The discovery of tiny pieces of plastic in Arctic snow suggests that microplastics have invaded every part of our planet today. This is a clear sign that the world has a material management problem. We generate about 1.3 billion tons of trash per year and continue to extract natural resources to keep pace with growing consumption. The flow of materials in our currently predominating linear take-make-consume-dispose model is already responsible for approximately 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development).
To help us achieve sustainable consumption and production patterns, a transition is needed to a new industrial and societal framework powered by a Circular Economy approach. Circular Economy is the enabling framework for new sustainable practices that will help us achieve the societal challenges addressed by G-STIC: ‘Water for all’, ‘Energy for all’, ‘Health for all’, ‘Education for all’, ‘Safe climate for all’ and ‘Clean oceans for all’.
Circular Economy at the G-STIC conference
Building new value chains to achieve the societal challenges
Circular economy demands a systemic change in the ways in which we consume and produce. It challenges us to find value in what is now considered invaluable waste, build new material cycles with under-exploited resources or dematerialise our consumption behaviour. By using innovative technologies, we can drive circular innovation and design new value chains that are needed to achieve the societal challenges addressed by G-STIC.
Circular economy can be applied across all societal challenges, which will become clear throughout the deep dives. These sessions will cover applications of circular economy technologies ranging from the sustainable management of plastics and the prevention of marine plastic pollution up to innovative waste reuse and recycling practices to tap into new sources of energy.
Bring your perspective to the discussions
Join the special session – November 20, 15:00 – 17:00
The special session “High-level dialogue on Circular Economy” on November 20 is to position circular economy as an overarching framework and demonstrate its global implementation. In the first part, keynote speakers will evaluate the societal, political and business challenges related to the transition towards a circular economy. What are the effects on society, business and industry? Which governance approaches are needed for the implementation?
Head International Policy
Societal and political challenges for creating a circular economy
Lieze Cloots will kick-start the special session by sharing some of the key discussion points of the World Resource Forum (WRF), focusing specifically on the societal and political challenges for creating a circular economy. One such challenge involves the need for society to adapt its lifestyle and reduce its carbon footprint, along with the infrastructural changes that are needed to support this change. Another challenge relates to the need for political action, and the courage it takes to organise a systemic shift that can scale up existing circular initiatives and make them mainstream.
Challenges in advancing the global transition towards a circular economy
After discussing the societal and political dimensions of CE, Ke Wang, representative of the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), will focus on the challenges to scaling up action and advancing the CE transition. More specifically, Wang will talk about the stimuli needed to make the global transition towards a CE. PACE was launched during the 2018 World Economic Forum Annual meeting and is a public-private collaboration platform and project accelerator for CE. To successfully transition towards a CE, PACE recognizes the need for effective leadership throughout, thus convening a global leadership group committed to advancing the CE transition and working to overcome barriers to progress. It catalyzes projects and supports affiliated partner led projects globally to scale up CE on various topics including plastics and electronics.
Senior Energy Economist
The Industry 4.0 for Circular Economy Readiness tool in ASEAN economies
Venkatachalam Anbumozhi is a Senior Economist at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Indonesia. He developed a readiness analysis for Asian countries, concerning Industry 4.0 and circular economy. In his contribution he will present the results of this analysis and discuss insights on North-South collaboration for implementation of a digital circular economy.
Ackermans & Van Haaren
Engaging leadership in developing sustainable waste management solutions
ISWA (International Solid Waste Association) has recently developed the Initiative for Mayors and Municipalities (IMM), focusing on the importance of engaging leadership in developing sustainable waste management solutions. Through this IMM initiative, ISWA aims at making know-how and best practices accessible to decision makers and those who influence policymaking on regional and national levels. The speaker will discuss the importance of leadership and policymaking in enabling a circular economy.
Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Harthy
Oman Environmental Services Holding Company “be’ah"
Executive Vice President, Strategic Development
A Middle Easter perspective on the transition towards a circular economy
Mohammed Al-Harty will discuss the challenges and barriers to implementing a circular economy model from a Middle Easter perspective. He will share his knowledge and expertise in the area of sustainable waste management, and will focus on the challenges of establishing the required infrastructure, restructuring municipal waste collection services and improving public awareness of waste management.
During the second part of this special session, the keynote speakers will exchange regional challenges and solutions regarding the transition toward a circular economy and discuss these challenges and solutions with members of the audience. Given the vast cultural, operational, and educational differences throughout the world, it is crucial to take a broad look at circular economy and gain an understanding of the different geographic perspectives.
Conclusion Circular Economy Hotspot Belgium
This special session concludes the ‘Circular Economy Hotspot Belgium’ event, organised in Brussels preceding the G-STIC conference from November 18 - 20. This event gathers over 200 circular economy experts from the business and policy field on a trip through Flanders to visit companies and organisations, and highlight their endeavours to foster innovation in the field of circular economy.
Expand your knowledge on crucial transition processes
Participate in the deep dives – November 21
All deep dives will focus on one specific cluster of technological solutions, and discuss the key policy recommendations and actions that are needed to deploy these technological solutions at scale under different socio-economic conditions worldwide.
Technological solutions for marine plastics
November 21, 15:30 – 16:50
Integrated technological solutions for circular innovation
A library of breakthrough transformative technologies
The process supported by the special session and the deep dives is to deliver a living library of breakthrough transformative technologies to tackle the societal challenges addressed by G-STIC and achieve the related SDGs, illustrated with best practices and inspiring examples. This library is indispensable for policymakers developing Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) roadmaps for the SDGs, while captains of industry can use this library for exploring new business opportunities.
Enabling circular purchasing practices
Join our Buyer Meets Supplier partner event organised by Circular Flanders - November 21
Circular procurement is an environmentally and socially conscious way for companies to purchase works, goods or services that seek to contribute to the closed energy and material loops within supply chains, whilst minimising negative environmental impacts and waste creation across the whole life-cycle. It is a lever for change as companies decide to purchase with sustainability as their driving force.