Paul is one of Canada’s leading experts in the emerging circular economy, providing solutions and engaging leaders who are working at the intersection of business innovation, public policy, economic development, and sustainability. For over a decade, this work has placed him at the forefront of the important transition that is underway towards a greener, more prosperous, low-carbon economy.

In February 2021, Paul took on the role of Managing Director of Circular Economy Leadership Canada (CELC), a network of leaders from all industries and sectors who are fostering collaboration, innovation, and knowledge exchange to accelerate the transition to a circular economy in Canada. In this role he is the driving force behind CELC’s Circular Economy Solution Series and the network’s efforts to amplify leading-edge work already underway in this space, while fostering innovation and synergies among business leaders, policymakers, academics, and other stakeholders to drive meaningful systems change.

Paul is also Board Chair for the Synergy  Foundation and Project Zero (a circular economy accelerator program based in British Columbia). Prior to this, Paul served as Senior Director at the Delphi Group, Managing Director of Vancouver-based GLOBE Advisors, and was the Conference Director for the GLOBE Series (from 2009-2016), considered one of the largest sustainability events of its type in the world. He was also a founding Executive Member of the BC Home Performance Stakeholder Council, as well as a member of the Program Advisory Committees for BCIT’s School of Business and UBC’s Masters in Energy Leadership (MEL) Program.

Paul can be contacted at pshorthouse@circulareconomyleaders.ca




David Hughes is the President and CEO of The Natural Step Canada which serves as the host organization for Circular Economy Leadership Canada, the Canada Plastics Pact, the Energy Futures Lab and other multi-stakeholder initiatives that are fostering innovation and systems change to advance a strong economy and a healthy environment. He has previously served as President and CEO of two of Canada's leading charities - Habitat for Humanity Canada and Pathways to Education Canada - during periods of unprecedented growth, transformation, and impact.

Prior to that, David spent 10 years in senior positions at SOS Children's Villages International which included postings to Africa, Asia, Europe, USA, and the United Nations. Other management roles have included serving as Senior Vice President of YMCA Canada and President of AIESEC Canada.

David is a Senior Fellow of the Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI), a member of the Smart Prosperity Leaders’ Initiative, an inaugural member of the Business for Purpose Network (B4PN), and has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, AIESEC Canada, and the Canadian branch of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.

He holds an economics degree from the University of Western Ontario, a postgraduate degree in social policy and non-profit management from the London School of Economics (LSE), and was recognized as a 2020 Clean50 Honouree for “outstanding contribution to clean capitalism”. He lives in Toronto with his wife Laura and his two children, John and Alexandra, who provide the inspiration and incentive to challenge the status quo and strive for a better future for Canada and beyond.


  • Kiana Klassen, Communications Coordinator, The Natural Step Canada
  • Lindsey Boyle, Principal, Circular Citizen
  • Sarah Brooks, Senior Associate, The Natural Step Canada
  • Kristan Embrett, Events and Projects Coordinator, The Natural Step Canada and Smart Prosperity Institute
  • Toyeke Adedipe, Events and Projects Specialist, The Natural Step Canada and Smart Prosperity Institute
  • Geoff McCarney, Director of Research, Smart Prosperity Institute
  • Mike Wilson, Executive Director, Smart Prosperity Institute
  • Alan Young, Principal, Material Efficiency Research Group (MERG)

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