Systems approach to accelerating the circular economy

2021, CE-Hub Team

Autumn 2021 Seminar Series

In this webinar, Professor Peter Hopkinson of the CE-Hub was joined by Frank Boons, Professor of Innovation and Sustainability at Manchester and Director of Sustainable Consumption Institute and Academic Fellow, DEFRA Systems Research Programme.

Peter Hopkinson started the webinar by giving an overview of the NICER Programme and its work, and the ways in which each Centre is working towards a whole systems approach. Peter then handed over to Frank, posing three key questions to guide the seminar:

  • What do we mean by whole systems in the circular economy and in the UK?
  • How do you ‘do’ whole system innovation?
  • What is the evidence base for whole system innovation?

Frank discussed interacting societal challenges require a systems approach and went on to talk about a perspective for action in terms of system transitions, arguing that transition is not just about introducing new ideas and systems but also phasing out old ones. The third key topic in Frank’s talk was circular economy and industrial symbiosis, with Frank posing the question: Are we actually challenging linear economy, and how do we make sure that this happens?

To see Frank’s slides, click here.