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The event ‘Designing our future using the ‘waste’ of the past' was the third in a series of food waste events that the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre hosted. It was held as part of the Melbourne Design Week and delivered in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria.
Attendees both in-person and online explored how ‘designing out waste’ can help Victoria meet its target of halving food waste by 2030.
Our MC and host for the night, Matt Wicking creatively held the space for the audience to imagine what 2030 could be. Setting the scene with the story of being on a cruise ship at sea with climate scientists on board and the challenges that we face as a collective around climate change and food waste.
Matt led conversations with local food-focused designers and innovators to discuss how to bring Victoria’s zero-waste future into the present and inspire others to eliminate food waste through design. Solutions included: eliminating avoidable food waste and transforming unavoidable food waste through re-designing into new products and re-thinking our food supply chains.
Our speakers were:
Jordy and Julia Kay, founders of Great Wrap
Matthew Kronberg, founder, and CEO of Grainstone
Kate Dundas, Director of Strategic Foresight and Research, Sustainability Victoria
The speakers shared their vision of how to halve food waste by 2030.
The final advice and insights of the panel speakers about what businesses and individuals can do to get on to the path to food waste reduction by 2030 included:
There are people with great innovations over here and others with great business skills – we need to link those up.
Everyone has skills they can use to solve environmental problems.
Everything has been designed; we can redesign everything – every small decision we make can get us towards our desired future. The accumulation of all our little decisions will have an impact.
Food consumption trends are moving towards healthy, sustainable trends – jump on board!
To reach your goals, you will need to ask embarrassing questions and look and feel awkward – be okay with that.
This illustration was done in real-time to capture key ideas and insights raised at the event.
View text description of image
The following are speaker quotes and ideas, and questions and answers from the event.
Jordy and Julia Kay quotes:
Kate Dundas quotes:
Matt Kronborg quotes:
Questions and answers.
Watch the full recording of the event below.
Director, Strategic Foresight and Research, Sustainability Victoria
Founder and CEO of Grainstone
Co-founder of Great Wrap
[Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Melbourne Design Week’, ‘Designing our future using the ‘waste’ of the past’, ‘Sustainability Victoria’, ‘Victoria State Government’]
[The visuals during this webinar are of panellists seated on stage]
Hello. Welcome everybody to tonight’s event. It’s wonderful to see so many faces in real life. It’s a treat to be able to get out from behind the computer screen and talk to you all.
I’d like to begin by acknowledging the lands on which we are meeting here today in Melbourne, the lands of the Bunurong, Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the eastern Kulin nation. I’d like to pay my respect to Elders past, present and future, and acknowledge the continuous culture for 67,000 years, and really just respect and acknowledge the innovation, sustainable knowledge, design knowledge of the traditional owners of the land on which we’re meeting, and the traditional owners of the land on which the people who are online are listening from today, which is probably all over Victoria, if not all over Australia.
So we’re going to have some polling tonight. So the first thing we need to do is get out your mobile phones.
Go to slido.com. That’s S-L-I-D-O. Slido.com. Is it up there? Yep. There’s a QR code which you might be able to get on your phone on the screen.
Is it working? Thumbs up anyone. Some nods. Yep. So the next thing to do is enter the code, which is up on the screen too. So it’s #U747.
And you should be able to use that platform both to answer questions and to ask questions. There we go. We’re already doing the first activity. So in one word, what are you hoping to get out of this session?
Should have revealed it at the end so you’re not getting nudged in to answering something.
U747. That’s a good one.
Inspiration. That’s a big one. I certainly feel inspired by the conversations I’ve had tonight. Always incredible to hear about people who’ve had ideas and are making them happen.
Good one. We’ve got wine glasses on our table. We were wondering if we’re going to get wine, but just water. If anyone can turn water into wine, feel free to come up.
Okay. I think we’ve got a clear winner. Inspiration. So that’s a challenge for the panel, to inspire you, and I feel like we’re not going to have any problems there tonight, particularly with our guests here.
So there’s another question to answer, which is what are you or your organisation doing in the circular economy space? So you can take your time to answer that. There’s a couple of options. And we’ll come back to the answer for that question later on in the event.
But I’m going to hand over now to our host extraordinaire, one of Australia’s top 12 thinkers, Matt Wicking. Well done.
Thank you so much Kate. And thank you everyone for being here. I want to acknowledge the land that we’re on here at Deakin Edge as well, the land of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people.
As was mentioned, I’m your host for the night, but I’m also going to be kicking things off by setting some context. I want to share a story with you.
Some years ago I found myself on a cruise ship. Has anyone ever been on a cruise ship before?
They’re these huge white hulking ships. Probably bigger than that container ship that’s been blocking up the canal recently. Huge. It looks like a massive white apartment building that’s been pushed off on its side and shoved out to sea. I was on one of them. And it was for a holiday, so I was there to relax, but it wasn’t a particularly relaxing time, and I’ll tell you why.
But first, I want to invite you if you’re in the room with us here or if you’re at home, to close your eyes for a second and come away with me on to the deck of that ship. And I want to invite you to imagine yourself standing on the deck of this ship with the ocean stretching out far away into the distance as you can see. And there’s the smell of salt on the breeze, sun on your skin, the faint hum of the huge engines down below.
And people around you. You can hear voices, splashing in the pool, and as you look around you, you can see people going about their day, enjoying themselves on the boat. I invite you to open your eyes again now.
And I want to tell you why I wasn’t enjoying myself so much on the boat. I felt like I should be right? Everything was there. There were games, there were scheduled entertainments. There was like a schedule of fun. You should have definitely been able to have a good time on this ship. But it just felt like something wasn’t right, and I wasn’t sure what it was. So I went looking for some answers, and when you’re looking for answers on a ship, you go talk to the crew or the captain. So I thought I’ll go up to the bridge. So I clanked my way up the metal steps to the bridge, and as I opened the door to the bridge of this ship, I was surprised by what I saw.
The captain wasn’t there. There was no crew in there. It was full of scientists. And I knew they were scientists, because they were in their white lab coats with clipboards, you know, the classic. And iPads as well. They’re modern scientists. And they were poring over the controls on this ship, analysing the data, trying to understand what was going on on the ship, because they too realised that something wasn’t right, and they were trying to get to the bottom of it. And I said to them ‘What’s going on? What are you all doing here?’ And they looked back at me and said ‘Well what are you doing here? You’re not meant to be up here’. I said ‘Sorry. I just came looking for answers’. And they said ‘Look Matt, we can tell you a few things for sure. We can tell you that things are bad. We can tell you that the more we learn about it, it’s looking worse. And we can also tell you that the issues on the ship are not caused equally by the people on the ship. Folks up on the top level in first class berths are having more impact than people down in the lower decks’. And I said ‘Boy, that is all really interesting. Thank you for sharing with me’.
