The Festival of Circular Economy 2023: 5 things we’re looking forward to


Circular economy

With the Festival of Circular Economy returning for its 3rd year on the 15 and 16 November, Circular Online explores 5 things we’re looking forward to at the festival.

  1. How to Seize the Opportunities and Overcome Obstacles of a Circular Economy
  2. The Circularity Journey, an Infrastructure Perspective
  3. Policy & a Global Approach to Circular
  4. Closing the Loop – Harnessing AI for Decarbonisation & Circularity
  5. Women in Circular Panel: A Circular Approach to the Bottom Line

The Festival of Circular Economy (FOCE) returns this November with speakers from Mars and WRAP, and keynote talks from one of the key figures in the formulation of the circular economy Walter Stahel and Jorge Laguna-Celis, Head of the One Planet Network, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

5 Things we’re looking forward to at FOCE

Over 2 days of virtual live-streamed content, changemakers and thought leaders from around the world will gather to share their insights and expertise on all things circular.

In preparation for FOCE, here are 5 things we’re looking forward to at the event. From exploring how innovators are tackling the circularity of each step in the design process, featuring panellist Amy Peace, Innovation Lead, Circular Economy, Innovate UK, to discussions on the future of AI in the industry.

1 – How to seize the opportunities and overcome obstacles of a circular economy

Renowned expert in the field of circular economy, Walter R. Stahel will set the scene for the festival in the first keynote speech of the 2-day event.

Stahel, who is widely considered to be one of the key architects of the concept of the circular economy, will discuss how we can optimise opportunities and overcome challenges to grow the circular economy.


  • Walter R. Stahel, Member of the Strategic Foresight Board,

2 – The circularity journey, an infrastructure perspective

Global Circular Packaging Director of Mars Feliks Bezati will examine the infrastructure required to take society on the circular journey. Bezati is set to take delegates through where to start implementing circular practices in global infrastructure.

The presentation will also review Mars’s work implementing circular steps in their framework, as well as the steps required for optimising the lifecycle of circular materials and designing packaging for circularity.


  • Feliks Bezati, Global Circular Packaging Director, Mars

3 – Policy and a global approach to circular

The roundtables are an opportunity to delve into key challenges in more detail, offering a chance to ask for advice or discuss challenging topics with industry experts. Amongst the wide range of topical themes up for conversation is what we can learn from the current policies aiding circularity across the globe.

Speakers will also ask how we can create a more unified approach to implementing change. The festival is a global event, their are many lessons to be learned from countries around the world. Change is happening now and the festival is where delegates will find out about the innovative business models beginning the transition from linear consumption.


  • Mark Enzer OBE FREng, Strategic Advisor, Mott MacDonald
  • Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Global Leader of Climate & Energy, WWF View Manuel Pulgar-Vidal
  • Dr Andy Rees OBE, Head of Waste Strategy, Welsh Government

4 – Closing the loop – harnessing AI for decarbonisation and circularity

AI is at the forefront of discussions across many industries. In resources and waste, key industry figures are exploring the seemingly endless possibilities this futuristic technology offers, while implementing solutions making a tangible impact now.

Delegates attending this innovative presentation will hear an overview of the AI challenge, including the potential benefits and risks of the technology, focusing on real-world examples of how AI can support decarbonisation and the transition to a circular economy.


  • Oliver Inderwildi PhD MBA, Senior Visiting Scientist & Principal Consultant, University of Cambridge (Cambridge Centre for Advanced Research & Education in Singapore)

5 – Women in circular panel: A circular approach to the bottom line

Last month, Harriet Lamb, CEO of WRAP, wrote about the reasons why only one in four jobs in the circular economy are held by women. She also explores how everyone in the sector can address this gender disparity.

This panel features some of the most prominent female thought leaders in the circular space. Panellists will explore how to engage in a system thinking approach vs product thinking, asking what this looks like from an overall perspective. Delegates will also hear how to move from linear to circular focused business modelling, and what change is needed to grow at scale.


  • Chidubem Nwabufo 
  • Tessa Clarke, Co-Founder & CEO, Olio View Tessa Clarke
  • Natasha Chorlton, Circular Economy & Recyclability Manager, Ahlstrom View Natasha Chorlton
  • Sophie De Salis, Sustainability Policy Adviser, British Retail Consortium View Sophie De Salis
  • Jane Martin, Head of Development, City to Sea View Jane Martin

Book your place at this year’s Festival

Circular economy action plan

If these 5 things we’re looking forward to at FOCE have piqued your interest in the event, don’t miss out on playing a role in the festival.

To be part of the event, secure your ticket, or find out more about becoming an event supporter, click here.

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