Working towards Circular Cities
In the first episode of the webinar series "Making the Circular Economy Real", we invited Dutch and Canadian professionals to discuss the importance of circular practices for the prosperity of cities and how staged approaches and technological tools help facilitate the transition from a linear to a circular economy.
In this "Cities going Circular" themed webinar, organized in partnership with Canada Circular Hotspot, our speakers gave valuable insights and inspiring examples from Canada and the Netherlands.
Canada and the Netherlands share a close relationship, forged over many years, and this extends to the current day exchange of knowledge and the evolution of ideas in a number of areas, including the circular economy. While the Netherlands, with an economy that according to the Circular Gap report is almost a quarter ‘circular’, is at the forefront, Canada is starting to move in that direction with the City of Guelph/County of Wellington working to create the country’s first circular food economy as a prime example. Working together seems to come naturally and both countries are already working to jointly host the 2021 World Circular Economy Forum.
The opportunities are ripe for sharing of best practices between the two countries and this set the stage for collaboration between the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Toronto and Canada Circular Hotspot. With both parties closely following developments in the circular economy, it made sense that they come together, and bring together brilliant minds, from both nations, to share circular economy ideas and best practices, with the objective of developing and fostering meaningful relationships to help grow the circular economy in Canada and the Netherlands.
The webinar was moderated by Paul van der Werf from AET Group, and started with Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Toronto, Ms. Anne Le Guellec, setting the stage for this webinar series and outlining the key objectives of making the concept of circular economy more concrete and to provide participants with some tools and resources to help them start their own circular economy initiatives.
Identifying circular opportunities
One of the insights in urban development was presented by Matthew Fraser, Senior Project Manager at Circle Economy, based in Amsterdam. He explained how the Circle City Scan works, an online tool developed by Circle Economy, to enable local governments and city change agents to identify and prioritize circular opportunities in their city or region. Based on a socio economic and material flow analysis, Circle Economy develops circular strategies and an action plan for cities to make circular changes. Fraser showed examples of successfully implemented circular projects in Amsterdam and Glasgow.
Meaghan Davis, Acting Manager for the City of Toronto’s Circular Economy and Innovation unit in the Solid Waste Management Services Division took the discussion to a local level. Recently, the City of Toronto has started working with Circle Economy to analyze the current landscape. The municipality is working towards an aspirational goal of zero waste and a circular economy as part of its Long Term Waste Management Strategy. In talking about what other regions can learn from this, Davis mentioned the importance of a dedicated business unit and the benefits of an iterative approach. She highlighted the formation of a circular economy working group, consisting of 40 external stakeholders, representing different disciplines and sectors, which will be instrumental in the development of a resilient circular strategy.
Canada Circular Hotspot
At the end of the webinar, Colin Isaacs, the Executive Director of Canada Circular Hotspot, discussed the practical aspects of the circular economy by announcing a competition in September 2020, for the best examples of the circular economy in practice by private organizations and municipalities. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase how the circular economy is being implementing, and bringing about tangible results in resource re-use, thus making the planet that more sustainable.
-With files from Kartik Moorthy
Want to watch the full episode?
To watch the full recording of the first webinar, please click here.
The webinar “Cities going Circular” is part of the series “Making the Circular Economy Real”, organized by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Toronto and Canada Circular Hotspot. Key objectives are increasing participant’s knowledge, expanding networks, showing the circular economy in real world action and inspiring the development of new circular economy projects in Ontario and across Canada.