And I looked behind this person that was talking to me, and I saw the dials on the ship, and they weren’t like what you would normally expect to see on a ship. Some of them said different greenhouse gas emissions, and they were all in the red. They had waste. It was in the red. They had water wastage as well. That was in the red. All these different strange indicators on this ship. So I was surprised to see it. I didn’t know what to do with it. I thanked the scientists. I said ‘If all the signals are in the red and things aren’t right, why isn’t anyone doing anything?’ And they said ‘Look, I don’t know. That’s not my job’. So I said ‘Okay. I’ll go see if I can find answers’.
So confused, I went down the steps again and I turned the corner, and as I was walking towards my room, I saw a bit of an argument or a debate breaking out on the ship, and there were a group of about nine people huddled together having this conversation, and there was someone in the middle. And this guy, he looked surprisingly like Yeb Sano, the Philippine representative to the UN actually on climate change. Anyway, this guy was in the middle of the group, and he was saying that ‘I’m a representative of the lower decks, and I’m up here to tell you that something’s very wrong on this ship, and that we need to take action now’. And the people around him were listening. They were trying to make sense of it. And he was saying ‘This madness has to stop’. He was saying ‘People are trudging through water on their way from their room to the bathrooms. The food’s getting spoiled. All the food that’s being stored down there isn’t being used properly. It’s being wasted’. And he said ‘There are fights breaking out as well’. He said ‘Something has to change’. And I tapped a woman who was on the edge of the circle on the shoulder and I said ‘What’s going on,’ and she said ‘Well, this is a gentleman from the lower decks,’ and she explained what he’d been saying. And I said ‘What do you make of all this?’ She said ‘Well I guess I’ve got a certain perspective. I’m an ethics professor. I’m here on a holiday like you, but ethically this is about as clear as it gets’. She said ‘The folks on the top deck are having an out weighted impact causing the issues the people on the lower decks are feeling first and worst. There’s a clear responsibility. We need to act’. And I said ‘Okay. So it’s happening. There’s a clear responsibility to act. Why aren’t there alarms going off? Why aren’t crew members rallying to try and do something? I’m just surprised that I’m now finding out about this. She said ‘Yeah. Sorry. That’s not my wheelhouse. I’m not sure’.
So you can imagine right. At this point I’m like what kind of a cruise is this? I came here to get away from it all. I thought I might lie on a sunlounge and get sunburnt. But no, I’m not enjoying myself in the way that I thought I would be, and something shocking is going on. So I headed back to my room to take a seat, maybe have a lie down, possibly have some whiskey and get my head together to work out what to do, because I really didn’t know. And as I turned the corner and I headed back to my room, I saw there was a gentleman outside my door, and I wasn’t sure actually if he was waiting there for me or not. He sort of looked a bit suspicious to be honest. But I said ‘Hi. How’s it going?’ And he said ‘Are you Matt?’ I said ‘Yeah. Who are you?’ And he said ‘My name’s Graeme Pearman. I’m the former head of atmospheric sciences at the CSIRO, and I heard you’ve been asking some questions around the ship and I wanted to come and share with you’. And I said ‘Well Graeme, this is amazing that you would happen to be here right at this very moment when I’m trying to understand what’s going on, and someone of your calibre is right here before me in a floppy sun hat and a Hawaiian shirt. That’s amazing’. And he said ‘Yes. My outfit is amazing, but let me share a little bit of something with you’. And he said ‘Matt, I have been like those scientists up on the top deck of this ship studying what’s been going on for a long time. I’m now retired, and I just cruise the world on this ship. But in my time up there, I have spent 35 years trying to get to the bottom of this stuff, and I thought that if I get the data really clear, then things would change’. And he said ‘I fell into a deep depression when I realised that’s not how this works’.
He said that he’s now talking to and encouraging other scientists to talk to behavioural scientists to collaborate and partner and work with people from different parts of the community in order to shift things. Because people don’t just respond based on numbers and stats and facts alone. He was dismayed to learn that, but he said he’s learnt that the hard way. So I said ‘Well Graeme, thank you so much for stopping by. Do you want to come in? I’m just about to have a stiff drink to try and get my head around what’s going on, and would you like to join me?’ And he said ‘No. Look, Michael Bublé’s actually singing at the casino tonight, so I’m going to go catch him if you want to join me,’ and I said ‘No thanks. That’s not really my cup of tea’. So I left him to go see Michael Bublé. I went in to my room for a sit down. I went in and I closed the door behind me, and as I closed the door behind me, I lent my head back on the door and I closed my eyes – and I invite you to close your eyes as well – and as I did, I took a nice deep breath – and I invite you to do the same. A nice deep breath into your belly.
And I let it out again.
And I did that again, and I let it sink in.
And as I stood there, the PA system above my head crackled to life, and a voice came through.
And the voice went ‘There’s no direction home from here. Let the rising tide swallow all your fear. There’s no direction home from here. Let the rising tide swallow all your fear. There’s no direction home from here. Let the rising tide swallow all your fear.’
And you can open your eyes again, if you haven’t already.
And I looked down on the ground, and there was this piece of paper on the ground, and I picked it up. It had my initials on it. MW. This is the one actually. I kept it with me. It was a keepsake all these years. Do you want me to read it to you, what it said?
It says now there’s no siren, but I know you too feel some alarm. We’re going to meet in the community room on the lower deck at 6:30pm. Bring your ideas and inspiration, bring your stories and your songs. Bring your whole selves. We’re going to need them. We’re taking action. So I shoved it in my pocket, I looked at the time on my phone, and it was 6:37. And I thought I’m going. There’s other people who know what’s going on as well. There’s other people who are urgently, desperately trying to create change. I want to join them and check out what’s going on. and I went down to the community room. It was this huge room. I told you these ships were really massive right? It was huge. I mean the ceiling was – it was actually very similar to this height actually, and it was probably – it was very similar to this. It had a wooden stage, and there were people sort of spaced out in the chairs. There’d been a pandemic, and so people were pretty nervous about cruise ships, as you could imagine.
Actually, you were there. You were all there.
You were there sir. 6:38 in the community room. Actually, this is very familiar. Sorry. I’m just having a weird déjà vu kind of thing right now.
Anyway, it was really great. We had this incredible conversation. This group had been meeting for a long time. People were on this ship, some of them were living on the ship. Graeme Pearman had been there for decades. And they’d talk about different topics every week. They’d gather together, they’d bring in expert guests to speak on these topics, and they were using this as an opportunity in the midst of a really challenging troubling time to work out what to do and to take action. And I felt like for the first time on that trip I was in the right spot, and I was really glad to be there.
Now I’m going to pause my story there.
