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Circular Economy: A New Dynamic for Auckland Businesses

This insights paper provides evidence that a transition towards a circular economy in Auckland, New Zealand could play a fundamental role in achieving long term economic growth as well as delivering on low carbon commitments. It is based on a comprehensive report that provided the first quantification of the economic benefits of a circular economy for a city in New Zealand, entitled ‘The Circular Economy Opportunity for Auckland and How Business Can Realise It.’ The report was facilitated by the Sustainable Business Network (SBN), with economic perspectives provided by the authors of this insights paper from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).

Circular Economy: A New Dynamic for Auckland Businesses’ demonstrates how pursuing process and product innovations that reflect circularity will create new forms of value, open up new markets and support sustainable growth by reducing reliance on finite resources for Auckland businesses. It concludes by identifying seven areas of focus which could accelerate the creation of a circular economy in Auckland:

  1. Think and operate in systems – No one organisation has the power to shift a system, let alone an economy.
  2. Reset procurement – Evolution of procurement criteria to enable circular solutions to compete including a focus on whole life costs rather than initial purchase costs. Auckland Council can lead this transformation as a major procurer of goods and services each year in the city.
  3. Make the circularity desirable – Stimulating a demand for more circular solutions to be implemented. Leveraging marketing and influencing opportunities to highlight the benefits of circular solutions.
  4. Fund the transition – Linear solutions are the norm and the status quo, therefore there is a need for strategic funding of circular solutions to level the playing field.
  5. Share knowledge and develop skills – As the circular economy is a new concept and many are not aware of its role or potential, there is a need for knowledge transfer and skills development.
  6. Use data – Understanding material flows, where value is lost and where waste is created will quantitatively highlight the potential benefits. Improving business understanding of what they are losing will stimulate demand and in turn investment in circular solutions.
  7. Set policy to enable transition – Use national policy levers to accelerate the move towards a more circular economy. These can range from regulation to fiscal measures, such as tax reliefs and like at a local government level, innovative procurement solutions.
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