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Knowledge Sessions 2017

Advancing the Circular Economy


Circular economy is becoming a widely-used term that provides an important platform beyond historical concepts of the 3Rs and waste reduction. It introduces resource efficiency that expands our collective thinking on how we produce and consume materials. Transitioning to a circular economy requires production and consumption shifts that can be furthered through policy development, market practices, and behavioural change.

RCO is pleased host and facilitate a new trio of Knowledge Sessions in 2017 that aim to educate and empower members, interested stakeholders and the public to better understand, support, and accelerate the transition from a linear model of take-make-dispose to a circular economy.

The series will inform participants on the theory of circular economy and how it is creating change around the globe. It will offer businesses, policymakers, and organizations innovative examples that outline ideas and opportunities how to leverage this emerging economic model. 

All Knowledge Sessions are full-day forums (lunch included) and at the Beanfield Centre in Toronto.

Thursday, June 8, 2017
Accelerating Circular Economic Behaviour and Waste Reduction in the
IC&I Sector

Waste reduction is a key performance indicator for environmental performance and facility management efficiency. Given the direct links between waste elimination, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and growing policy interest in advancing Canada's circular economy, there are exciting opportunities to rethink procurement practices, on-site operations, and customer and vendor relations. 

That's why Recycling Council of Ontario convened an Advisory Committee  made up of leading organizations that own and manage significant real estate portfolios in Canada to acquire further insight on the opportunities and barriers to improve waste reduction and advance circular economy practices in the IC&I sector.


Advisory Committee

Through discussion and deliberation the Advisory Committee identified areas of interest that will form the basis of the Knowledge Sessions: Accelerating Circular Economic Behaviour and Waste Reduction in the IC&I Sector.

Knowledge Sessions Speakers

(more to be announced)


Knowledge Sessions Panels

Regulatory Landscapes 
At all levels of government, policymakers are shifting their attention to regulation that supports the circular economy and specifically targeting improvements in waste reduction in the IC&I sector. However, waste policies developed at all levels of government vary, may be contradictory, or lead to unintended consequences. When IC&I generators manage several properties in multiple cities, regulatory variances can lead to necessary operational changes, unanticipated costs, and broadened requirements for tracking and reporting performance. Regulatory Landscapes will focus on established and trending policy approaches, objectives, and outcomes from the perspectives of policymakers that develop them and IC&I generators obligated to follow them.   

Measuring Waste: Tracking and Reporting

Waste reduction is a key performance indicator when measuring environmental performance and cost. However, in the absence of standard definitions for key measurements – e.g., diversion rate, recycling rate – clarity on management approaches to properly and accurately measure performance is critical to ongoing improvement. Measuring Waste: Tracking and Reporting will focus on best practices, recent changes and future developments of various tools and resources available in the marketplace, and how the IC&I sector is addressing this important function.


Organics comprises more than 35 per cent of the waste stream; when disposed of through typical waste channels it can contaminate other recyclable materials; and is the largest single contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the waste stream. However, when properly managed it retains value, saves money on disposal costs, and has a positive environmental outcome. That’s why improving organics management is a stated priority for the Government of Ontario in its Climate Change Action Plan and Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy. To further explore the waste stream’s management in the IC&I sector, Organics will summarize state of the organics and composting industry in Canada; profile generators focused on improving performance; and highlight barriers, opportunities, and benefits of improving organics management.  

Waste Supply Chain

The movement of material from loading dock to final disposition is fraught with uncertainty for waste generators, and co-ordination throughout the waste supply chain is critical to improving waste reduction. Collected materials are commodities, and their movement is subject to constant change as supply and demand shifts. With intermediaries that sort and broker material, it is a challenge to navigate the materials management process and integrate requirements on service providers to ensure requirements are met and reporting transparency is achieved. Waste Supply Chain will focus on providing direction on the waste generation, transport, and processing supply chain to improve co-ordination that promotes highest and best end use of materials and reporting accuracy.  


Keynote Speaker


Tom Kennedy

We are also pleased to welcome Tom Kennedy, Principal and Global Civil Engineering Leader for international design firm Arup. Mr. Kennedy oversees the organization’s research goals and priorities for various projects around the world, and in doing so, pursues tangible initiatives that supports circular economy principles.

Mr. Kennedy’s work can been seen around the world, including Songdo City in South Korea; aviation projects at O’Hare, John F. Kennedy, and Newark Liberty International Airports; urban project projects such as Meixi Lake in China, Bloomingdale Trail in Chicago, and Teardrop  and Wagner Parks in New York City. 

