As a consumption and production powerhouse, Asia has the potential to showcase the circular economycircular economyA systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. It is based on three principles, driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and regenerate nature. at scale.
Asia accounts for around 60% of the world’s population, and Asian countries have become global manufacturing hubs. The last two decades have seen China and India - Asia’s largest economies - experience rapid growth, urbanisation, and industrialisation alongside the associated negative environmental impacts. Studies we’ve conducted on both these economies show significant opportunities to create new value and economic growth from the transition towards a circular economy.
China and India can play a fundamental role in transitioning towards the circular economy to create economic, societal, and environmental benefits.
China and the circular economy
Applying circular economy principles in China’s cities could make goods and services more affordable, and deliver living spaces with less emissions and congestion.
Opportunities identified for the built environment, mobility, nutrition, textiles, and electronics, show that businesses and households could save approximately CNY 70 trillion by 2040 (16% of China’s projected GDP). Supported by the country’s leadership on circular economy policies, China’s cities are well placed to become beacons of successful circular economy transitions.
India and the circular economy
Adopting circular economy principles in India could provide annual benefits of ₹40 lakh crore (US 624 billion) by 2050. In addition to business and household savings, a circular economy development path would reduce negative impacts such as pollution and congestion, and ensure that India’s citizens are provided with the resulting health, economic, and societal benefits.
India’s existing circular mindset and strong digital backbone serves as an important example for other developing countries seeking to meet their Sustainable Development Goals.
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