Make The World Better Magazine, Issue 3

Page 1

September 2022, Issue 03

HAPPILY EVER AFTER: THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY IS WRITING A NEW ENDING FOR WASTE

M AGA ZI NE

TO MAINTAIN OUR PLANET FOR GENERATIONS, THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY IS FLIPPING THE TAKE-MAKE-WASTE MODEL ON ITS HEAD. THESE ORGANIZATIONS ARE RUNNING CIRCLES AROUND SLOW ADOPTERS OF THIS “NEW” ECONOMY

FEATURING INTERVIEWS WITH: BRANDS FOR BETTER FOUNDATION • CIRCULAR ECONOMY LEADERSHIP CANADA • CIRCULAR RUBBER TECHNOLOGIES • ECOMETER • ENERKEM • FOODMESH • PROJECT LEARNING TREE • SUSGRAINABLE • TEXTILE LAB FOR CIRCULARITY • TOO GOOD TO GO



Do you want to build a better world? Marketing can make it happen.

Together, let’s create content to make the world better. Get in touch with us here: sparxpg.com


CONTENTS

6

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

8

HOW TO USE STORYTELLING TO MARKET YOUR CIRCULAR ECONOMY EFFORTS A look into leveraging storytelling to deliver world-changing messages about the circular economy

12

16

28

32

44

46

BRANDS FOR BETTER FOUNDATION Uniting changemakers to make lasting impacts in their communities

PROJECT LEARNING TREE Cultivating the next generation of forest and conservation leaders

Sparx would like to acknowledge that Vancouver is on traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples– Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/ Selilwitulh (TsleilWaututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY LEADERSHIP CANADA Accelerating the transition to a circular economy in Canada

4    MAKE T H E WORLD BETTE R MAGAZINE

SUSGRAINABLE Going against the grain to repurpose spent barley into raw ingredients

ECOMETER Helping Vancouverites eat sustainably one take-out meal at a time

TEXTILE LAB FOR CIRCULARITY Weaving together the fashion industry for greater circularity


20

TOO GOOD TO GO Making it their mission to solve the global food waste problem

24

FOODMESH Diverting surplus food waste to those that need it most

September 2022, Issue 3 PUBLISHER Sparx Publishing Group Inc. sparxpg.com

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Hamish Khamisa EDITOR Libby Shabada ART DIRECTOR Elisabeth Choi DESIGNER Pauline Macapagal

36

ENERKEM Using everyday waste to power our lives

40

CIRCULAR RUBBER TECHNOLOGIES Keeping the wheels turning on rubber tire manufacturing

PROJECT MANAGER Alexandra Nikitina CONTRIBUTORS

Brands for Better: Karla Peckett, VP Brand at SOLE/ReCORK, and Founder/ Executive Director of Brands for Better Foundation Circular Economy Leadership Canada (CELC): Paul Shorthouse, Managing Director Circular Rubber Technologies: Maartje van der Sande, CEO & Co-Founder EcoMeter: Jill Robinson, Project Manager at Faculty of Medicine at UBC, and EcoMeter Project Co-lead Enerkem: Valerie Gonzalo, Corporate Communications FoodMesh: Jessica Regan, Co-Founder and CEO

Visit our website to find out how Sparx Publishing Group makes the world better, and stay up to date on our latest partnerships and initiatives. Plus, get in touch for future projects: sparxpg.com/make-theworld-better

Project Learning Tree: Jessica Kaknevicius, Vice President of Education Susgrainable: Marc Wandler, CEO Textile Lab for Circularity: Megan Bourassa, Communications Coordinator Too Good To Go: Sarah Soteroff, PR Manager All photo credits to the organizations. For advertising rates and placements, please contact us at advertising@sparxpg.com

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   5


Letter from the Editor Now on its third issue, I am honoured to be celebrating that it’s been one year since we launched Make The World Better Magazine. In the publication’s first trip around the sun, it is important to say thanks to the incredibly talented team at Sparx, our dedicated readers, and the inspiring individuals and organizations featured to date. What started as a spark to honour the memory of my daughter Anahera has now grown into a beacon for effecting positive change.

