Circular Economy

UKGBC is running a series of live experiments, testing the application of circular principles on real estate assets and construction projects. Our aim is to facilitate collaborative approaches to overcome common obstacles and to share these findings with the wider membership and industry.
Circular Economy


January 3, 2019


Research & Innovation



Get involved: If you would like a copy of the sponsorship opportunity document please email

Our Vision is of a built environment at the heart of a circular economy – where waste is eliminated and materials retain value long after their original use. We are looking for visionary, courageous, and bold-thinking organisations to join us on this experiential learning journey towards a more circular built environment.

There are many ways to get involved in the programme, see this Get Involved document that sets out all the opportunities to get involved including sponsorship, training, events and task groups, working groups, and consulting on the programme output.

This programme was set up because, in 2017, UKGBC Gold Leaf members said, through a Circular Economy Research Survey, that UKGBC needed to facilitate collaborative approaches in overcoming common obstacles, these included:

  • Limited practical action and engagement across the value chain
  • Limited awareness and understanding
  • Lack of business case evidence
  • Product liabilities
  • Unsupportive business models and strategic, long-term thinking

The research survey also gave some background to what the circular economy means, examples of best practice and how the value chain is addressing circular economy in the UKGBC Gold Leaf membership. We will update this document with examples of best practice over time.

A task group forms the main part of the programme.  This first year, the task group are investigating practical solutions that will enable clients to specify circular outcomes and drive greater reuse of products and materials using live projects to test solutions. Our task groups kicked off in October 2018 and have been collaborating with working groups comprised of industry experts to develop an output to be launched Spring 2019.

The Circular Economy programme is also reinforced by a series of events and learning opportunities:


On 12 June 2018 we held a webinar to provide an update, share current plans for the programme and gather feedback. You can listen to it here.

On 12 September 2018 we held a webinar about glass in the circular economy. We heard from a range of speakers with experience recycling glass in the built environment. Details of this webinar as well as the ‘How-to-Guide’ associated with it can be found here.

On 13 November 2018, the third series of UKGBC Insights and Innovations webinars focussed on the latest trends and innovations in the field of circular economy.


We hosted Circular Economy debates on 17 July in Bristol and on 4 October in Birmingham. Keep an eye out for details of future debates.

Course mail:

Our third series of Course Mail focuses on the Circular Economy. The first of our straight-to-inbox learning went live on 31 October, but you can sign up at any time.


On 29 January, UKGBC will host a Level 3 Masterclass on the topic of Circular Economy. Masterclasses are run with a ‘how to’ ethos so that they give you the tools you need to go back to the office and implement something new. They are informal but intensive learning sessions with a small group, where speakers give step by step guidance on how to achieve the goal using case studies as examples. Read more about our Masterclass and book your place here.

Policy Roundtable

There is also a role for Government to put in place a strong regulatory and legislative framework to help drive the circular outcomes that leading industry players want to see.  On 4 December 2018, we were joined by officials from Defra and BEIS to hear suggestions from industry first hand.

UKGBC’s work in this area is being made possible thanks to the generous support of The Crown Estate, who will support activities as a programme partner across the two years

In addition, the first year of the programme is being sponsored by forward-thinking UKGBC members: Clarion Housing Group, Cleveland Steel Ltd., ISG, HS2, Telford Homes and TFT.

UKGBC will be working in collaboration with supporting organisations working on the circular economy and the built environment including: BBP, Business in the Community (BITC), BRE Trust, BPF, BSRIA, Circular Economy Club, Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Forum for the Future, Green Construction Board, London Waste and Recycling Board, RIBA, RICS, the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products and the Supply Chain Sustainability School as well as Knowledge Contributors AECOM, Arup and BAM.

To discuss partnering with UKGBC on the Circular Economy programme or if you would like to receive updates or further information about our Circular Economy programme please contact