Circular Economy

Apr 30, 2020

The Circular Economy is an Outstanding element of the Sustainability Strategy of Ecopetrol SA, which with the application of the Circular Economy Model of the Ecopetrol Group defined in 2019, seeks to promote a more sustainable production and consumption (SDG 12), in order to minimize the use of natural resources and environmental impacts, contributing to opportunities for growth, innovation and employment. 

In 2020, a relationship and active participation at the national and international level was achieved with:

  • The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development - MADS, developing actions within the framework of the joint agenda established with Ecopetrol, carrying out work groups on the use of construction and demolition waste (RCDs), management of hazardous waste and tires.
  • The Colombian Petroleum Association - ACP and the National Environmental Licensing Authority -ANLA, to address possible tax benefits to promote the development of circular initiatives and to present specific circular economy initiatives (such as taking advantage of water-based drilling cuts and solar farms ), which were approved by ANLA.
    ISO TC 323 Circular Economy - ICONTEC: Participation in the circular measurement group with the purpose of generating the Colombian Technical Standard.

In the culture component, a virtual basic course in circular economy was developed by 583 Ecopetrol professionals. In 2021, it will be extended to all the companies of the Business Group

On other hand, the Circular Design Thinking methodology was applied, with which it was possible to consolidate the Circular Initiatives Portfolio made up of 333 initiatives, being 230 from Ecopetrol SA, 97 from Grupo Empresarial companies and 6 of industrial symbiosis.

At Ecopetrol, the Circular Initiatives Portfolio at the end of 2020 is as follows :.

  • Maturity stage: 12% of the initiatives are implemented, 30% in execution, 13% in planning, 12% in research and 33% in ideation.
    Thematic: 38% corresponds to circular initiatives associated with decarbonisation, 33% with waste, 16% with water, 11% with materials and the remaining 2% with the bioeconomy and culture.
    Model`s components: 88% are related to the component Efficient use of resources and new businesses, 7% to the Improvement and development of products and services and the remaining, 5% to the Management of the territory towards circularity.

From time to time and according to the theme, the following circular business opportunities have been structured:

  • Waste: Take advantage of construction and demolition waste, water-based drilling cuts, dried water treatment plant sludge, wood, geo-membranes and pipes not required in operation.
    Decarbonization: Generate renewable energy from a low and medium enthalpy geothermal process.
    Water: Reuse treated wastewater in drilling through reverse osmosis, optimize processes in thermoelectric plants using production water, and use artificial wetlands to achieve zero discharge of domestic wastewater.
    Materials: Use polypropylene to structure drill plates.

In Industrial Symbiosis: It began with the Mayor of Bogotá, Esenttia S.A. and Ecopetrol, the development of two sustainable, innovative and inclusive projects that promote the circular economy and incorporate single-use plastics recycling technologies into the city's infrastructures. These projects that are expected to come into operation in 2021 are:

  • Sustainable Transmilenio: In a station include structures made of recycled material from plastic (vertical gardens), and the incorporation of overhead lighting
  • Alquería Recycling Center: Design and implement a recycling center, in order to contribute significantly to the solid waste utilization rates of the Colombian capital.

In 2021, with the aim of framing and reinforcing current initiatives, developing new ones, and advancing in the integration of circular economy principles in processes that influence decision-making in the Sustainability strategy; a roadmap will be built including short, medium and long term goals, as well as the structuring of action plans and circularity metrics from the review of the Circular Transition Indicators of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development - WBCSD, and Circulytics - Measuring Circularity from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.


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