Lawrence Iu, Climate Change and Partnerships Lead at Civic Exchange was interviewed about his views on the circular economy.
He points out that the earth itself is a closed loop system, with the exception of energy coming in from the sun. “The sun gives us solar energy which plants use, through photosynthesis, to grow. Animals eat these plants and are eaten by other animals. When animals die, they decompose and their nutrients and minerals return to the earth and help plants to grow. This closed loop system is replicated in the circular economy,” he says.
Iu thinks the economics of the circular economy are also challenging for some sectors. He gives the example of a scheme to convert waste cooking oil in Hong Kong into biodiesel. “The problem is that the collection fee for the waste cooking oil is very high, which discourages the use of it for manufacturing biodiesel, as the price of biodiesel is not high enough to make it worthwhile.”
He also urges companies adopting a circular economy approach to train and educate their employees on its importance. He thinks accountants can also play a role in helping companies develop better disclosure systems, not only in the area of finance but also for waste and performance disclosure. “If corporates have more transparency, it is a gamechanger,” he says.