Press release webinar NAPOCTEP: circular economy, sustainability and waste recovery in the HORECA sector

NAPOCTEP Webinar “Circular Economy, Sustainability and Waste Recovery in the HORECA Sector” calls for waste reduction under #EWWR2020

The event was attended by various personalities such as MEPs Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar and Álvaro Amaro, and Pedro Machado, President of Turismo Centro de Portugal, among others.

  • The web seminar consisted of an opening part, a block dedicated to the sources of financing for waste prevention and a final block in which the application of the circular economy to the prevention and recovery of waste through good practices in the HORECA sector was discussed.
  • The NAPOCTEP project, financed by the Spain-Portugal Interreg POCTEP cross-border cooperation programme, is part of the Council of Europe’s cultural itinerary “Destination Napoleon”.

The FINNOVA Foundation has organized a seminar on waste minimization in the HORECA sector as part of the European Week for Waste Reduction. Also known by its acronym in English (EWWR), the European Week for Waste Reduction is a multiannual project sponsored by the European Commission with the aim of promoting actions on the prevention and sustainable management of waste, as well as the annual award of the European Waste Prevention Prize. In its 2020 edition, held from 21 to 29 November, #EWWR2020 is dedicated to the amount of waste generated during the manufacturing process of products, known as invisible waste.

The NAPOCTEP webinar: Circular Economy, Sustainability and Waste Recovery in the HORECA sector, which took place on 24 November, was opened by Juan Manuel Revuelta, Director of the FINNOVA Foundation, who highlighted the importance of projects such as NAPOCTEP whose sustainable tourist routes are committed to waste reduction. The event was attended by two Portuguese MEPs, Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar and Álvaro Amaro, who represented respectively the support of the Transport and Tourism (TRAN) and Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) and Regional Development (REGI) Committees of the European Parliament to the NAPOCTEP project as an example of sustainable tourism during the Portuguese Presidency starting on January the 1st.

Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar defined NAPOCTEP as “a clear commitment by Portugal and Spain to promote history, culture and tradition, as well as rural development”, and said that, within the framework of the priorities of the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-20207, digitisation and smart tourism will bring added value to the routes. For his part, Álvaro Amaro, insisted on the need to value the rural world within the new paradigms faced by the tourism sector in the “new normality” caused by the COVID. The MEP called for concrete actions to be taken in inland territories, which would achieve a regional balance and support the rural environment with initiatives such as NAPOCTEP. Pedro Machado, President of Turismo Centro de Portugal was responsible for closing the opening of the event, betting on Portugal as one of the main tourist destinations in the world. To do this, it will be necessary to apply the digital agenda to the tourism sector, “providing the territories with the appropriate technology and training entrepreneurs and companies,” he said. Similarly, the tourism sector “will have to act to minimise the impact of climate change and align itself with the agenda of the circular economy,” he concluded.

This was followed by the development of a block dedicated to sources of funding for waste prevention. María Luz Fernández Rivera, from the LIFE national contact point of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, analysed the European Union’s financial instrument dedicated to the environment and highlighted Spain’s work in terms of absorbing this European budget item. José Manuel Requena, Project Manager of FINNOVA, presented other European financial opportunities for the HORECA sector in terms of waste reduction: Next Generation EU, Green Deal and Horizon 2020, the new Interreg programming for the period 2021-2027, and Horizon Europe (2021-2027). José Manuel Requena pointed out that “we are moving towards the era of digitalisation and new technologies, towards intelligent and sustainable tourism”, and positioned NAPOCTEP, which is committed to a zero-emissions HORECA sector, as a paradigm to be followed in the sector.

The last block of the webinar brought together several examples of good practice in the application of the circular economy for the prevention and recovery of waste in the HORECA. Firstly, Ainhoa Raso, from TDDS, stressed the importance of carrying out a prior study of the economic and environmental impact that the tourist product can have both for the resident and in the territory where its services are provided, and explained that Turisfera is participating in the creation of centres where waste from the HORECA sector is treated and converted into biomethane. Sandra Oliveira, from the Centro de Interpretação das Linhas de Torres, presented NAPOCTEP as a beneficiary of the project and shared several activities that have been carried out within the framework of the Napoleonic routes as examples of good practices in sustainability and circular economy. Oscar Longares, Business Developer at FELTWOOD Ecomaterials, then explained how through its technology, agricultural waste is processed to become “a raw material with up to 12 lives, capable of producing a variety of biodegradable end products”. For her part, Begoña Pérez Villareal, Director of CLC South at EIT Food, presented an initiative sponsored by EIT Food to contribute to healthy nutrition and zero waste in the HORECA sector.  This was a solidarity project in which 8 companies and 100 volunteers participated in the distribution of food in Spain, through which 60,000 meals were distributed, avoiding the waste of 3 tonnes of surplus food. Susana Huerta Fernández, Experience Area Director of B the travel Brand & CATAI, insisted on the importance of the work of tour operators in creating different and quality tourist experiences, and considered that “the Napoleonic tourist routes of NAPOCTEP have great potential”. Finally, Coralia Pino, head of Sustainability and Energy Efficiency at the Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero (ITH), explained the work of the ITH which, in recent years, has been working to implement the criteria of the circular economy in the tourism sector: “The circular economy can help a lot to optimise resources and reduce losses in the hotel sector,” she said.

About the Finnova Foundation

European Foundation for the Financing of Innovation. It is a European foundation based in Brussels whose objectives are to promote public-private cooperation through innovation to address social challenges such as employment, training, entrepreneurship, UN ODS, the circular economy, etc. Finnova organises the Startup Europe Awards, an initiative of the European Commission and the Finnova Foundation, to recognise the best European startups in different fields. www.finnova.eu

About NAPOCTEP

The Napoleonic routes of NAPOCTEP are part of the cultural itinerary of the Council of Europe “Destination Napoleon”, as a vector of tourist, cultural and sustainable development in the POCTEP cooperation area.

NAPOCTEP is an interregional cooperation project approved in the 2nd call of the European Interreg POCTEP programme and seeks to highlight the exceptional heritage of the Napoleonic period in the border region between Castile-Leon and the Central region of Portugal in order to generate a quality tourism product.

In this way, it is intended to use cultural tourism as an element and focus of attraction for visitors in rural areas and, in turn, to help prevent their depopulation, by promoting historical heritage, gastronomy, hotels, commerce, etc.  It also aims to attract new entrepreneurs who seek to develop new ideas in the tourism and cultural sector along the routes created.

NAPOCTEP already operates in areas of Spain and Portugal which are highly affected by ageing and depopulation and aims to provide an opportunity for growth in these areas. Heritage, landscape and gastronomy are elements which are difficult to relocate and which increasingly attract a visitor who is looking for an experience which is as authentic and genuine as possible.

You will find more information about the project on its website: www.napoctep.eu