Participants of the Russian Environmental Forum discuss the features of the new EPR mechanism
On the margins of the event, a plenary session was held on the theme “The cyclicality principle: EPR, concessions and investments – reference points of a new ecosystem”
On Tuesday, 10 October, during the Russian Environmental Forum (REF), a plenary session was held on the theme “The cyclicality principle: EPR, concessions and investments – reference points of a new ecosystem”.
The event discussed the features of the new EPR mechanism, implementation prospects and projected results, as well as the reaction of the industry community to the innovations.
Extended producer and importer responsibility (EPR) is a mechanism of economic regulation, according to which producers and importers of goods and packaging are obliged to ensure their recycling after use and loss of consumer properties.
Another reference point for the development of the circular economy is concessions and investments. In other words, it is about financial tools for the waste management industry, which allows to create the necessary infrastructure for the industry in a short period of time. The participants of the meeting considered the conditions for the conclusion of concession agreements, support of regions, as well as concessions as a guarantee of stability and efficiency of infrastructure projects.
Denis Butsayev, General Director of Russian Environmental Operator Public Law Company, spoke about the pace achieved under the federal project “Integrated system of solid municipal waste management”.
“Starting from 2020, there have been 46 concessions signed, compared to 10 in the previous decade. <…> Active work is underway with colleagues from almost 70 subjects. The total number of jobs under the two federal projects “Integrated system of solid municipal waste management” and “Closed-cycle economy” is 19 thousand, which we must create by 2030″
Denis Butsayev General Director of Russian Environmental Operator Public Law Company
Weerasak Kowsurat, Vice Chairman of the Commission on Natural Resources and Environment of the Thai Senate, shared his opinion on the possibility of applying Thailand’s experience in transitioning to a circular economy in Russia: “Thailand is a tiny country when compared to the large space of Russia, but I think we can learn from one another. One of the gentlemen say on the stage that 50% of the municipal waste is food waste. That’s exactly what happened in my country as well. Therefore, that’s the part that we can learn from each other.“
Ivan Polyakov, Chairman of the Russia-ASEAN Business Council, noted that building a closed-cycle economy is a priority for all countries without exception.
He added that ASEAN countries adopted an extensive programme to develop circular economies as early as 2021 during the 20th Economic Community Council meeting. In his opinion, synchronisation and joining efforts to improve both Russian national programmes and national programmes of ASEAN countries will lead to explosive environmental and economic effects.
Polyakov said that a lot of work is being done with the Russian Environmental Operator. He expressed confidence that a large-scale project with Myanmar will be launched in the very near future and other countries will join the initiative.
Then, the REF held a session on the “International cooperation” track, where participants discussed international sustainable development.
In 2015, the UN General Assembly set the Sustainable Development Goals. They are a kind of call to action from all countries. States recognise that action must be taken to combat climate change and protect the environment.
In January 2019, 27 major manufacturers founded the Alliance to Eliminate Plastic Waste, and among them today are manufacturers from the Philippines.
Igor Bailen, Philippine Ambassador to Russia explained why it is important for companies to participate in such an alliance.
“I think it is necessary because the issue is about sustainable development. And when we pursue sustainable development agenda, it’s not just governments, it’s not just people, it’s also businesses. So I think everybody, all stakeholders should work together, come together, not only the government in terms of regulation, not only the people, the consumers in terms of acting, but also businesses, because they produce, they manufacture plastic. And that’s why it is very important to support also businesses to pursue the circular economy framework so that they can recycle and upcycle whatever waste they have, including plastics. And as it was mentioned earlier, marine plastic pollution, it is a transboundary problem. And the Philippines also would like to be part of the solution together with other partners,” he emphasised.
Eduardo Villegas Mejias, Mexico’s ambassador to Russia, spoke about the Sembrando Vida programme to address two issues: reducing rural poverty and reducing environmental degradation: “The Sembrando Vida initiative is a very important programme in Mexico. It was created by President Lopez Obrador. And now it is one of the country’s priorities. We are talking about 500,000 jobs.”
He emphasised that given the economic, cultural and climatic context, it is possible to apply Mexico’s experience in Russia and vice versa.
The Russian Environmental Forum (REF) is the largest industry event that brings together the main players in solid municipal waste management.
Photo: TV BRICS