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Standards Australia Presents: Transitioning to the Circular Economy

August 26, 2022

A webinar with Lisa Mclean, CEO of Circular Australia, Helen Millicer, Director at One Planet Consulting and Suzanne Toumbourou, CEO Australian Council of Recycling.

The current linear (take-make-use-dispose) economic model is putting the earth’s life systems under immense pressure.  Population growth and material consumption are accelerating climate and biodiversity crises, and overuse of natural resources is leading to negative environmental outcomes.

However, by transitioning to the Circular Economy, Australia could generate $1,860 billion AUD in direct economic benefits over 20 years and save 165 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2040[1].

The Circular Economy is a model of production and consumption which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible. Proponents believe it is an important and viable approach to achieve sustainability with reduction in products and services.

On Tuesday, August 30th, at 3 – 4pm (AEST), as part of our centenary celebrations, Standards Australia is hosting a webinar, Transitioning to the Circular Economy, with Lisa McLean, CEO of Circular Australia, Helen Millicer, Director at One Planet Consulting and Suzanne Toumbourou, CEO Australian Council of Recycling.

During the event, the three speakers will discuss the state of play in Australia in relation to achieving a circular economy, the role standards play, and what needs to happen to drive sustainable growth.

The webinar will also delve into how standards can help charge Australia’s transition to the circular economy, and what can we learn from leading economies and organisations that have committed to the transition to circular economy.

Ms McLean is a circular economy and zero-carbon business transformation leader. She has been successfully advising industry and governments in developing new policy frameworks and regulations that bring about market change to enable the circular economy over the past 14 years.

​In her role at Circular Australia, Ms McLean works collaboratively with government, industry, research organisations and communities to initiate, create and communicate circular economy opportunities and solutions for Australia.

“By 2050 our population will have grown immensely, and we currently won’t have enough resources to continue to consume the way we currently do. We’re all responsible for this and need to address these issues and move towards a model that is achievable, sustainable, and beneficial to all. I’m looking forward to speaking with Suzanne and Helen on the needs and next steps for a Circular Economy and encourage people to tune in and get involved”, Ms Mclean said.

Ms Toumbourou is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR).

She is a sustainability, recycling and circular economy subject matter expert and has broad experience encompassing Federal and State Governments, industry, and non-profit organisations.

“Echoing Lisa, this is going to be a great discussion. Recycling is a critical gear in our evolving circular economy.  Everyone has a role to play in the recycling value chain and it’s so important to work together cohesively to deliver broad and great outcomes,” said Ms Toumbourou.

Ms Millicer’s focus is on strategic changes that set our course for a sustainable future. She has been at the forefront of changes in water, energy, carbon, organics, materials and production in government, private sector, and several national industry associations.

She is currently lead consultant to the Australian Government on a significant project into strategic changes to enable a circular economy for all products made, imported, and used in Australia. She is also currently consulting on a world first national stewardship scheme for soft plastics with the Australian Food and Grocery Council, specifications for heavy weight shopping bags and founder of Australia’s first training program combining climate and circularity with the University of Technology Sydney.

“There are big, urgent challenges ahead of us, however I’m enthusiastic about our opportunities as we reorient our organisational, financial and regulatory systems, moving away from perpetuating the linear and high-polluting past toward a circular, sustainable, climate-resilient future.”

Find out more about the webinar here and register to attend today.

[1] CO2 per year by 2040: building-a-more-circular-australia.pdf (

Jess Dunne
Communications Manager

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Jess Dunne
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