ERDB Director Maria Lourdes Ferrer delivering her message during the International Conference on Connecting the Dots on Circular Economy for Sustainable Development held on November 8, 2023

Muntinlupa, Manila – From November 8-9, 2023, the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) conducted the International Conference on Connecting the Dots on Circular Economy (CE) for Sustainable Development at the Bellevue Manila Hotel, Alabang, Muntinlupa. 

The event served as a platform for around 160 delegates from India, South Korea, Thailand, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Ethiopia, and the Philippines to discuss, develop, and share research insights on the circular economy across the globe. 

We acknowledge the need to have a venue for knowledge sharing with other countries on CE and start forging partnerships and linkages globally, specifically on research and development,” said ERDB Director Maria Lourdes G. Ferrer. 

Meanwhile, DENR Assistant Secretary for Enforcement, Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns, Atty. Daniel Darius Nicer highlighted the important role of producers in the successful implementation of CE. He said that as producers, they should do things to reduce the production of waste before it reaches the consumers.

CE emphasizes the accountability of producers as major players in the economy”, stressed ASec Nicer. 

In the Philippines, the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) was signed into law in 2022. This law has set large enterprises to divert 20% of the plastic waste they produce until 2023, 40% by 2024, and with increments of 10% every year until an 80% decrease in plastic waste is achieved by 2028 onwards.

Further, For. Conrado Marquez, Assistant Director of ERDB, also urged all the delegates to keep contributing to the rapidly expanding field of CE. “This conference underscored the call for our respective countries to hold more extensive and rigorous intellectual discourse and provide more platforms for sharing research and development insights”, said AD Marquez. 

During the 2-day event, a total of 20 poster presentations were displayed via exhibit and were briefly discussed during the 2-minute poster speed talk. A total of 23 paper presentations were also presented which served as a venue for sharing of experiences, practices, and findings both in the academic and business spheres. 

All presentations were anchored on the conference’s four (4) major themes: 1) Circular Economy: Towards a Sustainable Supply Chain, 2) Circular Economy Implications on the Environment, 3) Circular Economy Policies and Governance for Sustainable Development, and 4) Innovation and Technology Advancements in Circular Economy.

Moreover, DENR continuously calls on producers, organizations, and all relevant stakeholders to practice the concept of CE and invest in research and development programs to ensure a decrease in its impact on the environment. 

The concept of CE aims to move from the usual linear approach of  “take, make, dispose”, instead, it aims to innovate strategies such as recycling, reusing, repairing, remanufacturing, and redesigning wastes. April Saños, TTD ###