Japan, UNDP, and DENR push for Philippines’ transition to circular economy

October 20, 2022


Manila, Philippines, 17 October 2022 – Representatives from both the public and private sectors convened last 17 October in a national forum to amplify the call for the Philippines to transition to circular economy, amid the country’s efforts to recover from the compounded impacts of the pandemic and the recurring climate-related disasters.

The forum was organized by the United Nations Development Programme with support from the Government of Japan, and in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Our collaboration with the UNDP and the DENR, through the ‘Accelerating Nationally Determined Contributions through Circular Economy in Cities’ project, could not be timelier. It will allow for a sustained and enabling digital hub and fast track the Philippines’ transition to circular economy. I hope that the key cities of Pasig, Quezon, Pasay, Manila and Cotabato will eventually be the catalysts and successful models for expansion of the circular economy vision throughout the Philippines,” highlighted Minister for Economic Affairs of Embassy of Japan Nihei Daisuke.

Circular economy keeps the products and its materials in circulation for as long as possible by providing added value or repurposing. It extends the lifecycle of products and services, and  reduces wastes to a minimum. These new industries involve manufacturing sustainable packaging, reusing, and repairing, among others.

The current linear economic model is inefficient in using materials and finite resources. This stresses our waste management system and poses huge environmental, economic, and social costs,” said UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Selva Ramachandran. 

During the forum, available solutions and innovations were presented and featured in the exhibit to showcase that the circular economy model is already being done at the micro level in different sectors such as small and medium enterprises, clothing industry, manufacturing business, tourism, and even a few local governments in Metro Manila and Mindanao.

Pure Oceans, one of the partner organizations of UNDP Philippines, showcased an upcycled product made by women from the coastal community in Donsol, Sorsogon. They are currently working with the local government of Samal Island to create a circular model in an island city.


The extraction, manufacturing, delivery, and disposal of goods account for about 60% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, which can further worsen climate change. In fact, plastic production consumes 99.5% of fossil fuels. It is estimated that, globally, the plastic industry can contribute 20% of fossil fuel consumption by 2050.

With the upcoming COP27, countries who signed the Paris Agreement, including the Philippines, will revisit the plan of action being done to avert the current climate crisis. The Philippines’ Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) commits an ambitious 75% greenhouse gas emission reduction and avoidance by 2030. The government has identified circular economy as one of the key mitigating measures that would bring about co-benefits, including green jobs and investments, while ensuring a just transition.

Last 23 July 2022, the Extended Producer Responsibility Act of 2022 (EPR Law) was enacted, requiring large companies to recover a percentage of their plastic packaging annually. This is the first amendment to the Republic Act 9003, or more popularly known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

As we try to shift to circular economy, an enabling policy environment would be key. Mobilizing financial resources that can support sustainable activities is critical. Adopting the principles of circular economy and sustainable consumption and production towards regulation and the phasing out of single-use plastics is key, along with the responsible transition to the use of environment-friendly products,” said DENR Undersecretary Analiza Teh.

The EPR Law is expected to fast-track the country’s transition to a circular economy through the recovery of plastic packaging by businesses and enterprises. This also includes the assurance that their products and waste materials do not end up in the landfills by reusing, repurposing, and recycling, or allowing them to biodegrade environmentally safe manner. ###