Thursday 11th June 2015
Rothamsted Conference Centre,Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, AL5 2JQ
Member: £45.00 per person / Non-member: £65.00 per person
A stimulating half day with prominent speakers from academia industries and spanning waste management, agriculture, food, energy, design, and manufacturing.
Promising greater efficiency and value creation, the Circular Economy offers huge opportunities for businesses and economic growth, and highlights the research and innovation capabilities that will be at the heart of such a paradigm shift.
Experience an engaging day of lectures, workshops and discussions about the transformative potential of a circular economy. Sustainability is the issue of our time and critically important for 21st Century design, innovation and business.
In a world of close to 9 billion people expected by 2030 – including 3 billion new middle-class consumers – the challenges of expanding resource supply to meet future demand are unprecedented. The current "take-make-dispose" approach results in massive waste; in the fast-moving consumer goods sector alone, about 80% of the $3.2 trillion material value is lost irrecoverably each year. Commodity prices rose overall by almost 150% in 2002-2010, erasing the real price declines of the last 100 years.
Experts have calculated that without a rethink of how society uses materials in the linear economy, elements such as gold, silver, indium, iridium, tungsten and many others vital for industry could be depleted within the next 5 to 50 years. As these trends put pressure on companies, business leaders are looking for a better hedge to avoid such risks – a system that decouples revenues from material input.
Waste generated by current industrial models creates extensive environmental and health hazards. Plastic pollution is amassing in the oceans, causing harm to ecosystems and seeping into the seafood people eat. Landfill creates both short- and long-term risks for human health through harmful, dust, odour, local traffic burden and powerful greenhouse gas emissions. Models that reconcile the outlook for growth with environmental prudence and equity are needed now.
The circular economy is a redesign of the future, where industrial systems are restorative and regenerative by intention and design. The quality of products is defined beyond traditional metrics, to encompass positive effects on economies, ecology and social health. In this future, growth need not happen at the cost of environmental health. The potential for innovation, job creation and economic development is huge: estimates indicate a trillion-dollar opportunity, and numerous global trends suggest the time is ripe for change.