Circular economy pioneer to speak at new Festival of Circular Economy

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The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) is launching a brand-new virtual event – the Festival of Circular Economy – at which the renowned sustainability pioneer Dr Walter Stahel will give the opening keynote speech.

Taking place on 20-21 April, the Festival will be the first event of its kind focused exclusively on the circular economy. “This will be a celebration of the great work being done on circular economy projects around the world,” said Sarah Poulter, CEO of CIWM, “and will enable organisations, big and small, to identify opportunities to scale up these projects to achieve critical mass.”

Dr Stahel is credited with inventing the concept of the circular economy in a paper published in 1982 and his keynote speech will provide a new vision for realising the full value of our natural resources. “It will be my privilege to show how ‘recyclers’ and ‘waste managers’ in charge of today’s legacy waste will become managers of ‘value platforms’ for components and molecules, once circular materials have been commercialised,” Dr Stahel said.

It will be my privilege to show how ‘recyclers’ and ‘waste managers’ in charge of today’s legacy waste will become managers of ‘value platforms’ for components and molecules, once circular materials have been commercialised – Dr Stahel

The Festival comes at what many people see as a tipping point for the circular economy and wider sustainability initiatives.

Politically, the new Biden administration in the US and the forthcoming COP 26 climate talks, taking place in Glasgow in November, have given fresh impetus to efforts to reset the world’s approach to environmental challenges. Economically, many countries and companies around the world are implementing plans to “build back better” following the global pandemic.

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The event is supported by a number of organisations, including the Circular Economy Club, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, WRAP, the International Solid Waste Association, and the London Waste and Recycling Board.

The Festival of Circular Economy

Advocates of the circular economy point to the major impact it can have on all these levels. By increasing reuse of recycling of existing materials, the highly energy-intensive production of new raw materials is reduced, accelerating the movement to net zero carbon emissions. Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, burying valuable resources in landfill, and biodiversity loss due to land use changes are all global problems to which the circular economy can offer a potential solution.

The Festival of Circular Economy will feature speakers from national and regional governments and companies of all sizes, from multinationals to start ups. Microsoft, Diageo, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Mud Jeans are among the organisations to have confirmed their participation as speakers.

The event will include plenary conference sessions, break-out tracks, an interactive exhibition area and messaging and chat facilities to enable networking. The organisers believe that the online delivery will increase its accessibility and its value.

“The circular economy is inherently a collaborative project,” explained Paul Sloggett, Marketing Director of CIWM. “The Festival is being organised in the same spirit and aims to represent everybody active in this space.”

Further details can be found at



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