Creating value
Creating value
Benefits of a circular economy in South Australia

Behind the report


This website enables you to explore an early-stage investigation into circular economy concepts for South Australia.

Interested in how this came about?

It’s the work of experts in the field, and the product of the vision of Green Industries SA, the South Australian Government agency charged with promoting innovation and business activity in the waste management, resource recovery and green industry sectors (read more about Green Industries SA).

Green Industries SA wanted to find out whether a circular economy (circular economy defined) would be worth pursuing for our State.

They wanted to find out: Could it create jobs? Would it benefit our environment by reducing greenhouse gases? And energy usage too?

To explore this opportunity, Green Industries SA engaged a consortium led by lifecycles who are experts in this area.

A lifecycles project led by Jodie Bricout (who returned to her hometown Adelaide in 2016 after managing the regional circular economy strategy in Northern France) brought together local and global experts to consider this question for South Australia for the first time.

What would they find? Would it prove advantageous for South Australia? Would it be a direction worth pursuing?

To answer this question, lifecycles brought together globally recognised expertise in environmental modelling.

The team included

  • econsearch, the leading provider of economic research in South Australia with extensive experience in economic impact assessment
  • Colby Industries, with experience supporting industry to implement lean production and resource efficiency in their manufacturing and production systems
  • University of Queensland, with unique experience in environmentally extended input output modelling

To explore the possibilities of what a circular economy could look like for South Australia, the team had to make some assumptions.

Those assumptions included…

  • firstly - a circular economy would use materials efficiently and keep products and materials at their highest value (also called ‘material efficiency’). This is a fundamental idea in the circular economy field. It happens when producers use better design to produce products we buy. The design takes into account wastage, so that there is less overall wastage for these products too.
  • secondly - they took into account that in the ‘circular’ economy, it would use energy carefully and would tend towards usage of renewable resources.

Want more detail? (See 'Our methodology')

These assumptions helped our team analyse new scenarios.

We analysed the effects these changes would have on a South Australian economy in 2030.

We based the ‘scenario’ on current trends as a baseline. Then we spoke to some leaders in the field across the globe to check that we were on track.*

As a result of this research, we found that a more circular economy looked good for South Australia.

See our summary on the potential outcomes for jobs, carbon and energy.





* Thanks go to our global reference team: Stephanie Hubold, Ella Jamsin and Lukasz, Ellen MacArthur Foundation; Dustin Benton, Green Alliance; Peter Mitchell, WRAP; Anders Wijkman and Kristian Skånberg, Stockholm Environment Institute; Callum Blackburn and Michael Lenaghan, Zero Waste Scotland; Veerle Labeeuw, OVAM Public Waste Agency of Flanders; Kari Herlevi, Sitra Finnish Innovation Fund; Markus Bjerre, Danish Business Authority; Damien Giurco, University of Technology Sydney; and Sonia Valdivia, World Resources Forum.