Circular Economy and Bioeconomy

MBIE is undertaking research on how Aotearoa New Zealand can reduce emissions, and lift the value derived from our biological resources.

A circular economy and bioeconomy can tackle climate change and lift economic value

New Zealand’s first Emissions Reduction Plan includes a chapter on supporting Aotearoa New Zealand to transition to a more circular economy and sustainable bioeconomy.

MBIE has been undertaking a research programme to identify how New Zealand can reduce emissions by;

  • increasing the value derived from our biological resources
  • transitioning from fossil fuel based to bio-based fuels, chemicals and other materials
  • significantly increasing the efficiency and utilisation of resources within the economy.

Studies indicate countries can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% to 39% by adopting ambitious circular approaches. This is achieved by designing out waste and pollution, keeping resources in use for as long as possible, then recovering and repurposing products and materials at the end of their lifecycle.

Circular approaches can also provide new business and job opportunities and can help maintain New Zealand’s economic competitiveness as global markets demand stronger environmental credentials across value chains.

As New Zealand moves to a low emissions economy there will be significant increased demand for biological resources in New Zealand to replace fossils fuels in energy, construction, and other materials. The work programme aims to understand the economic implications of future supply and demand of biological resources, how they could be best utilised to maximise value.

Research reports

Examples of our research projects are listed below, and reports will be published on this page when they are available.

Emerging and future platforms in New Zealand’s bioeconomy

A set of reports on opportunities for New Zealand’s bioeconomy to be ‘part of the solution’, contributing to high value, sustainable and low emission use of bioresources. These reports are designed for use by government, investors, and business and have a focus on near term investment-ready opportunities and what is required for New Zealand to be internationally competitive.

See also:

Food and Beverage Information Project

Impacts, Barriers and Enablers for a Circular Economy

A set of research projects covering:

  • Impacts of circular approaches on emissions, jobs, and other factors 
  • Barriers, enablers, and approaches for a more circular economy 
  • International developments toward more circular economies and the implications for New Zealand
  • Enabling digital technologies for New Zealand’s circular and bioeconomy, including the role of digital twins.

This research is being led by a consortia of organisations: Sustainable Business Network, Aurecon, thinkstep-anz, Rākau Tautoko, The Connective, Project Moonshot, and Arup.

Across all the projects, the research is using systems approaches, integrating Mātauranga Māori, to identify best impact approaches for Aotearoa New Zealand to shift to a more circular low emissions economy. The research will run from August 2023 to March 2024.

Contact us 

This work is being led by MBIE's Economic Strategy Branch.

To get in touch with MBIE’s Circular Economy and Bioeconomy team, send an email to:

Last updated: 30 April 2024 Last reviewed: 30 April 2024