Enabling Young Innovators to Solve Environmental Challenges for Society

Bangkok, Thailand – 26 April 2021 – Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL), a global chemical producer and recycler, launched ‘The Circular Innovation Challenge’ together with partners including SEAMEO Regional Centre for Sufficiency Economy Philosophy for Sustainability; SDG Lab: School of Global Studies at Thammasat University; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The competition invites young people (ages 16-30) to create innovative and practical ideas addressing the circular economy, the mismanagement of plastic waste and hygiene issues to win prizes totalling 200,000 baht. Contestants will also have a chance to develop their innovations through workshops advised by experts from leading international organizations.

Yash Lohia, Chief Sustainability Officer at Indorama Ventures, said, “We are proud to support the Circular Innovation Challenge competition to give young people the tools and space to build the circular economy of tomorrow, as well as to learn first-hand from experts. We hope this project will create greater understanding of the circular economy in Thailand and promote the benefits of using recycled products. Great innovations make the circular economy go round, just like our PET bottle recycling keeps products in the economy and out of the environment. For example, we are the first Thai company to successfully recycle PET bottles into yarns to make medical-grade PPE coveralls, which are washable, reusable and replace single-use ones.”

As the world’s largest PET producer and recycler, Indorama Ventures believes that recycling is at the heart of a circular economy and is a practical approach to waste reduction. We have partnered with numerous local and international organizations to support increased use of recycled products. The company has set a goal to increase its recycling capacity to give new life to 50 billion PET bottles per year by 2025.

Assistant Professor Dr. Prapaporn Tivayanond Mongkhonvanit, Dean of the School of Global Studies and initiator of the Circular Innovation Challenge competition under SDG Lab: School of Global Studies, said, “The Circular Innovation Challenge competition aims to build awareness of circular economies in Thailand and provide necessary skills for young innovators to develop solutions that have a positive impact on society and the environment. This project is hosted in a Hackathon format, in which participants compete to brainstorm ideas within a time limit to solve waste management problems. Each team of 3-5 members will work together to design solutions towards a sustainable zero-waste society within 1 month. Participants will also join workshops led by Youth Co: Lab to build knowledge and develop skills for creating social innovations, as well as to gain experience from international experts. In the final round, 10 items will be presented to the judges. The winning teams will be awarded prizes valued at a total of 200,000 baht and given an opportunity to develop their projects for practical and commercial use.”

Renaud Meyer, Deputy Resident Representative at UNDP Thailand, said, “Waste issues constitute a growing threat to our environment and human wellbeing, affecting in particular marine resources, terrestrial biodiversity and public health. While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the vulnerabilities of current waste management systems and infrastructures to fluctuations in waste generation, it also presents us an opportunity to rebuild using more sustainable models, create green and resilient livelihoods, and advance innovation. At UNDP, we believe that innovation can play an essential role in addressing waste management issues and that’s why, in Thailand, we have been providing technical and financial support to projects led by young social entrepreneurs and communities to test innovative approaches and practices for waste management through a circular economy approach. The circular economy concept not only offers us a pathway to more sustainable resource management but also helps deliver many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 12 on ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.”

Find information and updates of the Circular Innovation Challenge competition at
https://www.facebook.com/tucircularinnovation or https://sgs.tu.ac.th/tucircularinnovation