Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action

General Scheme of the Circular Economy Bill 2021: Discussion (Resumed)

Dr. Geraldine Brennan:

We are working with some of those who are first movers. There are trying to get their heads around it at the moment. We have only been operational for 18 months and as an initiative we are still quite young. While this is driving momentum, we have also been having conversations such as network coffee meetings, thematic working groups, quarterly network meetings, conversations, dialogue, awareness and training, and webinar hosting, which is all raising awareness and fostering that internal dialogue for key champions initially, and then further into the business. The reason our members welcome the circular economy strategy and the Bill is they need regulatory certainty to fundamentally commit to the investment required. As I highlighted in my opening statement the quote from the member who said that “the initial toe-in-the water pilots” are challenging, even if they understand that in the medium to long term there is going to be benefits around resilience, resource price volatility, and better customer engagement because of the nature of the relationship changing from a single transaction to repeat business. They are not unaware that a circular economy will bring value to them in the future, but right now without a clearer literary framework there is a lot of risk. Things can also fail and go wrong. What we hear from them is that the CIRCULÉIRE fund, the economy innovation grant scheme and the EPA's green enterprise scheme, which is directed towards a circular economy, all help them to test and pilot models and learn from that process, and it gives them the confidence to go and roll it out.