The challenges of the island context
A small island of 2500 km² in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Reunion Island concentrates the world's major challenges. Over the last 50 years, it has undergone a major transformation, marked by sustained demographic and economic growth. The population has more than doubled to reach 850,000 inhabitants, i.e. almost 800 inhabitants per km², and the GDP is growing by almost 2.5% per year. This expansion has been accompanied by an upheaval in lifestyles and production methods, leading it to evolve from a plantation society, rural and frugal, living at the pace of nature, to a society of mass production and consumption, fuelled by fossil fuels.
Today, this metabolism is out of step with limited island capacity. This is reflected in an increase in energy and material dependency (more than 4.7 billion euros are spent each year on imports, including 600 million euros of hydrocarbons), and a marked growth in waste deposits.
Faced with this situation of dependence and vulnerability, the Regional Council of Reunion Island wishes to make Reunion Island a pilot territory for ecological transition in the Indian Ocean, capable of inventing solutions that can be exported to other territories facing similar challenges. The aim is thus to transform a constraint into an opportunity: to avoid an ecological crisis while at the same time developing sources of activity and employment, by decoupling social prosperity from the ecological footprint.
A gradual transition to the circular economy
To carry out this transition, Reunion Island is relying on its development, innovation and investment agency, Nexa. The CTTÉI's interventions, the details of which have yet to be defined, will be carried out in three ways:
- By supporting the transformation of companies and exchanging good practices
- Through the structuring of the sectors of the circular economy
- Through the creation of pilot projects
Signing before the French and Quebec Prime Ministers
It is thanks to Écotech Québec and PME-MTL Est-de-l'Île that the CTTÉI is offered this unique opportunity to share its know-how with Reunion Island. In fact, a framework agreement was ratified this week by Gaston Bigey, Nexa's Deputy CEO and Denis Leclerc, President and CEO of Écotech Québec, during the 20th Rencontres alternées and in the presence of Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec.
Read Écotech Québec's press release here.