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Circular economy 'could increase NI jobs'

More than 13,000 jobs could be created in Northern Ireland (NI) if it moved to a circular economy, according to a report from WRAP.

Its Job Creation in the Circular Economy report suggested that 600 jobs in resource-efficient activities would be created by 2030 without any new initiatives, while 5,500 would be created on the country’s current development path.

A more extensive expansion of the circular economy in Northern Ireland was assessed in the report, with the potential to create more than 13,000 jobs and reduce unemployment by around 2,300.

The jobs could be created at various skill levels across the country and within sectors including food and drink, biorefining and the bioeconomy.

It describes the role of renewable energy and smart energy grids in enabling development of manufacturing as a key factor for achieving the more extensive expansion.

mark Durkan

NI environment minister Mark H Durkan (pictured) said: “By departing from our traditional economic model of ‘make, use and dispose’, we will be less vulnerable to dwindling natural resources, and increased price instability and energy costs.

“We must work together, across government, and in partnership with business and the community, to ensure that the North is geared up to exploit the exciting opportunities afforded by a circular economy.”

The report, written in conjunction with the Resource innovation Network for European Waste (ReNEW), was launched in Belfast on 30 September.

It applies methodologies developed for the recent WRAP and Green Alliance study and addresses the broader aspects of circular economy employment in NI, drawing on similar modelling methodology from its Great Britain analysis.

The £5m ReNEW project brings together researchers, public authorities and businesses in north-west Europe to explore new ways to extract valuable resources such as metal, nutrients and chemicals from household and industrial waste.

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