Circular Economy

The Official Top 10 Speakers on Circular Economy to Hire in 2024

It is no secret that we need to take action against climate change, and the irreversible damage that is being done to our planet. Sustainability and environmental activists across the globe are finding innovative ways in which we can decelerate climate change and live more sustainably. One of the main initiatives they have introduced is a circular economy, but the question is – what is a circular economy?

What is a Circular Economy?

The term ‘circular economy’ was introduced as a means of generating a more sustainable society, and encompasses an evolution of the way in which the world produces and consumes goods. In a circular economy, humans will reuse products and prioritise recycling and remanufacturing – instead of the current society that we live in, in which we ‘take, make and throw away’.

According to the Dame Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “The circular economy is a systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity, loss, waste, and pollution”. It is also based on three principles:

  1. Eliminate waste and pollution
  2. Circulate products and materials (at their highest rate)
  3. Regenerate nature

Products will be redesigned so that they are reusable, durable, repairable and recyclable – which in turn will mean that they are less likely to be thrown away and far more sustainable products are being released into the world around us.

A new and inclusive economic paradigm, a circular economy will minimise pollution and extend the lifecycle of physical and natural assets whilst creating green jobs and keeping resource use within planetary boundaries.

Source: Chatham House, United Nations, Ellen MacArthur Foundation & United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Why Is a Circular Economy Important?

Introducing a circular economy is a crucial factor in slowing down climate change, something that we must as a society address. Natural resource extraction and processing contributes to almost 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, as concluded by the United Nations International Resource Panel, and thus emphasises the need to reduce the impact that material production has on the environment.

A circular economy has the potential to protect the environment from increased climate change, by reducing the levels of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere during material production and preventing high volumes of materials from going into landfill.

A circular economy will help tackle crises on climate, pollution and biodiversity – by reducing habitat loss and waste pollution.

Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency & Government of the Netherlands

How Does a Circular Economy Work?

Circular Vs Linear Economy

The clue is in the name when it comes to the circular economy, the journey of goods and materials is circular. Within a circular economy, materials will be in a continuous flow, from initial production to being reused and recycled, time and time again.

When put into practice, a circular economy implies reducing waste to a minimum – and even when a product does come to the end of its life, the product is reused in some form through recycling – thus the product life cycle is considerably lengthened.

A circular economy is powered by the motto of ‘less raw material, less waste, fewer emissions’.

Source: European Parliament

How Realistic is a Circular Economy?

The concept of a circular economy is incredibly realistic, with some countries having already made steps towards introducing circularity into their way of life. Although the concept may seem aspirational, the concept of circularity has also been adopted by many businesses – ensuring that their products are created with minimal greenhouse gas emissions, and are able to be reused and recycled.

The European Union have also declared that they are aiming to have a fully circular economy by the year 2050, once more emphasising the important reality of a circular economy.

Source: LinkedIn WasteXperts

How Can I Play a Part in a Circular Economy?

There are many ways in which you can contribute to the reality of a circular economy. Below are just some of the ways in which this can be achieved:

  • Buy products from companies that are committed to a circular economy
  • Reuse and recycle products, rather than just throwing them away
  • Reduce waste and pollution
  • Hire a speaker to learn more about the importance of a circular economy!

The Official Top 10 Speakers on Circular Economy:

Ellen MacArthur

Dame Ellen MacArthur has enjoyed a successful career, having earned the title of the fastest solo sailor to sail around the world. Having circled the globe, Ellen returned with a new concept of how the world works – including the Earth’s finite resources and how our actions as humans are affecting the world around us. In 2010, Ellen launched the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity organisation committed to accelerating the evolution to a circular economy.

When hired as a circular economy speaker, Ellen emphasises how flawed our current linear system is and what can be done to create a successful circular economy in its place. Having been at one with nature during her daring feats as a sailor, Ellen promotes the importance of reusing materials, eliminating waste and regenerating natural systems.

Testimonial:

“Truly humbling and human, really moved everyone and made them hold up a mirror to themselves.” – Involve

Pia Heidenmark Cook

A people and planet-centric businesswoman, Pia Heidenmark Cook has enjoyed a decorated career in the sustainability sector – best known for her former roles as the Global Head of Sustainability and the Chief Sustainability Officer of IKEA. Throughout her time working for IKEA, Pia was committed to engaging co-workers, customers and stakeholders in sustainable lifestyles, spearheading IKEA’s contributions to a circular economy with their various sustainability policies – such as 14% footprint reduction, launching the plant-based meatball, ensuring that 98% of wood used in products was FSC or recycled, owning over 400+ wind turbines and making sure 100% of cotton is from sustainable sources.

Having also pioneered and implemented the IKEA People and Planet Positive Agenda, Pia is dedicated to emphasising the need for systematic change across all sectors and walks of society – having also helped IKEA to win the Circular Economy Award from the WEF. Since leaving IKEA, Pia has also dedicated her time to being on the Board of Trustees of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, the Senior Advisory Board of the Boards Impact Forum and the Board of Directors of Origin Materials. With a strong passion for sustainability and over 20 years of business experience, hire Pia Heidenmark Cook today to learn how to integrate a circular economy into business.

