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APEC Chile commits to sustainable growth

From the moment Chile assumed the presidency of APEC, one of its main objectives has been to strengthen the commitment to work towards a more sustainable world. Therefore, in addition to choosing sustainable growth as one of the priorities of its year, Chile has promoted initiatives related to this issue during APEC meetings and events.

The measures taken during the First Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1), which was held in February and March in Santiago, included the use of recycled materials, less plastic and digital tools. They also will be applied at upcoming meetings held in the country’s capital and elsewhere in Chile.

The sustainable measures adopted by APEC

One of the most important measures was the considerable reduction in the use of printed paper during the meetings. Only 40,500 sheets of paper were used during the 14 days of SOM1 activities. This stands in contrast to the amount used at the same event in Australia in 2007 (741,606) and Vietnam in 2017 (565,367) and also led to a substantial reduction in the use of printer ink.

APEC Chile applied the “paper-light” concept, which consists of increasing the use of technology to replace printouts. An app was created to distribute meeting agendas. The information was periodically updated to give delegates access to the most recent versions on their devices. The app also contained a logistics manual on Chile and Santiago. This 100-page manual used to be custom printed and distributed to each of the delegates.

Another initiative that contributed to the reduction of plastic and waste was the use of glass water bottles during meetings. This made it possible to recycle the approximately 15 thousand bottles that were used during SOM1.

The plastic nameplates on which the names of the APEC economies are written have been replaced by copper plates which can be reused throughout the year.

Even the souvenirs distributed this year reflect this concern for the environment. For example, each delegate who attended the launch event at La Moneda Presidential Palace was given two bags with seeds that germinate when they come in contact with water.

For International Women's Day, each representative received a bracelet made with copper threads by Chilean craftswoman Fernanda Musalem. APEC Chile 2019 backpacks are made from natural fibers and dyes.

One of the major environmental challenges facing Chile’s Metropolitan Region is air pollution caused by vehicles. In view of this, hybrid cars and electric buses were used to transport delegates.

The implementation of sustainable initiatives will continue during the Second Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2), which will take place May 2-18 in Viña del Mar. Organizers also plan to introduce new initiatives in cooperation with the regional government and other institutions.