Research Report

Circularity In Australian Business 2021: Awareness, Knowledge and Perceptions

December 2nd, 2021


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Australia's circular economy is at a tipping point, with most business leaders recognising the importance of transitioning away from our current take-make-use-dispose model. The second edition of the ACE Hub's annual Circularity in Australian Business report found an overwhelming 88% of business decision makers agree the circular economy will be important for the future of their business, with 34% identifying the concept as extremely important. 

Titled Circularity in Australian Business 2021: Awareness, Knowledge and Perceptions, the research measures how Australian businesses are progressing in their understanding and implementation of the circular economy. The report builds upon insights generated by the first edition of the research, released in 2020, which baselined the state of circular economy thinking within the Australian business community.   

This year's report reveals a gap between perceived understanding of the circular economy and actual knowledge.   

  • 81% of business decision makers said they felt knowledgeable about the concept of the circular economy.  

  • However, only 27% could correctly identify the definition of circular economy when presented with a list of options. 

  • This indicates a knowledge gap which must be addressed through education and engagement, a role the ACE Hub can fulfill.  

The research method mixed qualitative and quantitative data to generate insights from in-depth interviews with 14 C-suite executives and surveys of 500 business decision makers from a spectrum of sectors.   

Key findings: 

  • 92% of business decision makers have heard of circular economy in some capacity and are aware of the concept.  

  • 88% of business decision makers surveyed agreed the circular economy would be important to the future of their business. Identical results to the 2020 survey.  

  • The proportion of business decision makers who thought the circular economy would be 'extremely important' increased significantly from 21% in 2020 to 34% in 2021.  

  • The most common benefit of the circular economy identified was 'reducing costs' (selected by 42% of business decision makers).  

  • The most common barrier of the circular economy identified was 'lack of information on how to implement circular economy practices' (selected by 40% of business decision makers). This highlights the importance of information services such as the ACE Hub.   

Howard Parry-Husbands

Non-Executive Director

Nicole Garofano

Head of Circular Economy Development

Rebecca Gilling

CEO and Executive Director

Founding Partner

Official Sponsor