The Circular Economy Resource

The what, how and who of the Circular Economy: 

A curated resource of articles and reports 


What is the Circular Economy?

We prefer to keep things simple and are using the following definition of the circular economy:

'A circular economy is one where the lifecycle of materials maximised, usage optimised and at the end of life all materials are reutilised. It is restorative by design and underpinned by the use of renewable energy' 

We also like this quote that succinctly explains some of the key benefits offered by a circular economy:

“The goods of today are the resources of tomorrow at yesterday’s resource prices”
— Walter R. Stahel

It incorporates ‘Cradle to Cradle’ and Zero Waste disciplines but is much broader than minimising waste and encapsulates such approaches as biomimicry, the performance economy, natural capitalism and industrial ecology as well new business models like ‘the sharing economy’.

The Ellen MacArthur foundation has a good explanatory video

And a great 'butterfly' infographic

  And a great infographic!

Why do we need a Circular Economy?

Well, we’re using the Earth’s natural resources faster than they are being replenished so we need an alternative to the take-make-waste linear model of doing business. The Circular Economy, by decoupling economic growth from resource use, offers a scalable model to start to operate within the limitations of the planet recognising that resources and materials are not limitless in supply.


Curated Reports

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has produced excellent reports that can be downloaded here.

A great overview report has been produced by the Aldersgate Group –Resilience in the Round Seizing the growth opportunities of a circular economy.

An interesting table of circular economy Business Models and examples – THE BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION GRID.

The Business Case: 8 Business cases for the circular economy

For Policy makers: Policy levers for a low-carbon circular economy


Latest News Sources

Both these sites are great resources for latest news on all things Circular:

Also join the Circular Economy NZ LinkedIn group



What is the status of the Circular Economy in NZ?

A significant number of organisations are making progress towards increased circularity. You can read about some of them in our Case Study section.

The SBN has been working on a systems innovation approach to understand the issues, key leverage points and business opportunities for a Circular Economy. You can see the report (which includes other SBN Focus areas) here.

Our process identified the following six key leverage points to accelerating the Circular Economy in NZ,

  1. Design
  2. Demand
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Ownership
  5. Emerging Technology
  6. Legislation

Our work is focussed on addressing these leverage points to transition NZ to a circular economy.