Image for Australia must change the way it generates wealth

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Australia’s future prosperity is at stake as old ways of generating wealth continue to stall. In a resource-constrained world, business and policy makers need to think smarter rather than bigger and Australia must innovate to prosper beyond the boom and become a regional leader in sustainable business and technology.

Monday June 1 will see a world-first when the meeting of international leaders in business, industry, academia and government converge at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) for the inaugural World Resources Forum Asia Pacific. This is a rare occasion that will champion ideas for innovation and resource productivity by building bridges between policymakers, researchers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, NGOs and civil society.

Co-hosted by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at UTS and SMaRT@UNSW, the three-day forum has attracted keynote speakers from Germany, Japan, Sweden and Finland to present new research and collaborate on new opportunities for Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, such as the ‘circular economy’.

The circular economy – an economy where we “take, make and recreate” rather than take-make-dispose – opens the door to new markets, greater resource productivity, innovation using “disruptive” technologies and new forms of collaboration, production and consumption, according to forum co-chair and Research Director at ISF, Associate Professor Damien Giurco.

“Australia should be a regional leader of the circular economy but we risk being left behind without government and industry support for this much-needed transformation.

“The World Resources Forum Asia-Pacific will address the urgency of finding new economic and business models and seek to produce new industry-government-research collaborations on the complex challenges facing people, planet and profit,” Assoc. Prof Guirco says.

Assoc. Prof Guirco will launch an Action Agenda for the Circular Economy in Australia on Tuesday 2 June (day two of the three-day forum). “We believe Australian industry can thrive if it gets behind these new models for generating wealth, which are already being embraced internationally.”

Forum co-chair, host of the 2015 International Sustainability Symposium and director of SMaRT@UNSW,  Veena Sahajwalla, says UNSW is leading the global research effort in ‘green manufacturing’ to reduce the environmental burden of waste through world-leading research into recycling and transforming waste materials into value-added resources.

“The symposium on June 3 brings together leading thinkers in this area so it is a very important platform to kickstart new ideas, partnerships and collaborations between university, industry, government and the community.”

The World Resources Forum Asia-Pacific is held at the Aerial UTS Function Centre on 1-2 June, followed by the 2015 International Sustainability Symposium on 3 June at the Australian National Maritime Museum. The forum is part of the Vivid Ideas program during Vivid Sydney, an event owned and managed by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

For more information including program details visit http://www.wrfasiapacific2015.net.

Additional Speaker Information

• Dr Alex Wonhas, Executive Director, Energy and Resources CSIRO will be presenting Working together – A vision for collaborative innovation in the region. Dr Wonhas is responsible for approximately 620 researchers who aim to provide science and technology solutions for energy and mineral resources industry.

• Prof Masamichi Yoshimura, Toyota Technological Institute, Japan, will be presenting Fabrication of nanocarbons for future life and green technology. Prof Yoshimura is the group leader of Surface Science laboratory at Toyota Technological Institute, Nagoya Japan and fellow of The Surface Science Society of Japan. He is well-known for his pioneering research in the field of scanning probe microscopy and nanocarbon materials and has published over 200 papers in international journals and delivered numerous keynote lectures.

• Janet Salem, United Nations Environment Programme Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Janet has been working on sustainable resource management with UNEP for the past eight years and will be presenting Opportunities in Australia and The Asia-Pacific. She currently coordinates policy support on resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production in the Asia Pacific region.

• James Moody, CEO Sendle and TuShare, will be workshopping Business Models for a Circular World and is the keynote speaker at the forum dinner. James is the founder and CEO of Sendle, Australia’s first carbon-neutral parcel delivery service as well as the co-author of The Sixth Wave: How to Succeed in a Resource-Limited World. James is also the CEO of Trundle, Australia’s fastest-growing giving community. From 2004-11 he was a panellist on the ABC Television program, The New Inventors.

• Reinhard Kaiser, Deputy Director-General, Ecological Resource Efficiency, Soil Conversation, German Ministry for the Environment, will be presenting in the keynote session Transition Pathways.  Reinard Kaiser has worked at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety for over 15 years.

• Christine Gibbs Stewart, CEO Austmine Limited will be presenting in the keynote session Transition Pathways. Austmine is the peak industry association representing the Australian mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector. Christine has over 25 years’ experience international business, industry development and general management.

• Prof Markus Reuter, Chief Technologist, Outotec, Finland, will be presenting in the keynote session Transition Pathways. Outotect was name the 3rd most sustainable corporation in 2014. Prof Reuter has over 400 publications in books, encyclopaedias, journals and conference proceedings and is the main author of Metrics of Material and Metal Ecology (Elsevier).

• Dr Fiona Cameron, Executive Director, Australian Research Council, will be involved in the International Sustainability Symposium looking at University / industry collaboration. Dr Cameron joined the ARC in 2012 as Executive Director for Biological Sciences and Biotechnology.

• Mark Finney, Group General Manager, Austral Bricks, will be involved in the International Sustainability Symposium on day three looking at the Benefits reuse recycle materials within building products.

• John Barbagallo, CEO Mining Consumables, Arrium will also be involved in the International Sustainability Symposium looking at the Benefits reuse recycle materials within building products. John’s current role encompasses business operations across North America, South America and the Asia Pacific in the supply of market leading products into the global mining sector.

• Johan Eriksson, Research Manager for Process metallurgy department at Swerea MEFOS, Luleå, Sweden. Johan coordinates the collaborative Swerea project on Industrial Recycling and will be presenting the keynote speech on Green Manufacturing on day three.

• Dr Ruth Lane, Monash University, will presenting on day one Barriers and incentives for organisations collecting and processing used electronics in Australia.

•    Mathias Schluep, World Resources Forum, Switzerland, will conduct a round table on Sustainable Recycling Industries: Guidance Principles on the sustainable management of secondary metals.

• Mark Jackson, A.Prince Consulting, will provide an overview on the largest audit of business waste in Australia in his section What are businesses throwing away in NSW?

For a full list of speakers and topics, visit http://www.wrfasiapacific2015.net