On 9 October a Nordic Forum on Circular Economy and Energy took place in Kuala Lumpur featuring prominent Nordic as well as Malaysian speakers. The Embassies of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in Kuala Lumpur, together with the Honorary Consulate General of Iceland, hosted this forum, in the sidelines of the 10th International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia (IGEM) 2019.
The Nordic Forum was carried out in collaboration with GreenTech Malaysia, a government agency, and supported by the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC).
Y.B. Puan Yeo Bee Yin, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, gave a keynoted speech followed by keynote quest speakers Ms. Jessica Magnusson from Waste Management Association of Sweden and Mr. Ernesto Hartikainen from the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA, who spoke on the topic ‘Circular Economy in the Nordics and beyond’. Ms. Jessica Magnusson representing the Swedish Waste Management Association, expert on sustainable waste management, also sharing her experiences of the Nordics in the field of circular economy.
The Nordic Ambassadors then led the thematic discussions, concluding with a panel session on the topic of adjusting to circular economy. The aim of all the discussions was to enable Nordic experts to connect and share their best practices with Malaysian authorities and stakeholders.
Nordic and Malaysian companies in panel sessions
In the first panel session on ‘A Circular Economy Mindset’ Ms Minna Vilkuna, Vice President, Market Development, Asia Pacific Region of BMH Technology Oy presented ’Fuelling a Cleaner Future with Sustainable Fuel Handling Solutions’; Mr David Lantz, Sustainability manager for Southeast Asia of Scania spoke on the topic ‘From Waste to Fuel’; Mr Gavin Shen, Project Manager Ductor on ‘Making Waste Valuable’; and Mr Khalid Bahsoon, Managing Director Econas covered ‘Steps on how to contribute towards a Greener Circular Economy in Malaysia’.
The second session focused on ‘The Shift to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency’, where Mr Arnfinn I. Unum, Country Manager Scatec Solar Malaysia presented ‘Solar Power as a Renewable Energy Source’; Mr R. Narayanan, Country Manager, ABB spoke on ‘The Future of Energy – Efficiency, Renewables and Savings’; Mr Morten Sondergaard, Managing Director of Danish Energy Efficiency Partners on ‘Building Sector Energy Efficiency:An Innovative Approach’; Mr Dereck Devlin, General Manager Atlas Copco Malaysia introduce ‘Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing’; while Mr Saiful Adib Abdul Munaff, Head of Division, GreenTech Malaysia covered ‘How to achieve Low Carbon Cities in Malaysia’.
The speakers shared the innovative solutions provided by their respective companies to achieving sustainability, introduced and moderated by H.E. Ambassador Petri Puhakka (Finland) and H.E. Ambassador Jesper Vahr (Denmark). Malaysian speakers from GreenTech and EcoNas reflected on the challenges they are facing when trying to implement sustainable waste management systems and the transition to circular economy and green cities.
In the third session a panel discussion about ‘Adjusting to a Circular Economy’ (moderated by Ms Pamela Qiu, Director South-East Asia, The Economist Corporate Network Panel), Ms Jessica Magnusson; Mr Khalid Bahsoon, Econas; and Mr Morten Sondergaard participated.
Establishing reciprocal relationships achieved
The aim of the forum over all was to provide a platform for discussing global challenges related to e.g. waste management, sustainable economy, clean energy and energy efficiency. It aimed to create space for Nordic companies to share their solutions to these issues, showcasing concrete examples of waste to fuel technologies, innovations in solar power as well as energy efficient solutions in manufacturing.
Transition to circular, sustainable economy opens the way to emerging industries and new jobs with higher added value. Identifying and advancing these opportunities is important, where the forum introduced some of the most cutting-edge innovations and initiatives in the field, stated the organisers.
“In her opening address Y.B. Puan Yeo Bee Yin reaffirmed the ambition and commitment of Malaysia for achieving the sustainable development goals, elaborating on national policies relating to renewable energy and waste management. Mr Saiful Adib Abdul Munaff from Malaysia GreenTech Corporation spoke about ‘How to achieve low carbon cities in Malaysia’, and Mr Khalid Bahsoon from the company EcoNas reflected on ‘Steps on how to contribute towards a greener circular economy in Malaysia’,” the Embassy of Sweden in Kuala Lumpur replies to ScandAsia after the event.
“The Nordic embassies are very pleased with the Nordic Forum. The goals of the Nordic Forum, intensifying dialogue, exchanging knowledge as well as establishing reciprocal relationships between Nordic and Malaysian companies and government agencies were achieved. The event targeted representatives of both Nordic and Malaysian companies, government officials and policy makers. Nordic experiences from circular economy, green energy and sustainable waste management raised considerable interest, and the event was held in a fully booked auditorium with room for around 160 participants,”
“The speakers shared the innovative solutions provided by their respective companies to achieving sustainability. Notably Malaysian participants showed a big interest in how the Nordic countries have implemented sustainable waste management systems and energy efficient solutions. Inquiries regarding how to change the attitudes of the general public towards recycling also raised considerable interest. Recycling is a key element in a circular economy.”
Malaysia aims to lead the way
“A ‘Circular Economy Roadmap’ will be launched in 2020 by the Malaysian government. Y.B. Dr Yeo Bee Yin, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, aims for Malaysia to lead the development of circular economy in Southeast Asia. According to Dr Yeo a push for change would in fact spur the local economy as new solutions were developed to cope with the problem of waste and limited resources. The Malaysian government has set out the goal that 20% of its energy consumption will be renewable in 2025. At the Nordic Forum Dr Yeo stated that the lack of a functioning system for sustainable waste management is seen as an area where change is necessary and that waste is an untapped resource for bio energy. Energy efficiency as well as further legislation to preserve natural resources is also high on the agenda for the government,” the Swedish embassy comments on the status of Circular Economy in Malaysia.
The Nordics will jointly and in bilateral efforts continue with Circular Economy efforts in Malaysia: “The Nordic Embassies hope to see more opportunities for both joint and bilateral efforts when it comes to sustainable development and advocating sustainable, environmental and climate friendly solutions. The first joint Nordic seminar on this topic was held in April this year in Kuala Lumpur, the second in October in connection to IGEM also in Kuala Lumpur and the next seminar will take place in Penang 10 December this year.”