WCIT 2017 Smart Growth towards a Circular Economy

MOEA proposes the “Zero Waste, Zero Emission, Zero Accident” policy


In year 2025, an additional 1.1 billion people will be added to the ever growing global population.  The shortage of resources is expected.  Accordingly, the concept of “circular economy” offers a new path to the world economy.  On September 11, Vice Economic Minister Wei-Fuu Yang along with Covestro CEO Patrick Thomas and Solar Impulse Foundation Chairman Bertrand Piccard jointly participated in the WCIT 2017 Keynotes and Leaders Dialogue of “Smart Growth Towards a Circular Economy” and discussed the possibility of rewriting history with new type of green business: circular economy.

Technology is used to provide positive changes to the world.  However, the retail price of products has increase about 3 times.  According to the report conducted by WEF and McKinsey & Company, the implementation of circular economy could potentially create revenue of US$ 5 billion and 100 thousand new employment opportunities in 5 years.  Furthermore, the new economic model could decrease the waste of raw material by 100 million tons.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs is determined to implement the “5+N” industrial innovation project with special focuses on the promotion of recycling.  With the formation of circular industry cluster, the Ministry is hoping to achieve the goal of “zero waste, zero emission, and zero accident”. Vice Economic Minister Yang pointed out that Taiwan introduced “recycling” in 1999.  Over the past 20 years, with the help of Waste Management Act, and Resource Recycle Act, Taiwan has able to reduce waste and encourage recycling.  In 2016, the industrial waste recycle rate reached 80%, about 14.18 million tons.  The revenue of the recycling industry is US$ 2.5 billion.

Covestro CEO Patrick Thomas stated that Taiwan relies heavily on energy import and needs to conduct more recycling.  With the increasing demand of raw materials for development, Taiwan needs to find a new way out.  Thomas pointed out that the lack of resources is one of the world’s contemporary challenges, and an island nation like Taiwan should pay extra attention in resource allocation and distribution. Thomas pointed out that people need to think practically when it comes to the matter of developing a new solution to the challenges mankind face.   It is important to know that without the element of profit, no solutions would be able to prosper.  In terms of circular economy, “closing the carbon cycle” is the vital factor to its implementation.  During the Industrial Revolution, carbon productivity played a crucial role in developments.  However, nowadays, with the draining natural resources and ever expending population of the world, a new productivity method must be developed.  Accordingly, Covestro has been dedicating itself to the development of a new way of manufacturing that would be both profitable and closes the carbon cycle. This is the true meaning of circular economy, by manufacturing products with recycled resources.  Furthermore, the IT industry has played a critical role in making the circular economy implementation possible.  With the application of big data analysis, it is more convenient for consumers to keep on track of the resources they use.  For the manufacturing sectors, the application of IT improves the efficiency of their production process.  In other words, the application of IT helps to improve efficiency which leads to energy conservation and ultimately closes the carbon cycle. 

Solar Impulse Foundation Chairman Bertrand Piccard stated that no one believed in powering the aircraft with no fuel and flied it across the world.  However, he did it with strong dedication and the hope to prove to the world that people could use energy differently.  Furthermore, instead of seeking additional energy sources, the world should be focusing on energy efficiency, and if people could start by using the energy properly, we would be able to prosper and coexist with our planate for longer times to come.   In other words, apart from trying to recycle the materials we use, closing the carbon cycle, the other crucial factor is to use energy effectively.

The shortage of resources has post challenges to economic growth.  However, it has also created new business opportunities for companies.  Circular economy is not only an eco-friendly path for development; it is also a way for companies to break through from its current obstacles posted by the lack of resources.  In other words, circular economy is the new model for sustainable development.