So welcome folks. My name’s Matt Wicking. I’ll be your MC for the evening. It’s a pleasure to see you all. I’m glad you could pause your holiday on this cruise to join us in this room.
I’m really excited to be here, to be hosting this conversation. We’ve got a lot of people here in the room with us, as many as COVID rules will allow, and we’ve got a whole lot of folks – I’m looking right down the camera now to them – joining us online. We had massive numbers of RSVPs for this event, which just shows how much interest there is in this really critical topic. And so thrilled that Sustainability Victoria are putting it on and hosting this conversation.
Tonight, let me give you a sense of what we’re going to do, and then we’ll dive straight into it, as if we haven’t already. We’ve got four great guests who are going to be joining me up here on the grey chairs. I’ll be in the pink chair. We’re going to talk tonight about Victoria’s big and necessary goal of halving food waste by 2030, and we’re going to talk about the role of design, as this is Melbourne Design Week, in creating that change. We’re going to talk about how we can eliminate avoidable food waste and transform unavoidable food waste in to new products by rethinking and redesigning our food supply chains. Tonight you’ll hear from local food focused designers and innovators – that’s who’s going to be joining me up on stage – who are doing this work of eliminating food waste through design. And it was great to have a chat with them before the event. There’s some great stories, great things happening, and I’m excited to hear from you here in the room as well.
Most of you have already become familiar with Slido, the technology by which we can ask you questions. You can also use that to ask us questions tonight. So hopefully you’ve logged in to that, and we’ll look forward to getting your questions for the panel. Whether you’re here in the room with me now or dialling in online, same thing goes. We’re going to have the wonderful Rosa, who’s just over in the corner here – give us a wave Rosa. Rosa’s a graphic scribe. She’s going to be drawing in the background as we go, creating some beautiful images that capture and synthesise our conversations that will be shared afterwards. So really look forward to seeing your work Rosa. Thanks for being here. And then of course there’s you in the room and you online.
I want to invite you now to take a moment to talk to the person next to you, because sometimes the connections we make here are the most important thing we get out of an event like this. If you know the person next to you, you might think about turning to the person behind you. Up to you. I’ve got a question for you to chat about, just for a minute. What would you do to design out food waste? That might be the food waste from your fridge. It might be the food waste from your organisation, your city, your region, or Victoria wide if you’re ambitious. That is up to you. What would you do to design out food waste? Have a quick chat for a couple of minutes.
And if you’re at home, feel free to reflect on that question for yourself.
Okay folks. Welcome back. It’s always a really tough job to break up beautiful conversations, but I’m going to do it, because it’s my job tonight. Thanks everybody.
I was just saying it’s always a tough job to break up conversations like that, and so great that you’re getting into the juicy stuff. We’ve got a wonderful panel of guests here who I just want to welcome and introduce to you all, and then we’ll dive into this conversation. And look forward to your questions as we go, because I know you’re all so engaged in this conversation and interested to learn as we go, and be inspired too, as you told us at the start. So I’m going to not awkwardly shift over to my pink chair here and introduce the panel.
Thank you very much. So the four legends to my right are Jordy and Julia Kay, founders of Great Wrap, who manufacture home compostable clingwrap. Give the audience a wave.
Give them a round of applause. Thank you.
We’ve got Matthew Kronborg, who’s the founder and CEO of Grainstone, an advanced manufacturing agri-food tech company doing amazing things with the waste products of the beer industry. Give us a wave Matthew.
And Kate Dundas, who’s Director, Strategic Foresight and Research at Sustainability Victoria, and who you’ve already had the pleasure of hearing from briefly. G’day Kate.
So to get us started, what we’re going to do is we’re going to hear from each of our guests answering a bit of a pre-cooked question. Here’s one we prepared earlier. We asked them to let us in on their vision of the future in 2030. So I mentioned before that Victoria has this ambition to halve food waste by 2030. We have a huge food waste problem, and it’s a global situation. We’re not unique in that. But here locally we have some amazing folks doing some amazing work, and we’re going to hear from them. They’re going to start by sharing their vision of the future in 2030 when we’ve halved our food waste. We’ve done it. We got there. We achieved it. Well done everyone. That was great. Aren’t we amazing? Yeah. Great. And so then I’m going to start with you Matthew if we can and hear a few minutes from you telling us a little bit about yourself and your vision of the future.
Sure. Thanks Matt, and thanks for the great introduction. It was beautiful. I think the way I’ll start, we’ll talk a little bit about the human experience, and what’s the future that we want. Some words that come to mind are fair, prosperous, advancing, loving, exciting, and perpetually sustainable. Ultimately we want a world that’s more hopeful than the one we’ve come in to. We want to create a better future for our children. I think the innate survival instinct built in to every one of us is more is better than less, and this creates a unique and interesting dilemma on this spaceship earth that we live on. We can’t continually consume all of the world’s resources perpetually. We need to find a way to solve or marry up a solution so we can achieve what we want individually as humans, but also living on this planet.
So that puts us, as Matt’s alluded to, in a really interesting time. This century is make or break for us, and I think that’s really exciting, but also a dangerous time. And that should be motivating for a lot of people. I think we need to stand up to the challenge, as we’ve stood up to COVID here in Australia. We’ve listened to the scientists. We’ve collectively done what is necessary, and we’ve solved essentially that challenge in 18 months ago an unheard of time, which creates in me a lot of hope for addressing this challenge, the global sustainability grand challenge.
I think we can achieve the Brundtland definition of sustainable development, development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. I think we have the technology solutions available to us. Anyone who’s ever been a bit of a wonk and enjoyed perusing or doing patent searches realises how much technology there is out there, and it does often just need implementation and execution. And that’s where you need entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in companies and externally founders to help take that leap of faith that other people can come on that journey with.
I think in Australia we’ve created, or signed up to two very important treaties in the past few years, the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Paris Agreement of course is an aspirational target to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees, and fundamentally that means that we’re going to have to try to reach net zero emissions globally by about 2040 latest. That’s a big target from where we are today, but I think it is achievable. Equally, the Sustainable Development Goals, 12.3 in food waste is to halve food waste by 2030. This is a target the Victorian Government has also adopted. Again, very ambitious target, but I think achievable with the people and the resources we have here in Australia. If anyone can do it, I think Victoria can do it.
And that draws me to I guess a closing point. Victoria is really well placed to leverage and become world leaders in this space for solving food waste and driving the economic, social and environmental benefits that can come from that. The jobs, the regional development, the economic growth. These are all things that we can do here in Australia. So I think considering the goals and the motivations, and educating others around that, they’re two things that we can really do towards halving food waste by 2030.
