Companies from Italy, France, Australia, and the United States that are innovating to balance sustainability and efficiency in different Chilean industries discussed their experiences at the VI International InvestChile Forum.
Foreign investment can play a key role in making an industry more sustainable and innovative, by introducing next-generation technology and practices. That is the goal of four companies that discussed their experiences at the VI international InvestChile Forum: Aquafil, an Italian company that produces textiles from discarded fishing nets; Séché Group (France), which restores soil that has been contaminated by industrial activity; Phibion (Australia), which restores water resources by using technology in mining tailings dams; and Amazon Web Services (United States), which delivers cloud-based technology services.
Giulio Bonazzi, CEO and Chairman of Aquafil, outlined how his company established itself in Chile’s Los Lagos Region to give plastic a second life. «We extract part of the nylon from fishing nets and send it to Slovenia for regeneration. We break down the polymers into monomers, and make modifications. We can create shoes and sunglasses; it’s a system that we can use infinitely, it’s not a one-time recycling project. We can even create new fishing nets», said Bonazzi.
Meanwhile, executives from Phibion and Séché Group spoke about their experience working in Chile’s mining industry. Marco Miranda, Country Manager at Phibion, explained that the company’s work is focused on the end of the mining production chain, once its clients have concluded the extraction process. «The challenge is to generate a more environmentally friendly process with benefits for the client at this stage, and to contribute to the sustainable use of water in mining, because water demand in the mining industry is very high”, said Miranda.
Meanwhile, Marisol Garrido, COO of Séché Group Chile, noted that European countries have introduced a lot of incentives for waste valorization, even before the construction of tailings dams which results in the generation of industrial waste that accumulates for years or decades, together with the decontamination of soils. «If we can decontaminate a plot by removing hydrocarbons, metals, and hazardous substances, it can be used for other purposes including recreational areas and the construction of housing. That is currently a very important challenge», said Garrido.
Finally, Carmina Hernández, Public Policy Manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS), noted that her company is committed to powering its operations exclusively with renewable energy by 2025, «which makes Chile a very attractive country because it is a leader in renewable energy among emerging markets, which of course is one of the reasons why we’re here».
«Another issue that is really important to us is water use, as data centers need to use water for their cooling systems. Recently, we have committed to being ‘water positive’ by 2030, which means that we’re implementing specific technologies to avoid using water to cool our data centers, or to use the minimum possible amount of water. For example, in countries such as Ireland or Sweden, we only use water for 5% of the year, and water consumption is very low. Sustainability is at the heart of our investments, and that is one of the reasons why is makes sense for us to keep investing in Chile», Hernández said.