FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF CIRCULAR ECONOMIES AND INDUSTRIAL WASTE REUSE AND PREVENTION SOLUTIONS
In industry, the efficient use of energy and materials is essential to transform to a low carbon pathway. Circular economy principles aim to transform the business economy so that generation of waste is minimized and the value of products, materials and resources is maintained as long as possible. Deloitte estimated that circular economy measures have the potential to cut by 33% the emissions related to production of goods consumed in the EU.1 A recent study by Climate KIC estimate that globally around 50% of the emissions from steel, aluminum, plastics and cement production can be mitigated through circular economy solutions.2
The transition to a circular economy will require rethinking options at every stage: extraction, production, consumption and waste management. The TEMs in 2018 examined two mitigation strategies in particular, waste-to-energy and supply chain redesign including industrial waste reuse and prevention.
Waste-to-energy is a process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat from the primary treatment of waste. A number of new technologies, such as anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis and gasification are being deployed, which as well as producing energy provide the potential to recover useful products from the waste streams. Supply chain redesign refers to strategies that maximize reuse and recovery of materials and minimize waste. Strategies and solutions include improved demand forecasting, substitution of materials and products with more durable ones and improving use of secondary materials.
Both waste-to-energy and the circular economy bring other benefits as well as mitigation. Lowering pollution by moving from disposal to energy recovery brings clear health and environmental benefits. By reducing extraction of raw materials, the impacts of mining on humans and ecosystems are also reduced. An example of these multiple benefits is demonstrated in a technology transfer from Switzerland to Vietnam of a pyrolysis technology to use in coffee farming. Coffee husks are pyrolyzed and the heat is used to dry coffee cherries and the bi-product (a bio-char) is used to enhance soil reducing fertilizer use and irrigation.3
The challenge of transitioning to a circular economy is the need for an integrated view of the whole value chain. Too often each element of the supply chain has been viewed as separate and the incentives are not in place to encourage circular strategies. To be successful a range of stakeholders need to work together within the right incentive structure. Governments can set policies that encourage a circular approach. For example, France’s Circular Economy Roadmap includes policy action to introduce tax breaks for companies in the fashion industry that re-use and re-cycle unsold products.4 Portugal has allocated financing through the Environmental Funding Program for circular economy projects, with a budget in 2018 of 5 million euro.5 Governments can also remove policies that prevent re-use of ‘waste’ materials easily. Collaboration, awareness raising and participation are seen in many policy packages as important for success of the circular economy. This is the case for Scotland’s “Making things last: A strategy towards circular economy” which provides financial support to businesses and front runners and disseminates good practice.
Governments have supported waste-to-energy in several ways: incentives for investments in waste-to-energy plants; disincentives, such as landfill tax, to disposal as an alternative and through energy sector incentives favouring renewables. The European Renewable Directive for example includes biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gases and biogases as non-fossil sources.
New partnerships are being formed to implement circular economy principles. Arvind implemented a public private partnership water recycling program at Ahmedabad, treating waste water from the municipality for use in production. Similarly, the twin issues of increasing costs to dispose of municipal wastes and the cost of fuels for cement production has led to an increase in co-processing of industrial and municipal waste in Morocco and China.6At the domestic level there are several programmes for the promotion of biogas plants, with the biogas being used for cooking or other domestic uses. Nepal has more than 330,000 such plants.7 Integration across supply chains also brings changes in business models. Suez has moved from a traditional waste collector and disposer to a solutions provider, with key performance indicators related to resource efficiency and waste prevention.8
Improved knowledge sharing, tailored to local conditions, helps enable replication of successful examples of material and energy efficiency. In waste-to-energy for example, different feedstocks, climate and scale are all important considerations in determining the success of different technologies. Smaller economies, such as Small Island Developing States, face challenges as most waste-to-energy technologies are focused on larger scale. At the same time, there is still the need and scope for innovation on material efficiency. Some innovation concentrates on product/process design to avoid losses in the supply chain and enable recycling. Other innovation radically changes the way we do things or the materials we use. Bamboo pipelines are being produced in China to replace the use of steel, concrete or plastic pipes.9
FOR ADAPTATION PLANNING FOR VULNERABLE GROUPS, COMMUNITIES AND ECOSYSTEMS
Climate change adaptation responds to the goals and objectives of the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals. Engagement of vulnerable groups is crucial to effective adaptation planning. In many regions, women and indigenous groups lack the agency and resources to adapt. In addition, these groups are often extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts.
Although vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, women and indigenous groups have the potential to strengthen local adaptation actions. For example, in the Pacific women are often responsible for water collection giving them firsthand knowledge of the local water systems. Indigenous people are also important to ecosystem-based adaptation to the impacts of climate change in agriculture, by bringing local knowledge on successful techniques to preserve land and water. In addition to bringing knowledge, participatory planning can also bring benefits in terms of behavioral change in individuals and communities. However, it also needs to be carried out in a way that is culturally-sensitive and gives every group a chance to be heard. The participatory planning process in 20 districts of Botswana successfully allowed district specific issues to be discussed in the context of the national level framework for adaptation.10
The benefits of local community involvement in adaptation planning are strengthened even further by integration between the local and the national level. In the Philippines, there is a clear mandate for creating climate change actions plans for a government agency but also strong collaboration between that agency and local government. Adaptation planning is also strengthened by engagement of businesses, but in many countries this involvement is limited for a number of reasons including the perceived lack of a clear business cases in many instances.
To step up adaptation, more co-operation on capacity building and on providing scalable, accessible and affordable technologies is needed. Such co-operation can clearly bring benefits. Engineers and governments working together on beach erosion on the West Coast of Jamaica have been able to achieve a substantial reduction in that erosion with a solution that breaks water along the shoreline.11
Finance is a key part in realizing the actions needed to develop and implement adaptation plans. The GCF offers developing countries up to 3 million USD for the formulation of national adaptation plans. The objective of these grants is to catalyze larger investments from other public and private sector investors. Antigua and Barbuda are using GCF funds in part for projects which plan to mainstream and integrate climate change into the financial sector through insurance, financial preparedness plans and more.12 However, there still remains a gap in many financial institutions on their understanding of the impacts of climate change on private sector investments and the need to shift investments to more resilient actions and assets. In addition, the business case for some adaptation actions is weak and climate finance can play a part in covering extra costs for longer term gains.1 Eamonn Kelly and Kelly Marchese, 2016. Supply chains and value webs
2 Climate-KIC, 2018. Material Economics, The Circular Economy – A Powerful Force for Mitigation http://www.climate-kic.org/in-detail/ transformative-innovation-for-prosperous-and-low-carbon-industry/
3 FCCC/TP/2018/2 "Mitigation benefits and co-benefits of policies, practices and actions for enhancing mitigation ambition: implementation of a circular economy with a focus on waste-to-energy technologies and industrial waste prevention and reuse solutions". Text box 2, page 10.
4See https://www.ecotextile.com/2018042523440/fashion-retail-news/france-proposes-law-to-tackle-unsold-clothing-problem.html and https:// www.businessoffashion.com/articles/news-bites/what-should-french-fashion-do-with-its-unsold-clothing.
5 FCCC/TP/2018/2 Text box 7, page 21.
6 FCCC/TP/2018/2 Text box 3, page 13.
7 Nicolae Scarlat, Jean-Francois Dallemand, Fernando Fahl, March 2018 Biogas: developments and perspectives in Europe
8 FCCC/TP/2018/2 Text box 4, page 19.
9 FCCC/TP/2018/2 Text box 5, page 19.
10 FCCC/TP/2018/3: "Opportunities and options for adaptation planning for vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems"