GA Circular, an Asia-focused circular economy research and strategy consultancy, is to scale back operations.

The Singapore-based firm, which was co-founded by Ashwin Subramaniam and Laura Allen in 2012, is to complete current projects and then wind down for “a period of time”.

In an email to Eco-Business from chief business officer Sumangali Krishnan, the company said that travel restrictions, the business climate and its impact on the circular economy has made a review of the business necessary.

GA Circular’s executives are to pursue individual consulting opportunities during the review. Besides Subramaniam, Allen and Krishnan, the company employed a number of project managers and operations staff.

The B Corporation-certified firm, formerly known as Gone Adventurin’, has played an important role in pushing the circular economy agenda among businesses and policymakers in South and Southeast Asia. 

Among its most notable studies was Southeast Asia’s first region-wide report on the realities of plastic bottle recycling in the region, for client Coca-Cola, in 2018. The research found that only 54 per cent of PET plastic bottles sold in six cites in Southeast Asia are collected for recycling.

GA Circular staff

Staff of GA Circular. The B Corp-certified social business was led by co-founders Ashwin Subramaniam and Laura Allen, and chief business officer Sumangali Krishnan. Image: gacircular.com

GA Circular also released an important study on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the recycling sector in South and Southeast Asia in August. The report, conduced with investment firm Circulate Capital, found that more than 40 per cent of recyclers in South and Southeast Asia are at risk of going bust as recycled plastic prices have fallen by a fifth. 

The firm has also produced reports for UN Environment Programme on the role of packaging regulations and standards in driving the circular economy in Southeast Asia, and Ocean Conservancy on the role of gender in waste management in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Other clients have included packaging firm Amcor, consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, video content firm National Geographic Live! and Singapore’s National Environment Agency.

Krishnan said that while GA Circular had achieved a lot in guiding regional and domestic stakeholders towards a circular economy in recent years, “we believe that a great deal more remains to be done.”

“We are saddened to not continue to support our clients and the circular economy sector in the ways we have been able to until now but we believe that this change will allow us to move on to bigger and better impact in the fields of circular economy and climate change,” she said.

GA Circular has studies coming out on Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, in collaboration with World Bank, before the company pauses operations.

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