'You can't manage what you can't measure' is a common refrain amongst circular economy practitioners, with a lack of data being a major barrier for many circular initiatives. Two new platforms launched by NSW Circular this week aim to fill these data gaps and allow a range of stakeholders to track their progress towards a circular economy.
The first is a metrics platform called Australian Circularity Benchmarks that provides a snapshot of how the nation is performing globally when it comes to waste generation, materials consumption, energy use, recycling and more.
"Measuring our progress towards a circular economy begins with knowing how we are tracking, both historically as well as against our peers," NSW Circular Chief Circular Economist, Dr Kar Mei Tang, explained.
"We hope these metrics will be important tools for councils, government agencies, researchers and companies working to reduce waste and carbon emissions."
The Australian Circularity Benchmarks dashboards will be updated regularly to help monitor progress towards a circular economy and identify opportunities for new business, jobs and investment.
"As we enter the resource and carbon-constrained economy, recycling, reusing and designing out waste will provide exciting new circular economic opportunities," NSW Circular CEO, Lisa McLean, said.
"These metrics will help identify areas where waste can be used as a resource, how new emerging circular industries and jobs can be measured and help us all get on with building a strong zero-waste, zero-carbon circular future."
The metrics platform is supported by a second online tool — My Circular Community — a benchmarking service designed specifically for NSW councils. Through the platform councils can:
Request an independent assessment of local waste management performance
And, access peer benchmarking reports and interactive metrics dashboards to identify waste management and recycling solutions.
Planet Ark's Head of Circular Economy Development, Dr Nicole Garofano, said the tools will help identify the solutions needed to transition our economy.
"The release of the Australian Circularity Benchmarks platform provides an excellent snapshot of where Australia sits against global best practice," Dr Garofano said.
"The benchmarks offer insights into opportunities for improvements, particularly for NSW councils through the My Circular Community platform, and are useful in designing solutions for the transition to a circular economy."