In conjunction with the Bonn Climate
Change Conference 2018, experts from around the world gathered in Bonn to champion
the benefits of circular economies.
Having come a long way from its
theoretical inception in the 1960s, circular economies are now being
implemented with ever greater success by front-running government ministries,
businesses, NGOs and international organisations.
Experts convened to share their innovative
approaches, lessons learned and tangible benefits for the climate and
sustainable development. Aligned with the year-long Talanoa Dialogue around
ambition before and after 2020, the expert gathering helped to boost climate
action before 2020 in concrete terms.
meeting plays a crucial role to boost climate action before 2020 by informing and
inspiring countries about the currently
available solutions and best practices on waste-to-energy and supply chain
re-design”, said Mr. Emmanuel Dlamini, chair of the subsidiary body for
implementation in his opening remarks.
He asked the experts and
participants to ponder ways forward and necessary actions to be taken by
countries, cities, businesses, and organizations to replicate and upscale identified
A “circular economy” is an alternative
to a traditional linear economy (make, use and dispose). It aims to use
resources as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them and recover
and regenerate materials at the end.
Waste-to-energy and supply chain
redesign solutions are integral parts to achieving circular economies and the
associated triple benefits: economic, environmental and employment.
TEMs Mitigation: Session III – Replicating and upscaling innovations and best practices on waste-to-energy and circular economy, including elements of supply chain redesign.
Waste-to-energy: Best practices from the government and technological
A number of experts presented innovative
technologies for waste-to-energy solutions and associated challenges.
Le Viet Vinh from Viet Hien Coffee Processing Machinery, Vietnam explained the pyrolysis-flox
technology, which is very useful and efficient for turning agricultural waste
(such as rice husks, coffee husks, maize spindles, and cashew shells) into
clean heat energy and biochar, a natural soil enhancer.
María José Gonzalez from Biovalor Project, Uruguay gave an example from two pilot projects
of how slaughterhouse’s waste from 500 cows is powering a biogas plant to meet
the energy demand of the nearby community. However, technological innovation
also comes with some barriers. “One of the barriers is that this kind of
project has high investment risks for the size of our producers. Also, there is
still a lack of knowledge about technologies,” she said.
Jenitha Badul, a representative from Department of Environmental Affairs, South
Africa explained that “…the initial investments for waste-to-energy solutions
are quite high, but the return is fast. A balanced package of supportive legal
framework, political leadership and an incubation fund for start-ups through public
and private investment could spur such solutions.”
Re-designing supply chain to achieve circularity
dos Santos Costa from Ministry of Environment Portugal told the gathering of
the ministry’s important public outreach initiative on circular economies. “We
are focusing on raising awareness to inspire the public and companies about the
circularity. Our means are a website, roadshows and workshops to showcase the best examples of
companies, products, and projects in implementing a circular economy. We also
have a funding program to provide start-up investment and support”.
It is also
fascinating to see what the private sector is doing for circular economies and
how it is working with the governments for circular economy to be adopted in
the supply chain. As cited by Mr. Stefan Henningsson from WWF Sweden, Agriprotein in South Africa is reusing organic waste protein to replace fish
and soy meal in animal feedstock. In doing so, they reduced emissions by 23
million tons of CO2 per year by 2014. This initiative prevents burden
on marine life, land use, transport and landfill, and CO2 are saved
in feedstock sourcing. Another initiative comes from Bamboo Winding Pipelines in China
where bamboo is used to replace nonrenewable material, such as steel, concrete,
and plastic. Thus, 63 million tons of CO2 avoided.
Srivasta, Director Corporate Climate Action of Ecofys said, “Industries are
creating circular economy initiatives right now. But the private sector by
itself will not be able to make a systemic change for the circular economy.
Therefore, it is important to start engage with the suppliers and redesigning
the supply chain.”
Enhanced innovation and collaboration needed to upscale and replicate identified
Saccani from Climate-KIC suggested to harness the potential of digital
innovation in fostering circular economy activities. She gave an example of Pendula Resource Management from Germany, in which they enable
companies and recyclers to easily organize, track, and then review recycling
operations online using real-time data and analytics.
Alois P. Mhlanga from United Nations Industrial Development Organization said “There
is a huge potential for innovation and business models to be scaled up. It is
critical to create easy access to financing for entrepreneurs and innovation
start-ups, coupled with capacity building support.”
Minister Inia Seruiratu, the
high-level champion said, “The multi-stakeholders’ cooperation is needed to unlock
high mitigation potential opportunities, including sustainable development benefits.
The enhanced partnership and engagement amongst policy makers, industries,
cities, regional and local organizations, civil societies can create an
inclusive business model for waste-to-energy and supply chain redesign.”
He also added that the Technical
Expert Meetings are very important vehicles to take a deep dive into the
specific policies and opportunities with high mitigation potential that are
both actionable in the short-term and align with the long-term goals of Paris
was held as part the technical examination process on mitigation (TEP-M),
mandated by governments at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2013.
In the mandate, governments set the aim of exploring high-potential mitigation
policies, practices and technologies with significant sustainable development co-benefits
that could increase the mitigation ambition of pre-2020 climate action. This
process was further specified at COP 20.
If you missed the
event, more information can be obtained here.