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01 May 2018

Glasgow leads the circular events challenge

Scottish Event Centre

Three circular solutions – developed by over 60 people from 13 countries across the world – are set to help transform Glasgow's thriving events industry. 

Circular Glasgow, a joint initiative from Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and Zero Waste Scotland has announced the winning solutions to the first challenge hosted on Circle Lab.  Also partnered by Scottish Event Campus and the Glasgow Convention Bureau and Major Events team at Glasgow Life, the challenge asked citizens and companies from cities across the world how local businesses can improve the economic, environmental and social legacy of major city events and conferences.

The three winning ideas include a deposit-based reuse system for food and drink containers, circular designs for event marketing and branding, and a scheme that will repurpose organic waste into energy and fertilisers. Circular Glasgow is delighted that the SEC has pledged to continue its support, acting as lead incubation partner in piloting the implementation of the winning solutions.

An open invitation is now being made to city venues, SMEs, entrepreneurs, consultants and investors that interested in collaborating and sharing relevant expertise to ensure these solutions are successfully implemented.  

The winning solutions evolved from a month long online crowdsourcing effort, culminating in ten solutions that helped to envision what a truly circular events space could look like.
Circle Lab, an online platform supported by eBay Foundation and developed by Circle Economy, is designed to engage and education a global community to solve universal challenges with circular solutions.

The next phase of the challenge now aims to translate the open source concepts that emerged from Circle Lab into actionable and measurable pilot projects.

Alison McRae, Senior Director of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘Glasgow is world renowned for its major events and this Circle Lab challenge has generated a number of solutions on a global platform which can benefit our business community. They are about introducing new ways of doing business – with potential to give a real competitive advantage - and are also better for our city. Alongside the SEC, we are inviting businesses who are involved in, or benefit from events and conferences in the city to come forward and take advantage of these open source ideas. The pace of change is daily and there is a real opportunity for Glasgow to lead the way on this.'

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “I am delighted by the winning solutions of this unique challenge, uncovering truly circular ideas to transform the thriving events industry in Glasgow. Already a leading city in hosting events, these innovative solutions will help to maximising the potential of resources and could see Glasgow leading the way in developing new business models to deliver sustainable events. I'm delighted that our partnership with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce continues to provide a hotbed for this kind of thinking.  This initiative shows that the circular economy can benefit a broad range of sectors and provide the new businesses opportunities we need as the world changes.â€'

Harald Friedl, CEO at Circle Economy, said: “In four short weeks, Circle Lab brought together over 200 contributions from 60+ people hailing from 13 different countries, and another 1,000 were following the challenge online, contributing on social media, and reaching out to us personally throughout the challenge. But simply dreaming up a circular world isn't enough, which is why we're so excited about the incubation phase, where we'll be working together with both the Circle Lab and the local Glasgow communities on moving beyond intent and bringing our collective vision to life.â€'

The next phase of the challenge is a unique opportunity for other venues and SMES with expertise in this field to come forward and position themselves as front-runners, on a global stage, in the field of the circular economy by contributing to the incubation process.  Depending on the outcome, teams working on solution based pilot projects will have the opportunity to showcase their work at the Circular Economy Scotland Hotspot 2018 - which over 300 of the world's leading decision-makers, trade representatives, investors and circular economy entrepreneurs are expected to attend.

The interaction between local and global communities that the Circle Lab platform affords will continue throughout the incubation phase and will enable all participants, both in-person and online, to benefit from global insights and to engage with and support local stakeholders in the process.

To get involved, contact the Circular Glasgow team at or visit

Circular Glasgow complements Zero Waste Scotland's and the Scottish Government's nationwide support for SMEs to develop circular economy business ideas, including its £18million Circular Economy Investment Fund and Circular Economy Business Support Service. Both are supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

Circle Lab has been made possible in part by a grant from the eBay Foundation, a corporate advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation.



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