Guest Expert Interview – Irena Jovanovska, Founder of Swinburne University’s Women in STEM Club

Guest Expert Interview – Irena Jovanovska, Founder of Swinburne University’s Women in STEM Club

Last year we were delighted to welcome Irena Jovanovska to the LUP family. With an impressive background, Irena founded the Women in STEM club at Swinburne University where she completed her Master’s in Science (Biotechnology) degree. Later this year we are planning on holding our first live event with Swinburne University and their Women in STEM Club. We thought we would thus take this opportunity to discuss with Irena her reasons for why she set up this club with now 150 members and growing. We wanted to highlight the amazing work they were set up to do and continue to do now and in the future…”

LUP: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us Irena. So back in 2019, you founded the Women in STEM club at Swinburne. Can you please give us an insight into why you set up the club & why you felt the need for the club was at that time?

Irena: It is my pleasure, thank you for having me! It all began when I attended the Australian Symposium for Women leaders in August 2018. Finding myself amongst women leaders was very motivational and inspired me to think of myself as a leader as well. Whereas before that I never even considered the possibility that I could also become an inspiration for others. I thought that my success thus far was only ‘luck’ and ‘accidents’ that happened along the way, but I realised that it was actually the result of hard work and perseverance.

I then got included in the gender equity group at Swinburne, and subsequently the Women in STEM Faculty Group lead by Dr Tania Moein. Having that insight, and being the voice for women in STEM as a student representative, I noticed the things that could be developed further and new ideas to be implemented that would improve the experience of women and other minority groups in the STEM fields during the studies, as well as in a working environment. The crux of it was starting a club for supporting and empowering women in STEM.

LUP: What sort of work were you looking at doing or having the club focus on?

Irena: The initial purpose of the club was to have a place where we can support one another, celebrate our success, and share our concerns. Also, considering that the women are proportionally less represented in the STEM fields for a number of reasons, the club is a ‘safe space’ where we can all brainstorm and improve our personal and professional wellbeing and gain the courage to raise our hands and speak up.

Generally speaking, the Women in STEM Club aims to create an empowering, inclusive, and supportive environment at Swinburne. I must highlight the amazing support we experienced from our teaching staff as well as from other already established clubs. We dedicated the first semester to set up strong foundations upon which the success kept piling on. So far we’ve held many social and professional events and shared opportunities: trivia, networking, discussions, game nights, STEM and industry webinars, professional networking, competitions, etc.

LUP: Has it changed much since & have you got any messages to deliver to the next generation of leading female scientists?

IRENA: Oh, it most definitely changed! It evolved to celebrate diversity, and consistently engage the club members in various ways. I am especially proud of the collaborations with other clubs, organisations and professionals in STEM at Swinburne and some industry collaborations which provide an array of opportunities for our students and can sometimes lead to fruitful career progressions! We also developed the Women in STEM mentor program and the Women can STEM program and held mental health events full of ideas on how to get through the pandemic lockdowns.

My message to future generations is to lead by example, help and guide others, be compassionate and understanding. But, most importantly, take care of yourself first, believe in yourself and give yourself credit for all your success. If no one has accomplished what you aim to achieve, it doesn’t mean it is impossible. It only means that you could be the first one to do it! Take it as a challenge!

LUP: How can you see LUP continue to be able to best support the Women in STEM club at Swinburne & how else can people & organisations within the LUP network help? eg. mentoring programs etc

IRENA: LUP Global can support the Women in STEM club members by sharing their personal achievement journey, holding regular networking events, and workshops. Furthermore, starting personal development programs, providing internships and other collaborations would be very beneficial for our club members’ careers. LUP Global can also be included in a mentorship program where the club members can get personalised advice about their career directly from the successful leaders in LUP Global.

LUP: Thank you so much for your time today Irena & thank you for being such an inspirational leader among women. We are so grateful to have you a part of the (L)ove (U)r (P)lanet family!”

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Guest expert interview: with Catherine Weetman!

Guest expert interview: with Catherine Weetman!

