Establishing Circular Economy Principles and Practices in Manitoba – Supply Chain and Post-COVID Recovery Perspective
Report Prepared for:
Industry Workforce Development, Manitoba Economic Development and Jobs Special Project Case #903555
Funding for this report has been provided by The Government of Canada and The Manitoba government.
Adopting circular economy and sustainability practices is emerging as both a strategic imperative and a strategic opportunity for Manitoba businesses and exporters. Supply Chain Management Association Inc. Manitoba (SCMA MB) received a financial contribution from the Government of Manitoba to execute a special project with the following objectives:
- Develop a common definition of “circularity” for Manitoba through the consolidation of existing research and comparison to other jurisdictions.
- Complete an inventory and assessment of each Sector Council to determine their current level of circular readiness and engagement.
- Engage small business, academia, and other stakeholders to complete a gap analysis to determine the knowledge and skills gap inhibiting the adoption of circularity (sustainable business practices) in Manitoba.
- Increase the awareness and adoption of circularity through the execution of a marketing and awareness program targeted to small/medium businesses and rural communities.
The Project Team employed a combination of methods specifically selected to maximize stakeholder engagement, increase awareness and knowledge, and gather and validate key information within a very short 12 week window. Engagement exceeded initial targets:
- Representatives from all 10 Manitoba Sector Councils, and the Northern Manitoba Sector Council organization, were engaged and interviewed directly
- 26 representatives from 15 leading academic, training and workforce development organizations were engaged and informed of the topic and results. Of these 21 were interviewed directly
- 189 individuals holding a range of titles, roles and perspectives and from companies and organizations representing 16 major sectors of Manitoba’s economy were engaged and informed. Of these, 62 voluntarily participated in interviews.
- Presentations about the project and about circular economy concepts were made to large groups of stakeholders at 5 different events during the period. This was not a required component of the project but pursued as additional opportunities for enhancing awareness and engagement
- A large number of individuals from Manitoba businesses, organizations, communities and other stakeholders have been made more knowledgeable about circular economy through the marketing and awareness initiatives undertaken for this project.
The project yielded a set of 13 major conclusions relevant to the project objectives as summarized in the following table.
|Project Objective||Project Conclusion|
|Develop a common definition of “circularity” for Manitoba through the consolidation of existing research and comparison to other jurisdictions.||1. Overall, there is a lack of a common and complete understanding of what the terms circular economy and circularity mean. There is also some confusion about how these concepts differ and/or align with other terms in common use (ex. environmental sustainability).|
|Complete an inventory and assessment of each Sector Council to determine their current level of circular readiness and engagement.||2. Sector Councils appear to have varying degrees of awareness, understanding, and interest in leading or promoting circularity within their sectors and mandates.|
3. Generally, Sector Council leads appear to have some insight to the current level of circular economy awareness among their membership but not all are able to identify how they can best support their sector participants in becoming more circular.
4. All sectors are experiencing labour and skill shortages, and continued supply chain disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
5. SCMA MB is well positioned to support circular economy initiatives and actions that cross all sectors to encourage the holistic, systems based adoption of circular practices. However, individual Sector Councils should lead circularity discussions within their own sector groupings.
6. Sector Councils are well positioned to implement circular economic development into a strategic plan and appropriately consult with value chain participants.
|Engage small business, academia, and other stakeholders to complete a gap analysis to determine the knowledge and skills gap inhibiting the adoption of circularity (sustainable business practices) in MB.||7. The topic and concepts of circular economy have not yet been formally incorporated into supply chain management courses or curriculum taught in Manitoba. There is also no evidence that the topic and concepts have been formally incorporated into the curriculums and programs of the main “business” or “environment” programs.|
8. Manitoba’s current level of interest in and capacity for circular economy training, education and workforce development is not unique and appears to generally mirror the situation in other jurisdictions.
9. Generally, the various stakeholders consulted for this project share fairly consistent views on the gaps in knowledge and skills inhibiting adoption of circularity.
10. Engaging and supporting participation of Manitoba’s academic, training and workforce development institutions in the transition to circular economy will be pivotal. It appears that this community is highly interested in collaborating with industry and government to identify specific needs, priorities, and actions.
|Increase the awareness and adoption of circularity through the execution of a marketing and awareness program targeted to small/medium businesses and rural communities.||11. There appears to be a mixed, but mostly LOW level of awareness and understanding of the concept of circular economy and circularity among businesses, industry associations and other stakeholder organizations and agencies in Manitoba.|
12. Most participants in this project expressed curiosity and growing interest in the possibilities and opportunities circularity may offer for their organization. Many participants also expressed that recent supply chain issues and resource constraints, and shortages may help drive adoption of circular economy practices.
13. Over the 12 week period of this project, measurable progress has been made in informing and making participants from Manitoba’s business community, government and Sector Councils more knowledgeable about circular economy concepts, principles and opportunities and provided examples of practical applications.
A total of 15 recommendations have been proposed. These include promotion and integration of common definitions and terms, sharing the results of this project and soliciting additional feedback, and supporting current and complementary initiatives.