The time is now – to radically redesign the status quo

“The Circular Economy is a golden opportunity, don’t let it go to waste.”

World Economic Forum 2019

It is becoming abundantly clear that the existing take - make - waste economic model is unsustainable.

“Faced with its chronic pollution and waste, diminishing returns, and unhealthy outcomes, people are looking for a new vision for an economy that works, now and in the future”.

The Circular Economy is a compelling, prosperous business model that guides the decisions to manage our resources and achieve growth without environmental degradation. It is a new lens by which we can view production and consumption to create new growth economies where everything that is made can be unmade, just as it does in the natural world. 

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Circular Economy infographic supplied by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation
“Transitioning to the circular economy is one of the most important design challenges of our time."
– Tim Brown
“It was a privilege for Scion to contribute our innovations, science and knowledge around circular bioeconomy to New Zealand's first circular economy lab - XLabs.”
– Florian Graichen
“The core principles of a circular economy guide us towards a system that works both now and in the future. One far more resilient to the volatility of resource markets, and one that regenerates rather than solely taking.”
– Louise Nash
Circularity, founder of XLabs
“A circular economy is where... digital meets business models meets design.”
– Ken Webster
University of Exeter
Ōhanga Āmiomio Circular Economy Pacific Summit
At the Ōhanga Āmiomio Circular Economy Pacific Summit hosted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and New Zealand Ministry for the Environment in 2019, it became clear that there is much we can learn from Māori businesses and communities, such as how to support living systems, transmit knowledge through generations, and think in systems for the long-term. 

We need to return to the intrinsic and intergenerational knowledge – to seek out and share a deeper understanding of Mātauranga Māori into the actions we take in designing our future.

This is an opportunity for all of us, no matter how big or small, to understand more about how we can make a difference AND operate a prosperous business.

XLabs is New Zealand’s first circular economy lab dedicated to economic and environmental outcomes using a circular economy framework.

Now is the time to rise up and lead the change we need. Here are five ways XLabs can help you make the shift to a circular economy:

  • By using waste as a resource to reduce the cost and dependency on virgin materials and provide renewable energy sources.
  • Designing products so that they can be disassembled, repaired and reused over again - each product can be sold and resold several times in its life cycle.
  • Leverage platform technology to enable products to become services where customers pay per use.
  • Regenerating our natural resources through the design of systems to convert biological waste into food for our land.
  • Unlocking new business models for sharing resources, distributed ownership models and networking participation of community action.

What will your circular future look like?

XLabs is a creating space where businesses, industries and even regions can start accelerating their shift to a circular economy. For New Zealand-owned enterprises, large multi-nationals, and through to economic development agencies – XLabs is the place to unlock potential value.

Together, we can have the potential to transform the future of Aotearoa and the world by solving systemic challenges across our industries with extraordinary ideas.

Now is the time to ensure your business is growing in line with Climate Action Frameworks, towards zero waste and low carbon emissions.

Bring XLabs to your business, industry or region, or simply register your interest in a future event.

Designed by industry,
for industry


Road transport is responsible for 36% of Auckland’s carbon emissions and the economic productivity loss from our congestion is estimated to be $1.3 billion^. We need to reimagine transport as a shared enabler for living, working and travelling.
Read how Auckland Transport is going circular
Drone image of Auckland motorways
Red apples on blue conveyor belt

Consumer Goods

Redesigning consumption, addressing food and packaging waste will redefine leadership in this category. Goods can become services and redesigned to be reused, restored, effectively recycled and regenerate natural systems. Specifically, food waste in Auckland represented 19% of total landfill in 2016 and by applying circular thinking to this challenge can unlock $0.3 billion^.

Link to read how The ReCreators is reimagining waste to be sold on the retail shelf alongside new.

Built Environment

Construction and demolition waste represents Auckland's largest single waste stream. Planning the lifecycle of a building, using waste as a resource and regenerative processes could yield incremental value of $2.5 billion^.
Hear how Fletcher Building is redesigning MDF to be circular
Auckland Sky Tower with pink cycle path showcasing the NZ built environment
Man and woman standing in front of NZ mountain on Haka Tourism Group


As a gateway for tourism, we need to address the pressures of visitor numbers, rise of conscious travellers and true sustainability. We can unlock new value here for locals and restore our environment with unique visitors' experiences.

Hear how Haka Tourism is rebuilding from ground zero using circular economy principles.
Explore the stories of New Zealand’s first dedicated circular economy lab – Auckland 2020
The Stories