The first phase of SwitchMed Connect, an initiative financed by the European Union and coordinated by the Regional Activity Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production from its headquarters at Sant Pau, has concluded with remarkable results in terms of economic, energy and waste savings. Improvements in environmental performance and efficiency made by 125 businesses that benefitted from the programme’s training led to a savings of more than 40 million Euros a year, 197,525 tons of CO2, and 3,400 tons of solid waste.
This positive economic and ecological bottom line is the consequence of an annual savings of energy equivalent to two months of energy use in Tunisia, and of water equivalent to 2,618 olympic-sized pools, as well as the reuse of waste as a new “raw material” in some companies. These are the most important impacts of the first phase of SwitchMed, which lasted four year and trained more than 2,200 individuals in the planning and implementation of new business models that transform socio-environmental problems into opportunities.
These professionals, known as Switchers in the context of the project, put concepts such as eco-design, clean production and fair work into practice in sectors such as tourism, agriculture, fashion, transportation and food. The exhibition set up in the Operations Pavilion of the Art Nouveau Site, The Circular Economy in the Mediterranean, features 22 of these inspiring stories, which are unfolding in eight Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.
The meeting that took place at Sant Pau from the 13th through the 16th of November 2018 provided an opportunity to recognise the achievements made to date, and inspire the heroes of the story to continue their progress with ecological and social innovations, make them viable in economic terms and bring them to scale.
Other key partners in the development of SwitchMed, also present at the Sant Pau gathering, included representatives of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the United Nations Environment Programme through its Mediterranean Action Plan (UN Environment/MAP), the Union for the Mediterranean, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the Catalan Waste Agency.