Testimonial:

“Pia was an engaging and inspirational speaker. The presentation provided guidance on how to start sustainable transformation within the company: it was very focused on the ‘how’ and the lesson learned through the process. Pia brought real examples of how to capitalise on sustainability across our value chain, beautifully connecting the vital role that sustainability plays in our business as a consequence to the world and humankind…” – Bayer Consumer Health

Nigel Topping

Appointed as the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP26, Nigel Topping is one of the frontrunners in the mission to achieve halved emissions by the year 2030. Working tirelessly to mobilise strong and ambitious climate change action, Nigel is a passionate advocate for the adoption of a circular economy and the transition to net zero – critical factors in decelerating climate change and ensuring a more sustainable future. Having also recently become an Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter Business School, Nigel understands and emphasises that education plays a critical role in catalysing climate action.

On a mission to build a community of climate champions, Nigel has also formerly been the CEO of WE MEAN BUSINESS – combatting climate change on a global level and bringing about impactful change in the realms of sustainability. Also passionate about accelerating action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, Nigel has previously delivered TED talks on his passions – such as his TED talk We Need to Green the Economy While Restarting It. If you are looking for a speaker who will help businesses transition into a circular economy, don’t hesitate in hiring climate champion Nigel Topping.

Kate Brandt

An expert at capitalising on opportunities to strategically advance sustainability, Kate Brandt has enjoyed a decorated career working as the Chief Sustainability Officer of Google. A global advocate for sustainability, Kate has also formerly worked as the Special Advisor for Energy to the Secretary of the Navy and as the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer for the White House. Having been responsible for promoting sustainability across Federal Government and Navy operations, it comes as no surprise that Kate was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award – the highest award for a civilian from the US Navy, recognised for helping the Navy to ‘go green’.

Today, Kate is considered a preeminent authority on sustainability, sharing her expertise as a circular economy speaker. During her time at Google, Kate has ensured that the company is positioned to transition into a circular economy – implementing an advanced sustainability strategy with a focus on the circular economy. Having also formerly worked as Director for Energy and Environment for the White House and Senior Advisor to the US Department of Energy, Kate’s expertise on sustainability knows no bounds. Hire Kate Brandt today when looking to learn more about the future of a circular economy.

Sally Uren

Sally Uren, a global expert on sustainable development, has spent the past two decades developing and delivering sustainability strategies. Renowned for her role as the CEO of Forum for the Future, Sally is on a mission to accelerate progress toward a sustainable future – which she aims to do by catalysing transformational change on a global scale. During her time working with Forum for the Future, Sally has been involved in many initiatives that are accelerating the reality of a circular economy, such as Cotton 2040 which is accelerating the production of sustainable cotton and Tea 2030 which is looking to broaden the sustainable tea market.

A pioneer of countless sustainability projects, Sally is currently committing her expertise to the development of the Forum for the Future’s School of System Change. Creating a team of agents that are dedicated to pushing for sustainable development, it is no surprise that Sally was named one of the 100 UK Leading Environmentalists by Forbes. Having also been appointed OBE for her Services to Sustainability, Sally now shares her expertise on the action we must take, such as promoting a circular economy, to tackle climate change. If you are looking for a speaker who can contextualise the benefits of a circular economy, hire Sally Uren today.

Testimonial:

“Sally was incredible. We have had phenomenal feedback on her speech. Everyone was impressed with her knowledge and personality. Not only was she inspiring but holding a room in the level of heat we had that day was incredible.” – Chloe, Giffgaff

Steve Howard

Co-Founder of the We Mean Business Coalition, Steve Howard is renowned as a mission-driven sustainability leader who is driving innovation for a better future. Having formerly worked as the Chief Sustainability Officer of the IKEA Group and as the Co-Chair of the Environment and Natural Resource Global Future Council for the World Economic Forum, Steve is an expert in implementing futureproofed strategies to ensure businesses are environmentally friendly as possible. With IKEA being a highly sustainable business, Steve is also able to share his expertise on circular economy as a keynote speaker.

When hired as a circular economy speaker, Steve highlights the positive effect reusing and recycling materials can have on the environment. Currently the Chief Sustainability Officer of Temasek, Steve is committed to the longevity of our planet and the deceleration of climate change. Working with the most influential catalysts of climate change action, Steve is committed to delivering the most ambitious and comprehensive corporate sustainability agendas and accelerating the transition to a circular economy – leaving the current state of ‘take, make and throw away’ behind for good.

Testimonial:

“The event went really well and Steve was great, so well received. His presentation was great, and to stand up for 45 minutes with no slides or notes isn’t easy! Please pass on my thanks and appreciation to him.” – Orla, PwC

Jeremy Schwartz

A businessman with a track record of working for world-class consumer and retail companies, Jeremy Schwartz has enjoyed a fruitful career – most recently having forged a reputation as an authority on sustainability with astute expertise on profiting from sustainability. As a preeminent authority on sustainability, Jeremy’s expertise was developed as the CEO of The Body Shop and Chairman of Sustainability Transformation for Kantar. With experience in setting and stretching environmental goals, Jeremy has also been the host of the Saving Tomorrows Podcast.

