Two hours after the Holland House Costa Rica announced a half day seminar on "Circular Economy: Business Models for Tomorrow's Competitiveness" they had to take the registration form off-line. 150 Private and public sector representatives had signed up by then.
Many Dutch know Costa Rica as the perfect holiday destination in Central America. With a population of 5 million, a stable democracy and steady GDP growth, Costa Rica is also a promising export destination. With this in mind, the Holland House Costa Rica was created to promote mutual business. The May 29 Circular Economy seminar was its first major event.
Keynote speaker was Bert Keesman of MetaSus. He explained the circular economy concept and the Dutch goal of being 100% circular by 2050. The Dutch examples of Circular Economy based companies inspired many. Especially the junior entrepreneurs who will be competing in a regional Young Entrepreneurship program where Circular Economy is now one of the themes.
At a subsequent panel discussion, the focus was especially on waste plastics. Costa Rica is contemplating a ban on single use plastics and efforts are underway in environmental labelling. Several Extended Producer Responsibility systems have been set up, with the notable exception of the packaging industry. Bert Keesman wholeheartedly recommended to set this up as a solid foundation for plastics recycling.
Clearly there is a strong interest in Costa Rica for improved waste management and circular economy. For Dutch technology and services suppliers, participation in the September 17-19 Buyers Trade Mission in San José is an opportunity to cash in on this. The possibility of a regional Partners for International Business program on waste/biomass/CE may be explored. And what about a longer term goal of establishing a regional Circular Economy Hotspot in Costa Rica?
The discussion panel, from left to right: Myrtille Danse, HIVOS; Susan Hoekstra, Yellow Pallet; Jaime Cerdas, Costa Rican Plastics Chamber (ACIPLAST); Luis Eduardo Rodríguez, Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica; Bert Keesman, MetaSus; Juan Carlos Pinar, UNDP.