Perspectives towards a circular and sustainable economy - a mapping of regulations and public policy instruments in Brazil, Chile, and Colombia

Publication Type:

Conference Paper

Source:

Gerpisa colloquium, Bordeaux (2024)

Abstract:

The transition towards a more sustainable and environmentally respectful economy is an imperative global challenge today. In this context, Latin America plays a fundamental role due to its rich endowment of natural resources, including critical minerals such as lithium, copper, nickel, graphite, and rare earth elements. These minerals are essential for manufacturing electric vehicles (EVs) and expanding renewable energies. However, despite the region’s resources abundance, it faces significant challenges in the sustainable management of its raw material supply chains (IEA, 2023; IRENA, 2023).

Historically, mining has been a significant economic activity in Latin America, representing a substantial portion of foreign direct investment and contributing significantly to global production of critical minerals. However, the lack of specific regulations and the environmental and social challenges associated with mining raise concerns about the sustainability and equity of these activities (IEA, 2023).

The adoption of EVs in the region remains low compared to other regions of the world, hindering the creation of a comprehensive value chain for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). This situation is exacerbated by the scarcity of policies and subsidies that promote the transition towards electric mobility in Latin America (Zagorodny, 2023).

In this context, the research questions of this paper are: i) What is the current status of initiatives and policy instruments related to end-of-life management of LIBs from EVs in Chile, Colombia, and Brazil?, and ii) What are the potential implications of these initiatives and policy instruments for promoting a transition towards a circular economy in the Latin American region?

This article aims to map the current state of policies, agendas, incentives, regulations, and norms aimed at promoting sustainable management of LIBs used in EVs in South American countries. The objective is to foster a transition towards a circular economy. Through this analysis, existing challenges and opportunities will be identified, and strategies will be proposed to drive a transition towards a more sustainable future in the region

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