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The circular economy isn't just a zero-waste goal – it should be critical to Canada's action on climate – Corporate Knights Magazine

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Before business and government leaders convened last week in New York City for Climate Week, the United Nations warned that emissions pledges are falling unacceptably short of the ambition required to avert climate catastrophe. As the natural world reaches irreversible tipping points and we rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, the circular economy presents an unparalleled opportunity. 

Simply put, the circular economy is a model in which waste and pollution are designed out of the system. The idea takes inspiration from the elegance of nature’s cycles and the wisdom of Indigenous worldviews. Put into action, every object we use is either refurbished, disassembled to be reused, recycled into a new high-value product, or composted. When virgin materials are needed, regenerative and sustainably managed resources are prioritized. Examples of the circular economy are now emerging everywhere: from major companies repairing electronics and individuals mending clothes to buildings designed for disassembly and materials’ reuse. 

While best known for their waste-curbing impacts, circular strategies could provide an invaluable solution by tackling the largely neglected 70% of global emissions connected to all the materials involved in our consumer society. 

A report released earlier this year by non-profit Circle Economy found that doubling the globe’s circularity could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 39% from 2019 levels, limiting global warming to below 2°C. And, the benefits would go further: reductions in the consumption of virgin materials would help alleviate pollution, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. 

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development has predicted that accelerating demand for finite natural resources will lead to future shortages, rising prices and supply chain interruptions. This could put $4.5 trillion of global economic growth at risk by 2030, according to global consultancy Accenture Strategy. Some governments have taken note. Fast-moving countries, led by the European Union members, China, and Japan, are positioning themselves to shield their citizens from these risks through comprehensive strategies and policy frameworks that support resource efficiency, new business models and supply chain collaborations. 

 Successful but isolated examples of the circular economy in our homes, communities and businesses now need to be scaled urgently, and expanded to our whole economic system.

Small business owners and large corporate leaders alike are also seeing a strong rationale for reducing waste. After all, there are greater greenhouse gas emissions associated with using predominantly virgin materials, and recycling or reusing those materials after the end of their first life reduces the amount businesses pay for landfill. Others see opportunity in new business models such as product-as-a-service. In these, customers pay for a membership-based service instead of actual products. Communauto, Evo and Modo are a few Canadian examples of companies that offer on-demand access to fleets of cars as an alternative to individual car ownership. In South Africa, Bushveld Energy leases the vanadium used in batteries and fully reclaims and reuses the mineral at the end of battery life. Every industry and sector now needs to consider its plan to compete in a world that demands longer-lived materials and products that are reusable, repairable, recyclable, re-manufacturable and regenerative. 

Examples of the circular economy in our homes, communities and businesses are, however, still isolated. They need to be scaled urgently and expanded to our whole economic system. 

This month’s World Circular Economy Forum, co-hosted by the Government of Canada, highlighted the rich universe of possibilities to deepen emission cuts under the Paris Agreement. It profiled a bounty of circular solutions for materials as diverse as plastics, minerals and metals, textiles, and food, across sectors as varied as construction, manufacturing, mobility and finance. It featured creativity from many, including multinationals, start-ups, social enterprises and community groups.

As the shift to a more circular economy gains traction worldwide, it’s past time for Canada, too, to develop a national circular economy strategy that should fully reinforce our climate goals. In a rapidly changing global context of intersecting crises, transitioning to a circular economy can boost prosperity and keep Canada competitive globally while dramatically lessening environmental impacts.

If we do this right, and learn from past mistakes, we can redesign the economy to serve all citizens rather than just the privileged few. While we didn’t collectively choose the inequities, economic uncertainty, and environmental issues that we face, the economic and social systems are ours to design.

Stephanie Cairns is the director of circular economy at Smart Prosperity Institute, and an established leader who has focused on environment, economy and fiscal policy research initiatives for 25 years.

Alice Irene Whittaker is a writer and environmental communications leader who writes and speaks about the circular economy. She is the director of marketing and communications at Smart Prosperity Institute and The Natural Step Canada.

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Canada criticizes proposed U.S. EV tax credit, says could harm auto sector

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The Canadian government on Friday warned that U.S. Legislative proposals to create new electric vehicle tax credits for American-built vehicles could harm the North American auto industry and run afoul of trade agreements, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng told U.S. lawmakers proposed credits if approved “would have a major adverse impact on the future of EV and automotive production in Canada, resulting in the risk of severe economic harm and tens of thousands of job losses in one of Canada’s largest manufacturing sectors. U.S. companies and workers would not be isolated from these impacts.”

 

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Chris Reese)

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Province Invests in Midland Automotive Parts Manufacturer to Boost Local Economy | Ontario Newsroom – Government of Ontario News

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Province Invests in Midland Automotive Parts Manufacturer to Boost Local Economy | Ontario Newsroom  Government of Ontario News



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UK's economy gathers speed, inflation pressures mount – PMIs – Financial Post

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LONDON — Britain’s economy unexpectedly regained momentum in October and cost pressures rose by the most in more than 25 years, according to a survey on Friday that could encourage the Bank of England to raise interest rates for the first time since the pandemic.

The preliminary “flash” IHS Markit/CIPS flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index rose by the largest amount since May to hit 56.8 from September’s 54.9. By contrast, a Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a further slowdown to 54.0.

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“The UK economy picked up speed again in October, but the expansion is looking increasingly dependent on the service sector, which in turn looks prone to a slowdown amid the recent rise in COVID-19 cases,” said IHS Markit’s chief business economist, Chris Williamson.

The rise in the PMI was driven by Britain’s services firms as consumers and businesses picked up their spending. Travel firms benefited from a relaxation of COVID-19 travel rules.

Service sector activity outpaced manufacturing output by the widest margin since 2009 as factories struggled again with shortages of supplies and staff and recorded barely any growth.

A rise in overall employment was close to August’s record high, despite problems in filling vacancies.

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Higher wages and the worsening supply shortages resulted in the fastest increase in average costs since the combined composite index was launched in January 1998. Separate PMIs for the services and manufacturing sectors showed prices charged by firms rose by the most since these series began in 1996 and 1992 respectively.

With inflation set to hit more than double its 2% target soon, the BoE is expected to raise borrowing costs soon as it tries to make sure that rising inflation expectations do not become embedded in British businesses’ pricing decisions.

The Confederation of British Industry said on Thursday that manufacturers were raising prices by the most since 1980 in the face of some of the biggest increases in costs and labor shortages since the 1970s.

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The PMI for the services sector rose to 58.0, its highest in three months, while the manufacturing PMI’s output component – which IHS Markit says currently gives a better picture of the sector than the headline index – sank to its lowest since February at 50.6.

Despite the improved picture for most companies, many consumers are concerned about the outlook for the economy.

A survey published earlier on Friday showed Britons were their most downbeat since they February, when they were under lockdown, and are increasingly worried about the year to come as prices and COVID cases rise. (Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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