The Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), the Québec Business Council on the Environment (CPEQ) and Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ) are proud to be releasing the first study on the potentials and perspectives of circular economy in Québec. In the context in which, like other jurisdictions around the world, the different levels of government are beginning to take an interest in circular economy, it is important that a substantive debate be conducted on the topic, to the benefit of businesses.
The Institut de l’environnement, du développement durable et de l’économie circulaire (EDDEC) and the Groupe de recherche en gestion et mondialisation de la technologie (GMT) at Polytechnique Montréal called for the study.
Circular economy: a concept whose potential must be understood
A course for the future to accelerate our transition to a greener economy, circular economy is a concept that remains relatively unknown in North America. It involves optimizing resource use in every life cycle stage of a product or service, reducing the environmental footprint and contributing to the wellbeing of individuals and communities.
“Consumers’ new expectations, along with the global efforts to reduce the impacts of human activity, fully justify our interest in new models such as circular economy, which make us more efficient and productive and reduce the social and environmental costs,” affirmed Yves-Thomas Dorval, chief executive officer, CPQ. “In order to begin to assess the applications and opportunities of circular economy for various sectors, we had to undertake an initial review based on current knowledge to determine the political levers and barriers to its implementation.”
Benefits, barriers and levers
The study is based on an analysis of circular economy policy and an exhaustive review of the most recent literature on the topic. It determines the sectors with strong potential, as well as the economic, technological, social and policy-related barriers and levers.
“The circular economy would reduce environmental impacts and lead to productivity, efficiency and profitability gains, as well as foster innovative research and provide strong entrepreneurial potential,” said Hélène Lauzon, president and CEO, CPEQ. “Many opportunities will arise for businesses as this transformation gets underway, and we therefore have everything to gain from advancing our understanding of the concept and its benefits and developing tools to determine the sectors and material flows that could potentially generate market opportunities.”
Thus, the study explores five circular economy strategies through case studies of Québec businesses: recycling, reconditioning and refurbishing, service economy, industrial symbiosis and collaborative economy.
Avenues for increasing reliance on circular economy
The work conducted over the past months made it possible to establish a series of recommendations focused on two key elements: knowledge development and market and business support.
“A variety of strategies, mechanisms and tools may be adopted to recognize and stimulate the sectors and processes with strong potential for implementing circular economy. But in order to do so, it is essential that the different levels of government create facilitating regulatory conditions and taxation and financial measures that will support businesses and institutions in their efforts,” concluded Maryse Vermette, president and CEO, ÉEQ. “Recovery and recycling drive the circular economy on a local scale by providing a system that aims to give new life to recyclable materials. A number of conditioners and recyclers are firmly established in Québec and we must pursue the efforts to stimulate innovation and create added value with these materials, which must be considered as true secondary resources rather than waste.”
In the coming months, the Conseil du patronat du Québec, the Québec Business Council on the Environment and Éco Entreprises Québec will work to better communicate the potential of circular economy for the province and invite representatives from all levels of government—and from the provincial government in particular—to purse work to foster the broader emergence of circular economy and stimulate investment by the public and private sectors.
At the same time, the three organizations are of the opinion that modeling based on data specific to Québec is critical to better predict national benefits, for example in terms of GDP growth, job creation and greenhouse gas reduction.
Senior Advisor – Communications and Media Relations
Conseil du patronat du Québec
514 288-5161 ext. 243
Cell : 514 265-5471
Présidente directrice générale du CPEQ
Jacques A. Bouchard
Éco Entreprises Québec
514 987-1491 ext. 247