International design, engineering and advisory company Aurecon has established its first ever team of specialists to meet burgeoning demand for circular economy expertise in Australia and New Zealand, with its project pipeline forecast to quadruple within the next 18 months. The 15-strong team boasts global experience with experts joining from circular economy pioneers, such as Ikea and Veolia.
Aurecon’s circular economy team is now involved in 18 projects spanning local and state governments, water utilities, resources, major infrastructure and renewable energy, including Rio Tinto, Sydney Water, City of Adelaide, Sustainability Victoria and Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency.
Jodie Bricout, who joined Aurecon earlier this year as Principal, Circular Economy, has taken charge of building the team to help organisations thrive in resource and climate constrained economies. “I believe we have built the best circular economy team that Australia and New Zealand has to offer, regarding the depth and breadth of people’s industry experience and personal passions,” said Jodie.
“Circular economy approaches are key to achieving net zero. Around 45% of emissions are linked to materials and products in our economies and can’t be reduced through changing energy systems alone. With the recent creation of a ministerial advisory group in Australia, organisations across sectors are racing to explore how to apply circular economy approaches in their own contexts.
“We see plenty of opportunities to support clients from ideation to execution, ultimately helping Australia and New Zealand reap the economic, environmental and social benefits of transitioning to a circular economy.
“What’s also driving our rapid growth is Aurecon’s internal buy-in. At Aurecon our team has been operating in the heart of the business instead of sitting in a corner as a niche area. Aurecon teams across sectors have shown strong interest in not only circular economy as a subject of expertise, but also in how to potentially incorporate relevant strategies within projects.”
Several team members have social enterprise and not-for-profit involvements outside Aurecon. Kelly McClean cofounded Reuse Aotearoa to improve access to reusable packaging systems in New Zealand; Kunal Khanna recently delivered the All Living Things Environmental Film Festival live in India and online globally; and Jodie sits on the board of Circular Australia and lectures at the University of Adelaide.
“Engaging in external projects often enables systems-thinking and cross-pollination of diverse ideas, which is crucial for an inclusive transition to circular economy. We therefore encourage the team to continue with their extracurricular activities through the company’s flexible work arrangements,” added Jodie.
Jenni Philippe, one of the new hires in the team with extensive experience in consulting said, “For me, it’s important to join an organisation that recognises the value in holistic approaches to circular economies. At Aurecon I see the opportunity to apply circular economy and design thinking in all aspects of the value chain, which often leads to a far greater impact.
Speaking of the talent pipeline, Jodie said, “We are conscious of the responsibility for fostering up-and-coming talent. Apart from seasoned professionals, we have brought on board graduates and interns studying in the relevant fields so they can cut their teeth on valuable industry work.”
The team members are based in various locations including Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Wellington in New Zealand.
The team of circular economy is part of Aurecon’s Sustainability and Climate Change advisory business, which currently employs over 70 people in Australia following the recent acquisition of Market Advisory Group.