A circular economy - the legal landscape in New Zealand

A circular economy - the legal landscape in New Zealand

In March 2022, the New Zealand Government published “Te hau mārohi ki anamata Towards a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy: Aotearoa New Zealand's first emissions reduction plan” (the Plan). The Plan envisages New Zealand transforming from a linear to a circular economy by 2050 (Chapter 9) and will complement the New Zealand Energy Strategy, presently being developed to support the country’s transition to a low emissions economy – a circular economy being underpinned by a transition to renewable energy.

The Plan describes a circular economy as follows:

“In a circular economy, we design out waste and pollution, keep resources in use for as long as possible, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their lifecycle. Protecting and regenerating natural systems is key to a circular economy, as is delivering equitable and inclusive outcomes”.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a circular economy, further information is available on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the CGRi (Circularity Gap Report (2023)) websites.

In this series of articles, the focus is on current legislation (or the lack thereof), that supports the Plan and how New Zealand compares with the positions adopted in other jurisdictions.  (These articles do not discuss tax laws, funding or financial incentives, which are also important drivers of behaviour in this area). Click on the below links to read each article:

(I) The right to repair;

(II) Waste minimisation tools;

(III) Advertising and greenwashing; and

(IV) Corporate responsibility.

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