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Malaysian Businesses Align on Circular Economy Agenda

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Malaysian Businesses Align on Circular Economy Agenda
Country: Malaysia
Press Release

The SWITCH-Asia Policy Support Component (PSC) in partnership with the ASEAN CSR Network (ACN) held the Business Engagement Workshop on Circular Economy on the 24th of April 2024 at the Double Tree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This workshop brought together business representatives to discuss how circular economy is understood based on scope, significance, and benefits to Malaysian businesses and enterprises.

Dr. Zinaida Fadeeva, Team Leader of SWITCH-Asia PSC, introduced the Technical Advisory (TA) which supports the ASEAN Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Network (ACN) in mobilising, catalysing and facilitating business action and commitment for circular economy in the ASEAN Member States (AMS). She observed,

ASEAN member states have made commitments to achieve Net Zero for climate, nature, and the environment. However, these commitments cannot be attained unless businesses take responsibility and lead the transition from a linear take-make-use-throw production and consumption model to a circular take-make-use-recover one. The SWITCH-Asia Team is in Malaysia to engage and mobilize businesses on existing innovative solutions and the way forward for making the regional Circular Economy transition a reality in ASEAN.

Mr. Thomas Thomas, CEO of ASEAN CSR Network, introduced the ASEAN Responsible and Inclusive Business Code, a joint initiative of ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and the ASEAN Responsible and Inclusive Business Alliance (ARAIBA). Circular Economy has emerged as a tangible step towards environmental responsibility and enables business to contribute to the ASEAN’s regional Circular Economy transition, as envisioned in the 2021 ASEAN Circular Economy Framework.. Hence, ABAC and ARAIBA are working towards a business leadership initiative on circular economy that is ASEAN-centric by design, supports economic integration through harmonization of Circular Economy approaches among ASEAN Member States, whilst acknowledging their diversity and maximizing national and sectoral business opportunities.

Dr. Rene van Berkel, Senior Expert of the SWITCH-Asia PSC elaborated on the unifying framework for business action on circular economy that was developed and endorsed in 2023 by business representatives through consultations in Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. The framework’s guiding principles position circular economy as one of the means for achieving net zero, for climate, nature and environment. He highlighted how circular economy opens new opportunities for businesses through innovation in their products and services, focusing on efficiency, circularity, and substituting resources, thereby taking responsibility for the impacts of its products, operations and decisions on environment and society.

Dr. van Berkel also shared examples of circular business practices from Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam,  and Cambodia covering plastics waste management, agri-food processing, handicrafts and renewable energy. These involve sustainable sourcing of raw materials, avoidance of waste and harmful inputs at all stages of production, water and energy efficiency and recycling/ reuse or remanufacture. Further business cases are under development for Indonesia, Malaysia and Lao PDR (existing business cases are available here).

In the fireside chat, Ms. Sarahah Kedah co-founder of Klothcircularity which collects, repurposes and recycles used clothing, stated that her motivation is to catalyse circularity in the textiles, clothing and plastics industry through innovative solutions, knowledge sharing, and raising awareness through education. “It is important to help people understand the current problems of textile waste and how solutions can be implemented jointly”, she said.

Steven Ng Yong Beng, Director of Geomax Rubber Innovative Products Sdn Bhd (Solewell) explained his company is recycling used rubber gloves into innovative anti-slip footwear. He stressed that the company’s vision puts the future generations at the centre, laying the foundations for the latter to be able to keep the company green.

Haari Tharaman, COO and Co-Founder of the Naturaall Glass Solutions Sdn Bhd spoke about glass recycling and using it, together with other renewable materials, for production of table tops and as construction materials. He mentioned the importance of supporting businesses on building their capacity and acquiring green certifications. However, such acquired knowledge must be translated to practical actions on making businesses circular. 

Participants further debated opportunities and challenges for business leadership and action on circular economy, and the need for supportive policy and market transformation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Business Action for the Circular Economy in ASEAN is an initiative of the ASEAN CSR Network (ACN) with funding support from the EU SWITCH-Asia Policy Support Component (PSC) on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) and Circular Economy (CE). More information at: https://www.switch-asia.eu/resource/mobilising-business-into-action-for-the-circular-economy-in-asean/

Contact:

Loraine Gatlabayan, SCP awareness raising and regional partnership building, SWITCH-Asia Policy Support Component

Email: [email protected]​​​​​