BASF lecture: Systems, life cycles and circular economy: Identifying sustainable solutions

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Date: March 29, 2023
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Virtual location: Zoom
Category: Seminar


Dr. Adisa Azapagic, Professor of Sustainable Chemical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, University of Manchester


The concept of circular economy has emerged in response to the need for decoupling the economic growth from resource consumption and environmental impacts. Aiming to maximise resource efficiency, it represents an alternative to the current linear ‘take-make-use-dispose’ economic model. The circular economy concept rests on three fundamental principles: i) preserving and enhancing natural capital; i) circulating products and materials at the highest utility as long as possible; and iii) designing out negative externalities. Therefore, transitioning to a circular economy will require a systemic change across supply chains, involving both technological and business model innovations. This in turn will necessitate a whole systems approach and life cycle thinking to capture and address the complex interrelationships between different aspects of a circular economy. One of the complexities is that ‘circular’ does not necessarily mean ‘sustainable’. Hence, we need to be able to understand the full implications of a switch from the ‘linear’ to ‘circular’ economic models. Focusing on environmental impacts of that switch, this presentation will discuss how we can measure the ‘circularity’ on a life cycle basis and what that may mean in practice, considering examples in the food, energy and chemical sectors.


Dr. Adisa Azapagic is Professor of Sustainable Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester, where she leads Sustainable Industrial Systems, a multidisciplinary research group working with industry, policy makers and other stakeholders on identifying sustainable solutions to current sustainability challenges. Her research interests include sustainable production and consumption, life cycle sustainability assessment and corporate sustainability. She is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Sustainable Production and Consumption and has published over 200 journal papers and three books. Adisa has been awarded two honorary doctorates, an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) and (George E.) Davis Medal for her contribution to engineering and sustainability.

Virtual event

Please contact Helen Durand for Zoom link

March 2023