EuChemS was very pleased to once more participate in the Circular Economy Missions organised by the European Commission Directorate-General for Environment. From 20-27 October 2018, the EU delegation, made up of over 50 representatives of European companies, associations, foundations, government organisations, and research centres, made their way to Japan and Indonesia. The Missions aimed at extending and deepening the dialogue on the circular economy, expanding and sharing legislation, as well as spreading best practices.
EuChemS Executive Board member Nicola Armaroli was on site as EuChemS representative. In Japan, the EU delegation participated to the World Circular Economy Forum 2018 (WCEF 2018) in Yokohama, co-organised by the Ministry of Environment of Japan and the Finnish Innovation Fund “Sitra”. The event featured a rich programme of plenary lectures, workshops and round tables, presenting a variety of circular economy practices with the participation of large and SME companies, top government officials, international scholars in different domains, and NGO activists. A key topic of WCEF 2018 was marine litter, a big issue for Japan whose coasts are subject to extensive plastic pollution released by neighboring countries. Other key topics focused on food management, the transition to a more sustainable transportation system and the management of resources in urban and agricultural settings. Japan is a densely populated, highly industrialised, wealthy yet resource poor country, a combination that has made it a world leader in circular economy. The EU is increasingly finding itself in a similar situation, therefore meaning that tighter cooperation with Japan will be beneficial to jointly improve, expand or share legislation, businesses and best practices on circular economy, with potentially great benefits for the health of the whole planet.
At the end of WCEF 2018, the delegation moved to Jakarta to attend an official EU-Indonesia meeting on the environment and circular economy, with the participation of the European Commissioner for Environment Mr. Karmenu Vella. Meetings with officials of the Indonesian government demonstrated that the country is strongly committed to reduce its environmental impact, particularly in the domain of waste collection and handling. Indonesia is also plagued by the problem of sea plastic pollution. Visits on site in Jakarta exemplified how local communities, NGOs and big companies are partnering to promote environmental education in schools, cities, and inside companies themselves. Indonesia can offer extraordinary opportunities to EU companies for new business and to EU academia and associations for joint projects.
For more details, you can read the European Commission report here.