Business Action for the Circular Economy in Southeast Asia

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Business Action for the Circular Economy in Southeast Asia
Type: Webinar
Location: Zoom
Organizer: SWITCH-Asia and ASEAN CSR Network
World MSME Day 2024

WHEN:  27 June 2024     I    TIME:  15:00 - 16:30 (Bangkok Time)    I    Platform:  ZOOM   I  Watch the recording HERE


The transition towards Circular Economy (CE) in Southeast Asia has gained momentum since the adoption of the 2021 ASEAN Circular Economy Framework, and national and/or thematic strategies and action plans in several Member States. Moreover, forward looking, innovative businesses and other organisations have started to adopt circular economy practices and techniques, which in turn are catalysing business action towards the regional circular economy transition in Southeast Asia.

The EU SWITCH-Asia Policy Support Component (PSC) supports the transition of ASEAN countries to a low-carbon, resource-efficient, and circular economy. It also recognises the contribution of regional stakeholder platforms and networks that support SCP implementation, involving SMEs and business intermediaries to adopt cleaner technologies and more sustainable and circular industrial practices, as well as helping consumers to act more responsibly in their daily choices and lifestyles.

One of the current Technical Advisories (TAs) under the EU SWITCH-Asia PSC works to mobilize business action for circular economy in ASEAN, which is being implemented at the request of the ASEAN Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Network. Over the past 10 months, extensive business engagements around ASEAN were conducted and this has resulted in a shared and unifying understanding of the business agenda for circular economy, supported by the documentation of practical business cases.

More than thirty business examples have been curated covering Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, and this set is expanding. Many of these are Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), including both technology and social driven start up whereas others are well-established businesses. These business cases are truly inspirational, and indeed have already galvanized the interest of other businesses and business membership organizations to further advance the Circular Economy in ASEAN.


With the importance ASEAN has given to business participation in the implementation of the 2021 ASEAN Circular Economy Framework, SWITCH Asia PSC is co-hosting a commemorative webinar on business action on circular economy on the occasion of World MSME Day. This will include the formal launch of these ASEAN Circular Economy business cases, learnings from businesses on their experiences and discussion of practical ways for a potential follow up business-led and ASEAN-centric Circular Economy initiative.

The webinar will discuss the scope, benefits, and experiences of business leadership and action on the Circular Economy (CE) in Southeast Asia. It will further discuss and explore how to support country partners and stakeholders towards potential collective action and better knowledge management on CE through business leadership and action. The session will therefore reflect on current experiences and emerging insights from the Technical Advisory (TA) on Business Action for Circular Economy in ASEAN and will present the emerging scalable business CE examples/tools showcasing businesses moving towards circular practices such as 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. The session will also discuss on how to further catalyze CE business initiatives in the region through potential follow up initiatives.


  1. Discuss how Circular Economy (CE) is being understood and applied through business practices in ASEAN
  2. Inform participants of emerging insights on business commitment and action towards CE derived from the Southeast Asian business cases 
  3. In country learning and gathering of insights on how policies can support CE business practices
  4. Explore possible collective action towards business action on CE.



Thibaut Portevin, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Indonesia and the EU Delegation to ASEAN

Thibaut Portevin is currently Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Indonesia and the EU Delegation to ASEAN, where he oversees programmes related to trade and investments, environment and climate change, as well as democracy and human development. He previously worked at DG International Partnerships, European Commission, in Brussels, as expert dealing with cooperation on economic and environmental matters. He also worked with civil society organisations in Latin America, Central Africa and South East Asia. He holds master degrees in economics and in business management.



Zinaida Fadeeva, Team Leader, SWITCH-Asia Policy Support Component

Zinaida Fadeeva is the Team Leader of the Policy Support Component of the SWITCH-Asia Programme. Zinaida has over 25 years leading international professional experience in policy for and practice of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and Education for Sustainable Development, amongst others working with the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Studies of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). Her work has focused on diverse topics such as tourism, plastics, construction, small and medium enterprises, procurement and lifestyle. Zinaida has worked extensively with governments, private sector, international organisations and academia in East, South East, South and Central Asia.


Thomas Thomas, CEO ASEAN Corporate Social Responsibility Network (ACN)

Thomas played an integral role in the set-up of ASEAN Corporate Social Responsibility Network (ACN) in 2010 and as CEO, continues to provide oversight and strategic direction for the organisation.  ACN was established to promote and enable responsible business conduct in ASEAN Member States. ACN is the responsible and inclusive business champion with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council. They developed a Code for Responsible and Inclusive Business and is building up the ASEAN Responsible and Inclusive Business Alliance (ARAIBA) to be the region’s network of businesses supporting responsible business conduct. Thomas is driving this initiative. He has extensive experience in CSR and responsible business conduct, serving on various initiatives in the region and globally. He lead the baseline research on Sustainable Consumption and Production in 2020. Prior to ACN, he was the founding Executive Director of the Singapore Compact for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), now operating as the Global Compact Network Singapore. Thomas had been active with trade unions, co-operatives, the consumer movement and social enterprises and also served as a Nominated Member of Parliament in Singapore.

