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Lessons Learned and Best Practices on circular economy business models and the inclusion of the SDGs in business strategies in Latin America, the Caribbean and European Union

1. Context of the call

The EU-LAC Foundation was born with the aim of strengthening the links between the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean. It seeks to ensure that relations between the two continents grow fruitfully and sustainably, in a context of high competitiveness and challenges, as well as opportunities for greater interrelation. It seeks to promote sustained economic growth with social cohesion and inclusion, which, at the same time, is friendly with the environment.  Relationships at all levels are promoted, including among civil society, academic institutions and productive sectors.

In 2015, the United Nations approved the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals that, in a cross-cutting manner, promotes the partnership among governments, civil society and the private sector for a sustainable and efficient development.

In the same year, the EU-LAC Foundation and Forum Empresa wrote a report containing a baseline of the National Action Plans on CSR of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe. In addition, public policies related to sustainability were registered and a roadmap was proposed to comply with the commitments of the EU-CELAC Summits (Santiago and Brussels). One of the recommendations of this publication was the creation of a bi-regional working group, to develop shared learning, exchange of best practices and lessons to enable fostering the relationship between Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The EU-LAC Foundation launched a competitive call for proposals for a project on bi-regional cooperation on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in June 2017, and eleven applications were received. The expert team selected through the call, InnovacionAL from Chile, started to work on the project in August with consultations across the two regions. The organisation of a bi-regional working group was initiated, aimed at defining a common action plan in terms of studies, webinars and meetings, promoting sustainable efforts at joint activities and collaboration, as well as establishing a repository of best practices.

This group is formed by regional and national entities dedicated to CSR. In Latin America and the Caribbean the regional networks Forum Empresa and RedEAmérica are participating, as well as national entities in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. In Europe, there is the collaboration of the regional organisation World Forum Lille of France; and contacts were made with CSR Europe, and national entities in Spain, France and Ireland, among others.  Wider participation in the group will be sought, especially entities from Europe and the Caribbean.

Furthermore, through this group, in 2017 the baseline was updated and a second research was conducted. It provides a general view about the state of progress of CSR and the National Action Plans of various countries in Europe, Latin America and Caribbean. In this study, which will be published soon, topics of interest in both continents were highlighted, to promote the exchange of best practices and business cases that allow simplifying modalities through which the business sector can advance in certain aspects of sustainable development. Specifically, five topics of interest were identified to continue the shared learning:

1. Circular economy and mechanisms of protection to the environment, and clean generation of energy.

2. Agenda 2030 and integration of SDGs: identifying opportunities for development and for business.

3. Social and environmentally sustainable value chain.

4. Reduction of multidimensional poverty and creation of sustainable communities.

5. Human Rights and business.

The EU-LAC Foundation is launching this Call to companies and institutions interested in making visible their experiences on the first two topics. In this way, a maximum of 20 cases of companies identified as best practices will be selected. In principle, 10 cases on circular economy business models and 10 cases regarding the inclusion of the SDGs in business strategies will be selected.  These numbers have to be considered indicative, depending on the number, quality and geographical equilibrium of the proposals received.

TRACK 1: Circular economy and mechanisms of protection to the environment, and renewable energy generation

In the context of environmental sustainability, the circular economy model consists of a strategy that reduces the negative impact on the environment, offering an alternative to the traditional linear business model where the final product is the source of the value creation, reaching its highest point with its consumption. In the circular economy, one of the objectives is to increase the product life span, produce goods with a long life cycle and focusing on services rather than products.

The growing attention on the environment has driven the research and the inquiry on adaptation and mitigation of climate change based models that are applicable by private companies. The goal, in this case, is that these models be implemented in the productive processes and in the provision of services in an innovative way.

Given this context, we expect to receive business best practices and business cases that are in line with the principles of the circular economy model:

Preserve and improve natural capital: controlling limited reserves and balancing resource flows.
Optimize the use of resources: distributing products, components and materials with maximum utility in both technical and biological cycles.
Promote the effectiveness of the system: detecting and eliminating negative externalities.

The perspective to which this call adheres corresponds to that promoted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. For a further examination of this topic, please review articles and examples of business cases at https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/

TRACK 2: The integration of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs in the business strategy: identifying opportunities for development and for business

The SDGs represent a fundamental stage in the awareness of the failures of the current socio-economic model and a joint commitment among governments, civil society and the private sector for the future of international development. The 17 SDGs particularly can be summarized in three macro objectives, which are: eradication of extreme poverty, reduction of inequality, and confronting climate change.

