Circular Economy

We have established a programme of work to support organisations in the transition to a circular economy, through networks, events and resources.

What is the Circular Economy?

The traditional, or linear, economic system has largely been based on the process of taking raw materials from the earth, using them to make products which are bought and used by consumers, before the product is disposed of at the end of its useful life. Resource efficiency measures seek to reduce the amount of resources (materials, water, energy, etc) needed to make each product, and reduce the amount of waste created at the end of the product’s life by recycling materials, (accepting that there may be some loss of quality).

In contrast, the circular economy is a generic term for a regenerative economic system in which resources (materials, water, energy, etc) and the value provided by them are retained within the system. This is done, both in the ‘making’ and ‘using’ parts of the process, using innovative methods to maximise first-time use and subsequent uses of the material.

Who is it for?

Our programme is appropriate for anyone who has an interest in their organisation’s sustainability planning.  This includes, environmental managers, sustainability specialists, and strategic advisors.  We anticipate that elements of our programme would be relevant to organisations of all sizes and sectors.

How can I get involved?

Circular Economy Hub

Access a range of online resources including e-learning material and webcasts, as well as guidance documents, best practice templates, and case studies. The Hub also includes a forum to stay up to date with circular economy news, and to facilitate further dialogue between our members on this issue. Click here to access the Hub.

Join a Circular Economy Network

Join one of our Circular Economy Networks to exchange knowledge and experience, and work with others across sectors to identify opportunities for adopting circular approaches.

Email Peter Ramsey to express an interest in getting involved with a Network.

Circular Economy Members’ Network

The Members’ Network is a group of representatives from Business in the Community member organisations who want to find out more about how the principles of the circular economy can be applied to their organisations, hear about case studies, get involved in advocacy work to show support and promote the circular economy, and to inform Business in the Community’s circular economy work.

Circular Office Network

Companies from all sectors – from construction to FMCG product manufacturers – are experimenting with and exploring the opportunities presented by more ‘circular’ thinking. This thinking seeks to retain the value of materials by keeping them in circulation for as long as possible, and eliminating waste in a way that makes economic sense and contributes to the long-term sustainability of their business.

An estimated £474 million of annual economic opportunities have been identified for Northern Ireland from implementing circular economy approaches*, as well as there being the potential to create an additional 13,000 jobs**.

The Circular Economy is broad and it can be difficult to know where to start.

The vast majority of businesses have office premises – so it’s the ideal place to start making a difference. By experimenting with new ideas, and engaging employees the office can serve as a real catalyst for change.

With this in mind, Business in the Community has launched a national ‘Circular Office’ campaign to enable like-minded businesses to come together to explore opportunities, learn and share and try out new ideas towards greater circularity in their offices.

In Northern Ireland, we are launching a Circular Office Network which is designed to specifically suit local businesses. The Circular Office Network will be linked to the national campaign, and members will have the opportunity to share best practice and learn from some of the UK’s leading organisations.

For more information about the Circular Office Network, click here.

Polymers Network

At the beginning of 2017, Business in the Community Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Polymers Association formed a cross-sector network of organisations from industry, as well as WRAP Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council, committed to exploring the opportunities the circular economy presents for the polymers sector. This network focusses on the issue of opportunities to improve the coherence of approaches to a circular economy for food and drink packaging in Northern Ireland. We have identified, and are working on, a number of exciting opportunities to improve the coherence of approaches to a circular economy for polymers at a local level in Northern Ireland.


Attend events to learn from industry experts and develop connections. We will update this page when future events are open for registration.




What is a Circular Office?

07 November 2017

View PDF