Circulating and Ecological Economy - Regional and Local CES: An IGES Proposal

CIrculating and Ecological Economy

This paper explores the current understanding regarding the Circulating and Ecological Economy (CEE) and the Regional/Local CES concepts put forward by Japan’s Fifth Basic Environment Plan. The CEE and the Regional/Local CES advance a low-carbon, self-reliant, and decentralised society based on living in harmony with nature. The Regional/Local CES conceptually restructures (human) settlement systems to optimise carbon and materials circulation and reduce waste at the most efficient scale for each industry or sector.

The CEE takes some of the basic principles underlying other sustainability ideas, such as the Circular Economy or a decarbonised society, but expands them by focusing on mitigating the impact on carbon cycle by shifting to a renewable energy based economy, promoting regional revitalisation, integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development, and stressing space. The multiple case studies from inside and outside Japan have shown practical examples of implementation inspired by or sharing the principles of the Regional/Local CES. They illustrated how holistic and multi-scalar frameworks generate win-win situations for the economy, society and the environment.

Undoubtedly, the CEE has the potential to inspire regional and local governments worldwide to think outside the box when outlining their own sustainability plans. Furthermore, the Regional/Local CES can serve as a model to localise the SGDs. By moving towards a CEE, it will be possible to achieve a sustainable future for all. This report intends to inspire other localities and regions to rethink their tactics for sustainable development and to embrace the principles of the Regional/Local CES.