Chile: a Model to Follow in Sustainable Practices


Due to its privileged natural conditions, Chile has committed to sustainability in many different aspects such as tourism, transport, and academic offer.

Due to Chile’s geographic diversity, the country has a broad range of climatic and natural conditions, which are used to produce renewable energy, with an emphasis on the conservation of biodiversity. In this way, Chile has slowly become a model to follow in terms of sustainable practices.

Read on to find out more about Chile’s initiatives for sustainability and the academic opportunities in this area.

Sustainable Tourism

After the inauguration of the Tourism National Round Table in 2013, the National Service for Tourism of Chile (SERNATUR) created the S certification. This distinction is awarded to tourism operators that comply with different criteria in the three universally acknowledged areas of sustainability: economic, cultural and environmental. Today, more than 70 operators have received this certification.

Furthermore, four places in Chile made it to the Top 100 most recent list of sustainable destinations worldwide; the Huilo Huilo Reserve, the Chiloé Island, the town of Curacaví, and Cape Horn. Cape Horn has a miniature forest of around 1000 acres, where unique species of bryophytes can be found along with 450 different types of moss, and 368 species of lichen and insects.

Sustainable Transport

Santiago’s subway (Metro), the second biggest network in Latin America, will be the world’s first public transit system mostly powered by solar energy, thanks to project “Pelícano”, a solar energy plant of 186 acres located in Coquimbo, in northern Chile. The plant uses 254,000 solar panels that will provide the energy for the transport system.

It is expected that by 2018 the network will work using 80% of solar energy. This follows the efforts to reduce the country’s carbon footprint by 30% by 2030.

Academic Programs

Sustainability and the protection of the environment are issues that a broad range of programs in different universities in Chile have addressed. Universidad del Bío Bío, for example, offers a blended learning Master’s program in Sustainability and Energy Efficiency. In Santiago, Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana (UTEM) offers a similar Master’s program in Energy Efficiency and Sustainability with specialization in Edification, while Universidad Santo Tomás offers a PhD program in Conservation and Biodiversity Management.

Besides these degree programs, different institutions are offering short-term courses that relate to sustainability.  An example of this is the Universidad Andrés Bello’s intensive two-week programs covering topics like “Modular Sustainable Architecture” and “Business and Sustainability in Latin America”. In a similar vein, Universidad de Viña del Mar offers a three- week course on “Chilean Environmental Conflicts”.

Chile has taken important steps in the implementation of sustainable solutions with the aim of protecting the environment, and complying with the highest international standards. Additionally, the country offers a broad range of academic programs related to these issues.

Written by:
Learn Chile: a consortium of 21 Chilean higher education institutions that work together, with support from Chilean government to enhance the promotion of Chile as a destination for international students who choose our country to live the experience of studying abroad.

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