Skip to Navigation
Aerial panoramic cityscape view of London and the River Thames, England, United Kingdom

London gears up for Circular Economy Week to accelerate climate action and contribute to a green recovery

28 May 2020

London’s Circular Economy Week (#CEWeekLDN2020) will take place from 1 – 5 June to build momentum and share knowledge about how the circular economy can help tackle the climate emergency. The focus this year is on cities and how they can reduce CO2e emissions from the production and use of products and materials.

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB)’s third #CEWeekLDN is taking place amidst growing calls to ‘build back better’ after the coronavirus crisis and brings together leaders and innovators from around the globe to consider ways of building more resource-efficient and resilient cities.

45% of global carbon emissions come from producing the cars, clothes, food, and other products we use every day, so applying circular economy principles to transform the way goods and materials are made, used and disposed of is essential to tackling the climate crisis.[1] Just 8.6% of the 100 billion tonnes of raw natural materials which entered the global economy were reused last year, but circular strategies could reduce global CO2e emissions by 40% – or 3.7 billion tonnes – by 2050, if applied to the production and use of cement, steel, plastic and aluminium[2].

Circular economy is even more relevant than ever in the current crisis, and the systems approach that underpins it is central to rethinking the challenges of climate change, shortening supply chains and reducing our vulnerability to market shocks like Covid-19. It can also support the creation of higher quality jobs and promote more connected communities. In London alone, transitioning to a circular economy could achieve a 60% reduction in the city’s waste and by 2036 could provide £7 billion-worth of benefits every year in the sectors of built environment, food, textiles, electricals and plastics.

Now in its third year, Circular Economy Week will feature a wide range of online discussions, community conversations and round tables, with a focus on:

  • Innovation in cities – how to build collaborative networks for change and accelerate progress at a national, regional and city level
  • Financing the circular economy – how London’s finance sector can help to accelerate circular economy, foster innovation and invest in sustainable businesses
  • Individual behaviour change – encouraging climate-friendly behaviours, the role of citizens in creating demand for circular products and services, and translating climate change anxiety into personal action

Businesses, policy makers and NGOs from across London and beyond will take part in more than 30 virtual events to help drive a circular, more resource-efficient economy. Innovators and leaders from cities including Barcelona, Toronto, Sao Paulo and Glasgow will all contribute and a range of partners are supporting the week.

Wayne Hubbard, Chief Executive at London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), said:

The world has woken up to the climate crisis – and there is growing awareness among policy makers, businesses and consumers that our ‘take, make, dispose’ model isn’t working. We need a profound shift to create a more resource-efficient and resilient economy to help meet climate targets – and the time is now to seize the opportunity. As we start our recovery from the corona virus crisis, we have a major opportunity to build back better. This isn’t a choice between the environment and the economy: but it is a choice between the old linear, wasteful economy, and the new resilient and sustainable circular economy. Circular approaches can minimise waste and ensure a more sustainable use of resources, benefitting businesses and building a stronger economy. A growing number of organisations and individuals are already responding to this need, which is why it is essential to bring leading thinkers and innovators together through forums such as Circular Economy Week.

Consumers are increasingly dropping brands that fail to prioritise the environment. A survey of 15,000 adults across Europe, North America and Asia, published earlier this year, showed that 83% believe their purchasing choices can help to address environmental challenges – and 61% would drop a brand or product if it had poor environmental credentials.[3]

Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy Shirley Rodrigues said:

Our economy is currently geared towards using resources in a way that is inefficient and unsustainable. A circular economy is part of the solution to the global climate emergency and it requires forward-thinking local authorities, businesses and all Londoners to take action. At City Hall we want to accelerate London’s transition to a low-carbon circular economy by planning for materials to be kept in use for as long as possible and promoting business models which support this. Our draft London Plan includes a world-first requirement for all large-scale developments to incorporate a circular economy statement in their planning submission. We have agreed new plans and ambitious targets with boroughs to boost recycling. And the Mayor has been clear that we don’t need new incinerators in London which have a detrimental impact on recycling rates, air quality and climate change. Circular Economy Week will help raise the profile of this important issue and encourage people across London and beyond to support the transition to a circular economy.

