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Riversimple Announces Circular Economy Innovation Centre for Wales

By February 25, 2021 4   min read  (706 words)

February 25, 2021 |

0 Hugo Spowers Riversimple

Designed and delivered in partnership with Swansea University and the University of Exeter, the Circular Revolution is the first business-led hub in the UK focussed on circular thinking.

The £2.3m operation is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, which is contributing over £1.5m.

The Circular Revolution will be run from a dedicated centre in Riversimple’s HQ in Llandrindod Wells, and will deliver two programmes of activity.

The first is an outreach programme for business in West Wales and the Valleys who are keen to engage with more sustainable products, services and business models. Swansea University and the University of Exeter will be supporting companies in discovering the latest practices and exploring how to embed circular principles into their business.

The second programme of activity is pioneering research and innovation aimed at tackling the specific challenges businesses face in adopting a sale of service circular model. Six pilot projects will focus on developing procurement, computation systems, and legal frameworks.

Dr. Gavin Bunting, Associate Professor from Swansea University, said: “With businesses increasingly aware of the need to embed sustainability at the heart of organisations, the Circular Revolution provides an excellent opportunity to connect Welsh industry to the expertise in our universities, creating new opportunities and enabling Wales to be at the forefront of circular economy.”

Dr. Fiona Charnley, Associate Professor from the University of Exeter, said: “The Circular Economy offers a compelling framework for systems change that, whilst simple in narrative is often difficult to implement, particularly for smaller organisations. The Circular Revolution offers a unique opportunity for organisations in in West Wales and the Valleys to engage with circular innovation and learn from industrial and academic best practice.”

Riversimple Director, Fiona Spowers said: “It is a privilege to be afforded this opportunity to host the centre and drive circular thinking forward globally from Wales. While there is a lot of enthusiasm for the concept of circular business models, they are hard to adopt and embrace fully. With Circular Revolution’s pilot programme, we are uniquely positioned to trial, test and refine this research on a real small business in Wales, Riversimple.”

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “As we move Wales towards becoming a net-zero nation, and we progress our transition towards a Circular Economy, it is vital that we do all we can to encourage businesses of all sizes in Wales to adopt more sustainable business models and services. Everyone has a part to play in making Wales a fairer and more sustainable nation, and businesses are no exception.

“As such, I’m very pleased to welcome the launch of Circular Revolution, a new approach at the forefront of innovation to provide businesses with the advice, guidance and support as they look to change their business models and face new challenges – and I am especially pleased to see the keenness and enthusiasm of the businesses involved.”

Circular Revolution will support Wales to develop sustainability in West Wales and the Valleys and beyond, helping build the Green economy. The European Regional Development Fund is helping to create jobs, support business and raise skills in Wales through this operation.

The circular economy is a burgeoning topic across the UK, with a number of initiatives in Wales, such as the Circular Economy Fund and the Circular Economy Innovation Communities. The Circular Revolution is uniquely focused on helping the practical transformation/ transition of businesses to this new business model, with the understanding that it impacts a company’s whole network of relationships. No business can become circular in isolation.

University of Exeter’s CE expertise: Home to the Exeter Centre for the Circular Economy, one of the largest interdisciplinary CE focused research groups in the UK with expertise in circular design, innovation and business modelling.

Swansea University’s CE expertise: Dr Gavin Bunting chairs the Circular Economy Research and Innovation Group for Wales, which enables collaboration on the Circular Economy across all Welsh HE institutions.

Riversimple’s CE expertise: A member of the World Economic Forum’s Circular Cars Initiative; elected in 2017 as one of Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s Emerging Innovators; clean slate design of the entire business to minimise resource consumption, evidenced in an all-inclusive sale-of-service business model.

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