by RKC-MPD • 2 November 2021

Jakarta, 2 November 2021 – The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) became an ‘observer organization’ of the Japan Clean Ocean Material Alliance (CLOMA) in a collaboration to address the issue of marine plastic pollution in ASEAN+3 countries. 

As a result of rapid economic growth coupled with the lack of solid waste management infrastructure, East and Southeast Asian regions are recognized today as the biggest contributors of marine plastic pollution. It is against that backdrop that ERIA has established the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris (RKC-MPD) in 2019 to serve as an information clearinghouse on marine plastic pollution in ASEAN+3 countries.

The RKC-MPD has its objectives to create a regional network and raise awareness regarding MPD, promote innovative actions in each member country, and facilitate national and regional cooperation.

CLOMA is an alliance of many companies across the plastics supply chain in Japan. Each company, in their individual efforts, is engaged in promoting the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) in addition to innovations in plastic alternatives (Replace). CLOMA aims to bring together their technological developments and know-how to work toward a solution to the plastics issue as a collective, both within Japan and globally. The number of companies participating has grown from the original 159 in 2019 to 459 companies and groups today.

CLOMA also has a total of 18 organizations as observers, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the ASEAN-Japan Centre, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE), the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the Japan Association for Chemical Innovation (JACI), and ERIA.

By becoming an observer organization, ERIA intends to expand the network of the RKC-MPD and strives to strengthen the partnership with CLOMA with which it shares the common objective of tackling marine plastic pollution. On one hand, ERIA hopes to contribute to CLOMA’s international activities by sharing the relevant knowledge it has gathered across the ASEAN+3 region. On the other hand, ERIA also hopes to receive valuable feedback and first-hand input from the Japanese private sector alliance in their efforts to address marine plastic issue through their innovative approaches. Many collaborative activities have already been undertaken by the two institutions since 2020, and the formalization of the partnership is expected to further propel the cooperation.

Mr Koji Hachiyama, Chief Operating Officer of ERIA said that strengthening the collaboration between the public and private sectors as well as promoting information sharing among private corporations have become imperative amid the newly global challenge of marine plastic litter.

‘ERIA believes in multi-stakeholder approach and CLOMA has become one of our valuable partners with whom we share many important interests such as the resource circularity of plastic. I hope this newly established association will create a fruitful alliance,’ he said.

Ms Tomomi Fukumoto, Chair of International Working Group of CLOMA, praised the RKC-MPD has been collecting and disseminating useful knowledge within ASEAN+3 region and from around the world.

‘CLOMA is committed to make international contributions through its activities and is very glad to form a partnership with ERIA on this important topic. We hope to share good practices in plastic resource circularity developed by Japanese companies affiliated to CLOMA, and we look forward to connecting with ASEAN countries with the support of ERIA,’ said Ms Fukumoto, who is also the Executive Officer of Division COO, Sustainability Management Division, Suntory Holdings Ltd.