Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) Indonesia has taken a significant step in promoting an inclusive circular economy by partnering with the ASEAN Conference on Combatting Plastic Pollution. The conference, which took place on October 17, 2023, in Jakarta, brought together key stakeholders, particularly the ASEAN Member States (AMS), to create and implement effective regional mechanisms aligned with the treaty. These mechanisms aim to promote sustainable practices, enhance waste management systems, and mitigate the adverse impacts of plastic pollution on the marine environment, especially in anticipation of the upcoming negotiation for an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) set to conclude in 2024.
During the initial segment of the conference, Lucia Karina, Vice President of Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability for Indonesia and PNG, shared her insights on the ILBI draft. She emphasized the importance of flexibility in adapting solutions to fit the socio-economic, local cultural, and legislative contexts of each market. In countries like Indonesia, where public awareness and waste infrastructure are lacking, implementing a circular economy requires multi-stakeholder participation with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The Nona-Helix approach, which encourages collaboration and a holistic approach to plastic pollution, was highlighted as a key strategy to drive systemic change.
Diving deeper into the topic of recycling, Head of Public Affairs, Dhedy Adi Nugroho, focused on achieving the highest value through a closed-loop model. He stressed the significance of responsible collection, which underscores the implementation of human rights across the waste value chain. Given the high dependence on the informal sector in waste management, he emphasized the importance of their inclusion in the narrative. AMS can contribute by sharing best practices, mutual recognition of standards, increasing research, technology implementation, and more.
The ASEAN Conference aims to create an ecosystem for plastic circularity in the region, preparing communities for the implementation of the treaty once adopted. The event featured two main plenary talk shows on ILBI and its implications, as well as opportunities for ASEAN in combating plastic pollution. It also focused on enabling the ASEAN ecosystem to advance plastic circularity, with five breakout sessions covering topics like recycling, reuse/refill, the ILBI on Plastic Pollution, low-value plastic policies, and financing.
The conference yielded several recommendations, with the Indonesian government committing to:
Support the ASEAN Cooperation on Environment Sustainable Cities (AWGESC) in incorporating recycling rates as criteria for the ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City Award.
Develop national and regional standards to scale up the Reuse/Refill Business model to reduce single-use plastic consumption.
Play a pivotal role in the negotiation process for an International Legally Binding Instrument on Plastic Pollution, given the shared similarities in the region.
Establish standards for recyclable plastic packaging to address low-value waste issues.
Integrate the circular economy into finance and investment systems, including the establishment of green incentives for the private sector.
These key recommendations have been entrusted to the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) for further elaboration into informative documents. These documents will align with global and ASEAN progress and challenges in combating plastic pollution and serve as the foundation for ASEAN cooperation on Social Community and Economic Community. They will also encourage ASEAN partners to increase their strategic support for ASEAN Member States in addressing plastic pollution.