ASEAN’s economic resilience is increasingly threatened due to resource depletion, unsustainable patterns of raw material consumption, inefficiencies throughout product value chains, and climate change. The current economic model of ‘take, make, dispose’ is inclined to waste valuable materials and resources. ASEAN needs to promote the adoption of a new economic model that goes beyond the prevailing linear growth model to improve resource efficiency and achieve sustainable growth.
While circular economy initiatives already exist in the ASEAN Economic Community, and the AEC Circular Economy Framework sets out an ambitious long-term vision, most programs in the region have primarily focused on the environmental perspective, with a limited role for trade, technological innovations, and financial markets – essential elements for accelerating the circular transformation.
ASEAN can adopt an inclusive approach to policymaking by actively involving all relevant stakeholders, including the broader public. Moreover, it should consider a comprehensive strategy that addresses opportunities and challenges in the circular economy from both the supply and demand sides to encourage stakeholders to embrace it. To assist businesses in adopting the circular economy model, ASEAN must prioritize creating a supportive environment for circular products and services.
To ensure the region’s ongoing success, all initiatives must be backed by robust capacity-building, educational programmes and strong platforms for engagement and knowledge exchange.
The ASEAN Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform is generating value for the region by:
Operating a knowledge and information portal to share good practices, knowledge resources, events, and other relevant information.
Promoting knowledge-sharing and dialogue among policymakers, the business community, and civil society in ASEAN on opportunities […]and obstacles to a shift to more circular practices, including how new or revised government policies could accelerate such transformation.
Helping identify and advocate supportive public policies and actions at regional and national levels.
Raising awareness of the relevance and benefits of circular economy practices in ASEAN member states.
Serving as a node for exchanging experiences with European countries and the EU.
Connecting circular economy practitioners in ASEAN and the EU to facilitate such knowledge exchange.
Organizing an annual regional conference and initiating joint projects with strategic partners.