“Colombia has a carbon footprint much lower than that of Europe or North America”: Juan Manuel Lesmes, Executive Director of ANDI’s Fedemetal Chamber.

13 de July de 2023

In this interview for Global Industry magazine, Juan Manuel Lesmes, Executive Director of ANDI's Fedemetal Chamber, talks about the current state of Colombian industry.

What is the role of the Fedemetal Chamber and how many members does it have?

The Fedemetal Chamber belongs to the Asociación Nacional de Empresarios de Colombia (ANDI), a trade association with more than 1,500 members from all sectors. The Fedemetal Chamber brings together the entire metal-mechanical steel and aluminium industry, as well as the aerospace industry and shipyards in Colombia.

What is the weight of the metal sector in Colombia’s economy? Which regions of the country have the most companies in this field of activity?

The steel and metal-mechanic sector represents about 10% of all Colombian manufacturing production and accounts for 11% of industrial employment and 14% of all industrial enterprises in the country.

These figures place it third in size within manufacturing after the food and chemical industries, and it is distributed throughout the country.

How can practices linked to the circular economy benefit Fedemetal member companies?

Colombia produces long steels from recycled scrap metals. Flat steels (hot rolled or HR), the main raw material of the metal-mechanical industry, are imported and are treated at the beginning, from rolling.

However, the country requires about 1.3 million tonnes, so all the scrap produced is needed.

To what extent is sustainability a key factor in the sector’s progress?

This is very important. Colombia has a much lower carbon footprint than Europe or North America, thanks to hydroelectric generation. However, the sector is working hard on the energy transition, to further contribute to the decarbonisation of our economy.

How many companies belonging to Fedemetal make up the business mission that will travel to the Mindtech Fair?

On this occasion, the mission is composed of six companies led by ANDI.I.

The companies are Forjas Bolivar S.A.; Acería de Colombia-ACESCO S.A.S; Gonvarri MS Colombia S.A.S; Empresa Colombiana de Cables S.A.; Corporación de Ciencia y Tecnología para el Desarrollo de la Industria Naval Marítima y Fluvial (COTEC[1]MAR); Acego and ANDI.

What are the main objectives of your presence at the forum?

The idea is to strengthen links with Galician and Spanish companies in general, creating a value chain between the two countries, taking advantage of the common culture and language.

How do you rate the organisation of Mindtech as an international meeting point for the sector?

The organisation is impeccable on the part of Asime, an association with which we have close ties, and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them. In addition, this fair allows the internationalisation of the metal-mechanical chain and we aspire to achieve the success we had two years ago, when we

our companies have found suppliers with whom they now work very directly: they supply them.

In addition, I emphasise the export potential of this forum as it contributes to the generation of international value chains.

Which activities in this year’s programme do you find most interesting for your Delegation?

We are interested in the networking that the fair offers, the business rounds, the conferences and the business visits.