Entities in Antofagasta Region Received National Environmental Award 2020
The award's sixth edition took place for the first time ever on an interactive digital platform, where 22 finalists had to defend their projects online. Through this recognition, Cerro Dominador and the Mr. Barber Foundation have positioned the Antofagasta Region as a national role model in innovation and environmental protection.
The National Environmental Award–organized by the Recyclápolis Foundation–recognizes companies, institutions and individuals that show a clear commitment to environmental innovation. Of this year’s 22 finalists, seven ultimately won awards in five categories: Earth, Fire, Sustainable Culture, New Sustainable Generations and Electromobility.
In a fully virtual format, a first-rate jury assisted technically by Price Waterhouse Coopers PWC–the second largest professional services firm in the world–was responsible for evaluating 130 proposals developed throughout Chile by different companies, universities and entrepreneurs. In the Earth category, which is designed to recognize efforts to conserve and preserve our planet, the following recycling projects won: “For a Chile without Lead Waste” (“Por un Chile sin residuos plomados”) by Recimat (large companies), “Tying Up Loose Ends” (“Atando Cabos”) by Comberplast (SME) and “Recycling from the Classroom and Home in the World’s Driest Place: María Elena, Sustainable Community” (“Reciclando desde el aula y el hogar en el lugar más árido del mundo: María Elena, comuna sustentable”) by the Mr. Barber Foundation (public entity).
Carolina Elgueta, director of the Mr. Barber Foundation, commented, “It is amazing to receive this award and it fills us with pride because the work we do in the region is being recognized nationally as an effective environmental education and recycling program.” She then added: “We would like to thank SQM, our main collaborator with whom we have been working hard for the past three years; the Municipality of María Elena, which has always been willing to support us and help publicize our initiatives; the schools and their leadership teams, teachers, staff and students, but especially the local families who, because of their love for their community, have been adopting good practices at home to care for their environment.”
The award in the “Electromobility” category was given to Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María for its project “AC3E Electromobility Initiative, Advanced Center for Electrical and Electronic Engineering” (“Iniciativa electromovilidad AC3E, Centro Avanzado de Ingeniería Eléctrica y Electrónica”). In the “Sustainable Culture” category, the accolade went to “Climate Week” (“Semana del clima”) developed by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, while the winner of one of the most important categories, “Fire”, awarded to recognize efficient use and responsible consumption of energy resources, was the project “Cerro Dominador” from Global Energy Partners.
“We are proud to receive this recognition because the commitment to generating 100% renewable energy is what moves us as a company. The solar thermal power plant that earned this distinction is synonymous with innovation and energy of the future,” specified Fernando Gonzalez, CEO of Cerro Dominador.
With the awards for the Mr. Barber Foundation and Cerro Dominador, which share the same territory, the Antofagasta Region is positioned as a national role model in social innovation, technology and environment protection. In response, Pablo Pisani, Director of Communications, Sustainability and Public Affairs at SQM, confirmed that “we will continue working with the Mr. Barber Foundation and the community to foster environmental education, transforming informal dumps into recycling centers and getting ready to soon inaugurate the first automatic recycling center in Tocopilla. We also congratulate Cerro Dominador. Using solar salts produced by us in Coya Sur, this company has managed to ensure energy continuity at the largest capacity concentrated solar power project in South America”.
Fully Digital and Sustainable Ceremony
At this time, in line with new trends and the COVID-19 pandemic, finalists defended their projects and winners were announced on a fully digital platform. At the ceremony, participants and attendees were transformed into virtual avatars and could visit stands, attend conferences, tour the facility and even interact with others.
Like prior years, the event featured a keynote speaker. This year’s guest presenter was former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, who applauded the winners and spoke about our country’s major challenges in sustainability and environmental matters: “In a democracy, we are all called to contribute and resolve our problems. Sustainability is everyone’s responsibility,” specified the former head of state.
Environment Minister Carolina Schmidt also participated, commenting that “it is very important to recognize initiatives that help accelerate Chile’s transition toward sustainable development, and even more important at a time when we need a green reactivation that drives a carbon neutral, climate resilient economy with a social focus.”