The diverse stories of changemakers in this issue demonstrate the immense opportunity the circular economy represents for building a better world by prioritizing continuity over disposability.

Fitting, then, that the theme of cyclicality is at the heart of this issue’s focus on the circular economy. Though still relatively unknown in the mainstream, consumers and businesses alike are starting to see a shift toward a circular economy take root. While Indigenous groups around the world have implemented circular models of consumption as a way of life for centuries, only very recently have major economies started to rethink the single-use mindset. What does a world running on a circular economy look like? The companies and organizations featured in this issue of Make The World Better Magazine offer some interesting clues. From upcycling craft beer to recapturing energy from biomass, repurposing dump truck tires to redistributing excess dumplings; empowering reconnection with forests and harnessing the collective impact of brands, the diverse stories of changemakers in this issue demonstrate the immense opportunity the circular economy represents for building a better world by prioritizing continuity over disposability. The catalyst to a societal shift in the consumption mindset and behaviour, we believe, will come from an unlikely source. As we've explored in this issue, effective storytelling could be the hero that wins over the hearts and minds of those who are skeptical or indifferent towards the circular economy.

FOLLOW US ON:

Visit the Sparx blog for helpful purpose-driven marketing tips, news about individuals and organizations that are making the world better, and more. Read now: sparxpg.com/blog

In a world where attention is becoming exceedingly precious, we thank you, our readers, for giving us yours. Simply by reading and sharing stories in our magazine, you have set in motion small, positive changes that, in the aggregate, put humanity on track for a better future. I believe that is an achievement worth celebrating on every trip around the sun.

Hamish Khamisa

Founder, Sparx Publishing Group

6    MAKE T H E WORLD BETTE R MAGAZINE


(Your Organization Here) Be featured in Make The World Better Magazine Are you part of an organization that’s working to make the world better? Share your story in a future issue of our magazine! Join our mission to amplify good, boost awareness of critical issues, and inspire others.

To be featured, get in touch with us here:

sparxpg.com/contact


How to Use Storytelling to Market Your Circular Economy Efforts A look into leveraging storytelling to deliver world-changing messages about the circular economy By Sparx Publishing Group

I

n a world where consumption rules and waste is taking over, your organization is ready to help save the day. As a circular economy organization, you already know the benefits of reusing, repairing, refurbishing, remanufacturing, repurposing, or recycling products. But the journey to rally others on your quest for impact may seem incredibly lonely. Bam! Suddenly, a conveniently-timed character has entered the scene to help guide your marketing and offer a beacon of clarity to your communications. Their name is storytelling. Setting and achieving your impact goals can be daunting given that the circular economy hasn’t entered the mainstream yet. And if getting attention is hard enough, imagine sustaining that attention to explain something that most people haven’t even really heard of. As an impact-led enterprise, connecting with your audience at a deeper level is crucial. Storytelling will help you better engage, inspire, and lead your audience on the long journey to the day when the circular economy just becomes “the economy.” To avoid getting lost in the plot and deliver compelling communications, here’s how to effectively use storytelling to reach your impact goals. (Cue the cliffhanger.) 8    MAK E T H E WOR LD BE TTE R MAGAZINE

Know Your Target Market Audience(s) Before you can begin using storytelling as a marketing tool, you first need to break down your audiences into primary and secondary groups through segmentation. According to Bizfluent, “the primary target market is the group of consumers a business covets the most or feels is most likely to be the purchaser of its product or service.” As you can imagine, secondary audiences are those that fall closely after primary in terms of desirability. It’s important that you get specific with your various audiences to understand who will have the most impact, and, therefore, who you should be reaching and creating resonance with. Depending on what sector you’re in within the circular economy/zero waste space, as well as your impact goals, there may be unique audiences you’ll want to target. Here are a few sector-specific audiences: • Public/Government: Legislators, personnel, general public. • For-profit: Since the circular economy is new in the mainstream, audiences may need to get created; however, they may be cohorts of current “green” consumers. • Non-profit: Employees (often unpaid volunteers), donors, board members, etc.


