Collaboration with the EU and South American governments paves the way for circular economy in policy


Two team leaders of the ‘Circular Plastics in the America Programme’ were involved in a panel discussion during the International Environmental Fair. The other panelists were relevant stakeholders within Colombia’s sustainability sector.

Managed from our Bogota office, two projects in Colombia and Peru are enhancing the focus on sustainability in policy-making

October 25, 2021

It is becoming ever more evident that the linear model of production and consumption based on using, disposing, and relying excessively on an intensive flow of raw materials is unsustainable. In response, the circular economy (CE) presents itself as an economic model inspired by the cyclical processes of nature where no nutrient is wasted.

The role of the CE is also growing in Latin American policies, as reflected in the Circular Plastics in the America Programme (CPAP) that NIRAS is supporting in Colombia and Brazil, as well as the development of Peru’s CE roadmaps to which we are also contributing.

Taking action to minimise plastic waste in Colombia

CPAP was launched in January 2021, by a consortium comprised of GFA, NIRAS and CLEAN, a Danish environmental cluster with members from the public and private sectors. It seeks to support companies in Brazil and Colombia in the transition to the design and production of sustainable plastics through the strengthening of public policies and joint work between national and local authorities, which will foster knowledge transfer through workshops, conferences, panels, and other events.

These efforts also provide a relevant European technological showcase, and they demonstrate the expansion of networks with key players, foreign investment, and the opening of digital communication channels to stimulate collaborative work and innovation in the plastics sector.

A special feature of the project is the co-creation process at its core; the active participation of all actors in the plastics value chain is key to the optimal functioning of the programme.

This is ensured  through a platform that any individual or legal entity can join to work on challenges facing Brazilian or Colombian cities under pre-established themes. Participants think collaboratively on concrete solutions and build partnerships to put them into action. In addition, any member is able to share and search for project opportunities through the different categories as well as request to join spaces that are of interest.

This programme is led by the European Union through the EU Foreign Policy Instrument (FPI) framework. It represents a further step in the promotion of the CE Action Plan and the EU Plastics Strategy. With the development of CPAP, the EU reinforces its commitment to the protection of the environment and global biodiversity.

A dialogue on innovative ways of transitioning to a Circular Plastics Economy

October was a busy month for CPAP. The website and supporting facility were launched, and a NIRAS team of experts participated in FIMA 2021 (Feria Internacional del Medio Ambiente which translates to International Environmental Fair) where they promoted the project goals and the involvement of different actors in the project. The EU was the special guest of the event, which the Colombian Ministry of Environment organised.

A team member explains about the programme to a group of FIMA participants in front of the project booth

Aside from the NIRAS booth at FIMA, the team participated in the panel discussion of “Innovative Projects in the Sustainable Sector” where they discussed green business and the focus of the CPAP programme in Colombia, which include incubation programmes, food and beverage packaging value chain, knowledge transfer and plastics technology showcase, and circular innovation in plastics recycling.

Get in touch

Carolina Da Silva Cristofaro

Carolina Da Silva Cristofaro

Tender & Project Manager

Bogota, Colombia


Sanne Houlind

Sanne Houlind

Senior Consultant

København, Denmark

+45 4810 4267

The Peruvian Government successfully develops Circular Economy roadmaps

The growing role of CE in policy making is also reflected in Peru, where a critical milestone has been the development of the country’s national CE roadmaps, a flagship initiative that will lead to the systematic implementation of a CE approach in its economic sectors.

The country's national competitiveness and productivity policy set advancement of CE in local markets and the development of policy guidelines to transition to an eco-efficient CE as a goal.

Despite the impact of COVID-19, between December 2020 and July 2021, NIRAS’s experts, the EU, and the Government of Peru completed the CE roadmaps for the agriculture and fishing sectors.

This NIRAS-implemented technical assistance is funded through the EU Frameworks Contract “Support to the Government of Peru in the transition to a Circular Economy” and supports Peru’s Ministries of the Environment, Production and Agriculture, respectively, and other government and non-government entities’ work with CE.

News CE Peru
The former president of Peru, Francisco Sagasti, visiting a new solid waste management project outside the capital city. Photo credit: Ministry of Environment, Government of Peru, May, 2021

The NIRAS team designed the process through a participatory approach, facilitating a series of workshops to support the process with the involvement of national representatives and stakeholders of the agriculture, fishing, and aquaculture sectors. In the context of COVID-19, NIRAS also held four online workshops where a large number of public officials and representatives from  the private sector, academia, the donor community, and civil society participated.

The innovative participatory approach allowed for an agile, flexible, event in which participants co-created a robust CE roadmap. The workshops that ran from April to May 2021, aimed at identifying challenges and opportunities, key actions, choosing activities and finally, presenting the roadmap project.

After the workshops, the sector representatives and NIRAS experts reviewed the feedback from specialists and local authorities. The preliminary roadmap contained a complete description of responsible government authorities, indicators, target groups, and a recommended execution timetable.

The experts also developed and applied a qualitative participative methodology to elaborate the roadmap and the country diagnosis. The Ministry of Environment and sector representatives worked alongside the experts to produce these documents. Similarly, the Ministry of Production worked actively with the experts to examine the fishing sector. Then, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation streamlined considerations in the roadmap, including activities related to forestry and livestock.

The final approval of the Peruvian CE roadmap is scheduled to take place by the end of 2021.

You can read more about Peru’s CE Roadmaps by following the links below:

Get in touch

Ericka Mejia Quintero

Ericka Mejia Quintero

Market Coordinator, FFWC Unit

København, Denmark

+45 4299 9219