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Circular Economy: Introductory concepts and making the business case

The Circular Economy Sustainability Leadership Lab explores key concepts relating to the circular economy, the application for business and how to build the business case into your organisation.


This short course was delivered 25-26 April 2018

Duration, format and location

Two-day professional development residential seminar; Cambridge, UK


The course fee is £700 to £2,250, including accommodation and meals (see fees table). Lower fees are available for multiple delegates or Labs, not-for-profits, developing countries, and self-funded individuals.

How to apply

Submit your application or find out more about the selection criteria.


Sustainability Leadership Labs

University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) Labs bring together professionals to test and challenge cutting-edge responses to global problems. Open to all our alumni and senior industry practitioners, these two-day sustainability workshops held four times per year in Cambridge, are an opportunity for professional development, co-creation and networking – all with real application to your company or organisational situation.

Read more about the Sustainability Leadership Labs, and details about fees and applications.


Circular Economy: the challenge

What is the circular economy? What are the drivers for moving to a circular economy, and what are the barriers and risks? What opportunities does the circular economy bring for business? How do I build the business case within my organisation? What financial analysis can be used to make the business case?

Answers to these questions were explored at our Circular Economy Lab, drawing on the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s forthcoming report and framework Designing your approach to the circular economy and the work of the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Circular Economy Centre. 

The two-day short course explored the fundamental concepts relating to the circular economy and addressed the key elements of the business case, with a focus on the financial analysis. It also offered the opportunity to practise making the business case in an organisational context.

Case studies were presented by corporates leading in work on the circular economy.


Learning experience

A blend of taught and practical sessions gave participants an understanding of the key concepts of the circular economy, with a focus on building the business case within your organisation and the opportunity to co-create solutions using innovative learning approaches. 


Who should attend?

The Circular Economy Lab was especially beneficial to those working in strategy, sustainability, innovation, supply chain, R&D, new product development, business development, service innovation, start-up entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and change managers.

Apply for the Circular Economy Sustainability Leadership Lab 


Benefits of attending

This professional development short course stretches your thinking through discussion with leading academics and practitioners, as well as active participation and case studies. Through participation, delegatesl understand how thier company can:

  • Gain an overall understanding of the circular economy debate, including drivers, risks, barriers, transitioning to the circular economy and business models
  • Situate the company in the context of the circular economy
  • Understand how to build the business case internally
  • Explore the value proposition that the circular economy offers
  • Reflect on the company’s resilience to the external context, and transformation and innovation needed
  • Learn practical lessons from businesses active in the circular economy 


Learn from industry experts and thought leaders

The Lab featured interactive sessions and case studies. Speakers at this event included:

  • Ian Ellison, Senior Manager – Sustainability, Jaguar Land Rover
  • Gary Punter, Head of Technology, AB Sugar
  • Professor Khaled Soufani, Director Executive MBA, Director Circular Economy Centre (CEC), Director Middle East Research Centre (MERC)
  • Dr Dai Morgan, Deputy Course Director, MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
  • Gavin Warner, Director, Sustainable Business, Unilever 


Keynote lecture

Ian Ellison, Senior Manager - Sustainability at Jaguar Land Rover will be presented ‘Making the strategic case for the Circular Economy’, as keynote speaker for the Circular Economy Lab. Based on his experience leading Sustainability in Product Development at Jaguar Land Rover, Ian explored the strategic justification for companies to embrace the circular economy and how this needs to be enabled through the ‘rewiring’ of the economy.


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Louise de Muscote

Louise de Muscote


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