Interview with Alessandra Astolfiedited by Ilaria N. Brambilla, interview with Alessandra Astolfi
The Rimini Trade Fair celebrates its twentieth anniversary by joining the twin event Key Energy to offer a meeting point for the international economic and sustainabilities excellencies. From 8th to 11th November 2016.
This year, Ecomondo – the international Trade Fair of matter and energy recovery and sustainable development, celebrates its twentieth anniversary. Born in Rimini in 1977 under the name of “Ricicla”, it has grown exponentially thanks to its ability to represent a very important sector for Italy – the environment – which up until then was struggling to lure the market. So, the Trade Fair’s expansion, thanks to the support of consortia and associations, has gone hand in hand with that of the market.
For this edition – which will take place from the coming 8th to 11th November – Ecomondo decided to focus on climate change and the circular economy. We talked to Alessandra Astofli, Ecomondo’s Exhibition Manager, to find out what we should expect from the four-day Rimini showcase.
“It is a choice that seemed right to us, in line with our mission, which is to study the market in order to meet its needs. One of the objectives of Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – is to place Europe as the leader in the development of a circular economy founded on the concept of sustainability. On the wake of such decision, Rimini will host an exhibition platform developed around the circular economy and the fight against climate change criteria.”
Who will Ecomondo 2016’s main protagonists be?
“All the stakeholders of the entire environmental and energy sector, with particular attention to the green technologies and biobased industry. The quality leap towards a new society marked by the concepts of the circular economy will only be possible if we are able to acquire adequate knowledge on the availability of secondary raw materials and bring together all the system protagonists (raw material industry, end users, institutions, consumer society) in a single platform in order to achieve common objectives of reusing and recyling along the whole production and distribution chains. It’s no coincidence that we will develop our exhibition offer with many new things: first of all the first exhibition in Europe of the existing excellencies and case histories of the circular economy. The idea is to make visible and accessible to those involved in the sector, industry, politicians and institutions, the already many excellencies within the circular economy, so that they can act as points of reference for other similar situations.
“A special focus will be devoted to energy efficiency in industrial terms and urban application solutions within the Sustainable City area, which will become a sort of hub where any progress made in the field of efficiency, energy and building will be made available to the public.
“The participating companies have set up eco-initiatives able to transform traditional economies and to make European citizens’ lifestyles more sustainable.
“Also, the sector devoted to integrated water cycle management will be organized according to the circular economy and process efficiency’s perspectives. Will Verstraete, professor emeritus of microbial ecology at the University of Gent (Belgium) and chairman of the cluster on recovery of resources and urban water treatment plants of the International Water Association will give a speech on the subject. Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for the environment and many other representatives of the European Commission will also be there to talk about the quality and strategicity of the themes tackled during the four-day Rimini showcase.”
Ecomondo on a World Tour
Ecomondo, which during its last edition was visited by over one hundred thousand people, is the hub for the world-leading advanced Italian know-how in the field which the exhibition increasingly helps to export to many countries. This year it did so to Turkey, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Romania and Oman. Overall, 32 stops around the world, in every continent, with the aim to maximize the international component of the event. Moreover, thanks to a capillary network of contacts, Rimini will host delegations of highly qualified foreign buyers; in addition, some activities are already underway in key countries in Africa, the Middle East and the Balcans. Also in Iran, China, Russia, the US and Brazil where – as we have seen – Italy has already exported one of its most virtuous events.
Ecomondo has always offered quality meeting and seminars for experts. This year, what can we expect with regard to the circular economy?
“We organized many top quality meetings. Readers may be able to consult them online. The themes tackled are topical and our Fair is an essential educational and updating point of reference. The conferences offered are aimed at the cultural promotion of secondary raw materials and the circular economy. The technical-scientific committees will be led by Fabio Fava (Ecomondo) and by Gianni Silvestrini (Key Energy). Moreover, in the first two days of the Fair, the States General of the Green Economy, organized by the Green Economy’s national council made of 64 associations of green enterprises, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of the Economic Development with the technical support of the Foundation for the sustainable development chaired by Edo Ronchi has been confirmed.
“Moreover, this edition will still host the section organized together with the European Commission and the Public Private Partnership Biobased Industry devoted to Biobased Industry & Bioeconomy. The most important events include ‘Sustainable food and water nexus in the Mediterranean area’ and ‘Horizon 2020 and the bio-based industries joint undertaking (BBI JU): opportunities for jobs and growth in the mediterranean region.’
Last but not least: the conference by Atia Iswa and Acr+ ‘The Circular economy and urban waste management: let’s start and... move about. What must change, how and when,’ where some light will be shed on the implications of the implementation of principles of the circular economy in the urban waste management system.”
By the way, let’s talk about the exhibition area in Rimini. Will the event be managed according to the principles of the circular economy (for instance reusable materials, waste management and valorization system)?
“Of course. And there is more: the whole of the exhibition area has a low environmental impact. The energy used is produced with a last-generation PV system located on the pavillions, recirculating water fountains, the wood used for the ceilings comes from Scandinavian controlled and reforested lands. Also, condensing boilers and ‘cold accumulators’ for air conditioning are used.”
This year Ecomondo and Key Energy – the parallel exhibition to Ecomondo focussed on energy efficiency – will join forces. What triggered such decision?
“Ecomondo and Key Energy already represented the multifaceted world of sustainability. This is why, once integrated, they will enrich and complement each other. I would like to mention the other important events in the field: Key Wind, the Italian leading event for wind farms; H2R Mobility for Sustainability, with the great car brands and their cutting-edge models: methane, LPG, electric, hybrid or plug-in cars; Città Sostenibile (Sustainable City), the Italian way to Smart Cities and Eco Condos, the national event of the condo living.
“Last but not least, ecomondo Brazil, which will take place for the second edition in San Paolo from 4th to 6th October. Combining the Italian experience of Rimini Fiera and that of Fimai, the first edition of Ecomondo Brazil in 2015 represented an excellent business platform in the sector of environmental technologies at international level. The 2016 objectives are to present the global market with increasingly innovative equipment and solutions for sustainable development, with a focus on the water, waste and renewable energy sectors and on facilitating contacts amongst investors of the green economy in Brazil and potential foreign trade partners.”
Horizon 2020, ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/
Stati Generali della Green Economy, www.statesgeneral.org
Fondazione per lo sviluppo sostenibile, www.fondazionesvilupposostenibile.org