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2021 Circular Economy Research Report Launched

Download the Circular Economy Research Report

The 2021 Green Development Low Carbon Innovation Summit, the first professional industry conference co-organised by the China Environmental Protection Federation’s Green Recycling and Inclusion Committee and the China Plastics Processing Industry Association’s Recycled Plastics Committee, came to a successful conclusion this week.

The conference received widespread attention from all walks of life: the summit was reported and interviewed by well-known domestic and international media such as Xinhua News Agency, Xinhua, People’s Daily, China Business News, China Daily, Science and Technology China, China Environment Publishing Group and Kyodo News.

Ministry of Ecology and Environment, National Energy Bureau, China Environmental Protection Federation, China Plastics Processing Industry Association and other ministries and industry leaders were invited to the conference, as well as experts and scholars from well-known organisations, institutions, universities and brand companies at home and abroad, such as Pepsi, P&G China, Coca-Cola, Unilever, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Apple, Sedex and Yili.

On the second day of the conference, Mr Lin Yao, Managing Director of Sedex Asia, was the guest speaker to share the latest research data as well as challenges and trends of Sedex member companies in the field of circular economy, and jointly released the “Circular Economy Research Report” with the China Environmental Protection Federation’s Green Recycling Inclusion Committee (CGCI).

Over the past 20 years, there have been iterations in the focus and attention given to environmental issues by businesses.

  • Prior to 2000, environmental protection was only an area of concern for a small number of companies
  • After 2010, companies began to integrate environmental compliance, energy efficiency and pollution reduction into their supply chains
  • Since 2020, as the Paris Agreement targets approach, more and more companies are trying to change their business models, linking their policies, products and operations to responsible business and driving the deepening of the circular economy and related issues (development of new materials, carbon emissions ……) in their global supply chains

We have identified Sedex Global members who are leaders in promoting the circular economy and recycled materials, categorising them broadly as: retail, FMCG, household chemicals, packaging, consumer goods and Chinese companies. It is easy to see that Sedex Global members have formed circular economy value chains at all points in the supply chain.

For our data, 86% of suppliers in China are considering using recycled materials; 60% have set carbon reduction targets.

The data from our research with Chinese suppliers puts the integration of the circular economy into the supply chain and the introduction of recycled materials in the supply chain not only as a trend, but as a major trend for the next 10 years.

The “dilemma” of the circular economy

Although our research shows that: enterprises generally have a positive and open attitude towards the circular economy, there are a number of factors that constrain the implementation of circular economy activities in practice.

  • A general lack of awareness of the circular economy among SMEs
  • The “leadership” of international companies among branded companies, but the small number of companies that have applied the circular economy to their entire product range
  • Differences in industry and product characteristics, but inability to find a set of guidelines that can be used universally across industries
  • Brand companies have commitments in the field of circular economy, but it is difficult to implement them, such as laws and regulations, supporting resources and market recognition
  • The “social dimension” of the circular economy process
  • Business values

2021 Circular economy research report launched

At the conference, Sedex, in collaboration with the China Green Council (CGCI), launched the Circular Economy Research Report. The report was supported by the CGCI and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with special thanks to Dr Jiang Nanqing for his professional guidance on the report.

The report, which was completed over six months with the participation of the Sedex Project Task Force, aims to help you understand the significance of the circular economy and recycled plastics to global sustainability through an objective, professional and systematic approach, combined with the relevant experience and insights of Sedex and our global members, particularly in the context of China’s commitment to ‘peak carbon’ and ‘carbon neutral’. “In particular, in the context of China’s commitment to ‘carbon peaking’ and ‘carbon neutrality’ targets, we can make a small contribution to the country’s sustainable development.

Download the Circular Economy Research Report