We are pleased to feature a guest interview with our wonderful Circular Economy partners in the UK, Catherine Weetman, from ReThink Global & award winning author

Catherine has just launched a new edition of her book “A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business”, and we have the opportunity of talking about the book, how she sees the current situation with the pandemic and how the circular economy could be a solution for many of the challenges we are facing.

Catherine Weetman

LUP: Hi Catherine, thanks for your time once again, it´s always a pleasure to talk to you and reflect on the transition towards a circular economy, especially now after almost one year living with a pandemic. What is your first analysis of this: are we as society closer to what we are looking for? Is the pandemic contributing to a shift or what´s the real impact?

Catherine: Hi Noreen, it’s great to catch up, and good to see that you and the LUP Global team are getting the circular message out, helping businesses work towards circular approaches to get them through to the other side of the pandemic with a more resilient and cost-efficient approach to asset management. I sense that despite its awful effect on humanity – the loss of loved ones, impact on our communities and social networks, effect on our economies, businesses and jobs – the pandemic has opened up a whole range of possibilities. Many of us have made big changes to our daily lives: we’re more in touch with nature and the great outdoors and realising what really matters. For many of us, that’s healthy, seasonal food, meaningful conversations and being true to our values.

People have found purpose and meaning – perhaps by volunteering to help their community, by raising funds for charity or local causes, donating to food banks and so on. We’ve realised that plenty of our old habits were pointless. We’d been sucked into the ‘waste economy’ through fast fashion, fast food, the latest ‘must-have’ watch/shoes/ technology etc. Instead, we’ve developed passions for baking, arts and crafts, learnt a new skill or become a newbie/improving gardener.

For businesses and policymakers the pandemic was a sharp jolt, reminding us about the vulnerabilities of long-distance, cost-focused, opaque, just-in-time supply chains, in which one disruption could mean the entire downstream flow grinds to a halt. In my blog back in February 2020: Worried about supply-chain disruption? Why circular economy approaches are more resilient, I highlighted these risks, suggesting ways to use circular approaches to mitigate or avoid them.

The subsequent impact of lockdown means the closure or slowdown of arts, entertainment, sports and foodservice sectors. This, combined with the different ways we are living and working, mean many businesses have had to pivot, or even reinvent themselves to survive. As we move into 2021, I’m noticing an increasing interest in circular approaches, with more businesses talking about their projects and pilot schemes, and more people contacting me about the Circular Economy Podcast.

LUP: Now more focused on your book, can you tell us more about the updates in this new edition? What are the main changes and trends you see, and which industries are leading them (compared to the first edition of the book in 2016)?

Catherine: I hadn’t envisaged how big a project the new edition would be, turning out to have lots of updates and additions. The circular economy has moved on in leaps and bounds since 2016! Then, the book was `furloughed´ last summer as the publishing industry went into lockdown, but finally went on sale last November through Kogan Page and all good booksellers. With over 300 real examples from around the world, it´s described by one of the reviewers as a `must-read for businesses, students and policymakers; and explains the what, why and how of the circular economy. The new edition includes extensive updates, builds on the latest research on circular business models, has a new chapter on packaging and over 100 new examples´.

I have good news for your readers: they can save 20 per cent if they buy the book from Kogan Page (shipping worldwide) by using code CIRCL20 at the checkout. (Click HERE to buy it)

LUP: Ohh that´s great, we appreciate a lot! To sum up, any final idea you want to share with us? Expectations for 2021 and the near future? Thanks so much once again.

Catherine: The changes triggered by the pandemic have encouraged a sense of new beginnings and possibilities, with a realisation that transformational change is easier than we thought. That’s why I’m thinking of this decade as the ‘transformational twenties’ – the decade when we switch our mindset. We’re realising (as many indigenous people have always known) we can create a better world, with enough, for all of us, forever. That feels like an amazing, enriching and exciting vision – for a fair world, with abundance, diversity and honesty, where we care for people and our planet, and regenerate resources, living systems and our communities.

