Green Circular Economy on Spotlight in Cleantech Sector Dialogues

The CleanTech Cluster Barbados (BLOOM) in conjunction with Atom Solutions Incorporated, provided valuable insight into the area of the Circular Economy on 24 November 2021, as part of a national effort to promote Clean Technology in Barbados, as the country seeks to become a green circular economy.

BLOOM is a sustainable energy and climate technology (CleanTech) cluster hosted by the Export Barbados (BIDC). It was created through a partnership with the Ministry of International Business and Industry and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which is providing technical assistance.

With greater focus being placed worldwide on products, services and processes which can improve energy efficiency, while reducing negative environmental impacts, Barbados is getting involved in that revolution. As part of that effort, BLOOM and Atom Solutions Inc. hosted a three-part series of online dialogues on 24-26 November to connect stakeholders, existing and potential, with the information they require to successfully operate in the sector.

The first webinar took place on Wednesday, November 24, bringing together a team of experts to examine issues related to the Circular Economy. Participants attending the session were able to hear about the work of the IDB funded Compete Caribbean Program and the ITC´s GreenToCompete initiative , and how their work could potentially impact the development of the Circular Economy.

Project Coordinator and CEO of Atom Solutions Incorporated, Dr. Erwin Edwards spoke at length on the role of the Fair Trading Commission in respect of consumer protection, indicating that there are a number of companies looking at producing new products in the CleanTech space by way of recycling, and it is important that those companies fully understand what is expected of them vis-à-vis their customers and that entrepreneurs operating in the space, have access to the information that would help them produce products that would be acceptable to customers and would comply with international standards.

Adding to the discussion, Dr. Sylvia Dohnert, Executive Director, Compete Caribbean, spoke of the US$27 million multi-donor Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility, which seeks to stimulate economic growth, increase productivity and promote innovation and competitiveness in the region through technical assistance.

She explained the facility is currently financing 47 technical assistance projects throughout the region, including Barbados, and the focus is on supporting projects that present commercial opportunities with a prospect of sustainable profitability and growth.

To date, they have issued calls for projects in various sectors including the blue economy and the circular economy said Dr. Dohnert, adding that “In the blue economy calls we have had more recently good news, there are more companies working in the sector than before, and in terms of the circular economy projects, which is a subject of this dialogue, 28 percent of the submissions that we got in the two calls that we did, one on 2019 and one in 2020, were circular economy projects”.

Dialogue participants also heard an interesting presentation about sustainable production and resource efficiency. Ms Majda Grine, Project Manager, ITC’s GreenToCompete Initiative and Manager of the GreenToCompete Hub-Caribbean Project spoke about the resource efficiency and circular production for small and medium businesses and how GreenToCompete initiative is supporting MSMEs to leverage trade to seize the opportunities of the green economic transition. ITC is the joint cooperation agency of UNCTAD and WTO for business aspects of trade development.

Participants also heard from Stephanie Pemberton, a practitioner in the circular economy, on how to launch projects with MSMEs in this sector.

Dialogue 1 audio recording on Green Circular Economy is available here.