens consider the environment as important to them, and two thirds believe that the EU should be doing more on the issue.”
For his part, Valentín Alfaya stated that “the París agreement is changing the way we do business, affording certainty to the global commitment on climate change, particularly for the financial sector, and there is no going back.” He also stated that, from the perspective of the industrial sector, “we have gone from looking at ways of decarbonising, to changing our portfolio of activities.” The opportunities emerging for entrepreneurs are mainly in the energy sector for production and use, the water sector, and, lastly, the planet’s increasing urbanisation. Moreover, the Spanish Green Growth Group has shown its commitment through the Declaration of Barcelona, which offers the government 10 recommendations for supporting a sustainable economy. Finally, Alfaya called on companies to commit to sustainability, since every single Euro not invested in decarbonising today would represent a cost of four Euros in 2050.
The European Union strategy includes legislative proposals on waste, with an increase in recycling and a reduction in landfill; and measures for eliminating barriers in sectors or flows of specific materials, such as plastics, food waste, critical primary materials, construction and demolition, biomass and biological products.
Ferrovial is a member of the Climate-KIC
Ferrovial is a member of Climate-KIC through the network’s Spanish node since February 2017. Ferrovial’s participation in this European network is an example of cooperation between the Department for Health and Safety, Quality and the Environment, and the Department for Innovation and Processes. This cooperation allows alignment of the strategic interests on issues regarding the environment and climate change with the Group’s commitment to innovation, either through the implementation of innovation projects, or through access to the network of entrepreneurs organised by Climate-KIC. Valentín Alfaya highlighted the importance of the programme, for its potential to become a major influencing tool for European policies on issues of climate change and energy.