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Aug 2015, Issue 19

Welcome to the Shanghai-based RIF, a leading source for remanufacturing news, views and forecasts. It is currently the only Chinese-English bilingual e-publication focused on all forms of remanufacturing, sustainability and the circular economy.

Remanufacturing at the United Nations

Investing in the circular economy

Medical remanufacturing

Core Discussion in the run up to the 2nd Asia-Pacific Reman Summit in Singapore


Remanufacturing at the United Nations

Dr. Nabil Nasr discussed the work he is doing to further remanufacturing at the United Nations Environmental Program’s International Resource Panel

By John Daly editor@duxes.cn Rochester, U.S. - Tue Aug 11, 2015.

Dr. Nabil Nasr – Golisano Institute for Sustainability Associate Provost

With over twenty-five years of experience in areas such as remanufacturing and sustainable product development, remanufacturing doyen, Associate Provost and Director of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability and RIT’s Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery, Dr. Nabil Nasr, was appointed to the United Nations Environmental Program’s (UNEP) International Resource Panel (IRP) in December 2014; commonly considered the most authoritative scientific forum for scientists and experts working in the field of natural resource management.

Since its inauguration in 2007, the panel’s world leading experts have accumulated and shared knowledge, with a view to refining resource utilization throughout the world and reversing the ephemeral nature of linear disposal-based economies. The forum focuses on related areas such as the enhancement of circular economy management and thus remanufacturing.

 

IRP investigates and reports on the most critical global resource issues, informing, advising and developing practical recommendations for government policy makers, industry and society; forming a connection with wider business and the community. Their reports cover the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic findings around global resource use.

The panel’s members hail from civil society, government, science, industrial and international organizations in both developed and developing regions. IRP’S endgame is to cultivate a sustainable planet; alleviating the Earth from over-consumption, excess waste and ecological detriment.

Nabil explained “the Panel’s specific mission is to provide independent, coherent and authoritative scientific assessments of policy relevance on the sustainable use of natural resources, in particular, their environmental impacts over the full life cycle, and contribute to a better understanding of how to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation.”

Informing policy makers and advancing remanufacturing

Dr. Nasr leads the panel’s discussions and proposals surrounding remanufacturing and the circular economy which he defines as “a generic term for an industrial economy that is designed to become more restorative in its relationship with the environment.”

IRP looks to quantify the value and contribution of remanufacturing, together with refurbishment, repair and reuse in pursuance of increased resource efficiency. Nabil explained that “remanufacturing is the largest component of this initiative, and as such its impact on global resource efficiency is of interest to the panel.”

The Panel is currently developing an extensive study report titled ‘Assessment of Resource Efficiency and Innovation in the Circular Economy through Remanufacturing’ that will contain policy recommendations involving remanufacturing, requested by the G7. Nabil commented on the magnitude of this project: “We see this as an historic opportunity to provide policy makers with the latest and best information on remanufacturing. I have been leading this initiative and expect other colleagues from China, Germany, UK, Japan and Australia to participate in the project.”

The panel is structured to effectively inform its policy maker composed Steering Committee of any pressing resource concerns. IRP’s skilled panel independently holds discussions with these policy makers in which key issues are identified and developed into a set of recommendations, conducive to realizing and pushing policy change forward. The G7 nations, other UNEP and UN panels are examples of international bodies the group works with in this way to disseminate information and form policies.

IRP also collaborates with and endeavors to boost the private sector through its reports, as they are designed to help policy makers formulate regional, national and global resource policies. Such studies demonstrate the potential value remanufacturing offers to countries’ economies, with the ultimate goal of benefitting remanufacturers in the private sector.

China

With is teeming populous and voracious middle class, the land of the red dragon faces over consumption of natural resources as well as dangerously high levels of pollution and carbon dioxide. Due to its ability to ease levels of carbon dioxide and lessen the depletion of raw materials, remanufacturing has been highlighted as one of the key drivers in a move towards a more circular economy by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. However, there is still some way to go for the Chinese market to fully develop, predominantly due to the restrictive policy environment and lack of awareness.

According to Dr. Nasr the aforementioned in-depth IRP study on remanufacturing includes “China as one of four countries reviewed for its potential to benefit from the adoption of remanufacturing. We believe this report will validate the potential of remanufacturing in China’s economy and importance for its environmental conservation. Once light is shed on our policy recommendations, this should encourage its leadership to understand the value of making significant changes to China’s current resources policy that will encourage the growth of remanufacturing.”

The importance of remanufacturing

For remanufacturing to evolve, the industry must showcase its importance. Nabil trumpeted: “It is critical for the remanufacturing industry to identify and validate its own contribution to resolving resource consumption issues. That means that the industry itself must proactively validate its own role and demonstrate its value in the global economy.”

Its value could be established by successful proof of concept examples if more globally recognized multinational companies begin to utilize this lucrative and sustainable practice.

Offering realism and hope Nabil declared: “Remanufacturing is a significant factor in various industry sectors today, but still has a low percentage of application in many product categories. However, the potential for the growth of remanufacturing in the world economy is huge.”

It bodes well that UNEP is actively encouraging the Chinese government to further circular economy and other sustainable practices. Building on efforts such as NDRC and MIIT’s expansion of the core-for-reman exchange policy to stimulate the circulation of used parts in the region, UNEP’s efforts could really help to tip the balance in this nascent yet challenging area of the world. Dr. Nasr’s Rochester Institute of Technology joined other select universities in becoming a Pioneer University within the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Higher Education program, a collective worldwide effort by higher education institutions to accelerate the transition to a global circular economy, which is worth a mention as an example of the numerous international movements taking place to give rise to an environmentally conscious planet. With the inclusion of remanufacturing in the G7 agenda, UNEP IRP’s efforts to inform this body and Dr. Nasr’s presence at the United Nations, exciting times lay ahead for remanufacturing.

With special thanks to Dr. Nabil Nasr.

Next Article > Investing in the circular economy

About RIF

Reman Industry Focus (RIF) is currently the only Chinese-English bilingual e-publication focused on all forms of remanufacturing, sustainability and the circular economy, owned by Duxes Information & Technology PLC. For the latest issue please refer to: http://duxes.cn/enewsletter/rif.

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