Planet Ark’s ACE Hub introduces Circularity conference

Planet Ark’s Adam Culley discusses the new Circularity conference, running from 24-25 November 2022 at Hilton Sydney.

In November 2020, Planet Ark established the Australian Circular Economy Hub (ACE Hub) to help encourage and facilitate the country’s transition to a circular economy.

Its primary aim: to act as a central platform for all circular economy discussion, education, inspiration, collaboration, and action.

Adam Culley, Head of Partnerships at Planet Ark, says the ACE Hub exists to bring together and connect businesses and thought leaders around this common topic.

Adam Culley, Head of Partnerships, Planet Ark.
Adam Culley, Head of Partnerships, Planet Ark.

“You can’t become a circular business on your own,” he says. “You need all the different parts of the value chain to come together to share information and collaborate for mutual benefit.

“We’ve looked to, and learned from, our European partners, such as the Holland Circular Hotspot or the Nordic Circular Hotspot. One of the reasons these regions are accelerating their transition is because they have that central hub to bring everything together.

“So that’s our aspiration, and I think we’re on a good course to build something crucial here in Australia.”

To this end, the ACE Hub is introducing its first conference, Circularity, which will run from 24-25 November at the Hilton Sydney – one of the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Destination Partners.

The event will feature conference sessions, an exhibition, and a range of networking opportunities, including a gala and an awards dinner.

“This is a conference for anyone in industry, any kind of practitioner or academic, and anyone in government, to come and participate, network, and look for circular solutions,” Adam says.

He says Circularity will attract guests and delegates from around Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

“We have a really fantastic list of speakers, including representation at all levels of government,” he says. “We’ll also have some really senior business leaders on stage, which I’m really excited about.”

Circularity will distinguish itself from other waste events around Australia by taking a step back and shifting its point of focus, Adam says.

“In nature, there is no such thing as ‘waste’. It’s just a resource that is used for another kind of system,” he says. “At Planet Ark, we very deliberately changed our language away from ‘waste’ to ‘resource’, because everything is a resource that can be used.

“Traditionally we look downstream at the waste we create, whereas with Circularity, we’ll be looking at the full system. We’ll look at how to design waste out, create regenerative models.

“Our working groups are looking to address the fundamentals such as how to measure circularity, what’s the procurement around the circular economy, how do we finance it, and so-on.”

Adam says figuring out these details necessitates commitment from business leaders who are determined to make sustainable change a priority.

“We’ve done research over the past couple of years on circularity in Australian business – sort of taking the temperature of how the circular economy is perceived.

“We found that 88 per cent of the more than 500 CEOs and directors interviewed, agreed that the circular economy was important to the future of their business. While 34 per cent identified the concept as extremely important, very few could identify what the correct definition of a circular economy was.”

Adam says addressing this knowledge gap is a big part of what the ACE Hub is all about, and Circularity is a great way to start building that level of education in Australia.

“You can’t ever undervalue the importance of getting people together, having them sit together, network and learn from each other,” he says.

It is Adam’s hope that businesses will learn that embracing circularity can also build resilience and new opportunity for them in the long term.

“Suddenly, they’ll see that what has previously been considered waste can be reused, resold, or circled back into their own operations to help decouple themselves from at-risk parts of their supply chains. Especially with international supply chains being threatened by COVID-19, I think there will be a lot more looking to local solutions powered by renewable resources.”

As to why now is the right time for a conference like Circularity – as well as the ACE Hub it represents – Adam says we have reached what he describes as an inflection point in human history.

“You only need to look outside your window to see it,” he says. “In Europe, everyone’s experiencing record climatic conditions. It’s 40 degrees in the United Kingdom and there are bushfires outside of London. It’s evidence that there is a huge change and that is intrinsically linked to how we manage our relationship with the environment, particularly how we use our resources.

“We’ve got this amazing melting pot right now of knowledge, the evidence outside our windows, youth momentum and climate protests, as well as businesses and governments starting to understand and commit.

“There’s a huge amount of momentum. And, for the first time in history, we have the technology to be able to solve this problem. We just need to do it. That’s the focus of Circularity: bringing people together to work on these solutions.”

Limited early bird tickets are available today for $1200 + GST. Early bird pricing is available until 30 September or until sold out.

For more information, visit: www.circularitylive.com.au

 

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Related stories:

Sussan Ley launches Australian Circular Economy Hub

Planet Ark relaunches Business Recycling platform

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