Research Report

Circularity in Australian Business 2023: Perceptions, Knowledge and Actions Beyond Recycling

November 20th, 2023

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Since 2020, the Circularity in Australian Business report series has investigated the state of circular economy thinking within the Australian business community. The findings of this report series provide Australia's only longitudinal research to date that captures the sentiment of Australian businesses in their circular economy journey.  

Titled Circularity in Australian Business 2023: Perceptions, Knowledge and Actions Beyond Recycling, this third edition of the report takes a closer look at the perspectives of senior management and the implementation of circular principles among Australian businesses in their role as key decision makers in the transition towards a more circular economy.  

This year’s report reveals that the confidence-knowledge gap of the circular economy is closing. 

  • Those who were confident in their knowledge about the concept of the circular economy dropped from 81 per cent in 2021 to 52 per cent. 

  • However, the survey participants who correctly identified the definition of circular economy increased from 27 per cent in 2021 to 35 per cent. 

  • These results strongly align with the Dunning Kruger effect which explains that with complex concepts, confidence often starts high before sharply decreasing as our actual knowledge increases, before a tipping point is reached and confidence begins to return. 

Data was collected via the same research methods for the 2021 report, mixing a quantitative survey of 500 business decision makers and insights from in-depth interviews with 11 senior decision makers.  

This year’s report extends beyond these findings by showcasing ACE Hub sourced case studies of Australian businesses who have already embarked on their circular economy journey.   

Key findings:  

  • Around 82 per cent of survey participants said making the transition was either extremely, very, or somewhat important to the future of their business. 

  • The most popular business benefit identified was reducing costs (58 per cent), followed by increasing efficiency (47 per cent) – potentially pointing towards an increased understanding of the circular economy’s positive impact on a business’ bottom line. 

  • The need for more accessible and practical information on circular economy and what it entails was identified as a barrier to action by 36 per cent of survey participants – reinforcing the need of information platforms such as the ACE Hub. 

  • A majority of survey participants reported taking some action on R strategies higher up the ladder of circularity (63 per cent reported taking action on Rethink strategies, 58 per cent on Redesign strategies, and 56 per cent on Regeneration strategies). 


Ryan Collins

Head of Circular Economy Programs

Claire Laws

Research Specialist

Tamanna Wadhwani

Circular Economy Communications Specialist

Founding Partner

Official Sponsor