While much of the talk on Circular Economy in Malaysia is surrounded by the country’s target for Single-Use Plastics by 2030, in actuality, it extends well beyond that. It covers topics of increasing material efficiency, the utilisation of biomass and all byproducts, broader industry resource efficiency and industrial ecology approaches.
The key challenge revolves around the ability for companies to manage and lead a sustainable business by incorporating circular economy principles into strategies to support sustainable growth. The solution to replace nonrenewable resources with renewable resources and ensure that new resources are able to regenerate sustainably within the limits of our planet’s capacity is called the Circular Bioeconomy.
The Circular Economy covers a broad spectrum of activities, explicitly addressing the circularity aspects of renewable biological resources and converting these resources and waste streams into sustainable higher value-added products such as food, feed, bioenergy, biofuels and biochemical products. Existing industries should also be encouraged to transition towards using these products from renewable resources to decrease their carbon footprint and emissions.
Attractive prospects of Circular Bioeconomy in Malaysia
The chemical industry, heavy road transport, marine and aviation sectors are all under pressure to replace their fossil feedstock with a renewable resource. Among the renewable resources, biomass is currently the most reliable alternative and is recognised as a building block for other areas such as green hydrogen, biofuels, biochemicals and other end products.
This is an increasingly prominent economic prospect for Malaysia which has all the right building blocks for companies to grow in this area. As more companies are looking for sustainable businesses as a new revenue source, Malaysia is well-positioned as a preferred location for bio-based ventures. Malaysia’s competitive advantages include the availability of sustainable and renewable biological resources such as biomass.
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) recognises the need to double efforts in developing the necessary infrastructure and ecosystem to attract quality investments from both local and international stakeholders to grow Malaysia’s dynamic Circular Bioeconomy.
Strategic investments will help create new high-value job opportunities, revenue streams and further accelerate the rural development agenda of the country while meeting Malaysia’s environmental targets and commitments.
MIDA adds new unit to spearhead Circular Bioeconomy in Malaysia
MIDA has added a new Circular Bioeconomy Unit which aims to accelerate Malaysia’s transition from a linear ‘take-up’ model to a circular ‘make-use-return’ paradigm. This is expected to be a new catalyst of growth for Malaysia, enabling a large-scale transition to Circular Bioeconomy for sustainable and inclusive development.
The roles of the unit are to:
MIDA is ready to facilitate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) focused companies to tap into Malaysia’s competitive advantages. By tapping upon a wide network and resources, MIDA enables these companies to set up their ventures here and assists in matchmaking and consulting for local business dynamics, supply-chain, regulatory and incentives.
MIDA is also presently looking to introduce a special incentive for high-rating ESG companies. The incentive aims to encourage businesses to re-look at their current business models and adopt responsible investment practices, as well as promote the understanding of integrating environmental, social and governance aspects in their decision-making processes.
Making an impact in the region
In collaboration with the consortium of local and international partners, MIDA is currently facilitating the BioHub Port Project in Sarawak. Announced at the end of 2020, the project is years in the making – having attracted the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port and State Government and Private Sector stakeholders, namely Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad (BPHB) and Regal Group as its founding partners.
This project in Sarawak will cover a full spectrum of development, including a fully integrated Bioport, the industrial area, satellite centres and related soft and hard infrastructure. Once finalised, the project is expected to be the best regional example of the Circular Bioeconomy model that highlights the importance of ESG and how it is a growth engine.
As the world tightens its grip on sustainability practices, it is a growing concern of industries as it directly impacts operations.
Rather than looking at this emerging megatrend as a hindrance to growth, MIDA sees it as an opportunity that the country can capture. Malaysia boasts of existing robust agricultural activities that produce biomass, waste and other by-products. Hence, thinking circular will help remodel operations and increase competitiveness for the local value chain and future-proof our economy.
Malaysia is acknowledging the emerging global movement and making substantial efforts to boost development in this area.
This signals that we are ready to seize opportunities to meet the needs of the global market. MIDA welcomes international players and technology providers to synergise with the local industries and academics to move the needle towards a sustainable future for all.
For more information, investors are encouraged to contact the Circular Bioeconomy (CBE) Unit in MIDA or visit www.mida.gov.my