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January 24, 2022

Circular Economy Conference Report Promotes Sustainable Trade Through Standards

Cover of  13th SCSC Conference Report on Standardization in Circular Economy for a More Sustainable Trade

Underwriters Laboratories recently supported the Department of Standards Malaysia in its leadership of the 13th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Subcommittee of Standards and Conformance (SCSC) Conference and publication of a subsequent report. The report highlights topics discussed at the conference, which focused on promoting sustainable trade through the advancement of circular economy (CE) standards. 

In the report, circular economy is defined as "a concept that aims to improve resource efficiency by minimizing resource consumption and waste generation." As an alternative to the traditional linear economy model, a CE model takes the entire life cycle of a product into consideration. A product designed under a CE model is intended to stay in use for as long as possible; once its service life has ended, the product is then recovered and its materials are reused.

The report also summarizes the processes of the project and highlights efforts by APEC economies to develop policies related to CE. It also addresses the rise in companies adopting CE principles to improve productivity and resource efficiency, reduce costs and environmental impacts, demonstrate compliance, and meet the demand of environmentally conscious consumers. Additionally, it addresses the challenges of international CE standards development, such as the speed of the standards development process, the difficulty in achieving consensus for global relevance, and the readiness of APEC economies to adopt the standards.

Input from conference speakers on implementing circular economy standards to facilitate trade in the region is also included in the report. Speakers included approximately 100 international stakeholders and representatives from organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), World Trade Organization (WTO), and Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).

At Underwriters Laboratories, we are committed to advancing the principles of CE through our pursuit of the UL mission of working for a safer world. Currently, we are developing UL 3600, the Standard for Measuring and Reporting Circular Economy Aspects of Products, Sites and Organizations, which is intended to help companies evaluate sustainability efforts and obtain reliable metrics for continuous improvement and reporting to stakeholders.

About APEC

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific region. APEC's 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

APEC's 21 member economies are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Philippines, The Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States of America, and Vietnam.