Cómo las corporaciones están ayudando a resolver los desafíos de sostenibilidad de APAC

With nearly half of the world’s carbon emissions coming from Asia-Pacific (APAC), the urgency to address sustainability challenges is undeniable. This is happening at a time when the APAC region is projected to be the world’s fastest-growing economy in 2024, fuelled by healthy domestic demand and increasing foreign direct investment. Balancing environmental impact with economic growth is imperative for companies, and they are confronting these pressing issues head-on to ensure sustainable business practices.

It has been estimated that to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the APAC economies must accelerate its decarbonisation rate by a challenging six times the pace of 2.8% recorded in 2022. This is significantly higher than the global decarbonisation rate of 17.2% year-on-year.

From rapid urbanization to environmental degradation, the region faces complex issues that require collaborative efforts from various stakeholders, including governments, non-profits, and crucially, corporations. In recent years, businesses across the region have been increasingly stepping up to address these challenges by developing innovative sustainable alternatives to environmental issues, a strategic imperative for long-term success. 

For instance, companies are adopting circular economy practices, developing eco-friendly products, and engaging in research to tackle climate-related issues.

Now, let’s explore how they’re putting these strategies into action.


From Research Breakthroughs to Sustainable Innovation


Australia faces a significant plastic waste challenge, with approximately 2.5 million tonnes generated annually, equating to about 100 kg per person. Shockingly, only 13% of this plastic is recovered, while a staggering 84% ends up in landfills. 


Addressing these challenges, Australian tech startup Samsara Eco has developed an enzyme technology, which it claims will transform plastic recycling by enabling its infinite reuse, thus reducing the need for constant production of new plastic. Developed in collaboration with researchers at the Australian National University, this biocatalyst technology breaks down used plastic into its original chemical building blocks. As a result, plastics can now be recycled repeatedly without any loss in quality. Unlike conventional recycling methods, which have limitations, Samsara’s enzymes chemically break down plastic, including coloured, into a clear product.


This highlights the importance of bridging the gap between research and industry to translate theoretical advancements into real-world solutions. In 2021, APAC comprised 41.3% of the total global spending on research and development. By 2022, this was expected to slightly increase to about 41.8%. Data reveals that Asia-Pacific CEOs are also planning for increased spending in areas such as research and development in 2024.

Partnering for Recycling

In recent years, multinationals have collaborated with startups and government organizations across the APAC region to address plastic waste generation. China, being the world’s largest producer and consumer of plastics, manufactures approximately 6.98 million metric tons of plastic products monthly as of December 2023. In 2020, the country generated roughly 60 million metric tons of plastic waste, recycling 16 million metric tons, according to the China National Resources Recycling Association.


To address this pressing issue, innovative partnerships have emerged. For instance, in China, the US chemical company Dow collaborates with Lovere, a developer of smart sorting/recycling machines strategically placed across the country. These machines provide consumers with accessible points to sort and recycle their plastic waste. Additionally, Dow has partnered with Luhai, a waste management company specializing in collecting and recycling various post-consumer plastics.


The surge in plastic usage during the Covid-19 pandemic, fuelled by increased takeout meals and online shopping, has intensified the urgency to tackle plastic waste. China has responded by setting a national goal to eliminate all single-use and non-biodegradable plastics in urban and rural areas by 2025. Encouragingly, initiatives to tackle marine plastic pollution have already started, such as the launch of a digital platform in Zhejiang province, utilizing IoT and blockchain technologies in collaboration with local businesses.

Collaboration and Mentorship


In a region marked by growing environmental concerns, collaboration emerges as a key theme driving sustainability efforts. One example of this is PepsiCo’s Greenhouse Accelerator: APAC Sustainability Edition, now in its second year. This mentorship-based program supports startups focusing on sustainable agriculture, climate action, and the circular economy. As part of the program, PepsiCo will select up to ten applicants to receive USD $20,000 in grants. They will also have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to PepsiCo executives and investors. Participants will receive personalized mentorship from PepsiCo experts to assist with product development, supply chain, marketing, and other areas. The winning startup will be awarded an additional USD $100,000 during an event in Bangkok in September 2024.

The program aims to bring together startups, local authorities, investors, and experts, to promote innovation and accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices.


Beyond corporate initiatives, collaborative efforts extend to industry alliances. The Malaysian Recycling Alliance, comprised of leading consumer goods companies, has pledged to reach a minimum recycling rate of 25% or 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste from members’ packaging volumes by 2025.

Addressing the climate crisis and sustainability challenges requires ambitious, and innovative approaches, whether through collaboration with governments, startups, or even competitors. In today’s changing world, success is no longer solely measured by financial metrics. From achieving net-zero emissions to enhancing supply chain resilience and embracing the circular economy, businesses must adapt and take bold steps forward to drive transformation.


It’s time to level up and lead the charge.



Ready to make a difference in sustainability?

Apply today for PepsiCo’s Greenhouse Accelerator: APAC Sustainability Edition! Finalists will receive mentorship, a USD $20,000 grant, and access to PepsiCo’s network, resources, experts, and VCs. The ultimate winner gets an additional USD $100,000. Let’s shape a greener future together.


Apply now!

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