Journal Article: Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution Programme (SMEP): A Circular Economy Experiment in the Global South
Published in: The Journal of Developing Societies [Volume 38, Issue 3]
The circular economy (CE) is a topic of growing interest, spurred by climate change and increasing recognition of the considerable costs of energy and materials waste, that reflect increasing stress on global environmental systems. Those costs range from physical landfill expenses to effects on human and natural world health. While there are a growing number of articles about the CE, there remains a great deal of ambiguity around pathways to implement it, and even fewer practical examples. Lieder and Rashid (2016) conclude in their overarching examination of CE research that while it is broad and multidisciplinary it is also fragmented, highly granular, and “rarely touching implementation.” In this article, we review recent efforts to identify models for scaling up circular economy practices in specific sectors of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia economies, based on information produced by the Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution (SMEP) program. The SMEP program has been established by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). SMEP seeks to reduce pollution in manufacturing in the Global South. After a brief discussion of the CE concept, this article focuses on the innovative features of the SMEP program, its preliminary findings and lessons for the transition to circularity.