Global top 10 thinker Chris Kutarna taking stage at Rotorua summit

Date:  02 April 2019

Rated as one of the Global Top 10 Thinkers in 2018, Chris Kutarna is taking centre stage at New Zealand’s first circular economy summit.

Mr Kutarna is renowned internationally for helping people make sense of, and thrive through, rapid political, social and economic change. He predicted Brexit and the election Pacific Summit 2019 graphicof US President Donald Trump, and is in New Zealand to talk about the future of Aotearoa’s economy.

A key speaker at Ōhanga Āmiomio: Ellen MacArthur Foundation Pacific Summit 2019 on 3 April, Mr Kutarna will provide insights on economic transformation in relation to New Zealand moving from its current ‘take, make, waste’ linear economy to a circular economy where waste is eliminated altogether.

Hosted by Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in partnership with the Ministry for the Environment and Scion, the Pacific Summit aims to put the circular economy on the agenda of decision makers across business, government and academia.

Ministry for the Environment Chief Executive Vicky Robertson said that “we are rapidly consuming many of our finite resources both in New Zealand and around the world. Under a circular model, we can decrease this by ensuring products can be shared, reused and repaired, and materials can be extracted from products to be used again and again. Investing in local product stewardship and resource recovery infrastructure will also greatly benefit the economy through job creation.”

“Not only does the Pacific Summit bring together acclaimed speakers, it is also world leading because of its indigenous lens. New Zealand is designing its circular economy approach driven by Māori understandings of natural living systems in combination with a focus on sustainable regional prosperity.

“Indigenous technical knowledge (mātauranga Māori) must be an integral part of how we contextualise and progress Aotearoa’s circular economy model,” said Ms Robertson.

Mr Kutarna joins speakers including Te Haumihiata Mason, former Kaitiaki Reo (Māori Language Guardian) of the New Zealand Māori Language Commission; Ross Stevens, Programme Director at the School of Design, Victoria University of Wellington; and Andrew Morlet, Chief Executive, Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Andrew Morlet, Chief Executive Officer of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said: “Today's economy is massively wasteful. A circular economy - in which we design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems - offers a new vision and opportunity for value creation and low-carbon growth that benefits businesses, society and the environment. Transition towards a circular economy is gaining momentum around the world, and we are delighted to host the first Pacific Summit to explore how this economic model can generate new forms of prosperity across the region.”

About Ōhanga Āmiomio: Ellen MacArthur Foundation Pacific Summit

On 3 April 2019 the Ellen MacArthur Foundation will host the world’s first circular economy Pacific Summit. The event gathers speakers and storytellers to explore the transition of the global economy, from today’s wasteful, take-make-dispose model, to one based on continual cycles of regeneration. In particular, we will ask how indigenous knowledge can inform and guide us in this shift towards a global circular economy.

The Pacific Summit will focus on three themes

  • Mātauranga: What new approaches can we unlock when contemporary economics meets indigenous worldviews?
  • Materials: How can we use experience and inspiration from the Pacific, where the issue of plastics pollution is complex, urgent and visible, to design a better system in which plastics never become waste?
  • Manifestos: Pacific states are geographically dispersed and culturally diverse, yet these are the very features that unite them. How can leaders harness this unique role and take collective action towards a shared vision for an economy that works in the long term?

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation hosts the Pacific Summit 2019 in partnership with the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment and Scion. The Summit is supported by Principal Sponsor The Nature Conservancy, and Tourism New Zealand, Sustainable Business Network, The MacDiarmid Institute, Coca-Cola Oceania, and Fuji Xerox, and is backed by Arup and Sanford.

About Chris Kutarna

Chris Kutarna has been a two-time Governor General’s Medallist, a Sauvé Fellow and Commonwealth Scholar, a Fellow of the Oxford Martin School and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology (Sydney) Business School. He holds a doctorate in politics from Oxford University, where he mapped the political change of China’s emerging middle class. Chris was also once a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in Beijing.

Media contact: Hannah Grant 022 121 5503