Author: sEaNERGIA Baltic Cluster

Asia with Japan, China, Republic of Korea, India have been mentioned by the ECCA members as potential target regions to introduce their circular economy based offering. Indeed, Asia is being perceived as the manufacturing centre of the world which offers many opportunities for the circular economy growth. Circular economy ideas are deeply rooted in culture of many Asian countries, where strong resource efficient traditions and philosophies exist. According to the report Advancing the circular economy in Asia by the SWITCH-Asia Network Facility people in Asia have long been reusing, repairing, sharing and upscaling products, even if this is not explicitly termed ’circular economy’ and what is now seen as advanced models of circular economy.[1]

Another driving factor is the population growth:  by 2030, Asia is projected to account for two-thirds of the 4.9 billion global middle class population, who will have a larger disposable income to drive consumption, with consumer spending predicted to reach USD32 trillion.[2] Rising populations, rising incomes, and increasing number of consumers that are used to the consumption patterns based on ’throwaway culture’ and ’fast fashion’ would further deplete the planet’s resources, so a linear model of production and consumption mustn’t be followed any more. Instead, countries need to implement more sustainable principles, such as those of the circular economy. Policymakers in Asia notice the potential of a circular economy model to strengthen economic growth and have thus included it into national policy frameworks.

[1]Advancing the circular economy in Asia (Winter 2016/2017), the SWITCH-Asia Network Facility, p.17

[2] Mainstreaming Sustainable Consumption in Asia, European Union, Consumers International (CI) and the SWITCH-Asia Network Facility, 2011 & Advancing Sustainable Consumption in Asia – A Guidance Manual. UNEP, 2005.

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