ICCA and UN Environment Host Circular Economy Symposium

We live in a world of an ever-growing population with increasing demands, but limited resources. It is crucial, therefore, to use those limited resources efficiently and develop innovative business models that maximize resource-efficiency along the entire value chain, enable and accelerate materials reuse and recycling, and promote restorative and regenerative processes. To encourage sustainable consumption and efficient use of resources, there have been efforts to promote practices that build circularity in our economies, while, at the same time, enabling economic development, fostering the adoption of social standards and protecting human health and the environment.

ICCA and UN Environment Issue Joint Press Statement

Today, experts from various regions, sectors and backgrounds will convene in Chengdu, China to identify opportunities, address challenges and facilitate innovative solutions that will unlock the full potential of a Circular Economy.
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Symposium Location and Date:

Chengdu, China
September 11-13, 2018

Circularity aims at ensuring that products, components and materials are at their highest utility and value at all times. It also aims to decouple economic development from the consumption of finite resources and from environmental impacts.

95% of All Manufactured Goods Are at Least Partially Composed of Chemicals

Considering that more than 95% of all manufactured goods are at least partially composed of chemicals, the safe and sound management of chemicals and waste represents a prerequisite for circularity in our economy. More than 30 years ago, the chemicals industry recognized the need to continuously improve its environmental, health and safety performance, and developed Responsible Care®, which advances sustainable management of materials in all their lifecycle phases, and promotes greater transparency in environmental, health, and safety performance. Similarly, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), which is a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral platform, promotes institutional strengthening and the development of national legislation and regulatory frameworks on chemicals and waste.

To fully achieve circularity, new business models, technologies and financing models are required. Furthermore, enabling policy conditions, including regulations and systems that promote incentives are necessary to unleash the full potential of a Circular Economy. However, one also needs to accept the complexity of circularity by acknowledging that the benefits and the challenges related to the very nature of products exist throughout the lifecycle and need to be considered to ensure development of sustainable solutions supporting the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

About the Symposium

The Symposium aims at reaching a common understanding on the sound management of chemicals and waste in the context of a Circular Economy and how this contributes to sustainable development. It will bring together experts from various regions, sectors and backgrounds to discuss what circularity means for stakeholders in the chemical and waste sectors, which opportunities it offers, which challenges it faces, which policy frameworks it requires and which roles the various stakeholders play to unveil the full potential of circularity.

Outcomes from the Symposium will feed into and inform discussions of the ongoing SAICM intersessional process on sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 and activities around circularity at all levels. The discussion will identify enabling conditions to progress towards sound management of chemicals and waste in the context of a Circular Economy. The Symposium results will provide guidance to industry and other stakeholders on concrete actions in the field of circularity. Given its significant market share in chemicals production, specific activities for circular business models in China may emerge.

The Symposium will be held in several plenary sessions and small group discussions on topics such as:

  • What is circularity and what is the role of the chemicals and waste industry in achieving it?
  • Circular economy business models: examples of best practices
  • Enabling policy conditions and infrastructure: facilitating the uptake of a Circular Economy
  • Roles and Responsibilities of different stakeholders
  • Summary and High-level Segment: Policy-oriented outlook on a Circular Economy

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