Having also been the Marketing Director of L’Oreal, the Director of Brand Marketing for Sainsbury’s, the Director of Marketing for Coca Cola and the CEO of Pandora, Jeremy’s expertise as a businessman knows no bounds. Having implemented successful sustainability strategies for some of the world’s biggest brands, Jeremy expertly advises companies on the benefits of practising a circular economy, reusing and recycling products and limiting waste. Also demonstrating to audiences the possibility of profiting from sustainability, Jeremy emphasises the true benefits of a circular economy.

Testimonial:

“We were very happy with Jeremy Schwartz and he was well received by the team and our CEOs. His messages were on point with the overall content of the conference. – Rebecca, Tapestry

Mike Barry

Determined to create a more balanced society and supporting economy, Mike Barry is a sustainability advocate with a decorated career history. Best known for the time he spent working as the Head and Director of Sustainable Business for Marks and Spencer, Mike helped to develop and implement the ground-breaking Plan A sustainability initiative and delivered over £750m of business benefits. Mike’s revolutionary Plan A encompassed everything from zero waste to landfill to 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality across M&S warehouses, and won 230 awards – all thanks to Mike’s revolutionary sustainability expertise. One of the many coveted awards that Mike claimed was the Sustainable Business Innovator of the Year by the Guardian Group, a testament to his expertise on sustainability, climate change and circular economy.

Aside from his role at M&S, Mike has also been a Strategic Advisor for Clim8 Invest, Co-Chair of the Sustainability Steering Group for The Consumer Goods Forum, a Board Member for the World Environment Center and a Programme Committee Member of WWF. Today, Mike is the Director of Mikebarryeco.com, a company dedicated to helping people transition to the business cycles of the future. Dedicated to creating a better future that will be fruitful for people, society and the planet alike, Mike is hired time and time again to share his expertise as a sustainability speaker, focussing on crucial elements of tackling climate change – such as the importance of adopting a circular economy.

Michael Pawlyn

A renowned architect, Michael Pawlyn is famed for his expertise in Biomimetic Architecture, and for the time he spent as a Lead Architect on the design of The Eden Project. Passionate about using nature-based solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges, Michael is a preeminent authority on sustainability and emphasises how crucial it is to combat climate change. Founding Director of Exploration Architecture Limited, Michael has also worked on various other sustainable architecture projects – such as Las Palmas Water, the North Wales Tidal Energy Project, the Sahara Forest Project and The EcoRainforest. With such detailed expertise, Michael has also become a bestselling author, having written the book Biomimicry in Architecture.

As a passionate advocate for sustainability and nature, Michael is now highly sought after as a speaker for various corporate events. Sharing his expertise on how to protect the environment, Michael can passionately promote the benefits of a circular economy, reusing and recycling materials instead of letting them go to landfill and destroy our planet. A seasoned speaker, Michael has formerly shared his expertise in the two TED talks Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture and Learning From Nature. When looking for a sustainability expert who can contextualise the benefits of a circular economy, don’t hesitate in hiring Michael Pawlyn today.

Testimonial:

“A tremendous inspiration to all and the response has been fantastic. It was the best presentation I have ever experienced!” – VELUX A/S Lab

Peggy Liu

Chairperson of the Joint US China Collaboration on Clean Energy, Peggy Liu is a preeminent authority on green energy and the importance of transitioning away from fossil fuels. Dedicated to embedding sustainability in a new national identity of China, Peggy is catalysing societal change and eco-city development. With previous experience of sitting on the Global Agenda Council on Sustainable Consumption 2011 and 2012 for the World Economic Forum and as an Energy Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative, Peggy is expertly positioned to discuss the benefits of transitioning to a circular economy – promoting the benefits of renewable energy.

Named as one of China’s Top 50 Innovative Business Leaders by China Business News Weekly, a Women to Watch in Asia by Forbes and a TIME Magazine Hero of the Environment, Peggy’s impact as a sustainability leader has been exemplary. Also nicknamed China’s Green Goddess by Global Times, Peggy is on a mission to encourage societal change to combat climate change. A seasoned speaker, Peggy has formerly delivered the TEDx talks Cultural Bridges – Service Jobs of the 21st Century, China as the Cleantech Laboratory of the World and Dream in a Box. When looking for a circular economy speaker who can put into perspective the reality and benefits of a circular economy, hire Peggy Liu today.

Testimonial:

“Peggy is an inspirational role model to many in the industry. Peggy stands out for her compelling presentation of thought-provoking ideas and knowledge of the industry. Her showmanship and positive energy make any event memorable.” – Jonathan, Co-Chair, Urban China Initiative

Hire a Circular Economy Speaker Today!

If you are interested in hiring one of our passionate sustainability and climate change speakers to discuss the prospect of a circular economy, don’t hesitate in getting in touch today! Contact us by calling 0203 9355 587 or by filling out our online contact form.

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