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SUNDAY, September 25, 2022
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CIRCO Hub seminar sheds light on real-life application of circular economy, self-sufficiency

CIRCO Hub seminar sheds light on real-life application of circular economy, self-sufficiency

MONDAY, February 28, 2022

CIRCO Hub Thailand, a joint project between the Office of National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO) and Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT), held the “Rethink Together: Co-creating Circular Economy with Circular Design” online seminar in January.

CIRCO Hub Thailand, a joint project between the Office of National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO) and Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT), held the “Rethink Together: Co-creating Circular Economy with Circular Design” online seminar in January.

The aim was to enable knowledge exchange on circular economy between public and private sectors. More than 400 people had registered for the seminar.

Dr Kitipong Promwong, NXPO president, said it was good that both sectors are paying attention to circular economy and that it is developing under the auspices of the government.

He went on to say that in line with Thailand’s net-zero emission target for 2065, related agencies will have to cooperate via various mechanisms, including circular economy. Thailand had announced its target at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November last year.

He added that the government is making an effort to improve workflow in a closed loop to ensure that all sectors move in the same direction.

"Circular design is a process that promotes network-based business operation, in which manufacturers or entrepreneurs will have extended producer responsibility [EPR] to ensure that remaining materials enter the production cycle," he said, adding that circular design also pays attention to promoting circular product market.

He added that NXPO and Thai Sustainable Consumption and Production (Thai-SCP) Network have organised a policy forum to make Circular Economy Innovation Ecosystem 2030 which enables us to see the overall operation.

Thanyaporn Krichtitayawuth, GCNT Executive Director, said economic direction and people’s behaviour have completely changed during the transition to a new era, so sustainability is now a strategy to help businesses survive.

"As CIRCO Hub Thailand wants to see Thai businesses grow with creative power, GCNT strives to enhance Thai businesses' potential with circular design which enables businesses to find ways of turning leftover materials into something valuable,” she said.

She added that the CIRCO course from the Netherlands had helped more than 1,000 business operators worldwide to adjust their business model to become a circular one.

This is the first online seminar that representatives from various industries who had completed the CIRCO-Circular Design Thailand course, to exchange knowledge on business operation or circular products and services in a bid to help realise opportunities and challenges on Thailand’s circular business transition.

The transition is based on three steps, namely:

RETHINK

Creating a new system that supports material circulation. SCG Chemicals offered circulating business adjustment by acting as a design catalyst team for customers, while Siam Makro had offered ways of changing ways of thinking in the supply chain, especially when it comes to sustainable packaging.

REUSE

Plan Creations, Deesawat Industries and Textile Gallery, provided views on reusing products in line with their service life. For instance, Plan Toy has initiated a toy rental service as toys’ service life is short, while a furniture company has applied designs that allow the use of existing materials as much as possible.

REDUCE

Chewgreen explained how it has changed the materials and designs it uses in packaging to help communicate the importance of protecting the environment with consumers. Printing Solution also provided views on using packaging materials that are suitable for products, while Sivatel Hotel shared its back-to-basics idea of reducing and utilising food waste, starting from food design to increasing the value of food waste.

RENEW & RECYCLE

Suez Services (Thailand) and Dairy Home Social Enterprise shared views on how business operators should pay attention to the value chain. Dairy Home Social Enterprise also showed ways of creating value from production resources, such as using wastewater from dairy cow farms to treating algae to feed lichen before using it to nourish giant river prawns.

Dr Wijarn Simachaya, president of Thailand Environment Institute who also chairs the subcommittee for driving the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Model, said key projects and focus sectors are necessary for driving circular economy in Thailand.

He added that Thailand also needs to develop circular economy solution platforms to boost efficiency on innovation and technologies, amend rules and regulations that obstruct development and create a circular economy society.

"Most importantly, all sectors, including small and large businesses and organisations, must cooperate together at global, national and local levels," he said.

The Commerce Ministry's Department of International Trade Promotion has the policy to help Thai entrepreneurs who follow circular economy principles to find international buyers.

The Federation of Thai Industries' Thailand Institute of Packaging and Recycling Management for Sustainable Environment collects used packaging under its Packback project and promotes EPR related laws in the country.

The Program Management Unit for Competitiveness, meanwhile, hands out funds for supporting circular economy research.

The Board of Investment promotes investment in businesses operating in line with circular economy and offers tax exemption for five to eight years to businesses that conduct research and development to reduce environmental impact.

This online seminar is key to providing knowledge and opportunities to every sector from a circular economy context, encouraging entrepreneurs and interested people to change their businesses and promote integration between organisations to create new business opportunities in line with BCG Model, resulting in the country's sustainable development.