Thank you so much Matthew for that hopeful vision. I got distracted a couple of times watching Rosa scribing up there. It’s beautiful just to see it coming to life. I know it’s a little bit far away for folks here and on the cameras to see, but there will be a reveal afterwards when you can check those out after the event. And not to distract you Julia and Jody. I know it’s behind you. But you’ve got a job to do right now.
Yeah. I want to see what happens. If you say anything specifically, will it be drawn?
That’s up to Rosa. She’s absolutely empowered to do whatever she would like to do.
Got to hit the buzz words.
Cruise ship. Can we see your interpretation of a cruise ship?
So let’s hear from the two of you. You’ve founded this amazing company called Great Wrap. What’s your vision for 2030 when we’ve achieved this? How does that look?
How long have we got?
We’ve got five minutes.
Yeah. Because we talked about it beforehand, and I was more sort of thinking sort of future vision, and then Julia can probably talk more about what we’re doing today and now, and our sort of vision as well. But we were sort of on the drive here today, and I thought long and hard about it, but you sort of flash back to Australia ten years ago, and everyone was talking about start-ups, and Facebook was really starting to be cool, and Australia was sort of like ‘Wow. We should all go start software companies and solve this problem,’ and we developed apps where we could get cupcakes delivered to our house at a really fast pace. It was really new and exciting, and we were in our infant stage of solving these kind of software problems.
I feel like now with sort of social and environmental impact problems that we’re trying to solve, Australia’s really in its sort of infant stage. There’s incredible solutions out there right now, but we’re still trying to figure out how to best deliver them. And I feel like a lot of the times every week you see a new university’s converted something from a waste product into a consumer goods product, or maybe a raw material that we could use to create a consumer goods product, and we go oh my gosh. There’s this incredible innovation over here, but then there’s someone over here who’s probably really good at running a business or bringing together a great team that could deliver that solution, and then there’s a crap load of money over here, or people with money call it capital, and it’s sort of like this triangle that is kind of not quite joining together.
And I think we’ve seen it. We’ve sort of been introduced into this ecosystem in the last couple of years. We’re in this infant stage, but now there’s this intense ground swell, and it’s really gathering momentum and we’re starting to see it, even just on a global stage, but locally as well. There’s some incredible solutions being developed, and I do think Victoria, Australia, we are sort of starting to lead the way with some of these solutions. So it’s really exciting and promising, but we do need people to link these things together. And that’s really critical over the next sort of coming years, is to kind of take these sort of solutions from that infant stage to a point where they’re walking and talking and giving exits for people with capital or actually sort of implementing incredible solutions. So I think that’s sort of how I see it panning out.
Totally. And I think you’re totally right, and I think the thing that’s been really interesting about our journey is knowing that you don’t actually have to have the skillset. You don’t have to be a chemist or a biopolymer engineer to connect these dots. Jordy was a wine maker, I’m an architect. We don’t have this background. But after putting two years of energy into what we’re doing now, we’ve brought people together to create a solution that is actually starting to have a massive impact, which is what’s really exciting. So I think vision for 2030 would be that everyone understood that they had skills that could actually be used in a way to solve a problem for the environment, even if right now it doesn’t seem clear, I think would be my vision.
That’s great. And Jordy, the first thing you said was think back ten years ago, Facebook was cool, and think about where Facebook is at now. How much can change in ten years. That’s quite amazing. So I think you’ve just given me a whole lot of hope, even just from that. And then also a beautiful idea Julia that you’re sharing, that really the bringing people together to collaborate, to work together across different skillsets and so on is what you’re doing. And you’ve found yourself in these unchartered waters for you, and you’re learning and growing and doing some pretty special stuff with it, which we’ll hear about more as we go. Thanks you two. And Kate, over to you. What’s your vision for 2030 after we’ve achieved it, we’ve done it? We’ve ticked it off our to do list.
That’s right. And one of the surprising things that you’ll find out when you read the Path to Half Report, available on the CEBIC website, is that a lot of the waste actually comes from the household. So it’s the decisions again that we’re making around what we’re buying, how we’re storing it, but also that the producers are making or the manufacturers, turning that product into something that’s sold around how long it lasts on the shelf for example. So there’s lots of innovations that could be made in the creation of products that last longer in the way that we consume and behave with our buying habits. So write a list for example when you go to the shop, and make sure you’re not wasting too much food. Think about how you might cook and share with your friends and neighbours. Lots of really easy basic stuff, and of course compost rather than putting it in the bin.
It’s a cultural change that you’re talking about that needs to happen isn’t it?
Big cultural change.
So then measurement is a big piece that you’d love to see shift and that you think might unlock some potential. What about you Matthew? What’s your thing?
Yeah. Well I completely agree. I’ll start by seconding the data. That’s fundamental.
I’ll add a second vote to that one.
Seconder. Yes. I started my I guess food waste journey over a decade ago working in Cleantech at Qantas by prospecting for feedstocks for biofuels, waste to energy basically. And in that journey I came to recognise how much food waste is actually generated out there, upstream, so pre-retail, as well as downstream from consumers, households, commercial kitchens etcetera. It is an incredibly complex system, and there is a lot of opportunity there. It won’t be solved by any one player. It won’t be solved by any single stakeholder set. We all need to sort of work together on this. The role Grain Stone is playing is focused on the upstream consistent food waste. So one of our first cabs off the rank is around brewers spent grain, so a by-product of beer production. Around 300,000 tonnes of it is produced in Australia each year. We see an opportunity to take this really nutritious by-product and recover it into nutritious food products, so specialty flour, nutraceuticals. It can be a good source of alternative or protein isolate for instance for displacing soy and pea proteins for instance in some of these alternative meats, cellular meats that are coming on to the market at this point in time. I think there’s a lot of potential there.
So we’re trying to bring the infrastructure solutions to the key bottlenecks in the market. Going big allows us to help work on getting the price down, so then the market opportunity massively is expanded.
We’ve sort of got a bit of a methodology around starting with a premium price point, trying to enter as a boutique product, and then expand out as our scales of economy expand with our technologies, to reach a point where we can essentially take a food waste and convert it into commoditised level food ingredients. But that’s just part of the waste hierarchy. There’s many other solutions that come above and below what we’re trying to do.
Yeah. Great. That’s great. And I’m getting a sense that everyone at different points of this sort of ecosystem needs to play a similar role of looking at what are the waste products and how might they be valuable. Great. How about yourself Julia? What do you think is a good intervention that might be related to the work that you two are doing perhaps?
