The Future is Circular: Uncovering Circular Economy Initiatives in Indonesia

Word from the Authors

To deal with climate change, what we need most right now is a solution. Based on the latest Assessment Report 6/AR6 published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations (UN), the researchers reiterated that we need more effective efforts to deal with climate change. This is important because the impact of climate change in Indonesia has been demonstrated by the increase in the number of disaster events, which are dominated by hydrometeorological disasters. The Bappenas study shows that the impact of climate change in Indonesia has the potential to reduce Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by up to 544 trillion during 2020–2024 if it still uses a business-as-usual approach.

Indonesia has a target to become the country with the fifth largest economic growth in the world by 2045. For this reason, we need to jointly develop ways to deal with the challenges of climate change, and use them as opportunities for significant economic growth to achieve prosperity in the long term while conserving the environment. Low-carbon development and implementation of a circular economy are important strategies for this.

Following the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Indonesia 2030 Roadmap, Indonesia has established a low-carbon development policy which is then aligned with the 2020–2024 National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN). One of the concrete forms of low-carbon development efforts carried out by Indonesia is setting a national target of 27.3% emission reduction in 2024, which one of the strategies is through circular economy intervention from the 22.5% target in 2018. To achieve these targets, Indonesia needs to change old systems that are no longer effective and even risk damaging the environment. In terms of the government as a policy maker and facilitator, several policies have been formulated to support the achievement of these targets. For example, starting from establishing an urban mass public transportation system in Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Medan, Semarang, and Makassar to building power plants that are no longer dominated by fossil energy.

Apart from infrastructure procurement by the government, economic actors also have a stake in realizing a low-carbon circular economy. In principle, a circular economy system refers to efforts to maintain the value of products, materials, and resources in the economy as long as possible, while still generating economic growth. By striking a balance between profit and product longevity, the social and environmental damage of a linear economic approach can be minimized.

We cannot fully feel the implementation and impact of the circular economy. However, in the longer term, the results of circular practices can have an impact on our daily lives as well as other living beings. Therefore, it is not only the government that needs to practice circular efforts, but also all stakeholders such as academics, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and all levels of society, including us who are reading this book. The good news is that the practice of circularity in economic activities is not impossible and has been carried out by business activities in Indonesia on various scales.

According to the International Business Report survey by Grant Thornton International, 68% of business people in Indonesia have or have started to develop this strategy, you know! The UNDP survey with the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs, as well as Indosat Ooredoo in 2021 involving around 3,000 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) also showed that around 95% of MSMEs expressed interest in environmentally friendly business practices, with women-owned businesses. show a stronger interest. In addition, as many as 90% of MSMEs also showed their interest in implementing inclusive business practices, which is one of the important components of the SDGs. From 2010-2019, 44 companies in Indonesia won green industry awards. These circular initiatives are not only large-scale but also small and medium-sized.

This book was created to share the inspirational stories of these entrepreneurs. All information in this book was collected through research, interviews with initiators, and filling out questionnaires to support its accuracy. From the stories and examples of practices carried out by the initiators, we hope that this collection of stories about circular economy initiatives can inspire more people to replicate and adapt circular economy initiatives, both in their business activities and in their daily lives.

Thus, we dedicate this book to all our beloved Indonesian people. A deep thanks to the Bappenas and UNDP team for the opportunity to be involved in this project. Hopefully, this book can provide many benefits, both for now and in the future.

Jakarta, 2022
Cleanomic Writer Team

Source: Low Carbon Development Indonesia | Kementrian PPN/Bappenas