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Take Homes from WCEF 2019 and Inside QLD’s First Climate Week

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Last week was a big week of collective action as we saw the first ever Climate Week Queensland and it coincided with World Circular Economy Forum WCEF2019 in Helsinki. In Queensland, there were so many great people and minds meeting to exchange ideas and spread the message about climate change. Former US Vice President Al Gore was also conducting Climate Reality training in Brisbane as a part of Climate Week.

What is the World Circular Economy Forum?

This year WCEF2019, the World Circular Economy Forum, was hosted in Helsinki, Finland. WCEF2019 has a strong emphasis on the next era of the circular economy and scaling up the transition. This involves growing investments in circular economy businesses, spreading and adopting new technologies, and making significant regulatory changes that enable a circular economy to flourish.

A circular economy can be described as a system where as much material as possible continues to cycle in use rather than be disposed of into landfill. In Australia, we have a mostly linear economy in Australia – where most
material is predominantly somewhere in the linear process of extract, process, manufacture, use, dispose. WCEF2019 is all about enabling that change from linear to circular.

One of  Yas’ favourite quotes from the event was by Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director at the European Environment Agency (EEA). He said….

“If you think you’re leading but no one is following, you’re just taking a walk.”

Impact Investing & Accelerating the Circular Economy

Spelling out the need to rethink capitalism and not pin hopes on technology to save the day was a key theme this year.

This incredibly professional and profoundly action oriented global event has been about collaboration and action NOW for our future. The leaders and decision makers here are the doers and the game changers.

Impact has also had a strong theme, with leaders talking about new ways to invest in organisations paving the way for all things circular economy.

For instance, London’s approach has been all about utilising venture funding to support SME transition to circular and invest in new business models.

Maybe nothing is more impactful as an indication of the times than Ikea announcing to become a fully circular business by 2030.

Some Extra WCEF Inspiration

The WCEF2019 event wrapped up with some more great quotes.

”Nature needs to be seen as a partner and not as a resource”

says MariPantsar of the SitraFund in her closing remarks.

If the powerful messages from the visionaries and leaders in this space isn’t enough, this might get you moving…

”We don’t need to be superheroes. We need to be ordinary people who do ordinary things for an extraordinary goal. We can save the only planet we have.”

Such a powerful message from the EnoProgramme youth over the 70 countries in WCEF2019.

Climate Hack 2019

As Yas was immersed in all things Circular Economy –  the solution to the “climate issue hiding in plain sight”. Donaugh was in Brisbane celebrating at Climate Hack 2019. Led by QLD chief entrepreneur and .

The energy in the room was electric, with teams coming together on the day working on one of ten key themes to build solutions, be they technical, policy recommendations or new ventures.

This hackathon looked at the Circular Economy and how it can address household waste, with some awesome circular economy leaders coming together to share experiences and find new ways forward.

Climate Week QLD, CitySmart Climate Week Speaker Series
Climate Week QLD Speaker Series

Donaugh also got the opportunity to share some practical take homes and the WBGS journey at Climate Week QLD Speaker Series hosted by City Smart at the Powerhouse. There is so much embodied energy in the products we use and as Harley Weston from Solaire Properties highlighted, ‘waste is just a resource in the wrong place’.
We need to make the most of the resources we have already liberated and processed. The circular principles of resource efficiency, better design and effective loops (#SDG12) for the products we use each and everyday will help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and ultimately greenhouse gases.

WOW, there’s a lot to do and so much opportunity and positive ways forward! Let’s get to work then, shall we? Together!

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