New chapter for Victoria: Launching our Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre

Published: 20 November 2020

The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change announced new grants and services to support Victorian organisations as part of the government’s Recycling Victoria action plan, which will see the state move towards an economy that avoids waste and transforms it into valuable resources.

Sustainability entrepreneurs from Victoria, Australia and Chile shared how they built successful businesses that embrace circular economy and transformed market gaps into profitable opportunities. These sparked questions and comments from participants who came from sectors as diverse as manufacturing, retail, food and construction.

Our aim was to start a movement and ignite a conversation. That’s exactly what happened based on the chatter, Q&As and poll contributions and we’re so excited to carry this momentum through to CEBIC’s activities.  


Exciting new chapter for Victorians

The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Solar Homes

Observing how 2020 has shown Victorians to be exemplary in being adaptable, collaborative and innovative, Minister D’Ambrosio said those qualities would see Victoria succeed in transitioning to a circular economy.

The highlight from Minister D’Ambrosio was the announcement on support for businesses. She took participants through:

  • the role of the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC)  
  • how CEBIC will focus on food and organics in the first year
  • how an expert advisory panel will provide support for the centre 
  • two new funding programs that businesses can use to drive innovation and the identification and implementation of circular economy opportunities and approaches.

Minister D’Ambrosio noted that CEBIC will enable collaboration across industry and supply chains, and support that businesses, industry groups, research institutions, not-for-profits and governments in working together.  

She also discussed the integral role the business community plays in enabling Victoria to achieve the waste reduction targets in the Recycling Victoria policy.

Insights from Chile: Be innovative, make data-based decisions

Verónica de la Cerda
Partner and Corporate Chief Executive Officer chief

Verónica described how Chilean company TriCiclos has been supporting both private and public sectors in creating incentives and infrastructure to power the country’s transition to a circular economy.

Verónica drove home the message that being innovative is vital in driving change. TriCiclos started out with the goal of eliminating waste. It went on to establish free recycling stations and now, it manages the largest recycling station network in Latin America. When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit and recycling stations had to be closed temporarily, her team swiftly responded by creating a digital platform to control station access and educate users.

As waste is a design error, Verónica said, the solution can be found in the design process. Alongside consumer-facing work, TriCiclos helps companies to eliminate waste through design. An example is using a digital solution to improve the recyclability of packaging.

Verónica identified the importance of evidence-based decisions, recommending measuring and scoping an issue before selecting solutions. Data also makes impact measurement possible. Only with data can you know if you’re improving. She pointed out that while good intentions may be behind suggestions, the outcome could be worse than the original issue if the strategy taken was not underpinned by data.

We need radical collaboration and meaningful innovation.   
Verónica de la Cerda

Inspiration from Melbourne: Spot opportunities, find like-minded peers

Katy Barfield
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Yume Food Australia

Katy explained that she landed on Yume’s business model of an online surplus food marketplace because she wanted to address excessive wastage of food. In Victoria, 2.4 million tonnes of food goes to waste every year – the volume of 250 semi-trailers.

She emphasised the power of education in positioning waste as a commercial opportunity rather than a burden. She explained that environmentally-friendly business practices do not have to come at a cost to the bottom line, and the right approach can create financially viable business practices.

She advised the audience, “don’t do it alone”. It’s important to find like-minded people on your journey. She gave some suggestions: smaller companies can partner larger companies, or you can seek out ‘intrapreneurs’ in other companies who want to champion your ideas.

Relive the event

If you’d like to relive this inspiring and motivating event in full, watch the recording now.

A huge thank-you to all involved, including our fabulous speakers, host Claire Ferres Miles and audience.