For sure. Probably we’ll talk about the work that we do, just because it’s very much a part of every day. But I think the problem that we started tackling was not initially around food waste. It was around the problem of single use plastic, which was devastating. We both grew up on the coast, and just fundamentally feel that throwing plastic in the bin is wrong. And so that’s when we started to look into stretch films, which Australia goes through 150,000 tonnes of a year which ends up in landfill. And we just thought it was a massive problem, and so then we started looking at opportunities to solve this issue. And that’s when we came across food waste, which we thought great, there’s heaps of this stuff. It’s obviously a huge problem. It’s going into landfill, releasing methane, which is 25 times more potent than CO2. What can we do with it? And that’s when we’ve begun the journey of Great Wrap.
And so what we’re doing at the moment is we’re taking someone who was sort of a start-up like us ten years ago. They’ve taken the waste from making potato chips, fermented that down, and have converted that into an input that we use to make our films. We’re also working with Monash. Leonie who’s in the audience is helping us develop our own process to do this as well. So yeah, I think that’s just been an incredible journey, and we continue. If we continue to innovate in the way we use our food waste – like I was telling you guys before, someone’s making a cork substitute from potato skins. There’s just this huge opportunity to take a problem and an excess by-product and come up with a solution that we can integrate into our lives.
It’s really interesting Julia, because the way you’re describing it, you actually saw food waste as the solution.
Which is really interesting.
Yeah. It was an awesome solution.
It’s actually brought the price of our product down substantially as well. It’s much cheaper because of food waste.
Cheaper compared to what it would be if you tried to create a petroleum based, or do you mean cheaper if you...[trails off] - - -
Cheaper than a biopolymer made from corn starch.
Which is also intensive agriculture is a terrible by-product of corn starch products.
Right. So it makes it a cheaper input, and it makes it an input which obviously was going to be going to waste anyway, producing greenhouse gas emissions and so on and so forth, and that you would have to grow something else, use massive amounts of water inputs, cost and all of that. It’s amazing. So it’s sort of a solution that kind of unlocks a whole lot of benefits back the other way.
Yeah. It’s sort of this a-ha moment when you think why aren’t we doing this more often with more things?
This makes a lot of sense.
Why are our clothes not made from food waste?
But there are people developing fibres – there’s banana fibres that have been used to make carpets. They’re all out – again, it’s these things are all out there. They’re just at a small scale. So it’s getting the people that have the capacity to commercialise an idea. That’s why it’s great we’re all on this cruise ship.
That’s right. Exactly. And it goes back I think Jordy to the point you made about needing to connect people together. Because if you’ve never known about – you might have been sitting there with this obvious problem glaring you in the face, but if you’d never known about that potential, then you couldn’t have joined those dots. So it’s potentially a really important role there for connecting.
Yeah. Absolutely. I feel like if anyone was watching right now and wanted to start something, it would be a really good accelerator program or incubator to bring all of these people together. Maybe SV could fund it. We’ll see how we go. But I think just bringing all the great ideas and the great humans together to sort of solve these problems, and the money as well, we could get a lot done.
It feels like an excellent segway – and I wouldn’t be doing my job properly as host if I wasn’t taking advantage of segway opportunities – to talk about the Victorian Government’s Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre, CEBIC, which is kind of, from what it sounds like to me, sort of playing a significant role like that, a hub which can support this transition to a circular economy providing funding information and other resources. So for folks like yourselves, for folks joining online and in the room here who are interested in taking these steps, maybe you have a problem that you want to try and find a solution to, or the other way round, you’ve got a waste product that could be a solution but you don’t know what it might solve, getting in touch and starting the conversation there. Because if we have hubs, if we have places where people can connect and information can flow through, then we’re much more likely to make those connections it seems to me.
Not so long ago, you all logged in to Slido and answered a question. I would love if we could see the answer to that question here, so we can get a little bit of a sense of the journey that folks who are watching here are on as well. Because we got a little bit of a sense of your journey. It’s up on screen now. What are you or your organisation doing in the circular economy space? The winner, the most answered question, was exploring, exploring how we can participate in or contribute to the circular economy space. Great. And so that I guess sort of suggests that lots of people are starting to go okay, what is this? How might I fit in? How might this be relevant?
31% though, very similar sort of a number, innovating. A whole bunch of people are implementing. So we’ve got about almost a third of the group tuning in implementing. And then collaborating is really big as well. I feel like we’re getting up to above 100% there. Am I reading the graph right?
Is that right?
It does seem like over 100%.
Yes. We said good data is important before, and measuring things - - -
It depends what the one at the bottom says, which we can’t see.
I’m going to assume regardless of what the numbers say, and if I may be understanding those incorrectly, but regardless of what the numbers say, let’s assume this is the order, and then that’s still interesting. How about that? We can find out for you afterwards. But great. What I want to do is introduce – if you haven’t lost faith in the statistical validity of our Slido, I’ve got a second question for you, or a third question actually now. I would love to know from you – and I’m going to ask the group here this question in a second – what’s the greatest barrier you face to creating and innovating to eliminate waste or to create a circular food system? Depending on what your role is, and if you’re exploring, you’re implementing, wherever you’re at, what are the barriers that are in your way at the moment? And there’s a bunch of options there you can choose from. So get on in, choose your answer. And as you’re doing that, I’ll invite some folks up here. What are you two down the end there – what are you finding is your biggest barrier? I don’t want to stick in the negative space too long, but let’s be real. Let’s be honest about what sucks, what’s getting in the way?
It’s all pretty good. I think the biggest pain in the butt for us is manufacturing is really slow. So it’s like by the time you order a really specific machine to when it kind of arrives and then you install it and everything, it’s forever. And we’re like we just want to do this now. Because I think we live in a place where there’s a government that supports this. That’s really cool. We live in a place where there is sort of investment opportunities, which is equally exciting. I mean it’s not to say you just walk around and people give you money. You have to really – it sort of is hard as well. But I don’t know. What do you think?
Yeah. I think it’s there. I think the brick and mortar factory thing is challenging. I think what would make that easier is more people being on our team almost. Getting those people with solutions in. There’s a lot of biopolymer specialists in the world. Things like that. I mean that’s a very niche example, but outside of that the barriers are feeling smaller and smaller every day. I think when we first started and we didn’t know anything about the space, the wall was a lot higher.
That’s so great. That’s really nice to hear. I didn’t expect such a positive answer to the barriers question. I thought I was going to have to counsel everyone through depths of despair and the emotional trauma. We may get there. We’ve got a couple of answers left. But so far, so good to hear. And that some of the challenges are actually really practical technical things, and it sounds like as these sorts of movements expand as circular economies become more of a thing, then there may be more availability of experts, even more folks at Monash and elsewhere who are available and working on this stuff I presume. Matthew, how about you? What’s your - - -
Sure. I think there’s a few barriers. There’s practical ones to commercialisation. I think one of the lovely things about Australia is all of our space, but the tyranny of distance also does create practical challenges when you’re trying to aggregate food waste streams from a diverse array of farms or food manufacturers into a central point. The food waste is often quite high in moisture, water, and driving water with diesel powered trucks is expensive, emissions intensive, just generally not something you want to do. But I do see Tesla’s bringing their new semi-truck to market. Driverless, electric vehicles. I think that’s an exciting opportunity for the future that will help to really solve that transport and logistics challenge that we face in Australia, unless we’re going to up all farms and aggregate or cluster them together according to what they’re producing, which is not going to happen. So I think we have to look at I guess technology based solutions.
