Green economy is a term with a broad meaning. The concept comprises two different approaches, including one stressing low carbon-emission economy, while the other one proposes circular economy. Both aim to achieve commercial development and environmental benefits at the same time. The origins of circular economy can be traced back to the paradigm of cradle-to-cradle theory, circular economy, on the other hand, is more focused on the design of business models and supply chain management. Through the continuous recycling and reuse of energy and resources in the supply chain, it seeks to form a closed loop.
The core of circular economy is the “economy.” Therefore, when we explore the term circular economy, it is necessary for us to approach it from the four aspects of material flow, cash flow, data flow, and energy flow and examine the integration of the four respective elements. The product (or service) is the material flow. When there is a market, the flow of material among different parts of the supply chain in one direction will inevitably create a cash flow in the other direction, as well as creating a corresponding data flow. Moreover, with the use of energy in the process, pollution emissions (such as carbon dioxide or other air pollutants) is inevitable – this is the energy flow. As a result, the aspects of material flow, cash flow, and data flow can be used to identify the system’s structure and the existence of the market. After adding energy flow, the four different aspects create a comprehensive image detailing each part of the system.
Circular economy is not something that can be realized simply with the government shouting a few slogans and everyone magically adopt related policies and strategies. The whole scheme involves entire industry supply chains and may go as far as overhauling entire industries. In Taiwan, due to the comprehensive strict standards the government imposes on industrial waste management, the only thing that gets circulated under the pretext of circular economy is NTD, prompting it to become a timebomb that could explode at any time.