Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister of Scotland

Born in Irvine in 1970 and educated at Greenwood Academy, she studied law at the University of Glasgow where she graduated with LLB (Hons) and Diploma in legal practice.

Before entering the Scottish Parliament as a regional MSP for Glasgow in 1999 she worked as a solicitor in the Drumchapel Law and Money Advice Centre in Glasgow.

She is currently MSP for Glasgow Southside having been, before boundary changes, MSP for Govan between 2007 and 2011.

In government she served as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing between May 2007 and September 2012 and then Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities with responsibility for government strategy and the constitution until November 2014. Throughout this period she also served as Deputy First Minister of Scotland.

She was sworn in as First Minister on November 20, 2014. She lives in Glasgow with her husband Peter Murrell.


Dr Leyla Acaroglu

Founder, Disrupt Design & UnSchool

Sustainability provocateur and cultural protagonist Dr. Leyla Acaroglu challenges people to think differently about how the world works. As an award-winning designer, United Nations Champion of the Earth, sociologist, and entrepreneur, she developed the Disruptive Design Method and designs cerebrally activating experiences, gamified toolkits, and unique educational experiences that help people make the status quo obsolete. Her mainstage TED Talk on sustainability has been viewed over a million times, and she leads presentations around the world on activating positive social change through creative interventions and systems thinking. Leyla has won a host of awards for her work, was named one of Melbourne’s 100 Most Influential People, and has been forging positive change through creative practice in multiple ways for over a decade. She is the founder of two design agencies, Disrupt Design in New York and Melbourne-based Eco Innovators, as well as the UnSchool, her uniquely rebellious experimental knowledge lab that is all about disrupting the mainstream way that knowledge is gained and shared.


Janez Potočnik

Co-chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel, former European Commissioner for R&D and Environment

Janez was assistant professor in statistics and economics at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ljubljana from 1991 - 2004. In 2004, he became a Member of the European Commission and shared the Enlargement portfolio before taking on Science and Research. In 2010 he took on a second mandate for Environment until 2014.

In 2014, he was appointed for a three-year term as a member and Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme. In the same month he was also appointed as Chairman of The Forum for the Future of Agriculture and a Member of the European Policy Centre’s Advisory Council. Janez’s awards include:

  • United Nations’ Champions of the Earth (2013)
  • ACER Award, visionary contributions & leadership, Catalan Assoc. of Research Entities (2014)
  • Twelve Stars for the Environment Award, European Environmental Bureau, for his science-based approach to promoting environmental sustainability (2014)
  • Fortune Award for Circular Economy Leadership, World Economic Forum (2015)
  • Hans-Carl-Von-Carlowitz Award, Carlowitz Society (2015)


Dr Katherine Trebeck

Research Director, the Wellbeing Economy Alliance

Katherine is currently the Research Director for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance. Her most recent experience includes over eight years’ in various roles with Oxfam GB—as a Senior Researcher for the Global Research Team, UK Policy Manager, and Research and Policy Advisor for Oxfam Scotland. Katherine, with Lorenzo Fioramonti, instigated the group of Wellbeing Economy Governments; developed Oxfam's Humankind Index; and led Oxfam's work on a ‘human economy’. She was Rapporteur for Club de Madrid's Working Group on Shared Societies and Sustainability and is on the advisory board for the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (University of Surrey); the Living Well Within Limits project (University of Leeds); A Good Life for All Within Planetary Boundaries (University of Leeds); and the Economic Democracy Index project (University of Glasgow).

Katherine has a PhD in Political Science from the Australian National University and is Honorary Professor at the University of the West of Scotland and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Strathclyde. Her forthcoming book The Economics of Arrival: Ideas for a Grown Up Economy (co-authored with Jeremy Williams and published by Policy Press) is due out in early 2019.


Dr h.c. Walter R. Stahel

Architect and Industrial Analyst

Since 1983, Walter has been founder-director of the Product-Life Institute (Switzerland), the oldest established consultancy in Europe devoted to developing sustainable strategies and policies. Credited with having coined the expression ‘cradle-to-cradle’ in the late 1970s, Walter worked at developing a ‘closed loop’ approach to production processes and created the Product Life Institute in Geneva more than 25 years ago. From 1986 to 2014, he was also director of risk management research of the Geneva Association. Currently Walter works to: promote the understanding of the structure of an economy in loops and its drivers and obstacles; spread the knowledge about the competitiveness of a performance economy selling goods and molecules as a service; and identify the levers to speed up the shift from a linear industrial economy managing flows to an economy managing stocks.

