Participants in the Coopeávore project

​Circular economy: the key to sustainability

Safety belts and scraps of automotive fabric connect company and community in the era of circular economy

May 11, 2017 - Produce, consume and discard. This linear model, so traditional, has its days numbered. In a circular economy, the reuse and better use of resources are the key points that connect the elements of the production chain in a closed and continuous cycle. In this movement, the residue is transformed into raw material. The various possibilities of recycling and reusing give birth to new products with new uses. In practice, it is a new way of producing and consuming, where nothing is discarded, as shown below:

Linear Economy vs Circular Economy

At FCA, the transition from a traditional, linear economy to a circular economy created the “Coopeávore” (Cooptree), a sustainable fashion cooperative part of the social platform Árvore da Vida (The Tree of Life). It’s based in the Jardim Teresópolis community, on the outskirts of the Fiat Automotive Center in Betim, MG, and composed by a group of neighbors, mostly women. The cooperative receives leftover safety belts and automotive fabric scraps to produce accessories such as bags, backpacks, key chains and other items with internationally recognized quality.

In 10 years, more than 230 thousand pieces have been produced by the cooperative, which used as raw material about 25 tons of items donated by the FCA and associated companies. During this period Coopervárvore contributed to improving the quality of life of more than 70 families in Jardim Teresópolis, having even successfully concluded a partnership with the European Union for the promotion of peace and women’s leadership. The following video shows how the project changed the life of artisan Claudinéia:

In 2015, FCA won the José Costa Prize in the category Circular Economy category, highlighting the Aterro Cero project, which guarantees the Recycling and the re-use of 100% of the waste generated in the Fiat Automotive Center. In addition, the group generated 23% less waste worldwide per vehicle produced from 2010 to 2016.

FCA’s commitment to the environment and the development of innovative solutions for the reduction of waste generated and the promotion of circular economy are essential parts of its principles of sustainability. And that’s exactly what the company wants to see on a global scale.

Words: Daniel Schneider

Pictures: Marketing

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