The Adriatic and Ionian Fora of Chambers of Commerce, Universities and Cities and their members, in cooperation with Adriatic and Ionian Initiative – Chairmanship of the Republic of Slovenia organized three online Round Tables as Side-Events within the framework of the 6th EUSAIR Forum.
The webinars analyzed and discussed three main topics: Climate Change, Blue Economy and Circular Economy. The Webinar “SMEs towards Circular Economy”, which was held on May 12, was organized in collaboration with Marche Chamber of Commerce and Split Chamber of Economy.
The Circular Economy Action Plan is at the core of the European Green Deal, the EU roadmap towards climate-neutrality. It is crucial to help European businesses and consumers to make the transition to a stronger and more circular economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way. The implementation of this plan, which aims to make the economy cleaner and more competitive, will impact SMEs through: measures to reinforce waste management, measures on the usage of critical raw materials and support to implement the circular economy strategies and practices. SMEs are experiencing more difficulties in adopting such strategies and practices, due to: their more limited organizational, technological and financial capacity; and less access to (pre)- financing for circular solutions. The event, organized in cooperation with Marche Chamber of Commerce and Split Chamber of Economy, aims to learn more about the framework on the Green Deal with particular reference to the circular economy in some of the EUSAIR countries, through training and support schemes for companies and best practices of European projects, territorial initiatives and circular economy entrepreneurial activities.
The Webinar “SMEs towards the Circular Economy”, which was held on May 12 at 16:00, was organized in cooperation with Marche Chamber of Commerce and Split Chamber of Economy, and aimed at learning more about the framework on the Green Deal with particular reference to the circular economy in some of the EUSAIR countries, through training and support schemes for companies and best practices of European projects, territorial initiatives and circular economy entrepreneurial activities
Moderating the debate Elena Gentilini, Progetto Arcadia.
The meeting opened with greetings from the President of the Marche Chamber of Commerce and of the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce, Gino Sabatini, who greeted all the participants and all the panelists of the last of the three Side-Events organized by the Forum with AII and the Slovenian Presidency. “Circular Economy has always been a key topic in the field of global economy. And even more now, after the pandemic, it is a core subject, from which we should start rebuilding our economic activities. I would like to mention the last Symbola Report in which Italy appears as one of the countries with the higher percentage of recycled goods (79%),more than half on the European average basis; improving its already good performance by 8,7% from 2010 to 2018”. President Sabatini also remembered the important award received by The Vice President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy for Construction and Transport – and Former President of the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce – Mirjana Čagalj who has been awarded the honorary title of Ambassador of Macro-Regional Strategies during the 6th EUSAIRForum.
Joze Tomas (President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy, County Chamber of Split), after greeting all the participants, remarked “I am glad that despite the limitations related to the pandemic, we managed to realize and in cooperation with our colleagues and friends from the Marche Chamber co-organize this webinar on such an important, common topic of circular economy. Therefore, I am especially glad that as an example of good practice from Croatia I can announce the presentation of the project of students from the University of Split, who designed an innovative system that will contribute to the protection and preservation of the sea. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Vice President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy and former President of the Forum of Adriatic-Ionian Chambers of Commerce, Ms Mirjana Čagalj, on the important recognition and honorary title of Ambassador of Macro-Regional Strategies”.
The ambassador Milan Jazbec (AII Chairman-in-office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia) underlined the importance of the activities carried out by the Fora of Civil Society (Chambers of Commerce, Cities and Universities). Planet Earth as limited resources and that’s why Circular Economy is essential and one of the most important topic to be discussed. “This is the last event of the Slovenian Chairmanship and I am very glad to conclude it here with you. It has been a splendid experience and an immense pleasure, and I hope we will be able to see each other in person soon.”
The ambassador Fabio Pigliapoco (Adriatic Ionian Initiative Permanent Secretariat) then confirmed that the AII Secretariat is by the Fora’s side, to support their initiatives, since the Fora are in fact the heart and blood of the EUSAIR Strategy and their work is precious. That is why AII has been happy to include these events in the framework of the V EUSAIR FORUM and now in the 6th edition of the EUSAIR Forum. Amb. Pigliapoco reminded the participants that the two Chamber of Commerce which have organized the event are the two founding fathers of the Fora and he declared himself very grateful to them both. He then addressed Amb. Jazbec “ We have been experiencing 12 months of perfect cooperation; thank you for your friendship, and the warmth that characterizes your way of working.”
