Media release: Business circularity key to addressing Australia's plastics challenge


At the Prime Minister’s National Plastics Summit being convened today at Parliament House, the BCSD Australia CEO Andrew Petersen will emphasise that an important outcome should be to build a critical mass of engagement within and across Australian business to move towards a circular economy to deliver and scaled up solutions. “As the Australia Government begins this important step to implement change to the plastics challenge, so too must business. Every business along the plastic value chain has a key strategic interest in investing in business solutions to reduce plastic waste. Business drivers include the loss of core business, regulatory risks, reputational risks, and innovation potential,” says Petersen. The New Plastics Economy Report showed that we spend so much money on making plastics, then after one cycle, 95% of it is lost because the system is not capturing the value efficiently. It’s a problem that begs to be solved. In dollar figures, this means that the global economy forfeits up to US$120 billion annually. “In addition to improving our national waste collection systems we need at the same time to be addressing the full plastics value chain so that plastics can be redesigned, replaced, recovered and recycled. By doing this business can take steps to mitigate and adapt at the effects of these drivers by being pro-active about developing alternative products, rethinking packaging and product design, designing technology to improve garbage sorting and collection and developing new business models. “The latest Circularity Gap report from Circle Economy reveals that, faced with the twin headwinds of increased CO2 emissions and increased resource extraction, the global economy is currently only 8.6% circular. To move the dial, we need to measure business circularity.


"As support for a circular economy is growing, so have the number of methodologies and indicators for assessing business circularity. But there is a lack of consensus on metrics which has made it very difficult to measure circular performance across businesses and sectors, which is key to mobilising the ambition and competitiveness on business circularity we need to trigger the shift,” says Petersen. In response to this challenge, WBCSD with 26 global companies launched in early 2020 the first circularity self-assessment framework for business*. The international companies involved in its development include AkzoNobel, ArcelorMittal, DSM, DOW, Microsoft, Michelin, Novartis, Philips, Rabobank, Shell, Sims Metal Management, Solvay, SUEZ, Veolia, and Whirlpool. Australian trials of the framework are scheduled to begin soon. “We also believe that investors will begin to play an important role by sending a clear signal to companies that the investment community is interested – and expects – to know how investee companies are managing plastics and plastic waste, and by in encouraging improved practices, namely to motivate companies to disclose more information about this topic. “And we will be encouraging the Government to discuss how circularity could play into its economic plans. The United Kingdom and Canada have already indicated they are considering a post-Brexit trade deal that hinges on the circular economy.”

ENDS.

For further information contact: Andrew Petersen, CEO Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia


About BCSD Australia BSCD Australia is an Australian coalition of private and public organisations advocating for progress on sustainable development. Its mission is to be a catalyst for innovation and sustainable growth in a world where resources are increasingly limited. The Council provides a platform for companies to share experiences and best practices on sustainable development issues and advocate for their implementation, working with governments, non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations. BCSD Australia’s members include leading Australian businesses, from all sectors, who share a commitment to economic, environmental and social development, public sector enterprises institutions, business and industry non-government organisations and community organisations, which in turn represent more than 100,000 Australian employees. A full membership list is available: http://www.bcsda.org.au/membership BCSD Australia is the Network Partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the Australian Partner of the We Mean Business Coalition, the Regional Platform Partner of the Natural Capital Coalition, and Australian Partner for CDP, the institutional formally known as the Carbon Disclosure Project. www.bcsda.org.au


About the Circular Self-Assessment Framework The Circular Transition Indicators and online tool developed with Circular IQ provide a way for all companies across all sectors to assess and compare their circularity while understanding the risks and opportunities. This is critical to accelerating our transition to a circular economy: enabling companies to tap into unlocked opportunities and competitiveness by mainstreaming circular thinking into their core business strategy. Circular Transition Indicators Working Group: International: AkzoNobel, ArcelorMittal, CRH, DSM, DOW, Microsoft, Michelin, Novartis, Philips, Rabobank, Shell, Sims Metal Management, Solvay, SUEZ, Veolia, and Whirlpool; Circular Transition Indicators Advisory Group: CIRAIG, Circle Economy, Cradle to Cradle Innovation Institute, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, GRI, MVO Nederland, PACE, Sitra

© 2018 by the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia

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