Rounding Out Our Efforts: Increasing Canada’s Circular Economy – December 2015
Tracy Casavant & Peter Laybourn
The G7, of which Canada is a member, has made resource efficiency a priority and has established the Alliance for Resource Efficiency, which has endorsed Industrial Symbiosis, in particular the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) model developed in the UK, as a best practice. NISPs are now running in 21 countries worldwide.
The G7-Alliance for Resource Efficiency held a working session on industrial symbiosis Oct 29 & 30, 2015 in Birmingham, UK, organized by International Synergies Ltd., which developed the NISP model. Although Light House was unable to attend, we supported the organizers’ efforts to secure Canadian participation. The timing of the session was tricky, falling just after Canada’s national elections but before the new government had been sworn in, but the Canadian High Commission’s climate attaché was able to attend as an observer. Participants represented a high-level mix from the United Nations (UNEP, UNIDO, UNDP), G7 governments, businesses (both corporate and small and medium-sized enterprises), international institutions (European Commission, IRP, 3GF, CDKN etc.) academia, practitioners, cities, government agencies and the financial sector… in the truest sense of industrial symbiosis: all sectors, all sizes. It was also very exciting to see industrial symbiosis recognised across the UN for its contribution to the recently agreed Sustainable Development Goals for global agendas including climate change mitigation.
The G7-Alliance for Resource Efficiency has now tasked the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) International Resource Panel (IRP) with compiling a synthesis report for best practices early 2016, in which industrial symbiosis is expected to figure prominently. The G7 have also commissioned the OECD, to produce a set of government policy recommendations around resource efficiency, expected to also include industrial symbiosis, mid-2016 as well. (The OECD have previously endorsed industrial symbiosis as a key platform for resource efficiency.)
UNEP IRP Members – Blue Panel Members; Green Steering Committee; Orange Both
So, Canada’s foot is in the door, but we aren’t fully in the room yet. Canada takes over the presidency of the G7 in 2018, and will be expected to carry the resource efficiency mantle forward from Germany (current president) and Japan (incoming 2016 president). These are exciting times, and we look forward to reporting back on the UNEP and OECD reports later this year, as well as on Canada’s renewed efforts to support its international commitments for resource efficiency.