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Circular Economy: Extracting Value through New Business Models and Technologies


January 24, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Environmental Law Institute
1730 M Street, NW, Suite 700 (Map)

Washington, DC (and webinar)


This event is free and open to the public but you must register.

  • Please register by January 22. Contact mcmurrin@eli.org with questions.
  • For in-person attendance (limited), REGISTER HERE.
  • For webinar/telecon, REGISTER HERE.  Webinar information will be emailed one business day prior to the event. If you are unsure if you can access the webinar via the GoToMeeting platform, please go HERE to view system requirements prior to registering.
  • All times noted are Eastern Time. There is no CLE for this course.

NOTE: All registrants for ELI events need to have an ELI "account." When you click on the above Register Here link, you will be asked to log in.

  • ELI members and previous registrants have accounts. If you don't remember your password, please click on the "Request new password" tab.
  • Non-members who have previously not set up an ELI account may click on the "Create new account" tab, complete the process, and then return to this page to register. While creating this account does not confer membership, it will allow you to register for this and future events at any appropriate non-member rate that may be required.

An ELI 50th Anniversary Seminar

The rapid extraction of non-renewable resources (metal ore, minerals, fossil fuels) combined with deteriorating renewable resources (air, water) reflects a firmly rooted “take, make, and dispose” economic model. Despite calls for a system-wide transformation, hurdles persist including unprecedented levels of consumerism and the persistence of low-cost materials and production processes (assembly line automation). Lower costs have allowed for planned obsolescence, compounding the demand for new products.

What are the main drivers to move away from this traditional wasteful model to the circular economy model? The list is expansive and encouraging. Internal drivers include cost savings, regulatory compliance and corporate sustainability, while external drivers include rapid technological transformation, disruptive innovation, reputational risk, and a well-informed society. These are some of the significant factors motivating the business community to rethink productivity. Pioneering design, material innovation, products as a service, product life extension, and waste as a resource are leading mechanisms through which businesses are transitioning to a circular economy and reaping the financial benefits. There are hundreds of solutions-focused initiatives collectively fostering a circular economy in the U.S. and beyond. From re-purposing flexible plastic packaging to closed loop nutrient recycling and waste to energy solutions, new technologies and business models are emerging, yet one must examine whether these are economically viable and find opportunities to expand their use.

Join ELI for an interactive discussion of the many facets, obstacles, and benefits of fostering a circular economy. Expert panelists include corporate leaders who are actively engaged in adopting the principles of circular economy, focusing on innovations in technology and business models/practices, and their potential to transform traditional systems of production and consumption.

Michael Goo, Partner, AJW and Circular Economy Industries Association (CEIA), Moderator
Michael Burger, Executive Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Research Scholar and Lecturer in Law, Columbia Law School
Paul Hagen, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond PC
Stewart Leeth, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer, Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Meagan Weiland, Independent Researcher, Economic & Human Dimensions Research Associates and Program Coordinator, Science Magazine

Materials will be posted as they become available...

ELI members will have access to a recording of this session (usually posted w/in 48 hours). If you are not an ELI member but would like to have access to archived sessions like this one, go HERE to see the many benefits of membership and how to join.