OMINA Circular Economy Seminar

From June 24th to the 26th 2019, the OMINA Circular Economy Seminar presented in depth to the public in San José, Costa Rica, how the circular economy builds social, natural and economic capital, creates prosperity and reduces energy and raw materials dependence.


The OMINA Circular Economy Seminar, whose objective was to persuade local actors to gradually adopt circular models, was a turnout success. For three days, before a crowded auditorium, national and international experts presented the benefits, challenges and opportunities of the circular economy. An audience of executive directors, entrepreneurs, NGOs, government representatives, academics and students was able to learn how to transition into circular business models, how to profit from the business opportunities it entitles and about the role of public policy in fostering the change of paradigm.


The Seminar was held in conjunction with Ex’Tax Foundation (a Netherlands-based institution focused on promoting inclusive circular growth). The keynote speaker was Femke Groothuis, expert on circular economy, founder of the think tank Ex’Tax. Other speakers and panelists were executive directors of companies with circular initiatives, national and international experts and government representatives.


“At the OMINA Circular Economy Seminar we will analyze how it is possible to

generate prosperity and at the same time reduce the ecological footprint.


The circular economy presents us with this historic opportunity to direct our society

towards a more sustainable, fair and enjoyable economic model.”




Andrea Somma, OMINA Foundation CEO

Inaugural Speech and the OMINA Circular Economy Seminar


Read the complete speech



Femke Groothuis is founder and president of The Ex’tax Project, a Dutch think tank focused on fiscal innovations to boost the SDGs and the inclusive circular economy. Ex’Tax works with experts and business leaders to enhance understanding of the dynamics of a tax shift from labour to natural resource use and pollution. Groothuis is an analyst, adviser, publicist and public speaker and has 20 years of experience in sustainability and business. Between 1999 and 2009, Groothuis was Investment Manager at Ex’tent Green Venture Capital, a Dutch impact investment fund. She is a political scientist specialised in sustainability and international relations.

Watch the Seminar

Day One

In recent years, the circular economy has gained traction globally. The proposal is to move from the current linear model of “make, use, discard”, to a regenerative and carbon neutral model in which the products are “made to be made again”. In this way, resources are not wasted, and companies can add value over and over again by applying business models such as repair and maintenance, recycling, remanufacturing and renovation services.


The first day of the OMINA Circular Economy Seminar focused on explaining in depth what is the circular economy and the opportunities it offers for economic development, a new social contract and more wellbeing.

Our Future Depends on Our Actions

Andrea Somma

CEO & Founder

OMINA Foundation

Industrial Strategy in the Face of Climate Change

Francisco Gamboa

Executive President

Costa Rican Chamber of Industries

Circular Economy for the Decarbonization of Costa Rica

Claudia Dobles

First Lady of Costa Rica

The Role of Academia in the Generation of a Circular Economy

Luis Diego Quirós

Academic Dean

Veritas University

Keynote Presentation:

The Circular Economy Growth Model in the SDG Era

Femke Groothuis

Founder & President

Ex’Tax Project

The role of Technical Education in the Circular Economy

In Conversation:

Femke Groothuis, Founder & President of the Ex’Tax Project

Andrés Valenciano, Executive President of the National Learning Institute (INA)

Andrea Somma, CEO & Founder OMINA Foundation

Day Two

OMINA Circular Economy Seminar second day focused on the transformative power of business and how business activities evolve in a circular economy. Six successful companies presented their circular initiatives and highlighted the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Companies as Agents of Change

Fidel Jaramillo

Inter-American Development Bank Representative in Costa Rica

Companies Leading the Way

Silvia Chaves


Grupo Florex

Companies Leading the Way

Wilkie Mora

General Manager for Costa Rica


Companies Leading the Way

William Segura

Public Affairs and Sustainability Manager for Central America

Coca-Cola Company

Companies Leading the Way

Federico Calderón

General Manager for Central America, Caribbean and Ecuador


Companies Leading the Way

Bill Abraham



Companies Leading the Way

Gisela Sánchez

Director of Corporate Relations


Panel Discussion: Challenges for a Circular Economy in Costa Rica

Gisela Sánchez (FIFCO), Federico Calderón (Legrand), Silvia Chaves (Florex), Wilkie Mora (Geocycle), William Segura (Coca-Cola), Bill Abraham (Metalub).

Moderated by:

Daniel Villafranca, Sustainability Manager at Portafolio Inmobiliario 

Main Keynote:

Business Opportunities in the Circular Economy

Femke Groothuis

Founder & President

Ex’Tax Project

Day Three

Circular business models tend to require more innovation, customisation and customer service than the “business-as-usual”. When pollution and primary resources are tax-free (or even subsidised) and labour costs are high, businesses face a barrier to scaling up their circular activities. The third and last day of the OMINA Circular Economy Seminar explored how shifting tax burden from labour to natural resource use and pollution could help meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and an inclusive, circular economy.

Essential Costa Rica: mora than a logo

Daniel Valverde


Country Brand Essential Costa Rica

In Conversation

Recap & Presentation of Ex’Tax Work Worldwide

Femke Groothuis, Founder & President of Ex’Tax Project

Peter Gersen, Vicepresident Ex’Tax Project

Pablo Rojas, Director of Environment at the Business Alliance for Development

Andrea Somma, CEO & Founder of OMINA Foundation

Keynote Presentation:

Smart Taxes for the 21st Century

Femke Groothuis

Founder & President

Ex’Tax Project

Grand Finale

In Conversation

Femke Groothuis, Founder & President of Ex’Tax Project

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Environment and Energy Minister of Costa Rica

Thanks to