Determine Your Current Challenges

Use Storytelling to Reach Your Impact Goals

Before you can devise a story to share through your marketing channels, ask yourself: What are the current challenges/ problems your organization is facing that marketing/ communications could help overcome? Knowing these challenges can help you focus on a story (or stories) that would appeal to your target audience and cause them to perform a desired action. For example, if you’re a non-profit in need of volunteers, perhaps you could highlight one of your current volunteers, including why they started volunteering, what they like about volunteering, and how volunteering at your organization makes an impact on the planet. Individuals who connect with the “characters” in the story are more likely to consider contributing to your organization, including possibly volunteering. While most circular economy organizations may currently face the common issue of educating stakeholders about the zero waste space and the circular economy, there may be challenges specific to your organization and/or sector that are worth focusing on in more detail.

Now that you know your audience and have identified your current challenges, you’re ready for the inciting incident: telling your story(ies). While it may seem daunting, humans have been telling stories for thousands of years; it’s sort of our thing. Storytelling allows you to activate the imagination of your audience, which can help you stand out from the noise, establish a deep connection, and ultimately get their buy-in. Perhaps you didn’t realize that you were already doing it by leading with your values, but marketing relies heavily on telling stories — in this case, your story. In order to do this effectively, you need to take this “novel” concept of the circular economy — something, of course, Indigenous people have been doing for centuries — and package it in a way that is accessible and familiar.

Sector-specific challenges: • Public/Government: Getting funding and legislation passed and/or buy-in from stakeholders. • For-profit: Audience growth, lead generation, and/or sales. • Non-profits: Appealing to board members, getting donations, finding volunteers, etc. There may also be challenges you’re facing with your marketing efforts. Luckily, we offer tips on how to identify and overcome them.

“ Storytelling allows you to activate the imagination of your audience, which can help you stand out from the noise, establish a deep connection, and ultimately get their buy-in.

Here are some tips for effective storytelling: • Establish a brand voice if you don’t have one. • Choose a clear, concise message. • Have a clear structure; a beginning, middle, and end is a good place to start. • Include personal anecdotes when appropriate. • Use one of seven familiar story archetypes, such as Overcoming the Monster or The Quest. • Look to others for inspiration. For example, check out Warby Parker’s Our Story page. By applying these tips, you can more effectively share your brand vision to achieve your impact goals, thus helping the circular economy at large — and the world, one story at a time.


Stay in the loop on the organizations That are reusing, repurposing, and recycling waste to better sustain our planet.

g n i o G

e l c r Ci Full

Welcome to the third issue of Make The World Better Magazine! This edition highlights the circular economy, a game-changing model of production and consumption that is newly entering the mainstream. Read on to learn about amazing organizations that are helping locals eat more sustainably, uniting changemakers to strengthen the force for change, cultivating the next generation of conservationists, reducing and reusing waste, and accelerating Canada’s transition to a circular economy.

10    MAK E T H E WOR LD BETTE R MAGAZINE


FEATURE


Brands for Better Foundation UNITING CHANGEMAKERS TO MAKE LASTING IMPACTS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES With today’s pressing social and environmental issues, there’s no shortage of individuals and brands doing their part to make a difference. Some issues, however, quite literally take a village. Harnessing the power of the collective can amplify existing efforts and fill in the missing pieces necessary to make a lasting change. Since 2018, Brands for Better Foundation has been uniting brands across Vancouver to tackle the issues affecting the city. We spoke with Karla Peckett, VP Brand at SOLE/ReCORK and Founder & Executive Director of Brands for Better Foundation, about their fascinating start, big wins, and future projects.

