Latin America has a resource-intensive economy with a vigorous social innovation culture. By establishing a presence here, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is able to explore new aspects of a transition to a circular economy, including the perspective from low- and middle-income countries.

The principles behind a circular economy are not entirely new in Latin America, and have begun to appear in pockets of activity across the continent.

With a vibrant social entrepreneurship scene and abundant natural resources on which its economy is heavily reliant, Latin America offers an interesting angle for circularity.

Luisa Santiago - Ellen MacArthur Foundation Brazil Lead

Latin America activities

Cities and the Circular Economy for Food

Mobilising new approaches to accelerate the transition to a circular economy for...

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Pioneer Universities

An international network of institutions which develop pioneering and innovative...

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Circular Cities

We offer thought leadership and knowledge exchange for pioneering cities embeddi...

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Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF)

The DIF is an online platform which aims to shift mindsets and inspire action to...

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Case Studies from Latin America

Balbo Group

Balbo Group

Balbo joined the family business after his graduation as an Agronomist Engineer in 1986. He soon realised that the method of harvesting used at the time...

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Natura

Natura

Over 89% of Brazil's area is covered with vegetation and plant life, with land use varying from large-scale agriculture to native forests...

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ArcelorMittal

ArcelorMittal

On one level, the steel industry is already very 'circular'. Steel, which has no significant degradation in quality after its first use, is already the...

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HP Brazil & Sinctronics

HP Brazil & Sinctronics

The partnership between HP and Sinctronics has brought about the first circular economy initiative in the Brazilian electronics sector...

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AHLMA

AHLMA

After a typically short use span, 86% of clothing is either landfilled or burned; 13% is downcycled and less than 1% is recycled into new clothes...

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Rede Asta

Rede Asta

Rede Asta addresses two important national issues. Firstly, the enormous amount of material value lost in landfills...

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eStoks

eStoks

The boom in the demand for electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) in Brazil, largely driven by fiscal and credit incentives in...

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CBPak

CBPak

Running a packaging company, founder of CBPak Claudio Bastos was well aware of the environmental impact associated with the existing $50 million/annum...

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Latin America and the circular economy…

As a major resource exporter, Latin America has an important role in the global transition to a circular economy. Unique regional elements, such as an incomparable biodiversity, rich natural reserves and widespread culture of social innovation, also suggest that Latin America could benefit greatly from a circular development path. Shifting towards a regenerative approach could help the region harness these strengths and realise its remarkable economic potential, while promoting distributed and inclusive growth in a region with unparalleled urbanisation rates and critical inequalities. Pockets of circular innovation and activity already exist across the region and a system-wide, multistakeholder approach will be essential to bring them to scale. The Foundation is already working with local leaders and innovators across business, government and academia in order to accelerate this shift.

Latin America and the circular economy…

Explore content in other languages Visit our Portuguese and Spanish language websites to access circular economy content in those languages.

News & Insights from Latin America

Insight

Circular Economy in Brazil: an initial exploration

Members of the CE100 network in Brazil collaborated with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on an exploratory paper that...

News

The University of Sao Paulo becomes a Pioneer University

As a pioneer university, USP joins a small group of international higher education institutions that are developing...

Circulate

Six circular economy case studies from Brazil

Circulate

Circular economy in emerging markets: an insight from Brazil

What do we mean by low to middle income economies or emerging markets? Why has there been so little research on...

Case Study

Regenerative agriculture at scale

The executive vice-president of the Balbo Group, Leontino Balbo Junior, made the bet that restoring natural...

Case Study

Artisanal network turns corporate waste into quality goods