The first part of the Webinar focused on The European Green Deal and the circular economy – the European and EUSAIR context; The meeting was opened by María Rincón Liévana (EU Commission, DG ENV, Team Leader Circular Economy Action Plan “A new Circular Economy Action Plan for a cleaner and more competitive Europe) , who presented the Green Deal in the Agenda of the European Commission. “There is only one planet Earth, yet by 2050, the world will be consuming as if there were three”. EU initiatives and legislation already address to a certain extent sustainability aspects of products, either on a mandatory or voluntary basis (notably, the Ecodesign Directive or, instruments such as the EU Ecolabel or the EU green public procurement (GPP) criteria). Empowering consumers and providing them with cost-saving opportunities is a key building block of the sustainable product policy framework. To enhance the participation of consumers in the circular economy, the Commission will propose a revision of EU consumer law to ensure that consumers receive trustworthy and relevant information on products at the point of sale, including on their lifespan and on the availability of repair services, spare parts and repair manuals: the circular economy remains a priority in the latest deliverables of the European Green Deal.
The second session of the webinar was dedicated to How to foster innovation for the circular economy in SMEs: Marco Botteri (Ecocerved Scarl “The role of the Italian Chambers of Commerce in the circular economy) who presented Ecocerved. the consortium company of the Italian Chamber of Commerce system that operates in the field of information systems for the environment.
Ecocerved operates as a partner of the Chambers of Commerce and Public Administrations, in the collection, management, processing and dissemination of data and information on the environmental impact of economic activities. The activity is divided into four main lines:
- transfer of data and information from the business world to the Public Administration;
- technical assistance, training and awareness of businesses;
- data management and analysis on behalf of the Public Administration;
- communication of the processed information to the socio-economic system.
Djana Varlec (Croatian Chamber of Economy “The role of the Croatian Chamber in the circular economy) said that most of the activities carried out by the Croatian Chamber of Economy are defined in the Waste Management Plan of the Republic of Croatia for the period 2017-2022. Waste management is an important topic for the CCE for more than 15 years. She gave an overview of the activities carried out within the circular economy with the focus on establishing Waste Exchange where companies can exchange information on waste materials supply and demand, training activities for companies, national award on corporate social responsibility and the promotion of EU policies. CCE is also a member of the National Committee for Green Public Procurement.
Dragica Marinič (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Štajerska “Strategic Research and Innovation Partnership – SRIP) presented the Smart Specialization Strategy of the Republic of Slovenia to significantly intensify cooperation between Slovenian innovation stakeholders that operate in specific priority areas (through the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process). SRIP-Circular economy is a long term sustainable public-private partnership/cluster, innovation ecosystem with 87 members: 56 companies/SMEs large, 16 R&Ds, 13 NGOs, 3 chambers. Its main goal is to provide networking and collaboration in value chains for an entering to global market .
The third and last session, dedicated to Best practices – European projects, territorial initiatives and circular economy entrepreneurial activities, opened with Paolo Baldoni (Garbage Group, “Pelikan, cleaning the sea. A shared system of know-how and technology to defend the environment”) who has been paying a lot of attention to the changes that are occurring to the marine ecosystem. He presented their Antipollution System: a strong and solid organization providing cleaning and treatment services related to marine pollution and also control and patrol services. In particular, they implemented a new type of boat capable of cleaning the sea and their goal is to make 1000 units available worldwide during the next 5 years. They created the B.E.R. (Blue Economy Research), an entity with a mixed public and private composition, capable of carrying out innovative and sustainable projects in the maritime and port world.
Antonija Buzov (University of Split, Faculty of Economics “Presentation of the CBRO – a friend of the sea) presented an innovative device for microplastics sampling on the sea surface designed by a group of students from various faculties within the University of Split. They have named the device CBRO – a friend of the seas and the difference between similar devices is that CBRO can be operated remotely. The device is in the prototype phase.
Lorenza Natali (Marche Chamber of Commerce “COSME CEnTOUR project, Circular Economy in Tourism) presented the European project CEnTOUR Circular Economy in Tourism, which deals with the introduction of Circular Economy principles in the SMEs of the tourism sector, with the aim to spread a more sustainable model of development, in terms of knowledge transfer, innovation and certifications. The main goals of the project are: Link between the tourism sector’s competitiveness and its sustainability, as the quality of tourist destinations is strongly influenced by their natural and cultural environment and by their integration into a local community; the adaptation of European tourism companies towards more sustainable, low-carbon and resource-efficient business models provides a competitive advantage by creating important cost savings and improving the quality of the tourism offer; CE can create new jobs and opportunities.
And lastly, Ioannis Daskalopoulos / Anna Zerva (Chamber of Ioannina, “The Greek and Italian Chambers’ contribution towards circular economy: Project “Circle-IN” – Interreg Greece-Italy), made a point on the mission of the Project “Circle-IN” , Co-funded by the Interreg V-A Greece-Italy Programme2014-2020 and financed under the Priority Axis 1 –Innovation and Competitiveness, that is based on the Circular Economy concept. The Project promotes Circular Economy, the respective innovative processes and benefits from its application and it assists entrepreneurs and businesses to take advantage of the relevant opportunities. A Network Platform, Website and info point are available in order to provide more information about Circular Economy and the project itself.
The debate will continue in the group that will be created within the Stakeholder Platform, in which the presentations of the speakers and the recording of the event will be uploaded.
Here, the presentations of the Speakers: