The Australian Circular Economy Conference (ACEC), founded and chaired by Professor Ali Abbas, has quickly become a pivotal event in the field of circular economy, bridging academic research with practical applications in society, policy, and industry. The conference had its inception in 2018, marking a significant step towards promoting sustainable economic practices in Australia and beyond.

2018 – The Inaugural Conference: The first ACEC, held in 2018, laid the groundwork for future discussions and developments in the circular economy. It brought together academics, industry leaders, and policymakers to discuss the emerging concepts and practices of circular economy. The inaugural event focused on understanding the basic principles of circular economy and exploring its potential benefits for sustainable development.

Subsequent Conferences (2019, 2021): Building on the success of the first meeting, the subsequent conferences in 2019 and 2021 expanded the scope of discussions. These conferences delved deeper into the implementation challenges and opportunities of circular economy principles in various sectors. They featured case studies, innovative research findings, and collaborative sessions that fostered partnerships between different stakeholders. The focus was on translating academic research into real-world impact, influencing policy, and driving industrial practices towards sustainability.

2024 – The Upcoming Fourth Iteration: The fourth iteration of the ACEC, scheduled for 2024, promises to be a significant event. It aims to showcase the advancements in the field of circular economy over the years and present cutting-edge research and innovative practices. The conference is expected to highlight how circular economy concepts have been integrated into various industries and the positive societal impacts achieved. It will likely serve as a platform for setting future directions and strategies for the circular economy both in Australia and globally.

Throughout its iterations, the ACEC has played a crucial role in leading academic research and creating a tangible impact in the realm of circular economy. The conference has acted as a catalyst for change, encouraging the adoption of sustainable practices in various sectors and fostering a community dedicated to the principles of circular economy. The progression of the conference reflects the growing importance and recognition of circular economy as a vital component of sustainable development.

Welcome Message

As the founder and chair of the Australian Circular Economy Conference (ACEC), it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the fourth iteration of our conference, scheduled for October 2-4, 2024. Since our inaugural event in 2018, the ACEC has grown to become a cornerstone in the dialogue and advancement of the circular economy, not only in Australia but globally.

This year, we stand at a pivotal moment in our journey towards sustainability. The need for innovative, eco-friendly, and sustainable practices is more urgent than ever. Our conference theme, “Bridging R&D and ESG Principles for Circular Economy,” reflects our commitment to transforming research into actionable strategies that harmonize environmental, social, and governance goals.

We are proud to host a diverse gathering of thought leaders, innovators, policy makers, and academics from around the world. Together, we will explore the latest advancements in circular economy technology, discuss challenges and opportunities, and share insights into the practical implementation of circular economy principles across various sectors.

I am particularly excited about the range of topics we will cover, from digital circular economy to sustainable investment, and the innovative ideas that will emerge from these discussions. Our sessions are designed to foster collaboration, inspire action, and generate solutions that will drive us towards a more sustainable future.

As we prepare to convene at The University of Sydney, I would like to extend my gratitude to our partners, Prof. Yong Sik Ok of Korea University, and all who have worked tirelessly to make this event possible.  I look forward to welcoming you in October and to the vibrant discussions, invaluable networking, and collaborative opportunities that await us. Let’s shape a sustainable future together.

Ali Abbas

Chair for Fourth Australian Circular Economy Conference

Conference Chairs

Ali Abbas

Director, Waste Transformation Research Hub
Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Sydney

[email protected]

Professor Ali Abbas is Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Engineering, and Founding Director of the Waste Transformation Research Hub in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Ali has 20 years’ experience in the field of Process Systems Engineering (PSE), with applications in clean energy and biological systems. He has published more than 150 papers in international scientific and engineering journals. In recent years, Ali has been working on circular economy transitions, identifying ways to translate the circular economy principles into practice, while employing the PSE approach.

Ali works on problems in close partnerships with industry and government on applications in low-emissions technologies, eco-industrial parks, waste, and clean energy. He is active in commercialization, developing breakthrough deep technologies across multiple industry sectors in his capacity as company Founder and Director.  

Ali is Australia’s first ‘Chief Circular Engineer’, appointed to this role in 2022 by Circular Australia. Ali is the Founding Chair of the ‘Australian Circular Economy Conference’ (ACEC), and Finalist in 2023 Eureka Prize for Innovative Research in Sustainability.

Yong Sik Ok

Program Director and Chair, APRU Sustainable Waste Management

[email protected]

Prof. Yong Sik Ok serves as the Chair and Program Director of the Sustainable Waste Management Program for the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). He also holds the esteemed position of President of the International ESG Association (IESGA). Prof. Ok was recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher (HCR) in three distinct fields: Environment and Ecology, Engineering, and Biology and Biochemistry for the year 2022. Prof. Ok has an h-index of 155, accompanied by over 20,000 annual citations and a portfolio boasting more than 110 highly cited papers. He stands as the most cited scientist in Korea across various disciplines showcasing his exceptional contributions to research. Prof. Yong Sik Ok maintains an extensive global professional network, serving as Editor-in-Chief of CleanMat (Wiley), a distinguished journal publishes leading research on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ESG. Prof. Ok serves as the President of International Society of Trace Element Biogeochemistry (ISTEB).


Lisa McLean

CEO of Circular Australia

Jay Hyuk Rhee

Professor, School of Business Administration, Korea University

Organising Committee

Eric Sanjaya
Research Associate, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Sydney

Gustavo Fimbres Weihs
Research Fellow, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Sydney

Gordon Weiss
Director, External Engagement, School of Chemical Engineering, University of Sydney

Piumi Amasha Withana
Secretary, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program

Louella Carr
Communications and Engagement Manager 
Circular Australia


Abercrombie Business School 

The University of Sydney