Free events taking place across the week include:

  • A virtual launch conference on Monday 1 June, uniting city leaders from around the world to share best practice on how cities are using circular economy approaches to reduce CO2e emissions
  • A focus on built environment on Tuesday 2 June, including an online conference and hackathon on regenerative construction and circular buildings
  • Webinars on Wednesday 3 June bringing together behaviour change and campaigning professionals to share recent insights and successful behavioural intervention work
  • Panel discussions and keynotes on Friday 5 June to raise the importance of financing the transition to a low carbon circular economy

As well as running its own events, LWARB is encouraging organisations and individuals to get involved by running their own activities during the week. To support this, LWARB has provided a free toolkit to provide practical steps on running an event.


To find out more about getting involved or hosting your own event, visit: and follow #CEweekLDN2020

For more information: contact Harry Day ( on 07734 329067

London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB)

The London Waste and Recycling Board is a partnership of the Mayor of London and the London boroughs to improve waste and resource management. The city’s economic and environmental future depends on a transition to a low-carbon circular economy, and LWARB works to ensure that London’s businesses, local government and communities thrive by helping them make the very best use of resources and materials.

Circular London

Circular London is a programme run by the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), and the programme team is leading Circular Economy Week in London. Circular London aims to facilitate the city’s transition to a circular economy.

CE Week 2020 Partners

There are seven partners supporting CE Week, most of them delivering events of their own. They are: Mayor of London; London & Partners; Circular Glasgow; Funding London; Ellen MacArthur Foundation; Radley Yeldar; and Behaviour Change.

About London & Partners:

London & Partners is London’s international trade, investment and promotion agency. Our purpose is to support the Mayor’s priorities by promoting London as the best city in the world in which to invest, work, study and visit. We do this by devising creative ways to promote London and to amplify the Mayor’s messages, priorities and campaigns. London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and our network of commercial partners.

About Circular Glasgow:

Circular Glasgow is an initiative of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. The project was set up with a vision for Glasgow to be positioned as one of the world’s first circular cities, planning and implementing a strategy to encourage the city and its businesses to work towards greater circularity. Circular Glasgow also delivers a business engagement programme in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, Glasgow City Council and Circle Economy. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

About Funding London & the Greater London Investment Fund:

Funding London aims to bridge the London funding gap and enable real opportunities for sustainable growth in early and growth stage companies. Returns generated from our funds are ploughed directly back into the London ecosystem, making investment available to the next generation. For more information please visit

About Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF)

Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF) operates as a £100m fund managed by Funding London. It supports economic growth by providing loan and equity finance for London’s SMEs, through its investments in three sub-funds. MMC Ventures manage the equity sub-fund, and The FSE Group manage the two loan sub-funds. The GLIF and its sub-funds were launched in May 2019 by the Mayor of London. For more information, please visit

Maggie Rodriguez-Piza, CEO of Funding London, said:

We are delighted once again to be supporting Circular Economy Week. This year due to the current pandemic, the Funding London team are hosting a remote finance event on 5th June, highlighting the innovation and opportunities in London. The circular economy is having a real global impact with London in particular, seeing the emergence of exciting new technologies. At Funding London we are proud and excited to support start-ups focused on the circular economy, with an allocation of £14m via our Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF). The Mayor’s circular economy initiatives are providing real momentum and supporting future job creation.

About the Ellen MacArthur Foundation:

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was launched in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to the circular economy. Since its creation, the charity has emerged as a global thought leader, putting the circular economy on the agenda of decision-makers around the world. The charity’s work focuses on seven key areas: insight and analysis; business; institutions, governments, and cities; systemic initiatives; circular design; learning; and communications. | @circulareconomy

About Radley Yeldar:

Radley Yeldar is an award-winning, independent, London based creative consultancy. We work for clients all over the world delivering a full spectrum of creative agency services. We have a strong focus on sustainability with specialist expertise ranging from strategy and reporting to marketing and campaigns.

About Behaviour Change:

Behaviour Change is a London-based social enterprise that develops ideas to help people do the right thing.  We work with businesses, charities, government and foundations to expand understanding of what really works to change behaviour.




Sign up to hear about our latest events, research, projects and partnership opportunities