The world is changing, and organizations need to adapt in order to compete and thrive. Businesses and governments in Canada (and globally) are facing issues such as:

  • Increasing price volatility and costs for virgin materials, energy and waste disposal.
  • Disruptive technologies and business models.
  • Increasingly stringent environmental expectations from regulators, investors, and stakeholders in order to address climate change and other challenges.

The circular economy has emerged as a strategy to address these types of issues, manage risk and build stronger, more resilient and more competitive businesses and economies.


A circular economy aims to maximize value and eliminate waste by improving the design of materials, products, systems and business models. Circular economy strategies encourage:

  • The design of long lasting, reusable and easily recyclable products
  • Decreasing the use of virgin materials and non-renewable resources and increasing the use of renewable resources and recycled materials
  • Shifting from “waste management” to “resource recovery” where everything has a value and zero waste goes to landfill
  • Shifting from linear supply chains that produce disposable products to circular supply chains that produce ongoing services (product-as-service)
  • Dramatically reducing the negative environmental aspects of economic development (such as pollution) through carbon-neutrality, using non-toxic-materials and other strategies


In the conventional economy, materials move through a linear process of extraction, production, consumption and eventual disposal (“take-make-waste”). This model is problematic as it is inherently inefficient, wastes valuable resources and poses significant risks to both human and environmental health.

In contrast, circular economies eliminate waste through the redesign, reuse and recycling of products and materials in interconnected systems, biological cycles and markets (“make-use-return”). Well-known circular economy approaches include the Cradle-to-Cradle® design philosophy and the zero waste movement.


The transition to a low-carbon, circular economy will deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits. Globally, Accenture Strategy predicts a US $4.5 trillion reward for circular economy businesses models by 2030.

In Canada, this transition presents a multi-billion dollar opportunity. 


The work has already started. Businesses and governments can only capture these opportunities by working together. By bringing together leaders from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, CELC will catalyze the development of innovative circular economy solutions, such as new processes, products, policies and partnerships.

Check out our Circular Economy Work Streams.