Alongside this, governments and businesses are seeing the importance of access to resources and the value of local supply chains and distributed manufacturing. The upsides of low-cost imports are now less important than developing future-fit economies, investing in clean, green, regenerative sectors. However, I believe we’ll undermine this if we don’t consider and embed the changes needed to deal with the other existing crises – of climate breakdown, biodiversity loss and social inequality. We must focus on the bigger picture and use systems-scale thinking to plan and deliver what we need. It’s critical that we regenerate soil, seas, nature and our communities, and that we design strategies to ensure a just transition.

We need to build the skills for that new world, where we understand how to work with nature instead of to exploit it, where we understand how to circulate resources and slow the flow of consumption and waste, and how to replace fossil inputs with sustainable ones. We can design a vision of a world where we’re regenerating everything we need, where waste and pollution don’t exist: a world with enough, for all of us, for ever.

This quote seems to sum up what we need to do: “To rid yourself of old patterns, focus all your energy not on struggling with the old, but on building the new.” Sometimes, this is attributed to Socrates, but is more likely to be from a fictional Socrates in The Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book that Changes Lives by Dan Millman (1984).


For more information or to contact Catherine, refer to:


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New podcast with ReThink Global

New podcast with ReThink Global

Our first podcast with ReThink Global was released!

We are so excited to announce the release of our first podcast with our amazing Circular Economy partners in the UK ReThink Global, and the award winning CE author Catherine Weetman. Catherine is a circular economy business advisor, workshop facilitator, speaker and writer.  Her award-winning book A Circular Economy Handbook for Business and Supply Chains, includes a wealth of wide-ranging examples and tips on getting started.  She founded Rethink Global in 2013, to help businesses use circular, sustainable approaches to make a better business (and a better world).

In this incredibly inspiring podcast, our CEO Noreen Kam and Chairman Michael Brown talk about the circular asset management solution we`ve developed for LUP Global’s customers.

Listen an extract of the interview by clicking on the picture!

Benefits of circular strategies

Noreen explains the massive opportunities that exist for companies to reduce their Capex (capital expenditure) by up to 60%, improve the performance and lifetime cost of equipment by 40%, and to recover value from the equipment at the end of its service period. She gives excellent examples to show how organizations can work jointly with LUP as buyers or sellers, and enhance the value of their assets considerably.

Michael talks about the mindset shift that is required to understand the importance of circular strategies, and mentions how this approach is normal in the airline industry, where often the airline doesn´t own anything – the plane, the engines, even the seats. Under this model, everything is owned, provided and maintained by the suppliers – you may have heard of the Rolls Royce example, selling power by the hour so you purchase the performance of the engine, instead of buying the engine itself. He highlights our vision that promotes the utilisation of assets to the fullest of their life, which demands discipline to have an appropriate register to record and manage the use of it.

Noreen and Michael mention to Catherine that this approach isn’t used in many other industry sectors, and this is one of our greatest motivations for developing our business model, to help companies to get benefits from this circular asset management approach, starting with laboratory equipment.


Check Catherine´s Circular Economy Podcast clicking on the picture!

It was so inspiring having this conversation with partners that are as passionate as us when talking about these life-changing topics! We are extremely happy for this great achievement and we hope this was just the first one of many more.

Thanks Catherine and the whole team of ReThink Global, let´s keep showing the world that there is a better way to do things 🙂

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Strategic partnership LUP Global & Peak scientific

Strategic partnership LUP Global & Peak scientific

Interview with Dr Nicole Pendini, General Manager at Peak Gas Generation Oceania, strategic partners with LUP Global


Peak Scientific (a Peak Gas Generation brand) is a leading innovator in the design, manufacture and support of high-performance gas generators for analytical laboratories through to large scale industrial applications. With over two decades of experience in pioneering reliable gas generator technology, Peak gas generation leads the market for on-site nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen and zero air gas generation systems.

An on-site gas generator from Peak Scientific is the practical and cost-effective alternative to pressurized cylinders and bulk liquid delivery. Traditional sources of gas incur on-going delivery, administration, rental, OHE and staffing costs.All of which impact on facility budgets and overall business profitability. Peak´s forte is in providing their customers with unrivalled peace of mind and hassle free; high quality, dependable gas generation solutions – designed and tailored to meet the specific application demands for pressure, flow and purity. This comes backed up by their world-class technical support and on-going service care throughout the generators lifespan. With a rapid response and offices on every continent, they deliver a local service on a global scale.

