The economic system has long relied on a linear model which depends on the excessive use of natural resources, putting enormous pressure on the ecosystem. In the last several decades, the demand for and extraction of resources has been further driven by a radical change in technology, continued population growth, and diversification of products and services. The linear economy proves to be an inefficient model due to the loss of materials to landfills and the under-utilization of products. In addition, unsustainable waste generation and management create additional costs and harm the environment and society. Materials consumption worldwide is estimated to increase eightfold in the twenty-first century and a triple amount of resources will be needed to meet global demand by the end of 2050. Therefore, it is becoming urgent that resource management must be improved to enhance equitable economic growth while retaining environmentally friendly practices.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of circular economy in the contemporary setting of Asia and the need and distinctive advantages for businesses to shift to circular and more sustainable forms of production. It presents key findings from literature research, online regional surveys for Thailand and Southeast Asia, and Thailand-based workshops. The paper will focus on policies; institutional, economic, and financial enablers; and information, skills, and competencies as key enablers.
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