In 1971, he graduated from ETH Zurich with an MA in architecture and has been a Visiting Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Surrey since 2005. He was awarded degrees of Doctor honoris causa by the University of Surrey (2013) and l’Université de Montréal (2016). His well-known publications include Jobs for Tomorrow: the Potential for Substituting Manpower for Energy (1981) and The Performance Economy (2010).

Miranda Schnitger

Cities Project Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Working at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation since 2016, Miranda leads research exploring circular economy opportunities in cities. The work looks at circular developments in the built environment, mobility and product systems and the benefits that a circular economy lens can bring to cities. Within the Foundation she has also worked with the CE100 network—a network of businesses, government and cities, innovators and thought leaders. Here her focus was on the development of pre-competitive innovation opportunities within the network that could help realize circular economy ambitions faster.

A combination of factors in Miranda’s background led to her interest in the circular economy. Prior to the Foundation, she worked as a policy advisor at the HM Treasury and interned at the EU Commission. She has also worked in a range of social enterprises, charities and a design business. She has a Masters in European Politics and loves languages, a good adventure, and design.


Gary Gillespie

Chief Economist, Scottish Government

Gary was appointed Director and Scottish Government Chief Economist in 2011. He joined the civil service in 2000 from the Fraser of Allander Institute (University of Strathclyde) where his research interests included Scottish economy, regional economic modelling and foreign direct investment.

His current role in providing economic advice to the First Minister is one of the most visible roles within the public sector in Scotland. He publishes regular assessments of the State of the Economy and is a regular participant in economic discussion across Scotland.

He was made an Honorary Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University in January 2011 and was appointed to the role of Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde in 2015. He was also appointed a fellow of the academy of social sciences in 2017.


Alison McRae

Senior Director, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

Alison is a network and partnerships entrepreneur with over 20 years of economic development, communications and innovation experience. At Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, she is responsible for a strategic partnerships portfolio, working across a range of organisations which seek to innovate and anticipate new opportunities for Glasgow and its business community. She is currently facilitating a movement for change in Glasgow around circular economy principles in the urban economy. Alison also has overall responsibility for Developing Young Workforce Glasgow. Previously, Alison was Director of Destination Liverpool with Liverpool City Council and prior to that ran her own project management consultancy. She was educated at Cambridge University and is a Board member of the Scottish Tourism Alliance.


Terry A’Hearn

Chief Executive Officer, SEPA

Terry has over twenty years’ experience in the environment profession, having held senior roles in Melbourne with the Environment Protection Authority in the Australian state of Victoria, in London with the global consulting firm WSP and, most recently, in Belfast as Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency before he joined SEPA.  In all this work, Terry has strongly focussed on bringing environmental and economic aims together, supporting business and social innovation and getting tougher with the worst environmental performers. 

Terry is a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Footprint Network and a Fellow of the UK Institute of Directors.


Harald Friedl

Chief Executive Officer, Circle Economy 

Harald has extensive international experience running both for-profit and non-profit businesses with a focus on scaling impact. Before joining Circle Economy in 2017, Harald spent five years in Myanmar during which he co-founded Impact Hub Myanmar, headed the market development for the world market leader of electromechanical hydropower projects in the country, and co-founded Myanmar’s first pre-incubation programme for social enterprises.

Prior to moving to Myanmar, he lived in New York where he worked as the Head of Office for the Assistant Secretary General and acted as the spokesperson for the Deputy Prime Minister of Finance in Austria. He has also spent time as a journalist and TV presenter for economic focused news. Harald enjoys connecting with people who are striving to make the world a better place for future generations.


Rebecca Ricketts

Senior Project Manager, Circular Glasgow, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

A founding member of Circular Glasgow, Rebecca manages the communications with the aim of informing and engaging change-makers. Her focus is on connecting businesses with one another, strengthening the local SME community, and capturing new ideas that will accelerate their transition to new circular models.

With a background in business development, marketing and PR, Rebecca believes the role of storytelling and sharing practical applications of circular models will be crucial in supporting Glasgow’s ambition of positioning itself as a leading circular city.


Louise McGregor

Head of Circular Economy, Zero Waste Scotland

Louise leads Zero Waste Scotland’s Circular Economy team, influencing businesses and wider society to embrace circular opportunities. Louise’s work is focussed on overcoming obstacles to a circular economy model, as well as offering practical, technical and financial support to businesses to help them to develop & implement circular economy solutions.

Louise has over 17 years’ experience in Resource Management, working for the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) for 13 of those years, with a focus on organics reprocessing for much of that time. In October 2007, Louise was part of a small initial team which established a Scottish programme and office for WRAP. Louise took responsibility for supporting reprocessing and was instrumental in helping to deliver significant food waste reprocessing capacity in Scotland through anaerobic digestion and composting.