It is necessary to understand that the 2030 Agenda, although elaborated to overcome these challenges, can result in an opportunity for growth of the companies themselves. In this respect, it is essential to work for an integration of the SDGs into business strategies so that, together with the results for poverty reduction and climate change, the business goals are achieved, in order to encourage the scaling up of projects with a good economic, social and environmental benefits.

2.  Objective of the Call

The objective of the call is to receive proposals for the elaboration of case studies on good practices and lessons learned in relation to circular economy business models and the integration of SDGs into business strategies in the EU and LAC countries.

The overall purpose of this convening is to promote economic inclusion, innovation and sustainability through the dissemination of good business practices. Therefore, the selection of cases will seek to explore opportunities for the exchange of experiences and learning among countries, and at a bi-regional level. In addition, it is relevant that the proposed cases have a good insertion in a local territorial dynamic. Consequently, there must be a strong relationship between the initiative of the company and the territory in which it operates and evidences about how good practices influence on its development.

Finally, it is fundamental to consider that aside from thoroughly describing the key characteristics, evolution and results of each good practice; all case studies should include an introduction of the case and the conditions that have determined the success of the initiative.

To whom is this call addressed?

All large, medium, small or micro companies and the business foundations that implement the good practices described in this document are invited to participate. The companies may, in turn, present themselves in partnership with entities that support them in the development of the experience. Such entities can be:

  • Civil society organisations
  • Institutions and state agencies
  • Universities
  • Technical and vocational training centres
  • Institutions/research centres (think tanks)
  • Business networks
  •   Business chambers

The companies and/or business foundations that apply must have their headquarters in one of the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean or the European Union and can be of a public or private nature.

The organisation/institution that presents a good practice should be the entity that carried it out. However, it is possible to present a case study implemented by a third party, with the written approval of the entity that led the initiative.

Presentation Process

Deadline for this call: July 13, 2018. 

The REGISTRATION FORM OF GOOD PRACTICE must be presented. Applications can be submitted in English or Spanish.

Download the form in Spanish

Download the form in English

The EU-LAC Foundation and the company InnovacionAL which is executing this project are committed to keeping all personal data strictly confidential.

Aspects to consider

  • Deadline for submitting case study proposals: July 13, 2018 (23:59 local time in Germany).
  • All complete proposals received within this time frame that meet the requirements will be considered for selection.
  • The proposals must be sent to the following email: info@innovacional.com
  • The subject line of your email must include: "Call for Cases".
  • You can expect a response time of around four (4) weeks for EU-LAC Foundation and InnovacionAL to announce the decision. Only those proposals that are selected will be contacted. Please do not contact us regarding your proposal.
  • Please consider that adjustments may be required to the documents sent. We clarify that by sending your best practice you assume the commitment to collaborate to adjust it in such a way that the expected result is achieved. Up to two adjustment requests are accepted so consider this in your work planning.

 

Selection Process

The final decision on the cases selected will be made by the EU-LAC Foundation, based on the selection process made by a review committee, composed of experts in the field appointed by the Foundation and by InnovacionAL. The evaluation will be based on a qualitative analysis and in accordance with the following selection criteria.

 

Selection Criteria

  • That it be implemented by a company or a legally registered business foundation.
  • That it be carried out voluntarily, namely that it is not a practice that is mandatory by law.
  • That it can show results for the business and, at the same time, the generation of social and/or environmental benefits.
  • That it expresses in a concrete and intelligible way the process, which was developed to achieve the aforementioned results.
  • Those experiences that have an evaluation or quantitative analysis of their results will be privileged.
  • Those cases that positively impact local development will be privileged and, in the case of circular economy, they can show the relation of their results with the SDGs.
  • The case studies that have the greatest potential to be replicated in other similar contexts or in front of comparable challenges will be privileged as well.
  • In the selection of the cases geographical equilibrium will be taken into account.

 

Dissemination of Results

The EU-LAC and InnovacionAL Foundation will oversee carrying out a wide communication of the selected cases, inviting the organisations member of the bi-regional working group to replicate such communications in their countries. Also, the selected cases will be placed on the web site of the Foundation, and the platform http://www.bipiz.org

Finally, the World Forum Lille is expected to invite the representatives of the companies and/or foundations of the three best cases in each subject to present their results at the World Forum Lille conference, October 16-18, 2018 in Lille, France (although this is not a commitment of the Foundation).

 

We look forward to your participation.