In the past year, the public health crisis has been an accelerator of change. By highlighting gaps in global value chains and accentuating the needs of several markets, the pandemic has made it all the more urgent to rethink our relationship to production and consumption.
Fortunately, the goals of a circular economy are within reach and would support the vitality of Québec markets. Learn how the circular economy is improving the competitiveness and performance of several industries.
1- What exactly is a circular economy?
By focusing on the optimized use of resources at each stage of a product or service's life cycle, a circular economy reduces its impact on the planet. It is as much about production, exchange and consumption as it is about reuse. It prioritizes the reduction of the environmental footprint while enriching our social fabric.
Its circular functioning is in contrast to a linear economy, in which the use of a product or service involves losses and the product or service has a finite life cycle. A circular economy optimizes the resources already in circulation, whether by giving them a second life or by increasing the durability of components. This comes with its own set of challenges, but also benefits.
2- The impact of a circular economy on economic recovery
A circular economy is far from being a system of constraints that would put obstacles in the way of Québec's economic vitality. Rather, it's about getting the most out of each resource, which is in line with many businesses' performance, competitiveness and profitability objectives.
The benefits of a circular economy for our economic recovery are many:
- Innovation: It emphasizes business models and strategies that challenge the status quo in order to do more with less. Coming out of turbulent times is often a good opportunity for companies to review their business model and ensure that they are still competitive.
- The local economy: By promoting the responsible use of resources, a circular economy encourages local production and consumption. The result: several sectors—including the pharmaceutical and agri-food industries—could gain autonomy and meet new needs in Québec while creating jobs.
- Financing: There are federal, provincial and municipal funding programs to encourage sustainable practices and the green transition. Synergie Montréal | PME MTL offers loans and subsidies, financing packages and many competitions and grants for entrepreneurs.
- Economic growth: The early benefits could create a favourable environment for growth by encouraging the development of more efficient and economical products and services, while requiring fewer resources. Beyond being a plus for the planet, going green is also a powerful marketing strategy.
In addition to reducing the ecological footprint of local industries, a circular economy would enable long-term resource management and the development of renewable solutions. This would result in less dependence on international markets through the skillful use of the means at our disposal.
- International leadership: Far from abolishing exports, a circular economy would also position Québec and its industries internationally as leaders in the energy transition movement.
3- The potential and benefits of a circular economy
Most companies would benefit from reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. Besides financing, there are other concrete ways to go about greening your business, such as by adapting practices to make them more sustainable or by launching your business into these promising markets.
According to Propulsion Québec, sustainable mobility, which involves the transition to electric vehicles or smart vehicles, taps into Québec's homegrown expertise in several industries. This sector has strong potential for long-term growth, when it comes to things like manufacturing recreational, utility or heavy vehicles, building and managing infrastructure, and designing components related to artificial intelligence.
Clean technology, also known as cleantech, is another booming sector of the Québec economy. Organizations such as Écotech Québec want to accelerate the development and financing of green initiatives to help businesses meet their performance and sustainability requirements.
State-owned enterprise Recyc-Québec is a compelling example, since it demonstrates not only the breadth of circular economy initiatives, but also the international scope of the benefits of a circular economy. Recyc-Québec participates in the financing of initiatives to eliminate food waste and projects promoting the environmentally sound management of construction, renovation and demolition sites.
Acclr Business Information services receives financial support from Canada Economic Development for Québec regions.
For more information on Acclr Business Information services, contact us:
Customer Contact Centre