2024 Circular Economy Survey

THEME: Circular Economy, Tools and Information for SMES

Supply Chain Manitoba tasked Probe Research with conducting a survey of our stakeholders regarding circularity and the circular economy. This is the second year that Supply Chain Manitoba has conducted this survey, with results of the 2022 survey included in this report for comparison purposes.

Key Findings

Nearly seven in ten respondents indicate they are familiar with the practices and principles of circularity – a slightly higher proportion than the number of respondents who were aware of circularity in 2022. Slightly fewer than one in five indicate that circularity is a core part of their work, while slightly more than one in five indicate they understand the concept and are working towards implementing these practices within their organizations.

When asked which aspects of circularity they have implemented, respondents are most likely to indicate they have introduced technology or taken steps to reduce waste. About one-third each indicate they have shared resources with other organizations, redesigned products or services to reduce their environmental impact or made their supply chains more sustainable. The overall adoption of various practices related to circularity remains about the same as the level recorded two years ago.

Organizations remain most likely to point to potential cost savings and a desire to protect the environment as the primary reasons to potentially adopt circular practices. Compared to two years ago, the potential for cost savings has decreased slightly in salience, while a slightly higher proportion are motivated to protect the environment. About one-third of those surveyed indicate that helping their organization meet sustainability goals is also a significant factor driving them to potentially adopt circular practices.

Meanwhile, the view that there are significant costs associated with adopting circular practices stands out as the primary barrier to adoption – although this stands out as being less of a perceived barrier today than two years ago. A lack of financial supports, a lack of internal skills/capacity and the perception that there is no reason to make changes remain perceived as the other key barriers to adopting circular practices.

When it comes to the skills and competencies organizations seek when looking to implement circular practices, respondents are most likely to desire employees who demonstrate innovation, creativity and problem-solving skills, as well as sustainability expertise. Systems thinking and assessment/current state analysis are also desired by more than four in ten respondents.

Organizations remain most likely to want to know what other organizations in their sector are doing to implement circularity, while about one in ten each desire information about available government support and technical solutions that exist. Slightly more than one-quarter want to know how circularity will fit in with their supply chains and how business models related to circularity will apply.

Organizations continue to be most likely to want to learn about circular practices via their peer/professional networks, their employees who have expertise in this area and trade/sector associations. Before completing the survey, only 15 per cent of respondents knew that information and resources about circularity are available on Supply Chain Manitoba’s website.

A relatively small number of organizations are specifically tracking how many jobs within their company are directly or indirectly involved in implementing circularity. Those who are not tracking these jobs are most likely to say that it is not a priority for them, or they do not see the benefit in doing so.

Organizations indicate they are most likely to train existing employees and enhance their skills if and when they adopt circular practices. Slightly more than one in ten indicate they may hire outside experts as required and a relatively small proportion would hire new employees with the required skills and training specifically for this purpose.