Through their scientific expertise, Peak Scientific has developed and provide on-site gas solutions to a range of OEM’s specialty equipment and applications including; food and beverage, packaging, purging, blanketing, Bag-in-box (BIB), 3-D printing, synthetic diamond production, aquiculture, through to gas required for nappy ‘fluffing’ and plastics recycling.

Peak partner only with trusted, respected and like-minded, customer and solution orientated colleagues. Peak Scientific Instruments (Peak Oceania) is proud to name LUP Global as a strategic partner, working together towards a circular economy, reducing our environmental impact and local waste, to make a global impact.

Here, LUP Global founder; Noreen Kam discusses the importance of collaboration and sustainable outcomes with Peak Gas Generation Oceania; General Manager Dr Nicole Pendini.

A huge milestone for LUP has been this first OEM strategic partnership with Peak and our combined GREEN focus. How does this partnership benefit more businesses within the Science, technology, medical, manufacturing and agriculture industries?

LUP and Peak share the same, and some may say simple vision:waste prevention. This could be landfill waste due to incorrect purchasing decisions, not fit for purpose, sub-par quality and lack of longevity of products. Incorrect procurement is wasted effort, time and of course money. We want to see fit for purpose procurement and products that last, rather than simply being replaced, equating to increasing landfill. Peak primarily focus on our products lasting 10 – 15 years +. We refit compressors rather than replacing completely in order to maximise their lifespan, reduce metal landfill waste and of course, reduce overall cost. Peak offer rental and repurposing of gas generators through our partners LUP global.

LUP is extremely well connected to logistics, procurement and end-users in need of reliable and constant gas supply. Critical gas applications include: Covid-19 vaccine and other drug discovery, R&D, pharmaceutical and natural product manufacturing, water testing, 3-D printing, though to food safety: nitrogen gas is used to assure for longevity and sterility of food which is so important now more than ever. Traditional sources of gas require off-site gas generation, then frequent delivery by truck to site, incur on-going delivery, administrative and rental costs in addition to health and environment considerations due to the high storage pressures of cylinders/ boil-off gas options.

On-site gas generation is safe, lower overall running cost and significantly reduces carbon footprint due to constant truck deliveries required for cylinders. LUP facilitates customers in conjunction with Peak’s technical experts to assure a greener way forward with major return on investments for end-users and businesses.


How do you see this as potentially a new sustainable model to help impact our planet and businesses well into the future?

We know we need to reduce carbon emissions, reduce unnecessary transport and landfill waste. Businesses, more than ever, need to devise cost saving strategies while balancing business sustainability and forward-looking growth needs. Opposed to long 3-5 year delivery contracts that can cost 7 times over the cost of an on-site generator, we can easily detail the benefits to both the business as well as the environment by real life examples:

Nitrogen cylinders vs gas generator for a laboratory

Peak generator vs liquid nitrogen boil off:

For even larger supply systems eg: 500 LPM (30 m3/h) the ROI is < 1 year.

What do you see as the next biggest opportunities for Peak Oceania & LUP Global?

Since the pandemic hit us in March, we can see we need to think differently and fast. We need to consider environmental impact of our choices.We can see the drastic drop in air and land travel has greatly improve air quality and we will need to implement ways we can continue to reduce carbon emissions moving forward.This will require a shift in mindset from buy now, think later to think now for future impact.

Additionally, business need to prepare strategically for the long term, ready for the next disruptor. On-site gas generation gives one the flexibility even if there is a reduction in resource (such as Helium- where hydrogen can be used as an alternative), protects from any increases in pricing due to annual indexing or stockpiling, assures gas even when transport is restricted and most importantly in this climate, dramatically decreases contact and movement of people.

We see the business leading viral vaccines and anti- bacterial products, food production, individual packaging and storage, 3-D printing, local manufacturing and local recycling of plastics as the biggest businesses using cylinders or liquid ‘boil-off’ supplies, which would observe immediate cost benefit from a Peak gas generator.

