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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 Allstream Centre in Toronto.

Session 1: Thursday, March 2, 2017
Implementing the Waste-Free Ontario Act
Supporting the Introduction of Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority

The promulgation of the Waste-Free Ontario Act on November 30, 2016 triggered a multitude of immediate implementation activities, and included repealing the Waste Diversion Act and creating a unique third-party organization that will have a pivotal role in implementing aspects of the new Act: the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA). 

The mandate of the RPRA includes development and ongoing management of a central registry that will collect information required from varied obligated parties that may be regulated. With this information the RPRA will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance, which is a first in waste reduction and extended producer responsibility policy. Information it gathers will be critical to monitoring ongoing performance and informing new policies. 

RCO has identified and invited a variety of organizations from Europe that have experience applying and executing these responsibilities for a one-day forum. Attendees will have a chance to acquire first-hand knowledge on how these organizations function and how they interact with the parties they oversee and the governments that created them.  

Topics to be explored:

  • Stakeholder reporting: who is obligated to report; what data is required; how is the data used
  • Defining, monitoring, and auditing performance; reporting and measuring performance
  • Operational budgets, fee setting, and financial oversight
  • Relationships between authority organizations, competition agencies, obligated parties, government, other stakeholders, and the public
9 - 9:30 a.m. Registration and Networking
9:30 - 9:45 a.m. RCO Opening Remarks
9:45 - 10:15 a.m. Glenda Gies
10:15 - 11:15 a.m. Chris Grove
11:15 a.m. - Noon Dominic Henry
Noon - 1:15 p.m. Lunch and Networking
1:15 - 2 p.m. Arnold Pregernig
2 - 3 p.m. Panel: All Speakers
3 - 4 p.m. Networking


Speaker Bios

 Arnold Pregernig

Mr. Pregernig is the Chief Executive Officer of the VKS, an organization of the federal government and subsidiary of the federal environmental agency in Austria. The VKS acts as a service provider for packaging waste collection and recycling systems; oversees compliance; and supports fair competition between the different collecting and recycling systems. In its role, the VKS also registers schemes; tracks service providers for producers and their market share of packaging sold in Austria; and uses the information to co-ordinate shared services with municipalities.

For municipal collection the VKS co-ordinates how users are to be informed about packaging waste collection; analyzes packaging waste; collaborates cost-effective packaging waste collection; and licenses fees for distributors of packaging material. It also functions as an arbitrator if there are disputes between collection and recycling systems with other stakeholders.

For commercial collection the VKS maintains the Anfallstellenregister, an electronic database that commercial users register with to report type and mass of packaging waste. It also analyzes commercial packaging waste data; oversees funding responsibilities for waste collection; and acts as an arbitrator if necessary.

With five employees and an annual operating budget of €2.5 billion, the VKS shares responsibility for oversight and enforcement, auditing, and standards setting with the Austrian government; and has agreements to share information for these purposes.

Prior to VKS, Mr. Pregernig was an advisor to Porr Group, a leading building contractor in Austria, and to Austria’s Minister for Environmental Affairs.

Dominic Henry 

Mr. Henry is General Manager of the Producer Register Limited (PRL), which registers all producers that bring electric and electronic equipment (EEE) to market in Ireland, and calculates producers’ financial liability for the environmentally sound management of their products at end of life through an electronic reporting tool called WEEE Blackbox. There are currently 1,400 live producers in the Irish system that must register annually and submit monthly reports to WEEE Blackbox on the quantities placed on the market in the previous month. In 2008, PRL took on the same tasks for producers of batteries and accumulators, and will assume the same functions for tires beginning April 2017.

Mr. Henry joined PRL in 2005 and was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2014. After graduating with a B Comm. from University College Dublin he joined the taxation department of KPMG. Previous to PRL he was with the BBC and ITV as a Production Accountant on various TV dramas.  

Chris Grove

Mr. Grove is a Senior Advisor working in the Head Office Waste Team for the Environment Agency (EA), which is an executive agency of the government that fulfills and co-ordinates an environmental regulatory role for England. Its responsibilities include oversight and enforcement of four producer responsibility regimes for packaging, WEEE, portable batteries, and vehicles.

The UK producer system is markets-based and uses tradable certificates of recovery. For packaging alone, Mr. Grove’s department registers and monitories activities of 6,000 producers, 48 compliance schemes, 160 reprocessors, and 196 exporters for 10,000,000 tonnes of packaging. He leads a department that has some of the same responsibilities to RPRA, which includes establishing and managing a registry of obligated parties; monitoring, auditing and enforcing compliance; auditing recovery and recycling activities

Mr. Grove will present details of his department’s broad mandate, the journey to its establishment, and the challenges and successes of its ongoing operational growth. His insights as Ontario begins to implement the Waste-Free Ontario Act and RPRA are sure to be invaluable.

Glenda Gies

Ms. Gies began her career in waste reduction and recycling by developing and implementing recycling services in the Region of Durham.

She joined Waste Diversion Ontario as Executive Director in 2003 and provided oversight of industry funding organizations in the development and implementation of the four diversion programs under the Waste Diversion Act.

As the first appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority, Ms. Gies will support the establishment of its registry and the transition of existing programs from the Waste Diversion Transition Act to the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act. For the Knowledge Sessions, Ms. Gies will provide an update on RPRA's early activities.

RCO Member Rate: $300

Non-Member Rate: $425

Add to your calendar: Thursday, March 2, 2017

Session 2: Thursday, May 4, 2017
Procurement: Advancing the Circular Economy through Buying Power
Beyond Policy and into Practice

Environmental outcomes can be effectively driven through buying specifications for products and services. Commercial relationships provide a direct and sustainable way to shift markets to require product designers and service providers to innovate and meet environmental requirements. Circular economy advancements have found new ways to transition markets: buying light instead of lamps; leasing floor cover instead of buying carpet; ride sharing instead of car buying. New and innovative market responses yield economic, social, and environmental gains while influencing how we buy and consume goods and services. 

Governments and businesses also have unrestricted abilities to support and advance circular economy models and principles through purchasing and procurement. 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 in sustainable procurement.  

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

Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator in EPA's Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM), has been invited to elaborate on this report and discuss how we can take immediate action to support greater circularity in Ontario’s production and consumption behaviours. 

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 and economic costs are at par
  • Champions: case studies that bring concepts to life

RCO Member Rate: $300

Non-Member Rate (early bird to April 20): $375
Non-Member Rate (April 21 - May 2): $425

Add to your calendar: Thursday, May 4, 2017

Session 3: Thursday, June 8, 2017
Accelerating Circular Economic Behaviour and Waste Reduction in the
IC&I Sector

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and Statistics Canada are consistent in reporting that Ontario’s waste diversion rate in the IC&I sector remains at a low 25 per cent. There are significant differences and various factors that contribute to the performance disparity between municipal and IC&I collection, including recycling and composting programs procured on a fee for service basis paid for on a building or portfolio basis that challenges economies of scale and costing structures. Coupled with a lack of regulated performance standards and reporting requirements there is limited means to motivate improvement.

In spring 2016 RCO convened an Advisory Committee representative of the diverse IC&I sector to inform a strategy and set of resources intended to advance the circular economy and improve waste reduction performance. Discussions from the committee inform the basis of this session.   

Topics to be explored:  

  • State of affairs for tracking and reporting performance, improving accuracy and transparency  
  • Barriers and opportunities to improve organics management
  • Linking procurement of goods and services with waste reduction objectives
  • Product and service providers shifting business models to respond
  • Role of the private sector and collective buying groups

RCO Member Rate: $300

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

Add to your calendar: Thursday, June 8, 2017 


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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