Research Report

State of Circularity in Australia: Perspectives from the field

November 24th, 2022


PDF (6.37 MB)

Collaboration is key to Australia’s transition to a circular economy. No single organisation, area, region or country can transition alone. In Australia, circular economy adoption is still relatively new.  

So where exactly do we stand right now? What opportunities do we have to disrupt the traditional models of production and consumption and accelerate systems change? 

Whilst the transition towards a circular economy is still in its infancy in Australia, the State of Circularity: perspectives from the field report highlights examples of encouraging progress while providing practical guidance to inspire further advancement and collaboration.

The report establishes a baseline understanding of the circular economy in Australia by:   

  • Visualising Australia’s circular economy opportunities using ecosystem mapping.

  • Maximising opportunities to deliver value within circular systems.

  • Understanding how circular thinking catalyses transformative sustainable change.

  • Assessing the power of procurement with the Australian retail sector as a case study. 

  • Surveying the place for the circular economy in local government.

This report is an example of collaboration in action, being authored by the ACE Hub team and the ACE Hub Technical Supporters Edge Environment, MRA Consulting Group, Point. Advisory, Thinkable Partners, ThinkPlace and thinkstep-anz. 

Each chapter focuses on Technical Supporter experiences and findings from working with clients across a range of industries and sectors in the circular economy. 

Key findings and recommendations:

Recommendations from the report vary by chapter, but can be summarised as follows: 

  • Collaboration is essential to a circular economy transition – no single organisation, area, region or country can transition alone, all actors and stakeholders need to be involved.

  • Systemic change is needed across all sectors of the economy, with governments, businesses and communities all playing an important role.

  • Mapping of Australia’s existing circular economy network and progress is needed to identify clear connections and opportunities for collaboration.

  • Circular thinking is necessary to navigate and execute circular economy business model adoption successfully.

  • Governments need to take the lead with strategies that include public procurement, product regulation and education.

  • Businesses need to be bold in their design, production and product management decisions.

  • Companies need to move beyond circular economy and sustainability for compliance – there are many more benefits to the transition, not least of all is reduced risk in supply chains.

  • Leadership teams and decision-makers across all operational areas of local governments must be encouraged to work with circular economy principles. This will help identify potential intervention points across the LGA as a whole. 

  • Investment is needed from both private and public sector organisations to test new technologies, fund evidence-based strategies that incorporate more circular business models and scale up to broaden the implementation of circular economy practices. 

  • Practical examples are available and should be used to demonstrate how to approach the transition, however, these require greater industry circulation.

  • Education is vital for all, particularly for leadership and procurement decision-makers.

Georgina Cook

ThinkPlace- Executive Designer

Sally-Anne Kasner

thinkstep-anz- Senior Sustainability and Circular Economy Specialist

Dana King

Edge Environment - Sustainability Consultant

Connie Ho

Point Advisory- Senior Manager, Sustainability Strategy and Risk

Katherine Dodd

MRA Consulting Group- General Manager & Principal Consultant

Vikram Varma

Thinkable Partners- Co-Founder & Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer

Founding Partner

Official Sponsor