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Circular Economy and Private Sector Development: Learning Series

September 21, 2020-April 21, 2021



Join us here for a series of livestream events to better understand how the private sector can help accelerate the world’s transition toward a regenerative and circular economy.

>>> Tune in on Sept 21st at 9amEDT<<<


    System shocks tend to compel the private sector to reimagine the future of business, to innovate, assess supply chains, and to create value in the midst of uncertainty. This shift has been well documented under COVID-19, and will continue to be felt as the world tackles the Earth’s planetary boundaries. A circular economy – centered on principles that economies can be regenerative by design, retain as much valuable from products and materials, and simultaneously mitigate the climate impacts associated with manufacturing – can likewise help the private sector recover the US$4.5 trillion wasted in the current take-make-waste consumer model.

    Many companies have already embraced circular economy principles in their strategies and operations, by replacing traditional materials with renewable, bio-based, recovered ones; leverage secondary raw materials from waste streams; extending the life cycle of products through design and remanufacturing; sharing underutilized consumer assets more intensively; and/or combining physical products with a service component that increase its value proposition. As a result, they have managed to increase revenue and costumer satisfaction.

    In the inaugural session of this learning series on ‘Circular Economy and Private Sector Development’, we invite global leaders and practitioners invested in a private sector-led transition to a circular economy, explore questions of its economic viability, contribution to resilience, and impact on applicable Sustainable Development Goals.


    21st September 2020 (Monday) | 9.00 – 10.30am EST 

    9.00 – 9.10  

    Housekeeping and Introduction to Session (10 mins) 
    Presented by Caroline Freund, Director, WBG (TBC)

    9.10 – 9.45 

    Global expert presentations (10 minutes each):

    -          The creation of decent jobs in a circular economy – Joke Dufourmont, Circle Economy

    -          Innovation as a driver for circularity – Ken Webster, University of Exeter Centre for CE

    -          Remanufacturing and competitiveness – Nabil Nasr, RIT & REMADE

    -          Government, policy, and circular business development – Shardul Agrawala, OECD

    9.45 – 10.10 

    Panel discussion with leading experts (25 mins) - Moderated by Etienne Kechichian, WBG

    10.10 – 10.25 

    Open Q&A (15 mins) Moderated by Etienne Kechichian, WBG 

    10.25 – 10.30 

    The role played by the donor community to facilitate circularity through private sector development
    Presented by Etienne Kechichian, WBG 


    Joke Dufourmont: Joke leads Circle Economy’s Circular Jobs Initiative, aiming to ensure a positive transition to circularity for work and workers. Her work focuses on research into labor market implications of the circular economy, skills needs for the circular transition and inclusive employment opportunities for vulnerable groups in the circular economy. In this research, she employs impact assessment, scenario modelling and supply chain analysis tools. Additionally, Joke supports policy advisors on the local and national level on the development of inclusive circular economy policies and advocates for a structural integration of labor market and circular economy policy.

    Ken Webster: Ken is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter, Business School and guest researcher at Linköping University in Sweden. From 2010-end 2018 he was Head of Innovation for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy pioneer organization. He is Director of the International Society for Circular Economy (IS4CE). His book, “The Circular Economy: A Wealth of Flows” (2nd Edition 2017) relates the connections between systems thinking, economic and business opportunity and the transition to a circular economy. He makes regular contributions to conferences and seminars around the world. His current interests include: open vs closed circular economy approaches, regenerative agriculture and integrating the monetary and materials stocks and flows. His next book (in preparation) explores the notion of extractive vs circulatory economies and how to transition to the latter 

    Nabil Nasr: Dr. Nabil Nasr is Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He also founded RIT’s Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery, a leading source of applied research and solutions in remanufacturing technologies. Dr. Nasr’s research interests focus on remanufacturing, circular economy, life cycle engineering, cleaner production and sustainable product development, and he is considered an international leader in research and development efforts in those disciplines. Dr. Nasr is also the founding Chief Executive Officer of the REMADE Institute, providing oversight of node-level research roadmap development as well as corporate engagement of the Institute’s largest industrial partners. This national coalition is working on new clean energy initiatives, focusing on driving down the cost of technologies essential to reuse, recycle and remanufacture materials such as metals, fibers, polymers and electronic waste. Dr. Nasr currently serves as a member of the International Resource Panel of UNEP. In addition, he has been an expert delegate with the U.S. Government in several international forums such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), United Nations, World Trade Organization, and the OECD.  He holds an MS and PhD in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Rutgers University.

    Shardul Agrawala: Dr. Shardul Agrawala is Head of the Environment and Economy Integration Division at the OECD Environment Directorate. In this capacity since 2013, Dr. Agrawala leads the Directorate’s work on economic-environmental modelling, empirical analysis of environmental policies, trade and environment, and on resource productivity and waste. He is also a member of the Science Advisory Panel of the Climate Change and Clean Air Coalition. Dr. Agrawala has published extensively on climate change. He has led teams of international experts as Coordinating Lead Author for chapters of the Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has testified before the US Congress, contributed to the Stern Review, and served on advisory panels for the Pilot Program on Climate Resilience of the World Bank and the International Climate Initiative of the German Government. He received his PhD from Princeton University and has previously held research positions at Princeton University, Harvard University, Columbia University and at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis.

  • The linear, take-make-dispose economy that has driven economic growth over the past several hundred years has generated wealth and lifted individuals out of poverty. It has also created vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, wasted valuable natural resources, and harmed fragile ecosystems.

    Many in the business community have recognized sustainability to be a judicious choice that serves economic, environmental, and societal goals. From large corporations to entrepreneurial start-ups, private sector players have begun embracing this transformation and new business opportunities, through innovative business models, close coordination along their value chains, enhanced processes and products, and a general reevaluation of what works and why.

    Systems change requires complex solutions. Join us in this curated learning series to better understand how the private sector makes sense of these complexities and help accelerate the world’s transition toward a regenerative and circular economy.


    Each session will bring together leading experts to consider and provide evidence-based responses to the complex questions inherent to systems change, including: Can circularity be competitive? How does the transition translate in emerging economy contexts? What is the role of international donors, policy makers, and regulation? How can it help spur a COVID-19 response?

    1. CE and competitiveness – Sept. 21, 2020

    6. Textile and apparel – Dec. 2020

    2. Eco-Industrial Parks – Oct. 7, 2020

    7. Tourism – Jan. 2021

    3. Plastics – Oct. 21, 2020

    8. Automotive – Feb. 2021

    4. Digital economy – Nov. 2020

    9. Electronics – March 2021

    5. Construction – Nov. 2020

    10. CE and the future of industries – Apr. 2021

    *Note: exact dates and times to be confirmed. Topics may be added or removed. Each 1.5-hour session will be conducted virtually and recorded.


  • Date: September 21, 2020
  • Time: 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM EDT
  • CONTACT: Etienne Kechichian
  • ekechichian@ifc.org
Register for the upcoming session and the Learning Series