Circular Economy Australia

Keynote - Stormwater NSW Awards for Excellence

Thank you! You did a wonderful job, it was intriguing and inspiring – and let’s face it, you hooked everyone, because stormwater should be the ultimate in circular economy! We certainly had a lot of conversation at our table afterwards over dinner.

— Rebecca

Stormwater Australia links the diverse and multi-disciplinary interests of all Australian stakeholders of the Stormwater Industry and represents them at all national forums.

Stormwater Australia promotes innovative and sustainable practice technologies, standards and policies that minimise adverse environmental, social and economic impacts. Stormwater Australia also facilitates an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of agencies and partners working to improve the management of our natural and built stormwater systems, provides an advisory and reference service for the industry and promotes the concept that stormwater is a resource.

Upskill to Upcycle, Vivid 2015

‘Upskill to Upcycle’ by Circular Economy Australia

The Circular Economy is generating thousands of new jobs, creating huge investment and designing with a conscience. 
Waste is known as an unwanted resource. But is that fair? Perhaps it is simply in need of a creative movement, set to change perception about the way we use, deal, and think about our most common by-products.
In this ‘take, make and throw away’ world, we’re constantly surrounded by stuff and things (and more things and more stuff). Quickly, easily, and without thinking, our casual collections become waste. Whether it be a finished coffee cup, an old phone or an unwanted gift from grandma, our waste runs so rampant in our everyday life, it’s now become invisible.
The Circular Economy is flipping waste on its head by presenting new ways to look at use of resources. Instead focusing on regenerative design. ‘Upskill to Upcycle’ brings together leaders of this movement to present their thoughts, innovations and skills to inspire conscious individuals and communities to do the same.
Deep dive into a collaborative design challenge showing you the true value of waste like you have never seen it before. 
Get hands-on and crafty with electronics, everyday products, and waste materials!
Leave energised, inspired and excited about the future. 
This event is for creative thinkers, community makers and social curators. 
A trillion dollar future awaits you, book your ticket today. 
Highlights Include:
• Thought leaders' panel discussion
• Local makers goody bag
• Access to a future thinking network
• Design prizes

Corporate Waste Solutions - Profile Candice Quartermain, Circular Network


Circular Economy Australia founder Candice Quartermain is not short on energy.

A serial entrepreneur, Quartermain is in the throes of developing and crowdfunding a new business aimed at promoting healthy nutrition for children, running a Sydney advertising and design agency, writing books and encouraging innovation at every turn – all while awaiting the birth of her son, as this issue of CWS went to press.

An in-demand speaker on the circular economy, Quartermain has a mission to create ever-increasing networks that embrace the widest possible cross-section of the business community. For her, it’s all about driving “resourcefulness”.

“To me, Utopia would be getting businesses to understand the value of resourcefulness and start driving towards greater efficiencies. We need to encourage new ways of thinking and empower businesses and their staff to go on that journey.

“We’ve got to move away from the old Industrial Revolution way of thinking, which is ‘dig something up, make something, throw it away’. The only way to battle that, to ensure what we take out of the ground becomes products that can be continually reused and provide the same level of value and that has to be a business-led solution.”

Originally from the UK, Quartermain arrived in Sydney in 2010, having already cemented her entrepreneurial credentials.

“I actually started out at 21 with my first events company. It was all about delivering extreme sports events – skateboarding, wakeboarding, surfing and skiing. It just reflected the things I really enjoyed. I loved the outdoor way of life.

“And then I got approached by someone working in the mobile industry. Mind you, this was before the first iPhone and when this guy told me mobile was going to be the next big thing, I pretty much laughed. But then his assistant sent me a load of reports and I became very intrigued.

“That’s where I fell into the innovation space and my eyes were opened to how technology could help us drive solutions. I was talking to people about how ‘one day’ they’d be buying cinema tickets through their phone or navigate to a location. They thought I was crazy, given most of them were still trying to get their head around how to text at the time.”

The experience also taught Quartermain about the need for good design. “I saw how important a factor it was in being able to facilitate solutions and that led me to work in design and marketing agencies. At the same time, I still had my businesses on the side. One of the things I did was run pole-dancing and burlesque courses for women and the impact on a lot of them was incredible. They’d come to me to tell me about how their confidence had soared, that they were prepared to try new things.

“At Circular Economy Australia we keep a ‘tossery glossary’, which has around 30 words in it, including ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ that we simply choose not to use as part of our branding or in positioning ourselves. It’s not that those concepts aren’t important, but we prefer to focus on identifying the values and how they can be applied to create positive changes for us all – that also has economic benefit.

“I’d always been a bit of a project manager, but understanding the humanistic elements was a real turning point. I saw technology enabling design, design thinking being explored and all with recourse to people’s needs and what they wanted to be getting out of life. It opened me up to consider behavioural factors.”

Another watershed moment came after moving to Sydney. “I was working crazy hours in a tough, ruthless environment. One night I was working on a brief on how to sell a particular product to a teenage demographic and failing miserably.