I’m getting a very clear no vibe from our SV representative on the panel.
It’s a real aspiration. We just pick up all the farms in Australia and cluster them together.
Dream big they said.
Dream big they said. Yes.
We tried the big farming monoculture thing.
Yes. There’s issues there of course. For food waste there’s also I guess a double-sided market dilemma in the investment space, especially when the price of these feedstocks are still sort of getting worked out upstream and downstream, the finished products, the pricing of that is still getting worked out. So trying to build firm business cases around that when you’re launching infrastructure is challenging.
Do you mean that a by-product might be very cheap until people realise that it’s actually a value and then the price changes?
Precisely. It’s sort of a golden goose dilemma if you may. Once people realise there is value in it...[trails off] - - -
‘Oh no. We really value all this stuff that we used to just throw away.’
Yeah. And that can often delay sort of negotiations of commercial solutions as an example.
So lock in 100 year contracts for price with your suppliers when you first start. I don’t know.
But yeah, fundamentally there is these producers of food waste that don’t know how to price it, they don’t know what the options are available for them. So they’re doing what’s in their company’s best interests. They’re trying to sort through all the options available through to them, and naturally that sometimes just takes some time. So what we can do to support them through that. I think a lot of companies have moved beyond I guess apathy. That used to be a problem. Still is in some companies, but most are coming on the journey at the moment for food waste.
That’s so interesting. And I mean I guess it makes sense to be someone who’s got a waste product and you don’t know how much value it has. We’ve had a display here in the room, an exhibition that people have been able to go around as they’ve entered, with all sorts of different products made from seaweed, made from potatoes, made from whatever it is – cups made of oats, clingwrap made of potatoes. I would never have guessed that these combinations are possible. It almost sounds like science fiction. So I’m not surprised if people don’t know the sort of potential value they’re sitting on.
What we’re going to do is invite some questions from you all out there now. So Slido is the place to go, and there’s a Q&A option that you can choose. And we’d love to invite your questions from the audience, and as we do that, I’d love it if we could – Mel, are we able to bring up the answers to the barriers question that we asked of the audience?
And just invite folks, while we’re doing this, to have a think about what your questions are for this wonderful panel. It’s a great opportunity to ask your questions.
And now I invite the folks on the panel to have a look at these barriers down here. We’ve got challenges securing adequate investment is the biggest one. Lack of awareness of the opportunities that exist, and challenges connecting and collaborating with other organisations.
So I might invite a response from you two down the end. Jordy, you talked about connecting being so important. Do you have any advice for how to do that? It sounds like you’ve made some great connections, whether it be with Monash and others. And I know Matthew you’re doing the same thing. You’ve got this list of different sorts of groups and organisations you’re working with. Can you give anyone advice on how to get over that barrier?
Yeah. I think it’s sort of tough, because we felt the exact same. That was exactly the list when we started out. It was exactly that. And it just sort of changes as you go. But it’s sort of tough, because it seems overwhelming and you’re like where’s the people with the money or where’s the people with the innovation, and how can I be a part of that group, or blah, blah, blah. And then I think you come to things like this, and then you get involved in the ecosystem in some way, shape or form, and it just all starts to just kind of happen.
Hang on. How do you get involved in the ecosystem?
That’s the question.
What does that look like Julia?
I don’t know. See, I think it’s, its [thinking] - - -
Are we in it now?
We’re in it now. I think we’re in it now.
You’ve got to come up on stage if you want to get in the - - -
I think it’s also just an openness to knowing that you’re in an ecosystem. I think also for me personally - - -
It’s quite spiritual really isn’t it? If you become open to being in the ecosystem, the ecosystem will come to you.
Yeah. It’s an energy thing. Don’t start it. But I think when we have conversations, I don’t know, you just start to have conversations and they go beyond the point of a conversation that you have at a pub. If you have a conversation with someone – we’ve spoken about what you do today, and there’s 100 things that I’ve thought of have inspired ideas within me. And it’s like reaching out to that person afterwards and finding that connection into more of a solid thing. And I think making that okay and a part of the way things work is really a good step. You’ve got to be more outgoing than you usually would.
That’s great. I mean what you’re saying in a way is that there’s no secret special formula. It’s like all human pursuits. It’s about relationships. It’s about getting out there, meeting people, talking to people, asking them who they know, getting a sense of what your questions are or who you need to meet, and seeking that out.
Yeah. Thousands of cold emails and calls. So many.
Our questions formed after thousands of conversations. We didn’t even actually know we were asking the wrong questions.
Great. So that also suggests to me then stepping in even if you’re not clear about exactly what you’re after.
A hundred percent.
Yeah. This is an attitude there that you’re bringing to it, which is cool. Anything else either of you two? Matthew, do you have anything to add to that? It felt like a pretty solid response.
I think that’s an excellent answer. I think if you feel like an outsider, just reach out. There’s a lot of really good people that are sort of impact orientated in this space that want to collaborate with businesses, with investors, with technology partners, just to bring it all together and really solve this grand challenge. We’re all in this together, and there’s a lot of value to be had for a lot of people. So let’s work together on it.
That’s great. Matthew’s mobile number is 04 – no.
A couple of things I found useful doing start-ups and not for profit and business is mocking up the product that you’re trying to create. So having a clear vision about what it looks like, and then being able to talk to it, and absolutely not being afraid to go and ask really silly questions with as many people as you possibly can, and just putting yourself out there really.
That’s great. Just like there will be no waste in the future, there will also be no silly questions.
No silly questions.
Let’s bring that one forward. We don’t need to wait to 2030 for that one.
That’s right. But what we’re also trying to do as Government, and SV in particular, is create those opportunities for people to connect. So the CEBIC website, you can go there, we can link you up hopefully with people that might be able to help bring this idea to life. You can also book a one on one with some of our experts and chat through your idea, and they might be able to hook you up with someone else.
So if you go to the CEBIC website, which I did today – I was just browsing the CEBIC website for interest – you go to the website and you can book a 20-minute consult, and there’s a little calendar there and you go find a time that suits you and book yourself in. So starting with a conversation not a bad idea. That’s great. So speaking of silly questions, we’ve got some not silly questions here. And one of the benefits of Slido is that you can upvote them, so the least silly questions will come to the top for me to look at and ask the panel. The magic of Slido. We’re not sponsored by Slido by the way. I’m just riffing here.