Rene van Berkel, Senior Circular Economy Expert for the SWITCH-Asia Policy Support Component

Dr René Van Berkel was formerly the Representative and Head of the Regional Office of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in India. In this role he was responsible for industry and government advocacy and coordination of UNIDO technical assistance portfolio on inclusive and sustainable industrial development, covering energy and resource efficiency, renewable energy, innovation, digitalization and circularity and MSME development. Previously he served amongst others in thematic leadership roles on resource efficient and cleaner production in UNIDO and as Professor of Cleaner Production at Curtin University of Technology in Australia. René has a three decade track record of pioneering and implementing SCP techniques, practices and policies in manufacturing and other productive sectors in Asia (including India, Indonesia, China, Viet Nam, Bangladesh and Myanmar) and globally. He currently serves as Senior Circular Economy Expert for the EU SWITCH-Asia Policy Support Component. 


Gil Gonzales, Executive Director, ASEAN Business Advisory Council 

Gil L. Gonzales is currently the Executive Director of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council created by the ASEAN Leaders in 2013 to help build and promote the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) under the AEC Strategic Blueprint 2025. His role is to help the Council serve its mandate of providing the voice of business through policy recommendations to the ASEAN Leaders and Economic Ministers and other relevant Ministers down to the different working ASEAN sectoral bodies and committees to translate the recommendations to execution mode and undertake concrete joint projects. His other expertise covers the areas of corporate governance, risk management, strategic and corporate planning, human resource and change management. He served as Vice President for ASEAN Affairs and Corporate Governance and Risk Management at the SM Investments Corporation, one of the biggest conglomerates in the Philippines from 2010-2020. He also held various executive positions in key private and government institutions.

Alisara Sivayathorn, CEO Sivatel Bangkok Hotel 

Alisara Sivayathorn, the forward-thinking 3rd generation CEO of Sivatel Bangkok Hotel, is spearheading a revolutionary rebranding initiative rooted in the sufficiency economy philosophy for regeneration. Positioned as a transformative force for positive societal change, she envisions the hotel as a role model for regenerative hospitality. Alisara prioritizes energy-saving initiatives, fosters a happy workplace for staff, ensures exceptional guest service, and champions local farmers by sourcing organic ingredients. Her commitment extends to co-creating regenerative food systems and achieving zero waste to landfill by 2024, notably through an innovative zero-food waste management system that feeds Black Soldier Fly larvae, which are then used to feed organic chickens. This closed-loop system earned the hotel the Food Waste Free Champion award from PATA and SWITCH-Asia last year. Recognized as Asia’s Top Outstanding Woman Marketeer in 2023, Alisara's visionary leadership is reshaping luxury hospitality by integrating regeneration and excellence, setting a new standard for the industry and inspiring other hotels to embrace regenerative practices.


Elodie and Alexander Radach, Co-founders, Sai Yok Springs

Sai Yok Springs by Radach Family & Co. Organics is Thailand's first closed-loop, locally-sourced premium mineral water brand. Elodie is the CEO of the Radach & Family Organics Co Ltd, which she co-founded with her husband, Alex. Elodie is french-thai and her background is in Economics, Sustainability in Fashion and Environment (Chulalongkorn University). She started her first venture in 2018 and is passionate about sustainability, engagement toward communities, environment and women empowerment. Alex is a German national with a background in Economics (Maastricht University). He has spent the last 20 years working in various industries as an expert and consultant. He is passionate about sustainability, social justice, technology and innovation. 


Ingrid VAN GINKEL, General Manager, Husk Ventures Cambodia

Ingrid has extensive experience working in the agriculture and food industry across several countries. She is a firm believer in collaborating to build a better world and in businesses that serve as a force for good. Currently, she serves as the General Manager at Husk Ventures in Cambodia, where she is part of a team dedicated to improving soil health and sequestering carbon by producing and selling biochar and carbon-based fertilizers.


Butte Metz, Founder of Precious Plastic Philippines

Butte Metz, the founder of Precious Plastic Philippines, has transformed a home garage into a hub for plastic recycling and sustainability education since adopting the Precious Plastic model in 2018. Leveraging his extensive logistics experience from working in the Middle East, Africa, the USA, and Canada, Butte has grown the initiative into a key community player in combating plastic pollution. Under his leadership, the project recycles various plastics, including HDPE, LDPE, and PP, while addressing local waste management challenges. Butte's commitment to sustainability has fostered numerous successful recycling projects, educational programs, and collaborations, inspiring a greener future for the Philippines.







15:00 – 15:10

Welcome Remarks:

“EU’s commitment to supporting ASEAN Businesses particularly MSMEs in the transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and circular economy”

including launch of Business cases on circular economy in South-East Asia


Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Indonesia and ASEAN


15:10 – 15:20

Presentation of the technical advisory on Business Action for Circular Economy in ASEAN

Zinaida FADEEVA, Team Leader, SWITCH-Asia PSC

15:20 – 15:35

Introduction of a unifying framework for action on circular economy in ASEAN and overview on the business cases

Rene VAN BERKEL, Senior Expert (circular economy), SWITCH-Asia PSC

15:35 – 16:05

Presentation of selected business cases


Moderated by Thomas THOMAS, CEO ASEAN CSR Network and Senior Expert, SWITCH Asia PSC



16:05 – 16:15

Mobilising Business Action in ASEAN towards responsible and inclusive business conduct as foundation for circular economy

Gil GONZALES, Executive Secretary, ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC)

16:15 – 16:25

Discussion and feedback


Moderated by Thomas THOMAS, CEO ASEAN CSR Network and senior expert SWITCH Asia PSC

16:25 – 16:30

Closing reflections and next steps

Rene VAN BERKEL, Senior Expert (circular economy), SWITCH-Asia PSC