Scotland wins Circular Economy award

Posted by Jamie Pitcairn on 19 January 2017

What a fantastic achievement for Scotland to be recognised as a leader in the Circular Economy.

To emphasise all the great work that is happening in Scotland I am reminded of a presentation I gave with Iain Gulland (chief executive, ZWS) at a ‘Smart Cities’ event in Edinburgh over 2 years ago. I was asked to give an overview of the opportunities for the circular economy (CE) within a city region. At that time I recall having to trawl the internet for examples from Australia, Denmark and the usual suspects from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which although helpful predominantly featured multinationals and therefore not that relevant to the majority of businesses or ideas which can be replicated by nations or cities.

Fast forward to 2017 and Scotland has now been recognised at The Circulars event held during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. The award is for city, regions or local programmes that “best provides an enabling environment for the circular economy (CE) to develop and flourish”.

If asked to fulfil the same brief for an event again I would be spoiled for choice with a multitude of Scottish circular economy examples – many of which I have been involved in developing through my role at Ricardo Energy & Environment. Of particular relevance is the Glasgow City Scan which took a city-wide economic assessment of material flows and identified a number of innovative projects including a collaboration between a bakery and a brewery which transforms bakery waste into beer – ‘bread to beer’. A project that will not solve the world's resource scarcity issues but it does demonstrate how the concept of the circular economy has begun to capture the imagination and shows how innovative projects are being nurtured in Scotland through Zero Waste Scotland’s circular economy programme.

The Scottish Government needs to be congratulated on its commitment to driving a circular economy and in demonstrating its commitment through backing up its ambitions with policy, legislation and targets. This leadership from government, implemented by Zero Waste Scotland, has delivered a range of new circular economy business models and has enabled the establishment of national cross-sector circular opportunities to be developed. The most high-profile of which is the Beer Whisky Fish sector study which Ricardo Energy & Environment delivered. The report identified many opportunities for improved circularity across the bioeconomy and I look forward to these being realised as Scotland continues to exploit our wealth of resources.

From a personal perspective it is highly rewarding and satisfying to be working and living in a country that is leading the world in addressing such an important agenda as resource scarcity.

Lorna Pannett

Jamie Pitcairn
Director, Scotland
01235 75 3079


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