Brands for Better Foundation Meet and Greet 12    MAKE T H E WORLD BETTE R MAGAZINE

Tell us about your organization’s mission. Brands for Better Foundation is a volunteer-driven not-for-profit organization based in Vancouver, British Columbia that unites brands to tackle pressing environmental and social issues in our community. We do this by developing and hosting inclusive events and initiatives where brands unite, share resources, combine their brilliance, and multiply the effects of their efforts for the local good, turning brand teams into changemakers. What inspired you to start your organization? Brands for Better was conceptualized in 2018 at the Outdoor Retailer

Expo and Conference by our team at SOLE/ReCORK when we invited sustainable and ethical brands across the show to share lightning talks on their impact efforts. The goal was to amplify the good work of brands that were using their businesses as a force for good, and it drew in quite the crowd! Seeing great success through this initiative, our team returned to our home base in Vancouver with an idea to bring Vancouver-based brands together in a similar fashion. Founded by SOLE/ReCORK executives Karla Peckett and Mike Baker, as well as Digital Hot Sauce and Inbox Booths Founder Scot Sustad, Brands for Better Foundation was established with a clear mission: to bring measurable positive impact to local communities by harnessing the united power of brands and their people. In 2018, 35 senior leaders of Vancouver’s biggest brands were invited to a vision lunch to learn about a conference and design thinking pitch competition called the Brand Battle for Good, aimed at tackling local social and environmental issues. What set us apart was our promise of implementation and measurable impact; the winning idea would be brought to life with the help of the Brands for Better founding partners. With volunteers raising their hands, the interest was obvious and immediate.


BRANDS FOR BETTER FOUNDATION WAS ESTABLISHED WITH A CLEAR MISSION: TO BRING MEASURABLE POSITIVE IMPACT TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES BY HARNESSING THE UNITED POWER OF BRANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.

Photo credit: Maxine Bulloch Photography

Brands for Better Foundation, Scot Sustad (left) and Karla Peckett (right)


Behind the scenes at the 2021 Brand Battle for Good Zero Waste virtual event, held in Vancouver

What were some of the challenges you encountered? The first Brand Battle for Good, aimed at moving Vancouver toward zero waste, was meant to happen in late 2020 but was postponed a year and reshaped to a virtual event because of COVID-19, thus launching in April 2021. In the interim, our fresh but eager network got together, giving virtual consultations to five local businesses in need on how to pivot in the face of the pandemic. Virtual meeting tools have proven invaluable but can’t compare to the palpable energy that comes from being in the same room with like-minded folks ready to make positive change. Our next iteration of the Brand Battle for Good will be a hybrid of a virtual conference and in-person hack-a-thon.

In the end, the winning concept was EcoMeter, an online resource for finding sustainable restaurants and connecting restaurants with sustainable partners. EcoMeter officially launched in May 2022 with the help of the Brands for Better network.

What do you consider your organization’s biggest success? Our inaugural Brand Battle for Good in April 2021 saw brands like Arc’teryx, Lush, Hootsuite, Unbounce, Vancity, Earth’s Own, Happy Planet, and Swany in attendance, alongside founding brands, SOLE, ReCORK, Digital Hot Sauce, and others.

How do you feel your organization makes the world better? Social justice and environmental conversations are as loud as ever, but governments can only do so much. Brands and individuals will need to step up to help catalyze change. We’re looking to make it easier and more

What makes your organization unique? Until now, there really wasn’t an avenue for Vancouver brands to connect and create impact. Brands are looking to give back to the city where they live and work, and our organization offers flexible volunteer and event opportunities to cater to any professional or business. We harness the collective power of brands and their people and direct their focus on pressing issues that are affecting their city.