RCO Member Rate: $300

Non-Member Rate (early bird to May 25, 2017): $375
Non-Member Rate (May 26 - June 6): $425


Who Should Attend 

                  • Public and private sector procurement specialists
                  • Waste management professionals
                  • Manufacturers
                  • Suppliers/distributors
                  • Sustainability professionals
                  • Strategic sourcing and supply chain stakeholders
                  • Corporate social responsibility practitioners
                  • Contract administrators
                  • Value chain outreach / program managers
                  • Public interest advocates



Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017
Procurement: Advancing the Circular Economy through Buying Power
Beyond Policy and into Practice

Leveraging buying power and sustainability-driven product or service specifications are direct and effective methods that drive circular economy outcomes. Commercial relationships can shift markets and drive greater innovation in product design and service offerings that are restorative and resource efficient.

There is also an on-going shift in consumption models that considers investing in service rather than product (purchasing light instead of light bulbs); sharing resources to maximize utilization (leasing floor cover instead of buying carpet); and incentivizing innovative partnership (ride sharing instead of car buying). These market responses demonstrate economic, social, and environmental gains while influencing how we buy and consume goods and services.

Directly linking procurement and sustainability functions within organizations drives economic and environmental objectives. Specific to waste reduction, purchasing agreements that require suppliers and producers to extend their responsibility and provide consumers/buyers end-of-life product management options while structuring waste/recycling contracts to drive reduction can lead to immediate market responses.

As part of the Waste-Free Ontario Act the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change released Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy, which includes government commitment to lead by example utilizing sustainable procurement to drive waste reduction outcomes.

Recycling Council of Ontario is committed to Ontario’s transition to a circular economy, and is pleased to host a one-day forum that spotlights supply chain efficiency, procurement, and buying power as pivotal instruments to achieving it.


Mathy Stanislaus

In September 2016 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report for a G7 Alliance – Advancing Resource Efficiency and the Supply Chain (PDF) – that highlights abilities for private and public organizations to stimulate the development of products and services that are more resource efficient over their lifecycles. 

Joining us to elaborate on this report is Mathy Stanislaus, Senior Advisor, Accelerating Circular Economy Policy, World Economic Forum; and former Assistant Administrator in EPA's Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM).

Mr. Stanislaus will discuss how we can take immediate action to support greater circularity in Ontario’s production and consumption behaviours.  Mr. Stanislaus began work as Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 8, 2009, and responsibilities included leading EPA programs on hazardous and solid waste management, and hazardous waste cleanup. Mr. Stanislaus has also been an advisor to other federal government agencies, Congress, and the United Nations on a variety of environmental issues.

Dr. Mervyn Jones

Dr. Mervyn Jones is an independent sustainable procurement specialist who has provided technical support on the development and implementation of the 10YFP: Sustainable Public Procurement Programme a global framework of action to enhance international cooperation to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in developed and developing countries.  

He has also contributed to the EU LIFE REBus, a pioneering and testing a methodology that enables companies to transform their strategies to profitable, resilient, and more resource efficient business models (REBMs); and European Clothing Action Plan, which helps public procurers reach their environmental goals by using their buying power to stimulate a circular approach to workwear, and focuses on the clothing supply chain specifically to reduce waste and bring about effective waste recovery.

He previously worked for WRAP, where he led the Construction Waste Prevention programme, Sustainable Procurement, Manufacturing, and Products & Materials Programmes; and has a proven and independently audited track record in initiating and delivering projects that have demonstrated the business case for adopting and embedding more sustainable procurement policies and criteria into tenders and contracts.      

Other topics to be explored: 

  • Leveraging environmental and economic gains through buying power  
  • What governments are and could be doing 
  • Role of the private sector and collective buying groups 
  • Product and service providers shifting business models to respond
  • Tools and resources to help define and score performance to ensure environmental and social benefits 
  • Champions: case studies that bring concepts to life

RCO Member Rate: $300

Non-Member Rate (early bird to Sept. 26): $375
Non-Member Rate (Sept. 27 - Oct. 11): $425

Thursday, March 2, 2017
Implementing the Waste-Free Ontario Act
Supporting the Introduction of Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority

Event Recap 


Knowledge Sessions sponsorship is a prime opportunity for organizations to showcase your commitment to advancing Ontario’s circular economy with a diverse and rotating set of influential industry and government stakeholders. By partnering with an environmental non-governmental organization that offers collaborative opportunities organizations demonstrate a keen understanding and commitment to sharing best practices and waste reduction solutions. Contact us for more.



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