The term 'circular economy' is more than just a buzzword; it represents a strategic framework that's revolutionizing traditional business models, challenging industry standards, and ushering in a new wave of professionals committed to making a green impact. At the helm of this movement is the Circular Economy Manager, a role crucial for organizations transitioning to a circular business model. In this article, we'll shed light on the essential duties this role encompasses and how it's shaping the future of business and sustainability.

What is a Circular Economy Manager?

A Circular Economy Manager (CEM) is a sustainability expert responsible for transforming linear economic systems into circular models. They are strategists who bring about change by implementing policies that move companies away from the 'take, make, waste' model to one that is regenerative by design, aiming to gradually decouple resource use from economic growth. They understand the complexities of the circular economy, including resource efficiency, waste management, and sustainable production and consumption patterns, and align these with business strategies.

Why are Circular Economy Managers vital?

Circular Economy Managers are pivotal in the battle against climate change, waste, and resource depletion. They bridge the gap between theory and practice, translating the circular economy into tangible business actions that reduce environmental impact and create long-term value. In an era where corporate social responsibility is not just a choice but an expectation, CEMs are critical in helping companies minimize risk, optimize resource use, and build resilience in an unsustainable world.

What are the 5 Critical Things Circular Economy Managers Must Do in Their Organisation?

1. Conduct Comprehensive Material Flow Analysis

The first duty on a CEM's checklist is to understand what goes into and comes out of the organization. By conducting a thorough material flow analysis, they can identify opportunities for waste reduction, repair and recycling, as well as where and how to integrate sustainable practices throughout the product lifecycle. This analysis isn't just about numbers and figures; it's about painting a picture of resource movement within the business so that actions can be rooted in reality.

2. Innovate Product Design for a Circular System

Product design is at the heart of the circular economy, and Circular Economy Managers play a vital role in driving innovation. They work with design and engineering teams to ensure products are longer-lasting, easily repairable, and made from materials that can be safely recycled or repurposed. Circular product design challenges the convention of 'planned obsolescence,' aiming to extend product life cycles and reduce waste.

3. Implement Sustainable Supply Chain Practices

Sustainability doesn't stop at the organization's doorstep; it extends through the supply chain. A CEM must collaborate with suppliers to source materials responsibly, reduce carbon footprints, and improve transparency and traceability. This requires a delicate balance of leadership, negotiation, and commitment to shared environmental and social goals across the entire network of suppliers and partners.

4. Engage Employees and Foster a Culture of Sustainability

To achieve a truly circular economy, the entire organization must commit to sustainable practices. Circular Economy Managers are communicators and motivators, responsible for engaging employees at all levels and driving a cultural shift towards sustainability. They organize workshops, develop training programs, and spearhead initiatives that make the circular economy a company-wide mission rather than a departmental goal.

5. Measure and Communicate the Circular Economy Progress

'You can't manage what you can't measure.' Circular Economy Managers are knowledgeable about sustainability metrics, from carbon footprints to material recovery rates, and are skilled at reporting and communicating this data effectively. They track progress, celebrate wins, and are transparent about challenges. They continually engage stakeholders and build a narrative around the organization's commitment to circularity.

How can you Become a Circular Economy Manager?

To become a Circular Economy Manager, one must acquire a solid foundation in sustainability principles through education, perhaps with a focus on the circular economy. Professional experience in related fields, such as waste management or sustainable supply chain management, is crucial. Strong analytical and strategic thinking skills are essential, as is the ability to lead and inspire change within an organization. Networking within the sustainability community, staying up-to-date with industry trends, and engaging in ongoing professional development are also vital for this career path.


The Circular Economy Manager occupies a pivotal role in the quest for a sustainable and regenerative economic system. By understanding the core duties and responsibilities of this role, businesses and professionals can adopt a more circular approach. This approach isn't just beneficial for the environment; it's a strategic advantage that promotes innovation, resilience, and a positive corporate reputation. In an age where the stakes for sustainability are higher than ever, CEMs are becoming indispensable assets for companies aiming to thrive in a circular economy.

Ready to take the plunge into circular economy management within your organization? Our CEM for SMEs project is charting new territories in transforming small and medium-sized enterprises into thriving circular businesses. Get in touch and pave the way for a greener future today."