“I started reading the ingredients on the back of the packaging and did some Googling. Everything that came up was carcinogenic, toxic; there were lawsuits in the US. It really got to me. How could I be so passionate about my work when this product I was trying to persuade a young audience to buy could potentially cause negative effects on their health? I had to shift gear.”

It led Quartermain to investigate companies that were aligned with her values. “I wanted to work with people and on projects that were creating a positive behaviour change, rather than just try to sell something.”

She found herself at agency Digital Eskimo. “It was like finding my tribe. I learned so much about what you can do with design and how design thinking can result in positive social change and add so much more value and wealth. It was the point [at which] I discovered the circular economy.”

We’ve been greenwashed
Promoting circular economy principles is a business concept rather than a green initiative, Quartermain says. “No one really knows what ‘green’ is. The concept has been pushed and pulled in so many directions.

“At Circular Economy Australia we keep a ‘tossery glossary’, which has around 30 words in it, including ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ that we simply choose not to use as part of our branding or in positioning ourselves. It’s not that those concepts aren’t important, but we prefer to focus on identifying the values and how they can be applied to create positive changes for us all – that also has economic benefit.

“This is the world we live in – we constantly ask ourselves, ‘what is the business case?’, ‘how are we going to make money from it?’, ‘how are we going to be profitable’? That is the number one driver of genuine change – and interest, and uptake, and momentum.

“The principles of the circular economy give me something I can take to a boardroom. I can go to a CEO and talk about a viable business opportunity and identify the knock-on benefits – the social positivity, the improved ability to collaborate, the greater transparency with your staff, your suppliers, your customers. You’re going to generate outcomes using these principles that make great stories for your business.”

Personal heroes
Quartermain cites US architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart as key sources of inspiration. “Their book Cradle to Cradle really opened up my eyes; I thought their way of thinking was absolutely revolutionary. (Systems theorist) Buckminster Fuller is another fascinating person.

“For me it’s about thinkers who not only can see things differently, but also create. I’m heavily dyslexic; I have the reading and spelling ability of a 12-year-old, so I never really fitted into the traditional education system.

“Being exposed to these thinkers was a shift – it told me you can solve problems and create value by leveraging your imagination. My whole world opened up and it was very empowering.”

Quartermain says she’s also developed some exceptional international and Australian networks, including with the noted UK-based Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which has a mission of bringing business, government and academia together to build a restorative and regenerative economy.

Purpose 2015 - More from Less

More From Less The World Economic Forum estimates the circular economy to be worth $1 trillion worldwide and $26 billion in Australia by 2025. 

Get to know some of the leaders in regenerative business and the circular economy. 

Candice Quartermain - Founder & Program Director, Circular Economy Australia (Facilitator). Malcolm Rands - Founder & CEO, ecostore. Jason & Kim Graham-Nye - Co-founders, G Diapers. Clinton Squires - Managing Director & Senior Vice President Aust & NZ,

About Purpose

It’s 2015 and the future belongs to businesses with purpose.

The kind of purpose that’s baked into the business model, from the kind of companies that solve problems, rather than create them. We’re about businesses with a healthy bottom line and a healthy perspective on what the world actually needs.

Purpose is the coming together of purpose-driven people. It’s by application only and over two days you’ll get to meet, learn from and be inspired by the best in the industry. The people who are doing good and doing it incredibly well.

We’re going to talk about reinventing business models, shifting corporate cultures and rewriting the role of brands and organisations to be purpose driven. This is the event for connecting, meeting and learning from like minded people. 

Presented by Wildwon

Shaping our City: Collaborative Sydney

On Oct 1st, we heard from a diverse group of panellists who considered the opportunities within the collaborative economy. They discussed perspectives and opportunities across resources, transportation, food generation, human-centric design and the future of workplaces.

Event Overview 

The collaborative economy is a revolution, one being felt beyond the confines of the industries it disrupts. It is redefining consumption, styles of work, and ideas of community and ownership.

Our panel, featuring Candice Quartermain, Founder of Circular Economy Australia, Will Davies, CEO of Car Next Door, Max Wilson, General Manager of Corporate Solutions, Mirvac, Harry Quartermain from 2000 Acres and more, will consider perspectives from development, planning, government, and business.

Our panel, featuring Candice Quartermain, Founder of Circular Economy AustraliaWill Davies, CEO of Car Next DoorMax Wilson, General Manager of Corporate Solutions, MirvacHarry Quartermain from 2000 Acres and more, will consider perspectives from development, planning, government, and business.

Please join us as we discuss how the collaborative economy will change Sydney, now and into the future.

Water Innovation Forum 2015

Water Innovation Forum 2015

Disruptive innovation can be the game changer for business success and economic growth, creating opportunities and improving customer engagement. In this session, Candice Quartermain - Program Director Circular Economy Australia, explores why we need disruptive innovation.

Disruptive innovation Festival - Circular Economy Australia

Hosted by the brightest minds in their field from a range of creative and academic industries, the event will showcased a series of presentations, discussions and demonstrations designed to inspire and influence new ways of thinking.