Over the Horizon : Emphasizing Circular Economy Within Planetary and Social Boundaries

Image 1. Circular Economy

If you put the environment in your head, you will think about trade-offs. But if you have it in your heart, it will be in every decision that you make.
-C. Desta Pratama-

Looking back to the entry of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant at the end of the second quarter of 2021 had put a great pressure on the health sector and the Indonesian economy. The government committed not only to restoring economic conditions as before the crisis but also to a much better condition (build back better). One of the efforts to improving the health sector and the national economy is to transform the economy towards a “greener” condition or often referred as circular economy.

The circular economy is a new industrial model that focuses on reducing, reusing, and recycling which leads to the reduction of primary resource consumption and waste production. The transformation towards a circular economy is pivotal for the environment and the growth of various development sectors in the future. The concept of a circular economy focuses on zero waste, social environment, and the provision of sustainable resources by having five main principles, namely: reduce, reuse, recycle, recovery, and repair.

Considering the focus of the circular economy is not only in the economic and environmental fields but also in the social sector, increasing people’s welfare will ultimately have a positive impact on economic growth. The environment has given all its potential to humans to prosper, yet it depends on us how to manage and utilize this potential without destroying it. Therefore, synergies in realizing a circular economy are important things to take action on.

Based on a systematic research conducted by National Planning and Development Agency (BAPPENAS), the application of a circular economy in Indonesia could increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2030 by more than 500 trillion. Besides being able to increase Indonesia’s GDP growth, the implementation of the green/circular economy concept can also potentially generate 4.4 million additional jobs. In addition, the circular economy will contribute to achieve Indonesia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Image 2. Circular Economy and Sustainability

Approaching sustainability could be realized including but not limited to the innovative resource management system, reaching SMS’s full potential, and advancing ecotourism development. In realizing a sustainable economy, commitment and community contribution are needed to support the circular economy program. One program that can be adapted is a waste bank. Waste is a potential resource if it can be developed properly. The step that needs to be implemented is to empower the community to recycle plastic waste. Not only in the environmental field, but the company’s activities in agriculture can also be applied in realizing a sustainable economy, such as empowering black soybean land for the welfare of farmers and as a source of food production innovation.

While talking about ecotourism development, it is considered as a more responsible way of traveling. Ecotourism also plays an important role in improving the beauty of the tourist environment and the welfare of the surrounding community by adhering to the principles of ecotourism, namely: conservation, community involvement, economic principles, educational principles, and tourism principles. In addition, as good tourists, we must also try to contribute to preserving the environment and the naturalness of tourist attractions.

Nevertheless, certainly there are several main challenges in carrying out economic transformation. One of the biggest challenges is the institutional capacity and lack of access to finance and technology needed for green technology development. It is estimated that the annual capital investment required for the Circular Economy is around IDR308 trillion or USD 21.6 billion.

What would it take to transform our “throwaway economy” into one where waste is eliminated, resources are circulated, and nature is regenerated? Circular economy gives us the tools to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss together, while addressing important social needs. It gives us the power to grow prosperity, jobs, and resilience while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and pollution. We must transform every element of our take-make-waste system: how we manage resources, how we make and use products, and what we do with the materials afterward. Only then can we create a thriving circular economy that can benefit everyone within the limits of our planet. So, are we ready to transform our system?


Bappenas. 2020. Ekonomi Sirkular untuk Pertumbuhan Ekonomi Jangka Panjang. Retrieved from:

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Iffah is a final year student of Economics at Universitas Hasanuddin. This year, she was selected as The Most Outstanding Student of Faculty of Economics and Business UNHAS, along with other achievements in paper competitions and research. She is currently pursuing an internship position in some startup companies and research institutes. Her love of networking led her to be actively involved in various organizations, ranging from university to international level.

In her spare time, she enjoys writing articles, conducting research, and listening to podcasts. With a huge passion for economic empowerment and education, she was becoming a volunteer and ambassador for numerous non-profit organizations. Aside from that, she has participated in various youth conferences, summits, and diverse social projects. Her enthusiasm over education motivates her to serve back as a part-time teacher as well as a national mentor in several mentorship programs as her contribution for the greater good

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