Call to Suspend the Asian Development Bank’s Board Deliberations on the Energy Policy 2021

We, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives-Asia Pacific, strongly urge the Board of Directors of the  Asian Development Bank to conduct a more rigorous examination of the final revised version of the ADB Energy Policy (R-Paper).


After months of advocacy, the ADB  has finally introduced restrictions for investments on Waste-to-Energy (WTE) incineration stating that:

“ ADB will support waste-to-energy investments for heat or electricity, provided that the feedstock for combustion results from a prudent order of waste management priorities. Waste-to-energy investments can improve local environments and health in cities and rural areas by removing the environmental hazards caused by open waste dumping and open burning. ADB will support projects that promote a circular economy and consider holistically the order of priorities— first reducing waste generation, then exploiting the options for reusing and recycling materials, then using waste to recover energy or usable materials, followed by sanitary engineered landfilling as the last option. ADB support for waste-to-energy investments will promote sustainable livelihood opportunities for the poorest of the poor working along the waste value chain and at landfills. The potential environmental and social impacts of waste-to-energy investments will be managed by using the best internationally available technologies in the design and operation of such projects in accordance with international conventions.” (Paragraph 73, R-papert 2021 ADB Energy Policy)

We are firm that WTE incineration should not have a place in ADB’s Energy Policy aimed at accelerating Asia’s energy transition.

Investment in WTE incinerators induces the exploitation of resources in the face of a climate emergency. Instead of prioritizing investment in waste reduction measures and reuse-refill models, ADB chooses to promote expensive and harmful WTE incineration as a clean energy option to governments looking for “cost-effective” waste management solutions. Yet, several studies show that WTE incineration plants burn mostly recyclable or compostable waste which can be addressed through cost-saving, community-empowering, environmentally-sound and climate-friendly  zero waste solutions.

Burning plastic waste through WTE incinerators is a climate disaster.  A metric tonne of plastic waste burned releases about a tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere. By 2050, the production and disposal of plastic could generate 56 gigatons of emissions, covering as much as 14 percent of the Earth’s entire remaining carbon budget.