STORY OF THE MONTH
Launching of MREPC Automation & Green Technology Fund
The Malaysian Rubber Export Promotional Council or MREPC recently launched its inaugural funding program to promote the adoption of automation and green technology in Malaysia’s rubber manufacturing sector. This are among the progressive steps taking by the Malaysian government to ensure the economic and environmental sustainability of our billion ringgit rubber industry.
The funding will address three key areas in rubber manufacturing sector; adoption of solar and biomass as sources of renewable energy, water conservation and recycling ; as well as deploying of automation technologies in production lines.
This funding initiative is also expected to generate economic multiplier effects, ranging from promoting new technologies and innovations in the domestic sectors of renewable energy, water conservation and automation; as well as to creating a vibrant industrial eco-system in sustainability and circular economy.
Circular Economy Conference & Mission
*Sourced from https://eeas.europa.eu
A two-day EU-ASEAN regional workshop on circular economy took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 11-12 June 2019. The workshop, conducted back-to-back with the European Commission DG Environment Circular Economy Mission to Malaysia, emphasized the importance of collaboration between the EU and ASEAN towards a circular economy, and contributed to the EU-ASEAN High-Level Dialogue on Environment and Climate Change.
Plastic and its wastes has been identified as a key priority in the European Commission Action Plan on Circular Economy. If this industry is sufficiently facilitated and driven by enabling policy frameworks, it has the potential to solve its waste problem while bringing new opportunities for innovation, boost countries’ competitiveness, and create new jobs.
In the context of Malaysia, the concept of Circular Economy is gradually making its mark at the national level, in line with new policies and initiatives from the Malaysian government such as our "Roadmap Towards Zero-Single-Use-Plastics 2018-2030".
Read up more about the event here
Circular economy is a relatively new concept on how new and innovative business models can be implemented to decouple economic growth from the constraints of Earth’s limited resources and the negative environmental impacts from its exploitation; ranging from pollution of land, sea and air, climate change, loss of biodiversity and the over-use of natural resources.
Since the early days of human civilization where our forefathers mined the Earth for coal, oil and minerals for resources to generate energy, fertilize crops and build dwellings; our global economy has been running on the ‘linear economy’ mode where resources are mined, processed, used and finally discarded back to the environment as wastes.
With the rapid increase in human population and rapid rise in global consumerism, our Mother Earth is feeling the strain of over-exploitation of our limited resources as well as the social, economical and environmental impacts of resource inefficiencies and all the wastes generated at the tail-end of the linear economy. Some of these impacts include scarcity of natural resources leading to price increases, geopolitical conflicts for access to these resources, pollution and climate change.
Circular economy can be defined as the integration of sustainability agenda with new business models that drive innovations across many aspects of our economy; ranging from product design, product-to-service transformation, recycling and recovery of materials from products. The diagram below provides an overview of the possibilities of the circular economy.
Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Towards the Circular
Economy: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains
For our world’s current linear economy to shift to circular economy will be a challenging endeavor. It will require radical shift in our mindset and thinking of our political, social and business leaders. The value propositions of all our products and services will need to be revisited and redefined so that we can think outside the ‘linear economy’ box to innovate new ways to deliver values to our customers and stakeholders. At the same time, we will also need to consider and evaluate the social, economic and environmental impacts of our new circular economy models to ensure that it brings more benefits to humankind than what we will leave behind as we ‘retire’ the existing linear economy.
World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF)
*Reporting from Japan
The 2nd WCEF was held in Yokohama, Japan from 22-23 Oct 2018. Organised by Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra (www.sitra.fi), it was a follow-up from last year’s 1st WCEF that was held in Helsinki. The forum provides the platform for subject matter experts, thinkers, policy makers and business leaders to share and explore many ideas and thoughts on circular economy.
Themes that were highlighted and discussed in the forum include potential economic benefits, social equity and rural development in the circular economy, sustainable lifestyles, food supply systems in cities, energy and climate impacts, global value chains and trade, education as well as revolution in mobilities in cities and circular solutions for reducing plastic waste as marine pollution.
