A combined Circular Economy Mission to Japan and Indonesia between 22 and 27 October 2018 is promoting policies on sustainability and resource-efficiency in these countries, and opening markets for EU green companies and entrepreneurs. Circular economy missions are a major tool to promote sustainable development in a global context, confirming global EU leadership on circular economy and supporting green European SMEs to expand their activities abroad.
With 60% of the world population, that will continue to grow from currently 4.5 billion to 4.9 billion in 2030, and 5.3 billion in 2050, Asia has a key role to play in the global transition to a resource-efficient, circular and low-emission future.
From 22 to 24 October 2018, an EU delegation headed by the Vice-President of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen is visiting Japan to discuss environmental policy and circular economy and explore avenues for cooperation. 69 representatives of 43 companies from 14 EU countries, employing together 420 000 people, from sectors such as construction, waste, energy, textile, plastics, recycling and food, are taking part in the Circular Economy Mission to discuss how to turn circular principles into business opportunities.
Vice-President responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen said: "Europe and Japan are like-minded partners – we both promote a sustainable and resource-efficient path to growth and we are resolved to achieve a transition to a circular economy. But for this transition to work, we need business to drive it forward. The Circular Economy mission that we are bringing to Japan this week is an example of how we can work hand in hand with business partners. It is our joint work to turn today's challenges into opportunities and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals."
The Circular Economy Mission is organised in parallel with the 2nd World Circular Economy Forum in Yokohama on 22-24 October, which has presented the world’s best circular economy solutions and has brought together 1 000 key thinkers and doers from around the world. The Mission also includes high-level political meetings, such as the 17th High Level Dialogue on Environment with Japan, where the two sides exchange on sustainable consumption and production, circular economy, chemicals, marine plastic litter, and biodiversity. This regular dialogue provides an opportunity for the EU and Japan to understand better respective policy developments, share the best cases and lessons learnt, and identify areas for cooperation.
From 25 to 27 October 2018 European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella is leading a delegation of more than 40 representatives of EU businesses from different sectors to Indonesia, in order to engage with the Indonesian government and businesses on the international dimension of circular economy and its application in business. The mission will promote green business partnerships in targeted sectors through matchmaking events between EU and local entrepreneurs.
European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: "Indonesia is an essential ally for the EU to make the next step towards a global circular economy. The circular economy model is a tremendous opportunity for business, but also for our societies and planet. The EU is leading by example in the transition to a resource-efficient, circular and low-carbon future. But we cannot thrive alone. The EU stands ready to work with Indonesia to support this transition. It is good for business and it is good for the environment."
The program includes a dialogue with Indonesian authorities, youth champions and companies. The business delegation will also attend the EU-Indonesia Business Dialogue (EIBD) organized by Eurocham in Jakarta. Discussions will focus on plastics, marine litter, waste, chemicals, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development.
This EU Circular Economy Mission will also send a strong signal of commitment to the ‘Our Ocean Conference’ taking place in Bali the subsequent week, to promote a sustainable blue economy and fight marine litter globally.
The contribution of emerging economies to key environmental challenges and their potential for economic growth make them key partners in the promotion of the transition to a circular economy.
Circular Economy Missions are one of the main tools of the European economic and environmental diplomacy, aiming to promote the circular economy approach as the way forward for global economic development. They are formed by a series of high-level political and business meetings to discuss and exchange on topics of mutual interest between non-European countries and the European Commission.
The missions demonstrate the applicability of circular economy principles across geographic boundaries, and establish the circular economy model as a new development paradigm that reconciles economic growth objectives and environmental and social sustainability.
So far the Commission has taken the circular economy concept to Chile, China, Iran, South Africa, Colombia, and India.
Japan is the EU's 2nd main trading partner in Asia, and the 4th richest economy in the world, with 127 million citizens. It has established one of the most comprehensive circular economy legislative systems in the world and it provides an inspiration for many countries in the region. The EU and Japan have concluded both a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Both contain environmental provisions that will frame future cooperation between the EU and Japan.
Indonesia is the third largest democracy with the fourth largest population in the world, and one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia. As such, the country is facing a big challenge in keeping the subtle balance between economic development and the preservation of environment and natural resources that it depends on. The EU is one of the largest investors in Indonesia, and is getting ready to start negotiating a Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) with Indonesia.
Circular economy is a new paradigm in Indonesia. Implementation of circular economy for solid waste management has started, and Indonesia is investing efforts in tackling nutrient pollution, reducing marine litter, and safer chemicals.
24 October 2018