Developing economies have often seen sustainability as a sinister plot by the developed world to keep them in their place. The rich world, miff the developing countries, has profited off years of unsustainable industrialised production to become the masters of the global economy. And now, they are using sustainability as a fig leaf to hinder emerging economies trying to narrow the gap. Global climate change regulation has often been hindered by such countries demanding their “right to pollute”. 

Meg Argyriou, acting CEO of ClimateWorks Australia, laments in a story published by The Conversation, a network of not-for-profit media outlets: “Decarbonisation is often not a priority for less developed countries, compared to key issues such as economic growth and poverty alleviation. Many countries struggle with gaps in technical and financial expertise, a lack of resources and inconsistent energy data. More fundamentally, poor governance and highly complex or fragmented decisionmaking also halt progress.” 

Such concerns, however, are increasingly unfounded, according to a position paper by the EU-Asean Business Council. On the contrary, they argue that circular economy models are potentially a sustainable driver of long-term growth for Southeast Asia. In contrast to linear economic models based around production, usage and then disposal, circular economy models aim to eliminate waste, keep products in continual use and regenerate natural systems. 

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