Circular Economy Global Foundation Course

The first General Meeting to co-create a global foundation course for the circular economy was held on 20th September 2021. This presentation provides an outline of the organisation and the motivations behind a skills-based approach to the circular economy. Plus the planning, team building, practical application and the B2B business model. More importantly, is the development of intermediate and advanced skills training by industry sector.

And, finally, the first iteration will not be perfect and that’s OK! Here at CEA, we are committed to a process of continual improvement.   

Skills Training for the Circular Economy

“A skill is the learned ability to perform an action with determined results with good execution often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. A skill may be called an art when it represents a body of knowledge or branch of learning. People need a broad range of skills to contribute to the modern economy, however, three broad categories of skills are suggested and these are technical, human, and conceptual.¹”  

For the circular economy to move from concept to action, we need skills — real skills, not just an understanding of what the circular economy means.

The Global Circular Economy Education Project – Mission Statement

“While the circular economy is gaining traction, we are not keeping pace with the skills required to meet the demands of industry, government agencies and NGOs. It is imperative to develop a globally recognised circular economy education system that encourages country-specific content, reflecting the economic makeup that drives industry sectors.  

Skills training provides the competencies and knowledge to perform a specialised task. In this respect, it is much more than education. Skills training can equip people with the capability to mitigate climate change, support bio-diversity and transition to a more resource-efficient world.”

Register Your Interest Here


If you are interested to participate in co-creating specific modules for the development of a globally recognised circular economy foundation course, please click the image or Register Here to fill in the form. Just scroll down for more information.

We are looking for subject matter experts in the core modules listed in the table below. Otherwise, you can sign up as an Observer and participate in all the General Meetings.

If you have any additional questions or would like to discuss this project online, please contact the Project Manager to set up a day/time: Ms Adrienna Zsakay – 

A Universal Standard Project

The circular economy comprises two words – ‘circular’ meaning the starting and finishing in the same place; and ‘economy’, which is the wealth and resources of a country or region, especially in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services.

While we warrant these resources must be kept in use for as long as possible, they are the wealth of a nation, and our consumption habits include the wealth of other countries that use primary resources to manufacture products for export. The circular economy must now evolve so that practitioners can work alongside specific industry sectors to manage these resources. To do that requires skills.

The first step towards improving circular economy skills is by consensus. An agreement for a globally accepted core curriculum created by academics, circular economy practitioners, industry experts and interested stakeholders. It is imperative for educational institutions and corporate training facilities to be in agreement regarding the skills we need to achieve our circular goals.

“In addition, circular economy skills should directly correlate to the economic activities that drive specific industry sectors of each country. These may include agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, services, building & construction, extractive industries (mining), food processing, textiles, chemicals and others.”

By agreeing on a core curriculum, students in universities and colleges may choose to gravitate towards disciplines such as industrial ecology or environmental economics. Skills training institutions can create training programs that include the core circular economy modules, then offer additional modules according to a person’s preference, such as remanufacturing. Governments can subsidize apprenticeships.

Yet, skills training should not be limited to students or employees but also include business owners to reduce the risk of failure. After all, there is much detail required to set up a remanufacturing division in a company, regardless of size. There is no reason why there cannot be skills training in setting up a repair business or identifying circular principles when repurposing recovered resources (as all products are considered resources, at the point of disposal these recovered resources can then move into any one of the Circular R functions).

The one common feature between all participants and learners is the knowledge and skill to manage our planet’s finite resources according to sustainable and circular principles while engaging in profitable economic activities.

Co-creating a Circular Economy Curriculum

The second step is to bring everyone together. Interested persons can register as an ‘Active’ participant, ‘Observer’ or to Review content. Please download the invitation document for more details including all the information required to register. The deadline for registration is 31 August 2021.

On 13 September 2021, the first meeting will be held where all registered participants (Active & Observers) agree on the subject or topic headings and form teams (maximum number 15 people) according to the topic/s selected. All Active participants will be issued with a set of Guidelines. To support teams, a small management committee will be available for advice or guidance. At no point will any team be left alone. For more information, Contact Us.

Below is a list of topics that may be included in the core curriculum. Participants who register as Active are welcome to add topics. The final selection will be decided by consensus from all Active participants with input by Observers.

Final List of Circular Economy Global Foundation Course Modules

1. Circular Economics

2. Industrial Ecology

 3. Cradle to Cradle

4. Life-Cycle Assessment

5. Legal Framework

6. Systems Thinking / Systems Engineering

7. Circular Design

8. Circular Business Models

9a. Circular Rs - Refuse (human behaviour)

9b. Circular Rs - Rethink (human behaviour)

9c. Circular Rs - Reduce (human behaviour)

9d. Circular Rs - Reverse Logistics

9e. Circular Rs - Reuse

9f. Circular Rs - Repair

9g. Circular Rs - Refurbish

9h. Circular Rs - Remanufacture

9i. Circular Rs - Repurpose

9j. Circular Rs - Renovate

11. Measuring circular impact

12. Resource Recovery

13. Climate Change

14. GHG Emissions

15. Renewable Energy

16. Materials

17. Technology

18. Reporting

The Proposed Skills Training Model

Once all the circular economy foundation course modules have been completed, the course will be available to corporations as part of their company training, NGOs, universities, colleges, and most types of educational institutions for students 16 years and above – a B2B model. However, it should be noted that the first version may not be suitable for children under 16 years of age, although developing a version for this age group is part of the overall vision.

Stage One: The Circular Economy Foundation Course will be available for free and we would like the course to be made available for free to learners everywhere. However, it is only a foundation course designed to provide learners with the basic knowledge and tools of the circular economy.

Stage Two: Here is where the in-depth skills training begins. Now that learners are equipped with the basic requirements, corporations, NGOs, universities, colleges and other educational institutions can develop their own add-on courses in relation to the business or the industry sectors that drive their economies where circular economy principles and sustainability are embedded into the day-to-day activities.

Circular Economy Asia and our partner organisations offer no guarantee as to the quality and content of these course add-ons, although this may change in the future. Circular Asia Association, as a legally registered NGO in Malaysia, also intends to develop a range of Stage Two industry-specific skills training courses either independently, in conjunction with our partners or as requested by our clients.