So the top question was asked by Simon Lockery. Twelve people have thumbs upped it. So lots of thumbs. A lot of enthusiasm for this one. And I love it, because it’s so timely.
Q: How do you think our connection to and consciousness about food has changed since we were locked in our houses with our food for most of last year?
So what’s the impact of this? Let’s be real. This has been a really, really unique and momentous time. And wouldn’t it be nice if we actually let this affect us and influence us. But how do you think our connection and consciousness about food has changed? Kate, what’s your sense of that?
I think there was certainly an immediate interest from a lot of people about growing your own food. We saw that through 3000acres, which is a project based in Melbourne to get more people growing food. We had heaps and heaps of enquiries. Bunnings sold out of seeds, Diggers sold out of seeds. So I think while people had time and they were in their house, they were looking to experiment with growing their own food, probably it was just something to do, a spare bit of time on their hands. I’ll be interested to see how that pans out when people’s lives become busier, if that happens. Before COVID there was a definite move towards more conscious eating, farm to table. If you look at the trends in restaurants over the past ten years, that was certainly something that was coming to the fore before COVID.
I also would imagine that during COVID there was a massive spike in takeaway food, so that probably wasn’t great for food waste and miles travelled.
So some good changes, some challenging changes. And I guess our task now is to find a good way forwards.
I’m really interested to see how home gardening, urban farming and that very distinct move towards it becoming more popular, if that is something that is maintained.
We’ve got a lot of great questions here. I’d like to do like a quick fire kind of round for a few questions. How does that sound?
The first one is from Sophia B. Thanks for the question.
Q: What can we do to make eco friendly products like Julia has created become more mainstream? How do we make these solutions the industry standard rather than the exception?
Legislate is a good one. Because at the moment the prices are the same, for our product specifically. But the prices are the same. If it was you can’t buy petroleum based plastics anymore, there’s no other option for them to be all across the shelves and alternative - - -
That would have a huge impact.
Yeah. I mean the best way isn’t it really.
Okay. Great. And so then for people who aren’t writing legislation, maybe it’s about influencing those who do.
Great. I’ve got another one here.
Q: The Federal Government has a 2030 target. The Victorian Government has a 2030 target. Do Victorian councils need a 2030 target?
What do we think?
Yeah. Big time. Big time.
What influence would that have Jordy do you think?
I think just that councils have a really powerful way of creating grassroots movements, and no offence, but probably better at communicating with their local community. So I just think setting those sort of targets. We all sort of look to our local council on what is waste, what’s recyclable, and you have the cute little pamphlets sometimes, or we find it on the website. So I just think adding those targets in there is a really good thing. A lot of people go to their council to find out what’s compostable versus biodegradable or things like this, so I think it would be great.
That’s great. Nice answer. I’ve got another one here which I love. I love all of them equally. They’re like my children these questions. But I’ve got another one here I love from Sophia B again. A lot of votes on Sophia B’s questions.
Q: Is 2030 ambitious enough to stay in line with our commitment to the sustainable development goals and staying within 1.5 degrees of global warming?
I love this question. It’s like yes, it sounds ambitious, but we’ve actually got a cold, hard reality of physics that we need to respond to. Is it ambitious enough?
Well it aligns with the sustainable development goal target. It’s the same, of reducing food waste by 50%
And are they aiming at 1.5 degrees or 2 degrees do you know?
No. I don’t know. I would imagine we’re already breaching 1.5 degrees, so no, it’s not.
Okay. Great. Matthew, is that an STG badge you’ve got on?
That is an STG badge. Sorry. Remind me. I was just thinking of something else.
So is this target ambitious enough I guess is the question.
Well yeah. As Kate alluded to, the 2030 goal, halving food waste, aligns directly with Victorian Government and the Federal Government’s target as well. Rolling that out into municipal councils across Australia could be or would be positive insofar as well as thinking of sort of town planning approvals. When you’re looking to deploy some of this infrastructure, you actually need to go through an approvals process and sometimes support process with local councils. If they are biased towards supporting these sort of solutions locally, then that can only accelerate things. So there’s a real opportunity there.
Yeah. Cool. That’s great. And in terms of this sort of ambitiousness of what we’re aiming for, I think I’d like to give everyone permission. If you want to get there faster, then go for it. Let’s do that. So if we’re able to, then let’s go. We don’t have to make that our target. We can go 2028 would be fine too, and then you’ve still achieved it by 2030 and then we can move on to the next half. That’s great. Okay. Good. I’m glad we’ve all agreed on that tonight.
A couple more questions here from the audience. This is something that might take our conversation back to the lives of those watching online or here in the room.
Q: What one change would you ask an individual to make if they don’t yet have access to circular economy processes or design?
Who’s got a thought on that one?
You could do lots of little things. Write a list for your shopping and join a CSA, a community supported agriculture program.
Great. So we’ve got the using your dollars wisely, connecting in with the community and having an influence that way. Any other ideas?
I would just encourage people – it sounds really simple, but riding bikes and not taking single one person in a car to drive. It’s ridiculous. We’ve got a beautiful climate. It’s Australia. We’ve got bike paths.
It feels like also we’re talking about – I know for a long time in this space, in the sustainability world, we’ve given people suggestions of individual actions they can do, and that’s what the question is asking for. But there’s a quote by Bill McKibben where he says the best thing an individual can do now is to be less of an individual, and to collectively gather together with community, with others, to influence politicians. I mean the fact that we’ve got Sustainability Victoria doing this great work is the consequence of communities wanting this and creating that change.
You could always stand for election.
You could stand for election.
Now we’re talking. You were talking to me?
You could. Yeah.
Great. Okay. So there’s a suggestion for you. Stand for election. And there’s an example of kind of doing both at the same time. It’s an individual choice, but it’s actually about creating community change. Beautiful. I reckon I’m going to go to one more question. We’ve got a question here.
Not that one.
There’s a lot of questions here. Thank you so much to everyone who’s put them in. We unfortunately don’t have time to do all of them justice, but I just want to make sure we have a nice one to close on here. How about this?
Q: If we have a good innovative product to drastically reduce food waste…
This is from anonymous.
Q: …where do we take it?
Someone’s got an idea, they’ve got a product. What do they do with it?
Come and talk to us about it.
Okay. That sounds good.
We’ll be glad to hear from you. You’ve done it. What did you do?
Where did you folks go? You had this idea. What did you first do?
So a lot of lounge room glasses of wine discussing, making a plan.
It’s cooked when I think about it now, but we reached out to investors before we had a product, before we had anything, and we were like ‘Hey, we want to do this. We’re not looking for investment. We just want to know what your thoughts are. We’d love some advice. If we were to come back in a year and ask for investment, what would that look like? How would we go about it?’ And we went and met I think with four or five different investors, some massive private equity funds, some smaller impact investment groups, took all of that advice and worked on it.
