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Led by the French Pacific Territories committee for PECC (FPTPEC), this PECC international project consists of a set of three seminars in 2017-2018. The concluding seminar will be co-organized by FPTPEC and CTPECC (Chinese Taipei committee of PECC) to explore how the concept of circular economy manifests in smart cities, and also to look at how regulatory regimes including harmonization of technical codes and standards that promote circular economy can facilitate trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
The first seminar was held in September 2017 in Bozeman, Montana, USA, focusing on “Natural Resource Industries – Mining, Forestry, and Oil & Gas,” in partnership with the Mansfield Center of the University of Montana. The second seminar focused on “Sustainable and Responsible Tourism” and was hosted by the French Polynesian government in Papeete in November 2017. Enriched with case studies, the discussions held at these two seminars illustrated how the circular economy in practice can benefit communities - economically, socially, and environmentally.
Circular economy is increasingly hailed as a revolutionary concept that urges transformative changes in mindset as well as how individuals, businesses and societies produce, consume, inter-relate, and organize. It promotes reduction of waste, reuse and recycle of raw materials, water and energy, thereby closing the loop in the make-consume-waste model (“linear economy”). The “Linear economy,” model, in contrast, relies on large quantities of cheap and easily accessible raw materials for energy. This obviously has limitations in the long run as natural resources deplete. The key aim of circular economy is to avoid or reduce waste through systemic optimization, reuse, and smart management of our resources at various stages. It promotes keeping products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value over time. By adopting “reduce, recycle, reuse” approach towards zero-waste, it promotes a sustainable and energy-efficient economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.
Businesses, civil societies and governments are promoting the concept of “circular economy” with the aim to keep products, components and materials at their highest reusable quality over time and to offer product life extension and waste reduction. Changing attitudes towards the environment as well as economic incentives have helped encourage adoption of this new model. An increasing number of enterprises are engaged in green growth and energy transition strategies, and positioning themselves at the forefront of new business trends that embrace the circular economy approach. In a region with dense populations and limited resources, now seeing exponential growth of the middle class, construction of new cities and massive infrastructure projects, and movement of goods, services, capital and people, the early adoption of the CE concept would be very advantageous.
Circular economy concepts are probably more easily observed and understood in the context of “smart city” projects that adopt cutting-edge, socially and environmentally conscious innovations. CE spurs resource-efficient competition among businesses and economies, and engenders new growth patterns that directly and indirectly affect international trade. The concluding seminar will thus analyze the impact of circular economy on international trade. The following areas will be discussed throughout the two days:
- Realization of circular economy through innovations coming to life in smart cities
- Enhancing connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region
- Industrial Revolution 4.0 and digital trade
- Harmonizing technical codes and standards to facilitate trade in sustainability and innovation
- Potential impact of CE on connectivity and trade.