Indian Youth Climate Network

Inputs to Y20 India Secretariat – Recommendations emerging from Agents of Change – Mumbai 2023

Premise A first of its kind Y20 workshop on Youth Vision for a Circular Economy organised by the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) at IIT Bombay with support from EU Resource Efficiency Initiative in India (EU-REI). Through collaboration with UNICEF Maharashtra and Sustainability Cell of IIT-Bombay, the workshop brought together young participants to address the challenges and opportunities associated with creating a circular economy. It served as a platform for sharing innovative ideas, proposing solutions, and formulating policy recommendations. The recommendations presented below reflect the valuable insights and expectations of the youth participants across various sub-themes, such as Resource Efficiency, Governance, Skilling, Innovation, Opportunities for Youth Engagement, and Employment. The policy recommendations from the youth are summarised below:
  • Circular Economy Reporting and Ranking: The government should mandate every industry to submit a Circular Economy Report highlighting their efforts and achievements in implementing circular economy practices. Furthermore, a centralised platform needs to be created to publish and rank the generated Circular Economy Reports. This will foster collaboration across industries, facilitate knowledge sharing, and encourage the reduction of raw material requirements through Circular Economy practices.
  • Subsidies for Circular Economy Standards: Industries and businesses adhering to Circular Economy Standards should be eligible for subsidies under the category of Good Manufacturing Practices. Additionally, the Government should actively promote research and development initiatives focused on the Circular Economy to ensure the widespread adoption of best practices in India.
  • Right to Repair: The policy of “Right to Repair” should be incorporated into the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility, particularly within the electronics industry. By empowering consumers and standardising repair processes, this reform will contribute to the adoption of the Circular Economy principles. Lowering repair costs will enhance consumer influence while encouraging manufacturers to prioritise repairability and product longevity.
  • Mobilisation through Swachchh Bharat 3.0: Leverage the success of Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan in mobilising the masses towards sanitation and hygiene to promote circular economy standards. By emphasising the cultural value of caring for products and ensuring their longevity, a socio-cultural change can be fostered across rural and urban demographics in India. This will help raise public awareness and drive behavioural shifts that will be instrumental in achieving sustainable outcomes.
  • Investment in Secondary Markets: The government should allocate significant resources to create and mainstream secondary markets. These markets will facilitate the exchange and reuse of resources, promoting a circular economy and reducing waste.
  • Incentivizing Circular Design and Standardised Processes: Provide incentives for businesses to adopt circular design principles and standardise processes for resource efficiency. By doing so, the government can encourage sustainable practices across industries and facilitate the transition towards a circular economy.
  • Promoting Sharing Economies: The government should actively promote and establish  sharing economies among citizens. Sharing resources and services can lead to reduced consumption and a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
  • Prioritisation of Circular Economy in Climate Governance: Recognize the circular economy as a crucial economic model for reducing waste, increasing recycling, and improving resource efficiency. Prioritising the circular economy within climate governance can foster innovative solutions and create new business opportunities while mitigating climate change and promoting sustainable economic growth.
  • Climate Green Fund in Climate Governance: Prioritise the Climate Green Fund, a financial mechanism established by the United Nations to support developing countries in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The fund provides financial resources for projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewable energy use, and enhance the resilience of communities to climate impacts. By mobilising funds for climate action in developing countries, which often face financing barriers, the Climate Green Fund can drive impactful projects focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing renewable energy use, and enhancing community resilience.
  • Taxation in Climate Governance: Utilise taxation as a powerful tool to incentivize behaviour change and promote sustainable development. By implementing climate-related taxes, the government can create financial incentives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to renewable energy sources. Careful consideration should be given to ensure that these taxes do not adversely impact vulnerable populations and are effective in reducing emissions while providing necessary funding for climate action projects.
  • Integrated Platform for Circular Economy Projects and Innovations: Establish an integrated platform where various projects and recent innovations on the circular economy are enlisted. Additionally, the platform can provide information and resources about the required skill sets for every project, enabling students and young professionals to identify the necessary skills needed to contribute effectively.
  • Accessible Infrastructure for Skill Development: Develop infrastructure to ensure the accessibility of skill development programs focused on circular economy practices. This includes providing training and vocational programs that can be integrated into educational curricula, enhancing awareness, and enabling the youth to acquire the necessary skills to thrive in a circular economy.
  • Collaboration with Educational Institutions: The Y20 Secretariat should advocate for integration of circular economy principles into the curriculum by encouraging collaboration between the government and educational institutions. Additionally, organise capacity building programs, workshops, and training sessions to equip youth with the necessary skills and knowledge to actively participate in the circular economy transition
  • Public-Private Partnerships: Promoting public-private partnerships is crucial for the successful implementation of circular economy practices. Encourage collaboration and partnerships between government entities, private sector companies, civil society organisations, and youth-led initiatives to foster knowledge exchange, share best practices, and jointly develop innovative solutions for circular economy challenges.
  • Circular Economy Entrepreneurship Support: Develop dedicated funding schemes and support mechanisms for young entrepreneurs and startups focusing on circular economy solutions. These initiatives can include grants, low-interest loans, incubation programs, and mentorship opportunities. By fostering a supportive ecosystem for circular economy entrepreneurship, more young people will be encouraged to pursue innovative circular business models and contribute to the sustainable development of the country.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Implement a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to track progress and measure the impact of circular economy initiatives. Regularly assess the implementation of circular economy policies, programs, and projects to identify areas for improvement, promote knowledge exchange, and ensure transparency and accountability in the transition to a circular economy.