Circular Economy: Lessons for Australia and the built environment

With finite resources both an environmental and economic challenge, moving to a circular economy to maximise and regenerate our resources is both a great, and essential, opportunity for Australia and our built environment. But how do we do it?

Built recently partnered with Green Building Council of Australia to host, Circular Economy: Lessons for Australia and the built environment. The seminar featured presentations from international authority, Dr. Jaqueline Cramer, Chair of the Holland Circular Hotspot, and leading circular economy experts, and provided an opportunity for the industry to come together and discuss ideas to take action towards circularity.

The Netherlands is a global circular economy leader, committing to a 2050 target for a waste-free economy and 2030 target to halve raw material consumption. Chair of the Holland Circular Hotspot, Dr Jaqueline Cramer showcased The Netherlands’ experience in developing circularity at scale and the learning that can be applied to Australia and our built environment.

She was joined by Lisa McLean, CEO of Circular Australia, who has been working in the private and public sectors to drive circular economy outcomes and regulatory change, and discussed the state of circularity in Australia and unveil relevant initiatives within the building industry.

You can download and watch the full seminar below.

Key Speakers

Dr Jacqueline Cramer, Professor of Sustainable Innovation at Utrecht University and Chair of the Holland Circular Hotspot

Prof. Dr. Jacqueline Cramer is member of the Amsterdam Economic Board, in charge of the Circular Economy and Professor of Sustainable Innovation at Utrecht University. She was also previously Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment for the Labour Party (2007 –2010). Dr Cramer’s background is primarily related to industry, working as a consultant for many years with more than 200 companies on the implementation of sustainable entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility and the Circular Economy. She has also worked as part-time professor since 1990 and is a member of more than 120 international and national advisory boards of the government, industry and non-profit organisations.

Presently, she is Chair of the Supervisory Board of Holland Circular Hotspot, Mayor of Circle City, Chair of the Concrete Agreement and the Building Agreement Steel and Patroness of the Plastic Soup Foundation. In recent years she has been asked by various governments and local boards to assist in implementing Circular Economy including Canada, Hungary, Romania, UK and the OECD and has been invited to speak at many conferences in the Netherlands and abroad on Circular Economy.

Lisa McLean, CEO of Circular Australia

Lisa is a Circular Economy and zero-carbon business transformation leader. She has been successfully advising industry and governments in developing new policy frameworks and regulations that bring about market change to enable the circular zero-carbon economy over the past 20 years. This work has covered the supply chains, infrastructure, energy, water, waste and mobility sectors in the UK and Australia.

Lisa is the CEO of Circular Australia, a national independent NFP leading the transition to a zero carbon circular economy in Australia. Lisa has worked to catalyse new circular economy, zero carbon, sustainable markets including initiating and setting up Open Cities Alliance, a peak association for next-gen infrastructure and the circular economy, the Australian Solar Thermal Association (AUSTELA), advising electric mobility providers, and working in the private sector driving circular economy outcomes in water and energy and advocating for policy and regulatory change.

Watch the full seminar recording


Watch the full seminar where we examine how to take practical steps towards a Circular Economy using real world examples and have your questions answered by leading experts. Discover how to apply circularity at scale, learn how to measure circularity and track progress, and hear how government and industry can collaborate to achieve win-win outcomes.


1. Welcome and opening remarks

Brett Mason, CEO and Managing Director of Built

Davina Rooney, CEO of Green Building Council of Australia

15 mins


2. The state of circularity in Australia

This session outlines how and why the world and the built environment need to shift from linear to circular and provide an overview of the state of circularity in Australia and what is being done to drive change.

Definitions and measurement
Key drivers for change
Key principles in built environment
State of circularity in Australia

Lisa McLean, CEO of Circular Australia

30 mins


3. Industry collaboration in moving to circularity

This session outlines why industry collaboration is vital to transition to a circular economy and provide some practical insight in how this can be achieved.

Dai Forterre, Senior Policy Officer for Economic Affairs with the Netherlands Embassy in Canberra

Dr Usha Iyer-Raniga, Professor, Sustainable built environment, RMIT University

15 mins


4. Lessons from the Netherlands

This session focuses on how a country can successfully transition to a circular economy, highlighting lessons learned, using real-world examples.

  • How to make circularity feasible at scale
  • Implications for the built environment
  • Changes required in the supply chain to make circularity feasible
  • Network governance and transition brokers to facilitate industry change
  • Case studies of projects built according to circularity principles
  • Practical tools/tips that can be used to transition successfully

Jacqueline Cramer, Professor of Sustainable Innovation at Utrecht University and Chair of the Holland Circular Hotspot

60 mins


5. Q&A and Closing remarks

Joe Karten, Head of Sustainability and Social Impact at Built

45 mins