Circular economy discussed at Uludağ Economy Summit
New production and business models that emphasize innovation and sustainability were discussed at the “Circular Economy: Don’t Waste the Future” session on the second day of the Uludağ Economy Summit.
Emrah Bilge, the general director of Çöpüne Sahip Çık Foundation, former CEO of Ellen MacArtur Foundation Jamie Butterworth, Director of U.N. Food Program Turkey Nils Grede, and P&G Turkey marketing executive Onur Yaprak attended the panel moderated by the Doğan Burda CEO Cem Başar, Demirören News Agency reported.
“As humans, we are far from the circular economy both in the world and in Turkey. 270 kilograms of garbage is produced per person per year in the world. This figure is 538 kilograms per person in OECD countries, and 420 kg in Turkey. When we look at the world regarding recycling, we can see that a recycling rate of 20 percent, 25-30 percent in the OECD, and only 12 percent in Turkey is achieved,” Bilge said.
“We continue to bury 88 percent of all our waste in the ground in Turkey. We both harm nature and waste raw materials that can be reused in a resource-scarce world,” he added.
“We waste a third of the food we produce, it costs about a trillion dollars. If this were a country, it would be the third most carbon-producing country after China and the United States,” Butterworth said.
On his part, Grede said: “If we didn’t waste food, we would have enough food for everyone in the world. COVID-19 has accelerated the trend toward increasing numbers of food-insecure people in the world. Food insecurity is often caused by conflict and also increasingly climate change. The award of the 2020 Nobel Prize recognized for the first time the links between peace and food security. War zones are the places where we help the most and have the most food insecurity. The number of people needing food increases every year. On any given day WFP has 5600 trucks, 30 ships, and 100 planes on the move, but almost 40% of our assistance is by now cash-based which allows to benefit the local economy and reduces our carbon footprint, too. Besides the assistance to save lives, WFP also works on addressing the root causes of food insecurity, trying to empower people to change their lives. This involves working with governments to provide nutrition interventions for over 17 million pregnant women and their children, providing school meals to over 15 million children in 59 countries, working with millions of smallholder farmers to adapt to the new reality of climate change. In Turkey, we work with the Government and private sector to teach vocations skills to young refugees and Turks so as to enable them to enter the labor market and earn their own living. Here the Turkish private sector which needs skilled staff can support our work."
Yaprak said that the public expects from companies and brands to not only deliver good products, but to go beyond that and take action on environmental sustainability.
“We will produce our 20 leading brands in 100 percent recyclable packaging by 2030 in line with our promise. We will save about 5 billion liters of water. We plan to be carbon neutral in all our operations by 2040. We act with the principle of reduce, reuse, recycle. We started our sustainability journey with food, we launched a don’t waste food campaign with our Fairy brand. Individuals need to be encouraged and educated about the importance of this issue. We are trying to create a serious awareness on this issue,” he said.
The summit was organized by Capital, Economist and StartUp magazines.