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

With just one week to go (20-21 April) until the very first CIWM Festival of Circular Economy (FOCE), we take a look at a few of the sessions and speakers that we’re looking forward to.

1 – Why the Circular Economy Matters | Day 1, 09:40am

Opening the event is Dr Walter Stahel who, many of you will already know, is credited with coining the term ‘circular economy’ in a paper published in 1982.

His keynote speech will provide a new vision for realising the full value of our natural resources.

Circular recently caught up with Dr Stahel for an exclusive interview, where he revealed the origins of his ideas about the circular economy.

‘The circular economy has always existed,’ he said. ‘It’s as old as humankind, but this was a circular economy of scarcity – and it still is in poorer regions, where everything is repaired or reused. But, in industrialised countries, we live in a society of abundance. To motivate people, to make things last, we need to educate them – we need to change them, their lifestyle, their behaviour, their beliefs.’

2 – Partnerships and Collaboration | Day 1, 12:15pm

The session on Partnerships and Collaboration will ask how a better ‘communication bridge’ can be built between manufacturers and recyclers.

It will ask what role product designers should have in facilitating the conversation between manufacturers and recyclers, and whether they have a ‘responsibility’ to look to design circular products, ultimately finding the balance between product design and circularity.

In this session we’ll hear from speakers including CIWM’s vice president, Dr Adam Read; Katherine Conto from Mondelez; Savina Venkova from HSSMI; and Niall Walker from Diageo.

Moderating the session will be Dan Dicker, Founder & Director, Circular & Co.

We’re particularly excited to hear from Diageo, considering the leading distiller has collaborated in a successful pilot project to pioneer the lowest carbon footprint glass bottles ever produced for a Scotch whisky brand.

The collaboration with glass manufacturer Encirc and industry research and technology body Glass Futures, used waste-based biofuel-powered furnaces to reduce the carbon footprint of the bottle-making process by up to 90%.

3 – The Packaging Track | Day 1, 2:00pm – 3:15pm

The fact that there is an entire track devoted to packaging is testament to its importance in any conversation regarding a circular economy, given the very nature of it is disposable.

There is so much going on here which deals with all aspects of packaging, from materials, design, end-of-life, and of course recycling and remanufacture.

There is a large conversation happening around packaging at the moment, with the UK Government having recently launched its plan for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the UK, the various work happening in the UK on deposit return schemes for drinks containers, and also with the UK Government’s impending consultation on recycling consistency in England.

This track will also look at how EPR will affect businesses, designing with recyclability in mind, and addressing the challenges in creating circularity for food packaging.

We’ll hear from the British Plastic Federation, Ecosurity’s Robbie Staniforth, Paper Round, NextTeK and more.

The Festival of Circular Economy is a virtual event that provides a forum for all actors – from start-ups to multinationals, from research projects to governments – to generate the ideas and connections which will accelerate our progress to a world without waste.

4 – Creating Circular Cities | Day 2, 09:40am

On day two the session Creating Circular Cities will feature a number of speakers who know what they’re talking about when it comes to circularity in the built environment – including ReLondon’s (formerly LWARB) Wayne Hubbard, Zero Waste Scotland’s Iain Gulland, and Richard James MacCowan, Founder and Biofuturist, from Biomimicry Innovation Lab.

ReLondon recently published survey findings that suggested local authorities and SMEs want the circular economy to be much more of a priority – both for their own organisations and for UK policymakers.

The research with 300 senior decision makers in local authorities and SMEs across England found that 77% believe accelerating a global circular economy should be a high priority for policymakers in the build-up to COP26.

In addition, 74% of all respondents would like their own organisations to make more use of the circular economy. 28% are not convinced that circular economy practices are currently well embedded in their organisation.

At its launch, Wayne Hubbard, CEO of ReLondon, said: ‘A circular economy can help deliver the drastic reductions in carbon emissions needed to meet global targets. There is growing awareness that our ‘take, make, dispose’ model isn’t working; changing the way we all make, consume and dispose of stuff is an essential contribution to tackling the climate crisis.’

5 – Measuring Circularity | Day 2, 11:30am

The Measuring and Certifying Circularity session on day 2 of the Festival will be a presentation from Nikki Kapp, Data and Metrics Project Manager for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF).

The EMF have become one of the most influential voices in the circular space since it was launched.

Earlier this year the Foundation published a set of Universal circular economy policy goals in order to create a ‘common direction of travel’ in policy development for a faster transition to a circular economy.

The Foundation worked with an extensive group of representatives from across its global network of businesses and policymakers to create five Universal circular economy policy goals, which are:

  • Stimulate design for the circular economy
  • Manage resources to preserve value
  • Make the economics work
  • Invest in innovation, infrastructure, and skills
  • Collaborate for system change

It said global adoption could catalyse private sector innovation and the development of solutions that can be deployed and scaled rapidly around the world.

With over sixty speakers lending their knowledge to the FOCE, these five sessions aren’t all we’re looking forward to. With the fashion track, the session on construction waste and the interesting direction of the food waste sessions, it’s going to be a jam-packed and unmissable few days.

We hope to see you there.

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