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The Circular Advantage - From Denmark to Australia

11 May 2020
By Dr Scott Valentine
A simple diagram to contrast the

The circular economy aims to minimise waste and keep materials and products in circulation for as long as possible. It is increasingly regarded as a promising model for driving sustainable and resilient economic growth in both developed and emerging economies.

The prevailing linear economic model – based on a “take-make-dispose” system – has generated unprecedented economic growth but unsustainable overuse of resources world-wide. In 2014 the European Commission adopted a zero-waste program, establishing a legal framework for an EU-wide circular economy. Denmark, the Netherlands, Scotland, Sweden, and Japan set as part of their national goals to transition from a linear to a circular economy, where the “end-of-life” concept will be replaced, new jobs will be created, economic growth and new business models will emerge, and greenhouse gas emission will be reduced.

Why are nations overseas embracing this strategic approach to economic development? Where does Australia stand? Dr Scott Valentine gives an overview of the circular economy model and its benefits. Using Denmark’s Rethink Business program, he illustrates how participating firms benefited from this capacity-building initiative – and how it has influenced the circular advantage program in Victoria. Modelled on the Danish experience, a new program on offer to businesses in the cities of Hume and Kingston is helping firms to design circular economy roadmaps for the future.

This is a recording of an AIIA online event that took place on Thursday 23 April 2020. To sign up for further events, click here.

Dr Scott Valentine is a former Professor and Associate Dean of Sustainability and Urban Planning at RMIT University in Melbourne. He is the author of Wind Power Politics and Policies (Oxford University Press), Life in the Balance (Infinity) and co-author of the National Politics of Nuclear Power (Routledge), Fact and Fiction in Global Energy Policy (Johns Hopkins University Press) and Empowering the Great Energy Transition (Columbia University Press). Scott has extensive international experience specialising in business development and organisational development and is on the editorial boards of the journals Energy Research and Social ScienceAIMS EnergySustainability Science and CSR and Environmental Management.