I don’t even think we had it as well formed as that. We didn’t even say we’ll bring it back in a year. We were like ‘We’re going to do this. What do you think?’
Wow. And would you recommend that as a step now to others? Was that a good thing that you did?
Yeah. It was great. I think just having really open conversations never hurts.
We learnt so much. All of what we have done now is based on those questions. Have you got the IP? What does that mean, three years ago? So things like that. Definitely a great way to do it.
Yeah. A hundred percent I agree. The validation conversation is a really good way to start. Do your desktop research. Try to become a bit of a domain expert. Consider how the market would react to your product, what might be the price point for it. Try to build up a bit of a business model. What’s the total addressable market for this? Is it a really small market, really niche, but maybe it has a really high price point per say kilogram? Maybe there is an opportunity there. But if it’s a really low price point, really small market, then maybe that isn’t the best way to focus your efforts. There’s so many options out there. You can sort of scan through all of them and intuitively sort of start to evaluate them yourself and speaking to other experts is a really good way to start. Speak to universities, speak to Sustainability Victoria, speak to investors that have sort of been evaluating options as well.
Yeah. Great. That’s great. And folks like yourselves who have done this work to date I suppose as well. And that’s one of the key messages that we wanted to get across today and tonight with this event, is that there is support available. There’s a growing, thriving community and network here. There’s the hub that we talked about before, CEBIC, supporting this transition. There’s Stop Food Waste Australia, SFWA. There’s Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre. There’s industry associations like Dairy Australia for example who are working within their sectors to create change as well. So there’s lots happening. There’s lots of places you can go for support. The CEBIC website feels like it’s a good starting place. C-E-B-I-C. What’s the end on that website do you know? Put you on the spot.
Dot something. vic.gov.au. There we go.
CEBIC.vic.gov.au. Thank you. That’s great. Just a desperate plea to the audience to find out that one. We really hope you’ve enjoyed this conversation. Thank you so much for being here all of you on the panel. If I could ask you all for a very short sort of takeaway message from this conversation, what would it be? Could I start with you Kate, putting you on the spot?
Think carefully about what 2030 should look like for you, and then every day when you make a decision, take it towards that point. Think about where you spend your money.
Love it. Thank you.
Some of the slogans. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Think global, act local. There’s a few of them there. But yeah, recognise for food waste consumer trends are moving towards healthier, more sustainable, more adventurous flavours and ingredients. Try and work out how you can jump on the wider consumer trends with solutions.
Beautiful. Thank you.
I think I’ll back you up on that one Kate. So yeah, the 2030 vision. Visualising what that is for you is really important, and it’s also really important to dream big with that, but then understand that to get there you are going to have to ask some embarrassing questions and do some awkward things, and that’s okay. And I think feel comfortable in that would be my push.
I love that. I love that. Dream big and then act awkwardly.
Exactly. And it will be fine.
I think I’d just encourage just connecting with others. If you want to reach out to Julia and ourselves, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope we can help in some way.
Totally. We’d love that.
I think just connecting with others has been awesome for us.
Beautiful. Thank you all. Can we give this wonderful panel a round of applause?
Always love a panel that gives themselves a round of applause as well to each other. That’s very generous and kind of you. That’s the kind of generosity that exists in this sector and its movement.
Our last question for you in the audience at home and here in the room relates to the event itself. We’re not quite finished yet. I’m doing the logistics bit, and then I’m going to do a final sharing for you to close out the story that I paused at the start of the session. So hold on to your hats for that. But firstly, our last questions on Slido relate to the event in a mini survey. So if you could please open Slido again and take two minutes to answer some questions about how you found this event, it would be incredibly useful. This is the bit that at events people often don’t do. They do the questions when we’re doing it and asking the Q&A and stuff, and then you go ‘Oh no, it’s done now’. But if you could do it, it would be incredibly valuable. Thank you so much in advance.
I want to invite you just in the last minute we have to think for yourself what does your 2030 look like, inspired by the stories we’ve heard here tonight, the visions that have been shared and the steps that have been taken to get there. What does your 2030 look like, and what steps are you going to take tomorrow to start your journey? So as I’m plugging in a guitar over here, I’d like you to ponder on that question, and then we’ll wrap up the event.
Thank you so much for being here everybody. It’s been a pleasure to host this event. My name’s Matt Wicking, and I hope to see you at a circular economy event soon. I look forward to seeing your innovations, your products and your ideas pushing us towards that target by 2030 or earlier. Thanks everybody.
When I was invited to MC this event, they also invited me to share a story at the start and to sing a song at the end, and I said sure, I’d love to.
But I’m not a musician, so I have no idea what I’m – No. That’s not true.
This is my example of bringing your whole self to what you do I suppose, because I think, that’s a really important thing for us all to do in this space. These are some challenging topics and issues we’re tackling. And this song is one I wrote many years ago. It was around the time of the Black Friday bushfires, and it’s about the moment we find ourselves in. It’s about picking yourself up from that moment and going forward and taking action, and making new plans for the future together.
Picture me standing in a forest fire counting every burning branch.
Picture me sifting ashes through my hands.
Picture me sitting in a clearing now, my head between my hands.
You told me that the forest wouldn’t burn.
Why did I wait for so long to see the silence in your soul?
Why did I hold out my hands as if the rain could understand?
You said you made your money when the markets crashed.
You covered yourself in gold.
You said you’d only done what you’d been told.
You said to head to the forest when the fallout starts, you’d meet me there in turn.
You promised me the forest wouldn’t burn.
Why did I hold out my hands as if the rain would understand?
I’m going to take a branch from the black tree and scratch a circle where I’m standing.
I’ll draw a line into the dry grass and plant a ghost gum to remind us.
I’ll trace my way through the suburbs and move in like a dry wind with no words.
I’ll take a fist full of charcoal and write my name on your white walls.
Why did I wait?
Now ring the bells in the town square.
We’re going to build a fire there.
We’ll fill it with our old plans.
We’ll let them burn, burn, burn.
Yeah. Ring the bells in the town square.
We’ll fill it with our old plans.
And so I sang this song at the end of this event in the community room, and the lighting state sort of changed and I sang it, and as I sang the last line, people got up and left and milled around. There was some exhibition stuff in the room, a bit like this actually, and then they wandered off into their lives. And I hear that they went and created amazing change together, which was really beautiful.
Ring the bells in the town square.
We’ll let them burn, burn, burn, burn, burn, burn, burn, burn, burn.
Thank you folks. Thanks to our wonderful panel again, and thank you to you for being here online or in person. Beautiful to meet you. See you again soon.
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