We would like to call on any facilities and project managers though to business owners to consider the saving and impact they can have on the environment through discussing Peak Gas Generation options with our circular economy and procurement partner LUP global.

Thanks Nicole and Peak Scientific! 


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Circular Procurement of under-utilised assets – Why? A Supply Chain perspective 

Circular Procurement of under-utilised assets – Why? A Supply Chain perspective 

Written By: Michael Brown, LUP Global Chairman, and former Group General Manager of Supply Chain at Qantas.

What is Circular Procurement – how can it create value from both an environment and commercial perspective?

The Procurement community is great at engaging in the purchase of NEW – more and more we as a Community need to focus on the increasing opportunity for under-utilised Assets that have not reached their FULL lifecycle potential.

Not many industries proactively engage in ensuring their assets are used to their maximum useable life – Heavy Industry Mining and Aerospace maybe possible exceptions. These Industries with exceptional High Value assets do focus on their MRO (Maintain, Repair, Overhaul) cycle to extract the maximum value from the asset and where possible on sell the assets to other operators for continued use or parts tear down. A mindset shift is required to appreciate the importance of Reuse, Repurpose and then Recycle – this should be the Mantra that Procurement leaders live by in the purchase of Capital Assets.

Why shouldn’t this model apply to other sectors – Health, Food & Beverage and other industries…?? It requires both a structured approach to recording assets throughout their lifecycle and then a mandate within a business to consider USED assets during the Procurement process. What actions do businesses need to engage to increase the potential for on sale of under-utilised equipment?

Fundamentals of Creating an Asset Register

Not to overly state the requirements – depending on the type of asset the following basics ideally need to be observed:

  1. Purchase Date and Price, Supplier, OEM
  2. Warranty Provision and any extended warranty arising from a Maintenance action
  3. Depreciation Schedule
  4. Maintenance Cycle
  5. Maintenance Events – activity record
  6. Machine Usage – hours, events, actions completed

This level of information can be easily loaded into an Excel file. The discipline needed to maintain the register needs accountability within an organization. The quality of the data recorded will enhance the on sale potential and realizable value. To use the example of maximising value on the sale of your car – if you are to on-sell your vehicle a buyer will want to know how it has been maintained and good record keeping of these actions will enhance the sales potential.

Looking Forward

To create more Circularity with Assets we need to open our minds to the fundamentals of reducing both waste and the demand for new resources.

Business leaders need to champion the philosophy of Circular Asset Management and adopt internal policy to encourage processes that can maximise the potential for assets to be Reused, Repurposed and then Recycled. Consideration of the commercial value and risk balance needs to gain appreciation in the importance to use Assets to their life fullness.

With today’s Supply Chains being so badly disrupted we are in a position where all available assets that are under-utilised need to be visible to support the strained needs of our markets – whether that be in the Health field or across industries that need support. With the disruption of COVID-19, new assets and spare parts supply have suffered significant shortages. Under-utilised assets can, if managed appropriatly, be a valuable source to avoid supply disruptions.   

As a community we need to collaborate and offer our assets to support areas that might be in need – more and more we believe that LUP Global can assist in the reallocation of critical assets to relieve shortages in Australia and across other countries.

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What Continuous Improvement brings to businesses?

What Continuous Improvement brings to businesses?

What are the common values between LUP & Vative? And how to make bigger impact for businesses through management? 

Meet Theo Pappas, Vative’s CEO. Theo is a self-driven businessman encompassing over 15 years of experience across various leadership roles within the consulting and education space.

It’s the start of 2020 a new decade! What does the next decade look like in Continuous Improvement and for Vative specifically what lies ahead?

Theo Pappas : Where has the decade gone? I came on board with Vative in 2010, blinked and now it is 2020 already!

We’ve seen a lot of maturity in industry and what I mean by that is there has been a boarder industry uptake in the deployment of Continuous Improvement (CI) strategies. There is a far greater respect and adoption for implementing Continuous Improvement which not all that long ago was primarily reserved for businesses in the manufacturing industry. Even though Australia’s economy has global record of growth, businesses including the public sector are consistantly having their purse strings tied and needing to find innovative ways to do more with less.

