Multi-stakeholder support for a circular economy

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●  Global Initiatives, UN Environment Programme, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and World Wide Fund for Nature welcome delegates to the 8th Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development at the St. Regis, Singapore.

●  Forum focuses on accelerating the global circular economy agenda and partnerships for circularity.

Singapore, 18 November 2019 – The move towards a more sustainable future requires a systemic reimagining of linear models to create more circular innovations.

At the opening of the 8th edition of the Responsible Business Forum (RBF) on Sustainable Development at St. Regis Singapore today, Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources stressed the importance of a circular economy approach, saying that “adopting a circular economy approach will not only reduce our carbon footprint and benefit the environment. New opportunities for our companies and good jobs will be created if we scale up the extraction of resources from waste and generate economic value from something that would have been thrown away.”

Themed ​Circularity 2030, ​the RBF 2019 will seek commitments to scaling start-ups, innovations and technologies that will drive the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to the circular economy. Five Circular Development Goals, inspired by the SDG framework, will encourage partners to adopt new targets for circularity in their businesses. “Partnerships are central to achieving ambitious sustainability agenda and targets,” said Tony Gourlay, Chief Executive at Global Initiatives. “Through forming networks and working together, we can amplify impacts and achieve a circular future.”

Circularity 2030 hopes to be a platform to kickstart many solutions and commitments to drive greater change for circularity, alongside supporting partners: Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), APRIL Group, City Developments Limited, TikTok, ENGIE, Alliance To End Plastic Waste, Charoen Pokphand Group, Cleantech Solar, Control Union, Herbalife Nutrition, Keppel, Kimberly-Clark, NTUC FairPrice, Singtel, and Dow.

A global agenda for the circular economy

Throughout the morning, speakers echoed the importance of designing systems with sustainability in mind.

Speaking from a global perspective, Mr. Satya Tripathi, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Head of New York Office, UN Environment Programme, warned of the adverse effects of our changing climate and called on Forum delegates and business leaders to take urgent, systemic change to accelerate circularity. Mr. Tripathi commented that ​“c​ ircularity is in the heart of what the United Nations does,” and commended countries like Singapore and the Netherlands for taking large strides towards sustainability and setting global standards for all.

Systems change and the circular advantage for the private sector

This morning’s opening panel at Circularity 2030 featured perspectives from private-sector leaders, which provided insight into what a circular model means for businesses.

Data sharing and data availability was identified to be one of the key success factors to circular economy adoption in the private sector. “You will be surprised by the amount of data out there. Our biggest problem to getting the data is red tape, not the availability of data,” said Eva Gladek, Founder and CEO of Metabolic. Echoing this, Bey Soo Khiang, Vice Chairman, RGE and Chairman, APRIL Group said, “By sharing information, you can transform the whole industry.”

In line with the call for accurate data, Day 2 of RBF will feature the official launch of The Plastics Data Challenge, powered by The Circulative Initiative and Second Muse of The Incubation Network. The global innovation challenge aims to source, support, and scale innovative technologies, methodologies, and working prototypes that help entrepreneurs and others collect, analyse and leverage data to understand and address the leakage of plastic waste into the environment. The challenge hopes to discover solutions to address the lack of data across Asia’s plastics value chains as well as support and enhance the market for plastic waste and recycling innovations with a focus on South and Southeast Asia.

The opening panel also discussed the importance of understanding unique patterns of consumption and production in allowing companies to develop better circular business models.

“We have to dig deep into culture to change consumption patterns,” said Mr. Noppadol Dej-Udom, Chief Sustainability Officer, Charoen Pokphand Group. “Find inspiration to address consumer consumption as part of the circular economy,” said David McGinty, Global Director of the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), WRI. “The role of businesses is in integration and reverse supply chain logistics; and the most challenging of all – the consumers.”

Event sustainability: Zero Waste

As the circular economy requires large systemic shifts, this year’s RBF focuses heavily on establishing partnerships that make the event sustainable and support the networks committing to circularity. Sustainability Partner, ENGIE, for example, is offsetting all emissions from RBF, making it a zero carbon event.

Locally, RBF is partnering with TRIA’s Bio24, the world’s first “table to farm” system capable of converting foodware and food waste into quality compost within 24 hours. The system is part of REAL IMPACT, an impact-driven, outcome-based certification body based in Singapore, in conjunction with the Zero Waste Ecosystem Certification program. In line with RBF 2019’s commitments, the organisers of RBF have also proactively taken measures to ensure minimal waste production from the event and engaged REAL IMPACT to assess and report on the event’s performance.

In partnership with RBF, The St. Regis Singapore is committed to integrating leading environmental and social practices into their operations. St. Regis has developed a bespoke, fully-vegetarian menu, with sourced provisions of organic, chemical-free farm vegetables from ethical organic farms in the Cameron Highlands.

More information about the organisers:

Global Initiatives

Global Initiatives is an international company based in Singapore that promotes sustainable partnership solutions to global challenges through film, media projects and public-private initiative driven events. The Responsible Business Forum (RBF) global event series helps drive sustainable industry solutions through public-private partnerships that enhance responsible business growth. Find out more at www.globalinitiatives.com

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