Meeting of All-Island Circular Economy Forum sets out direction for more sustainable economic future

  • Photo: Circular economy forum sets out direction for more sustainable economic future

    Cross-border co-operation on sustainability has taken a leap forward with the first meeting of the All-Island Circular Economy Forum.

    InterTradeIreland, the all-island economic development agency, brought together government departments and agencies across both jurisdictions to accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable economic future on both sides of the border.

    Brenda Burke, Director at the Department for the Economy, said: "By embracing circular economy principles, we can create a resilient low-carbon economy that benefits the environment, society, and businesses in general.”

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    Philip Nugent, Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, said: “This meeting is in an important example of how cross-border collaboration can help to drive innovation, reduce waste, and leverage economies of scale to generate a greener, more prosperous economy for all.”

    Estimates suggest that adopting circular economy principles could add an additional £475 million to Northern Ireland’s economy and boost Ireland’s economy by €2.3bn

    A recent report from InterTradeIreland identified the need for more collaboration and joint initiatives across the whole island to deliver the full scale of opportunities available. This would enable businesses to make significant cost savings, develop new products and reduce emissions. The findings were backed up by an independent report for the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor.

    Amanda Smyth, Programme Manager for the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor, said: “We are delighted to be taking forward the results of two really strong pieces of research that show the benefits of cross-border approaches to the circular economy. Working in partnership is absolutely central to what we do, and this meeting is an excellent example of that.”

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    The focus on collaboration was evident at the forum, with ambitious plans including the potential for an all-island resource matching service discussed as part of a roadmap toward an island-wide circular economy.

    InterTradeIreland’s research also highlighted the value of Invest NI’s current resource matching service, which takes waste from one company and finds another company that can use it to produce new products but noted that an all-island platform does not yet exist.

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    Margaret Hearty, Chief Executive of InterTradeIreland added: "This forum demonstrates InterTradeIreland’s unique ability to connect partners from across the island to deliver tangible economic benefits. We look forward to future meetings with plans to incorporate a wider range of key stakeholders.

    "There are huge opportunities available in the circular economy and InterTradeIreland has a range of supports available to help businesses capitalise on them. I encourage any small business that wants to become more efficient and sustainable to get in touch and find out how we can help.”

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