Vative’s capacity stretches across a myriad of industries, from the CI foundations of Manufacturing through to Construction and across all levels of Government, Vative’s 13 years in business has just about implemented Continuous Improvement in every industry out there, though we’ve experienced a solid emergence in the Healthcare and Agriculture sectors enough to divisionalise dedicated teams across those industry sectors, no doubt over the coming years we’ll have other specialised dedicated industry divisions focusing and tailoring to the specific sector it services.

Continuous Improvement will no doubt continually evolve as it always has, the nest of methodologies it possesses such as Lean, Six-Sigma, Agile will in many industries have its lime light over the coming decade. All industries tend to want to get on the next big thing that is driving one company’s success and the fear of missing out on that journey sometimes drives the purpose of embarking on a Continuous Improvement strategy, which is every reason that it is not the right purpose.

Vative is turning 14 in 2020 and in the short 14 years it has helped over 400 businesses and many thousands of individuals gain skills in the application of Lean Six Sigma. The wisdom we’ve learnt over the time we’ve been in operation is that business transformation requires the right intent, a devised strategy and the most important antidote to ensure its long-term success…. Leadership.  Our extensive experience and data driven research across a selection of 47 organisations Vative has engaged with indicates that the proactiveness and mindset of the Leadership team is consistently the defying factor to a successful outcome in the application of any Continuous Improvement strategy, therefore businesses seeking to embark on such a journey must ensure there is a great deal of emphasis to engage the leadership first. So from this very nature, we at Vative move into the next decade with a distinct and unique business transformation model. Our 5-phase methodology in establishing a continuous improvement culture is what defines Vative’s capability and point of difference to the market. Our experience and history in business transformation is how we’ve devised a benchmark approach in helping organisations increase productivity, profitability and growth.

How do you see LUP’s vision and our focus on sustainability being able to fit in and work best with the vision for Vative?

Theo Pappas : There are synergies that tie the two oganisations quite well, aside from being ShareTree social enterprises, both organisations ultimately have a key focus for their clients and that is simply the art removing waste, whether that be waste in a form of a process or decommissioned assets heading to landfill, waste comes in many shapes, sizes and types though it is always the same desired outcome and that is to eliminate them all.

As social enterprises, by nature we’re both seeking to make an impact on the world, our business model is designed to make other businesses thrive and particularly here in Australia where we’re always obsessive to keep industry and jobs alive by driving businesses to develop continuous improvement cultures. Our customers come from all types of industries and we’re always finding their entire supply chain have wastes ridden throughout it and generally their assets in forms of large machinery or high-volume consumables at the end of their life cycle tend to be quite the expensive wastes.

We’re excited to have Noreen Kam and Michael Brown available to Vative clients as a Supply Chain experts to help implement waste reduction and cost saving strategies via the LUP circular economy models. This brings an exciting new unique capability to our network of customers never available before.

What do you see are the next biggest opportunities for Vative & LUP in order to be able to make the biggest impact for businesses?

Theo Pappas : Someone once told me 1 + 1 = 3, it’s a great analogy and rings true in this context. The meaning behind this analogy is that partnering and combining capabilities makes more useful to service clients’ needs, if the collaboration between the two organisations has a common element, combining alike (though non-competing) services brings upon a greater impact.

It is an exciting and fresh partnership we’re quite pleased to welcome the capabilities of the LUP team in the field of Supply Chain Management Consulting to the Vative suite of services.

There is certainly an opportunity to educate industry on innovative sustainability strategies and business practices. We’re Australia’s only training and consultancy provider offering the suite of competitive systems and practices programs, from foundational training right through to highly specialised master level programs at a Graduate Diploma. These programs are influenced under the sustainability training framework and it would be exciting future to enable LUP Global through our Academy arm to educate and empower businesses with skills in designing and leading sustainable deployment strategies.

Education and Training is where a lot of my passions lie and can certainly foresee an opportunity to enable a series of sustainability-based training packages for businesses to learn and implement the LUP Global mission. It is through education and application will give the planet and the businesses that occupy it the biggest impact for the future.

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