Towards the end of the forum, speakers and participants also discussed about the opportunties for international collaboration and cooperation in turning circular economy from a vision into a reality in the global supply chain.
For more information and videos of the forum presentations, please refer to
APEC Circular Economy Platform
Accelerate The Transition To A Circular Economy
*Reporting from Taiwan
Under the progressive initiative by APEC, another event to promote circular economy in the Asia-Pacific region was organised from 22-23 Oct 2018 in Taiwan. The event was hosted by Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), an R&D governmental agency that undertake projects to promote technological innovation and advancement of Taiwan’s hi-tech industries.
The event was organised into three major themes; (1) Chemicals-Products-Waste Interface, (2) Circular Fashion – A New Textile Economy, and (3) Preventing Marine Plastic Waste with Circular Solutions.
The first theme discussed about the potential, opportunities and challenges of converting wastes such as agriculture biomass into feedstocks for the production of bio-based polymers and biodegradable plastics.
A major highlight was the presentation by Far Eastern New Century Corporation of Taiwan, a major conglomerate player in the global recycled and bioplastics sector. One of the more notable achievements of the corporation is to collaborate with Coca-Cola for their PlantBottle®project. The project tackles the problem of plastic bottle wastes by developing fully recyclable PET plastic beverage bottle made partially from plant-based resources. The material looks and functions just like traditional PET plastic, but has a lighter environmental footprint on the planet.
Under the circular fashion theme, the discussion focuses on what large and small corporation are doing to reduce the impact of textile and fashion industry to the environment, as well as initiatives to recycle the unused or used fabrics to add more value to the industry.
The event ended with a final wrap-up on the follow-up measures and actions that can be planned and implemented at the APEC level to promote education, collaboration and cooperation as well as governmental policies to create market drivers for the circular economy at national and regional platforms.
We have been involved in the business of sustainability for more than ten years. What started off as a participation in a four-year EU-funded project on biomass utilisation in Malaysia snowballed into undertaking GHG emissions assessment projects for oil palm plantation companies, public-listed corporations as well as joint projects with universities and like-minded small and medium enterprises.
Malaysia is now more committed than ever to fulfill its responsibility as a global citizen in tackling climate change and environmental degradation. In 2009, ‘green technology’ is recognised by the Malaysian government as a potential contributor to wealth creation sustainably; being parked as one of the key functions under the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water. Now in 2018, our commitment is further strengthen by realigning the ministry into the Ministry of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment.
With this deeper commitment, it is hoped that large Malaysian corporations are able to take up the challenge to invest in sustainability whether in the form of green business practices, low-carbon technologies, new green ventures and branding. Currently in the corporate scene; with the exception of a few exemplary ones, majority of large corporations are still implementing sustainable measures on an piecemeal basis for the purpose of compliance. These include funding of unsustainable CSR projects and merely undertaking annual carbon reporting.
We believe that Malaysian corporations and businesses can do more; sustainability should no longer been seen as costs but rather as a long-term investment that leads to lower costs, higher revenue, and increased brand value. The technologies, know-how and expertise are already in place. To bring us to the next level, we need corporations to work together with their customers, vendors and even their own competitors.
Sustainability has to go beyond mere words in our speeches and in the pages of corporate reports. Sustainability has to be acted upon; indoctrinated as business processes and a way of life. Sustainability needs to be sustainable.
WHAT'S NEW IN RAPID GENESIS
Launching of Technology Incubation Centre
Rapid Genesis launched its new Technology Incubation Centre on 26-April 2019. Located within the campus of Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL) along the Kajang-Putrajaya highway, this 3,000 sq.ft center is equipped with co-working space, biosensor development lab, workshop as well as training facilities. With the new center in operation, we hope to attract more students and technology entrepreneurs to come to explore and develop their ideas into technological innovations in the months and years to come.
We also took the opportunity during the launch to witness the signing of Technology Licensing Agreement between our incubatee biotech startup, Biogenes Technologies with IUKL to commercialise the outputs of our joint R&D collaboration. Biogenes develops molecular-based technologies and cutting-edge solutions, products and services to serve customers from various sectors ranging from healthcare, animal breeding to aquaculture, agriculture and environmental monitoring.