This 2022 project was undertaken to provide a one-page framework on how the NZ composites sector can align for a circular economy, designing our products and business models to look after the environment and be more sustainable

With co-funding by Circular Connect a Waste Minimisation Fund initiative by Plastics NZ we employed the expertise of ThinkStep ANZ to research and design the framework.  Jim Goddin, ThinkStepANZ head of circular economy (presentation at CANZ conference 2022) who has experience in the composites industry led the project.

We identified early on it needed to be accessible to anyone from the factory floor to the office, CEO to researchers, to ensure it is talked about and actioned in all areas of our sector and workforce.  Therefore it uses as much common language as possible. 

At our final project meeting, Jim explained the framework in more detail.  This was recorded to assist members.  The recording is timestamped for reference to each line of the framework to assist conversations.  Access recording here.

Sharing the journey is a critical aspect of communicating sustainability improvements to ensure the composites sector is better understood by customers, government officials, sustainability experts, and supporters.  The CANZ website will be updated to capture and communicate our collective journey as we all dive more deeply into all aspects of the framework.  This is a great way to contribute and show leadership and commitment to transformation.

But what does it all mean!?

The challenge is now on all of us – to have conversations in our workplaces.  Some of these conversations are going to be hard.  Time is always short and we have to acknowledge many of us are still developing the expertise to confidently move through these real and confronting challenges. CANZ regional member meet-ups are planned for 2023 to assist in discussions on how to implement the framework – stay tuned for events in your area. 

Employees want to work for sustainable businesses and businesses need to employ people with sustainability skills to action changes.  To support with upskilling, our training providers at MAST have agreed that developing micro-credentials to support this framework is an excellent idea and are starting to strategise about the best way to do this

So how will your team work on this?

  • Who will be nominated in your team to engage about this? 
  • What parts are within easy reach for your team/products/business? 
  • What do you need more information about?
  • Is your local council or business association working on anything that could fast-track your progress by getting involved?
  • What team exercises or workshopping could shift awareness and develop the internal culture required to understand & action the framework?
  • How will you celebrate your wins and share the story or your sustainability journey?

We all have to choose how we operate headed into the future, to ensure we continue to be seen as relevant and trusted materials solution. CANZ members have a great track record of helping each other and this is a powerful opportunity to align for real collaborative change.  If we’ve learned anything from the recent flooding and cyclones is that when push comes to shove, money gets short, it’s people and teamwork that get you through. 

Understanding the Framework

To assist developing understanding and new ideas around the practical application of this Composites Design for the Environment Framework CANZ ran a series of articles in the Flexi Mag during 2023 (see below).

To do this we started at the lower strand of the framework and worked our way upwards.   The articles discussed each strand and aimed to highlight key ideas to give practical examples, with the goal to assist members to get started in different areas.

Application of these ideas is a continuous work in progress for all members and we encourage further discussions to develop understanding and share examples of how these concepts can be actioned in different workplaces.  Seeking and developing relationships and collaborations within composites expertise onshore and internationally, as well as outside of our sector will be key to our future circular economy innovations.

Explaining the Framework Strand By Strand

Use and Operations Strands
(June 2023 Flexi)

Procurement & Retaining Value Strands (Sept 2023 Flexi) 

Systems Thinking & Strategy and Comms Strands
(Dec 2023 Flexi)

Systems Thinking & Strategy and Comms Strands (Dec 2023 Flexi)

Explaining the framework strand by strand (from Flexi Sept 2023)

Use and Operations Strands (June 2023 Flexi)