Riversimple launches Welsh circular innovation centre

Hydrogen car firm Riversimple has launched a circular economy innovation centre for Wales.

Dubbed Circular Revolution, the scheme has been designed and delivered in partnership with Swansea University and the University of Exeter. It is a £2.3m operation, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, which is contributing over £1.5m.

The centre will be run from a dedicated centre in Riversimple’s headquarters in Llandrindod Wells and will deliver two programmes of activity.

The first element is an outreach programme for business in West Wales and the Valleys who are keen to engage with more sustainable products, services and business models. Swansea University and the University of Exeter will support companies in discovering the latest practices and how to embed circular principles into their business.

The second programme of activity is research and innovation aimed at tackling the specific challenges businesses face in adopting a sale of service circular model.

Six pilot projects will focus on developing procurement, computation systems, and legal frameworks.

Dr. Gavin Bunting, associate professor from Swansea University, said: “With businesses increasingly aware of the need to embed sustainability at the heart of organisations, the Circular Revolution provides an excellent opportunity to connect Welsh industry to the expertise in our universities, creating new opportunities and enabling Wales to be at the forefront of circular economy.”

Dr. Fiona Charnley, associate professor from the University of Exeter, said: “The Circular Economy offers a compelling framework for systems change that, whilst simple in narrative is often difficult to implement, particularly for smaller organisations.

“The Circular Revolution offers a unique opportunity for organisations in in West Wales and the Valleys to engage with circular innovation and learn from industrial and academic best practice.”

Riversimple director, Fiona Spowers said: “It is a privilege to be afforded this opportunity to host the centre and drive circular thinking forward globally from Wales. While there is a lot of enthusiasm for the concept of circular business models, they are hard to adopt and embrace fully. With Circular Revolution’s pilot programme, we are uniquely positioned to trial, test and refine this research on a real small business in Wales, Riversimple.”

Lesley Griffiths, the minister for environment, energy and rural affairs, said: “As we move Wales towards becoming a net-zero nation, and we progress our transition towards a Circular Economy, it is vital that we do all we can to encourage businesses of all sizes in Wales to adopt more sustainable business models and services.  Everyone has a part to play in making Wales a fairer and more sustainable nation, and businesses are no exception.”

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