Summary SACC Sustainability Committee – Circular Economy Forum in Canberra 18 June

Australia has committed to progressing towards a circular economy, with a target to achieve an 80 per cent resource recovery from all waste streams by 2030. This target will only be achieved through meaningful collaborations between businesses across multiple sectors and policy makers. 

On June 18 the Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Committee organised a Circular Economy Forum in Canberra hosted by the Embassy of Sweden in Canberra. Member companies shared their circular initiatives, industry solutions and challenges followed by a discussion on potential ways to accelerate to a low-carbon circular economy and net-zero society.

HE Pontus Melander Ambassador of Sweden to Australia welcomed and opened the forum. Jo Clay MLA, ACT Greens spokesperson for Circular Economy, highlighted the ACT Government’s progressive measures that support circular economy thinking and the ACT Circular Economy Strategy and Action Plan in her keynote address.

SACC Vice President Teresia Fors, welcomed all on behalf of the SACC and SACC Sustainability Committee Chair Flavia Vaz outlined the committee’s vision and purpose to take a leadership role and be part of the conversation to advance Australia’s sustainability actions. Paul Klymenko, member of the Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group presented key findings of the CEMAG recommendations and work to provide expert advice to the Australian Government outlining strategic interventions to drive circular economy transformation forward. Linda Nordin, SACC Sustainability Committee member and Circular Economy Expert presented examples of key initiatives that Swedish companies are taking towards a circular economy.

A panel discussion on challenges and potential ways forward was led by Nicole T Garofano, Head of Circular Economy Development at Planet Ark. On the panel we had Lauren Pulitano, Volvo Group Australia, Penny George, AstraZeneca, Boris Munster, Tetra Pak Oceania, Paul Klymenko, CEMAG and Linda Nordin, SMEC.

The event offered engaging discussions on actions to accelerate to a circular economy and net-zero society through applied experiences, learnings from Europe and key principles that need to be embedded in organisations. Here are some of the key messages:

“Circular Economy must be embedded within a company’s vision.”

“For a circular economy to work, we need to make the unfamiliar, familiar.”

“It is important to get the culture and mindset right across every section of the business.”

“Can we grow while using less materials?”

“Circular Economy is about design and circularity aspects must be addressed in the design process of products and services.”

“Collaboration is needed from the beginning of the design process and circularity must be driven throughout the value chain.”

“When circular principles are integrated with the business operations and value chain, we can create complementary benefits for de-carbonisation, efficiencies, and preservation of resources.”

Presentations:

Flavia Vaz: SACC Sustainability Committee – Presentation of the committee and examples of circular economy initiatives.

Paul Klymenko: Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group

Linda Nordin: Key initiatives that Swedish companies are taking towards a circular economy.

 

The Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce’s Sustainability Committee was set up in 2022 to bring together Swedish companies committed to the Sustainable Development Agenda through actions and contributions.

The SACC would like to thank all involved with a special thank you to the Embassy of Sweden for hosting the forum and the Sustainability Committee for brilliant content and organisation!