Julia Vol

Government and Cities Network Manager, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Julia has worked at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation since 2016. She currently manages the Foundation’s CE100 network of local, regional and national governments, who are committed to a circular economy transition within their regions. Previously, Julia has supported the Foundation’s relationship with philanthropic funders and researched the field of urban innovation for circular economy.

Before joining the Foundation, Julia lived in Iceland and Denmark where she worked on business sustainability across various NGOs, businesses and academia. She holds a Master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources and a BA in Political Science and East Asian Cultures.


Iain Gulland

Chief Executive Officer, Zero Waste Scotland

Iain is Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland and previously led its predecessor programme, WRAP Scotland. Iain has more than 25 years’ experience in sustainable resource management, including initiating recycling systems in the public and third sectors.  He is the current President of the Association of Cities and Regions for Sustainable Resource Management (ACR+) and he is a member of a number of Scottish Government strategic groups including the Economy and Environment Leaders Group, the Board of the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme and the Expert Panel on Environmental Charges. 

He was voted the ‘most influential person in the UK waste and resource efficiency sector’ in 2014 by Resource Magazine, and he was granted Fellowship of Chartered Institution of Wastes Management in 2016.


Vic Emery OBE

Board Chair, Zero Waste Scotland

Vic was appointed as Chair of Zero Waste Scotland’s Board in July 2014. Prior to his appointment, Vic was Managing Director of BAE Systems Warship Division which managed the warship building business on the Clyde and the warship support and sustainment business in Portsmouth. Vic also sat on the operational Board of BAE Systems Plc from 2003 until 2008 and was awarded an OBE in May 2008 for services to shipbuilding. A former Board Member and Chair of Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, he also currently sits as a Trustee of the Scottish Maritime Museum. In January 2014, Vic was announced as President of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

In the public sector, Vic became Convener of the Scottish Police Services Authority and Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency in 2009 until 2013. Between January 2011 and March 2013 Vic also played a major governance and advisory role in bringing the Edinburgh trams project back on track for completion. Between 2012 and 2015 he served as the Chair of the Scottish Police Authority during the establishment of the single Police Service of Scotland and is currently Chair of the Civil Nuclear Police Authority. 

Professor Janice Kirkpatrick OBE

Co-founder & Creative Director, Graven

Janice Kirkpatrick is a designer and brand expert. She co-founded her design company Graven in 1986 while studying Design at Glasgow School of Art where she is now a visiting Professor. She has over 30 years’ experience of running her own businesses, and working as a consultant and mentor to start-ups and established businesses in many sectors.

While a Trustee of Nesta, she was Chair of the £20m Investment and Innovation seed fund. She is a member of the Advisory Board for V&A Dundee, the Scottish Government’s Creative Industries Advisory Group, and Glasgow Economic Leadership Board.

In 2013 she was awarded an OBE for services to Graphic Design and an honorary Doctor of Letters from University of Glasgow.

Cynthia Reynolds, FRSA

Founder, SmartUse.Global

Cynthia is a Canadian innovator, circular economy specialist, serial entrepreneur and technology advisor, and has lived in Norway for nearly 20 years. She is passionate about how the combination of technology, innovative business models and the use of global networks and resources can create social, economic and environmental impact. She founded SmartUse.Global where, alongside strategic partners, they are working at the intersection of Smart Cities and the Sharing and Circular Economies, providing both the insight and technology to support a multi-stakeholder transition to a more circular economy via smart community asset management.

Cynthia co-founded Open Food Network Scandinavia and has worked with the Open Food Network globally to co-develop the open source software and non-profit organisation that is supporting local food systems worldwide. As an RSA Fellow, Founder of FeltUnited and Locals.Global, a United Nations registered partnership, she has a proven record of converting ideas into action for positive societal change.



Andy Dick

Policy Manager, Zero Waste Scotland

As Policy Manager, Andy leads on policy support provided to the Scottish Government by Zero Waste Scotland. He also has a senior role within the organisation’s Policy, Research and Evaluation team, overseeing research and evidence across all of Zero Waste Scotland’s ambitious programmes. Andy seeks to build on the company’s position as being an evidence-led and influential enabler of change across Scotland, the UK and Europe.

Andy joined Zero Waste Scotland in July 2010 following six years at East Renfrewshire Council, and initially managed the advice and funding given to all 32 local authorities in Scotland. He was integral in the publication of the Household Recycling Charter – a voluntary agreement and associated code of practice made by the Scottish Government and COSLA aiming to make recycling in Scotland less fragmented and easier for residents, and to improve quality upon collection.

Andy is a chartered waste manager and holds a degree in Environmental Health from Strathclyde University. He lives in Glasgow with his young family.


Zero Waste Scotland
Circular Glasgow