The Minister for Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, Teresa Jordà i Roura, together with the Secretary for Business and Competitiveness and the CEO of ACCIÓ, Albert Castellanos i Maduell, presided over the founding ceremony of the new waste cluster this Wednesday at the CosmoCaixa science museum in Barcelona, joined by the sector’s leading companies and agents. As a whole, according to data from ACCIÓ, the Catalan waste sector comprises 693 companies with a combined turnover of 10 billion euros, employing around 41,000 staff.
The aim of this new cluster, which is being promoted by both ACCIÓ (the agency for business competitiveness of the Ministry of Business and Labour) and the Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, through the Waste Agency of Catalonia (ARC), is to establish the cluster as a driver of competitiveness for companies in the sector. The new organisation seeks to promote collaborative work among all its members and the entire waste sector value chain, driving internationalisation and encouraging innovation and R&D in this field, as well as promoting training and inter-cluster actions, among other activities.
During her speech, Minister Jordà explained that “the creation of this new cluster opens the door to promoting and working on circular economy projects in many sectors, efficiently connecting waste producers and the value chain that manages this waste”. “The drive for circular transformation calls for a global vision that involves close collaboration between all the Generalitat ministries and the economic and social stakeholders in Catalonia, such as professional associations, research and technology centres, universities, professional organisations, municipal and county councils, the third sector and, of course, the business sector”, said Jordà.
Meanwhile, the Secretary for Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ, Albert Castellanos i Maduell, highlighted the fact that this new entity “will play a key role in Catalonia in speeding up the fight against climate change, driving the sustainability of the productive sector, and streamlining the transition from a linear to a circular economy”. “Accelerating this transition not only offers business opportunities but also improves the competitive positioning of Catalonia”, he emphasised. In this respect, he asserted that the new cluster “will certainly lead to Catalonia playing a primary role in changing the model of production, consumption and waste management in which we are currently immersed, taking advantage of the synergies inherent in cluster dynamics”.
Waste is a sector in constant flux, a context in which the transformative capacity of the companies and entities operating in this sector will be key, as they face new global challenges and the changes resulting from new regulations and public planning policies. Most of the companies involved – some 86% – are waste management operators, while others specialise in the production of treatment equipment and technologies, the construction of infrastructures and facilities, consultancy work, engineering, and controls and analyses.
In this sense, the new cluster will thus encompass all the companies in the waste management sector across the entire value chain whose headquarters or value-added business activities are located in Catalonia. The initiative will also work hand-in-hand with other entities associated with the waste sector in the fields of innovation, research and training, this being the case of consultants, engineers, associations and guilds, and even companies involved in other business sectors. The new cluster is part of the drive towards a green and circular economy, which among other things promotes waste reduction and the efficient use of resources.
The 30 founding members of the new waste cluster are: Alfametal, Alier, Aquambiente Circular Economy Solutions, Autorec, Centre de Gestió Mediambiental (CGM), CLD, Comercial Riba Farré, Datambient, Eurecat, Fundació Formació i Trebal, the Gremi de Recuperació de Catalunya, Griñó, Grupo Altadill, CELSA Group, Inèdit, Leitat, Moba, Picvisa, PreWaste, PreZero, Promsa, Reverter Industries, Romero Polo, Ros Roca, Scrap Point, Simplr, Tradebe, the University of Vic, Venvirotech, and Veolia. The activities of these companies account for a large proportion of the waste sector value chain in Catalonia.
A cluster is a group of companies (SMEs, multinationals and start-ups) and associated entities (universities and technology centres) from a particular economic area that share resources, generate synergies, and project themselves internationally. It is an instrument that makes it possible to improve the competitiveness of its members based on the joint development of transformative projects and the definition of strategic challenges facing their sector.
In Catalonia, the cluster policy began 30 years ago. The Catalonia Clusters programme, promoted by the Generalitat through ACCIÓ, currently includes 26 Catalan clusters which encompass more than 2,600 companies and associated entities with a combined turnover of more than 70 billion euros. By type, the cluster members represent a diverse range of entities, including SMEs (68%); large companies (10%); research centres, universities and knowledge providers (9%); start-ups (8%); and local agents (5%). Through this initiative, the aim is to help them to focus their strategies, co-finance strategic projects, organise trips to groundbreaking ecosystems for international benchmarking purposes, and firm up collaboration projects between Catalan clusters or with international entities, among other activities.