• Guest Blog
  • Aug 26, 2021

Circular Cities and Regions Initiative: Providing local governments with the knowledge and tools to accelerate the circular economy

Guest blog by Joanne Gauci, Senior Policy Advisor, Metro Vancouver & the National Zero Waste Council

Cities and regions are where people, knowledge and ideas come together, where innovation is cultivated, and where most of our natural resources are consumed and our waste generated. These dynamics position local governments at the heart of the circular economy transition, and the recently launched Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) aims to enable them to lead the way in this important transition.

Launched in March of 2021, the CCRI is a one-year pilot to advance circular economy knowledge sharing and capacity in the Canadian local government sector, developed and delivered jointly by the National Zero Waste Council, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Recycling Council of Alberta, and RECYC-QUÉBEC. The CCRI builds on the Recycling Council of Alberta’s Circular Cities Project and is a key outcome of the National Zero Waste Council’s Circular Economy Working Group.

Over the course of one year, the CCRI is delivering a five-part national webinar series on innovative approaches and providing direct support, guidance and peer-to-peer exchange for a group of 15 cities and regions as they take steps to become more circular.  The 15 cities and regions are diverse and unique – ranging from large metropolitan regions to smaller rural communities, each with different social, economic and environmental characteristics.  An Advisory Group of leading international and Canadian experts is providing advice and mentorship to the local governments as they go through an action planning process to develop circular economy roadmaps.

By working with cities and regions of different sizes, different local contexts and at different stages of readiness, the CCRI is testing and prototyping the training, tools, and guidance that will be most helpful in scaling innovative place-based approaches. The learnings and insights of the 15 cities and regions, as well as the findings from the national webinar series, are improving our understanding of how best to support local governments and community stakeholders in different jurisdictions. This will inform the identification of key interventions that are scalable and replicable. The CCRI is also building peer-to-peer connections between a Canadian and global audience of local government stakeholders and other key decision-makers.

The CCRI is hosting a WCEF2021 Accelerator Session, “Circularity in Cities and Regions: Addressing global challenges through innovative place-based solutions” on September 15, 2021.  This interactive session will feature leading examples from around the world, with discussion and audience engagement geared to exploring the interventions with the greatest potential for impact. Join us to hear from three iconic global cities – Toronto (Canada), Glasgow (Scotland), and Cleveland (US) – on their circular journey, learn about the innovative approach underway in the Netherlands where 12 provinces have mapped their circular strengths and opportunities, and gain an understanding of how to scale up placed-based approaches.  Register at the link above.

Join us again on October 6 for our next national webinar, which will be on circular economy measurement and evaluation at the city level, and on October 28 at the Zero Waste Conference to hear more circular city stories and discuss how cities can thrive in a post-pandemic world through the adoption of circular development strategies.

For more information on the CCRI visit www.canadiancircularcities.ca. If you have questions about the CCRI or would like to receive updates on new developments, reach out directly at info@canadiancircularcities.ca.