14    MAKE T H E WORLD BE TTE R MAGAZINE

impactful for brands and professionals to start making a difference locally. Tell us about your organization’s goals. Our number one priority is ensuring sustainability of the Brands for Better initiative. We’re starting to think about funding an organizational structure and how we can fine-tune, so we can not only ensure its success in Vancouver, but activate Brands for Better chapters in other communities beyond. If mirroring Brand Battle for Good events started popping up in other major cities throughout the world, imagine the amazing reach it could have. Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you’d like to share? With the help of the Brands for Better volunteers, we are thrilled to be launching our second Brand Battle


for Good this fall, a two-part hybrid event with a virtual conference on September 28 which will feature close to 35 educational seminars from over 55 local and international subject matter experts, and an in-person strategy hack-a-thon on October 5. With this event, we aim to bring together Vancouver’s top brands and industry pros to come up with the most compelling, creative, and practical solutions to combat social isolation and loneliness in Vancouver. This interactive event promises a mixture of learning, networking, professional development, and team building, combined with a polished production of storytelling, friendly competition, live art, comedy, music, and a party to finish. Each team is composed of 10 individual or brand team participants and two local undergraduate or master’s students, plus a dedicated volunteer design thinking facilitator to guide them through the event. The issue we’re tackling this year is social isolation, a pressing concern in Vancouver which has been exacerbated by the forced isolation of the pandemic. Leveraging the influence

and the existing synergy of their internal teams, a brand with an original solution could spark real change that builds a greater sense of belonging in our city. We expect many ideas coming out of this event will have the potential to make a difference for struggling communities. Behind the scenes, Brands for Better is working on an upcoming initiative called the Spark Factor Project, geared toward youth career development. The Spark Factor’s long-term vision is to be a youth development project aimed at increasing diversity in the workforce by inspiring enthusiasm in youth of diverse backgrounds who traditionally face barriers to inclusion and support their learning and skills-building journey. The project aims to unite local brands to support Vancouver’s youth on their career journey by offering a behind-the-scenes look at a company through experiential workshops led by leading industry marketers, giving these youth hands-on experience of taking a product from concept to product launch. We are actively onboarding retail brands to get involved. You can apply on our website.

What do you most want people to know about your organization? Brands for Better believes that the biggest and most impactful change is created when brands unite their power: resources, ideas, strategies, experience, and people. We connect brands and individuals who want to create positive change with opportunities to tackle pressing environmental and social issues in our shared community. We are a network of people and brands that care. How can people help or contribute to your organization’s mission? Those interested can contribute by participating in or supporting any of our future events. Send your company’s team of creative thinkers, innovators, and disruptors to a future Brand Battle for Good to learn about and devise solutions for the issues facing our city, donate to our cause to help us continue to offer these incredible opportunities, or reach out and apply as a volunteer! If you’re interested in getting involved with Brands for Better, visit our website at brandsforbetter.ca to get in touch.

brandsforbetter.ca facebook.com/brandsforbetter instagram.com/brandsforbetter linkedin.com/company/ brands-4-better

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   15


GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN TO REPURPOSE SPENT BARLEY INTO RAW INGREDIENTS From pilsners to stouts, lagers to fruity milkshake IPAs, craft beer has taken over the hearts of beer drinkers around the world. The downside? Spent grain waste. The silver lining? Spent grain can be made into raw ingredients so good you’d barley beer-lieve these grains also made your pint (okay, we’ll cool it on the puns now). Susgrainable is leading the charge here in Canada, using spent grains from craft brewers for their own line of delicious, fibre-rich raw ingredients. We spoke with Marc Wandler, CEO, about this start-up’s fascinating journey, from classroom to grocery shelves. Tell us about your organization's mission. Susgrainable Health Foods rescues spent grains from craft brewers to create nutritious, delicious, and easy-to-make flours and baking mixes. Susgrainable is on a mission to rescue the over 450,000 tons of brewers’ spent grain produced by craft breweries in Canada daily – doing our part to decrease the staggering 58% of wasted food. Our mission is to also promote the discussion around consuming enough fibre. Spent 16    MAKE T H E WORLD BETTE R MAGAZINE

Susgrainable’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix was a finalist in the BC Food & Beverage Product of the Year Awards, pictured alongside the trophy and eventual winner. Both products make for a great healthy kids snack!

grain is primarily composed of fibre and protein, with the sugars being used for the beer itself. Most Canadians aren’t even getting 50% of their daily fibre intake; one Susgrainable cookie can help you get 25% of your daily fibre while fighting food waste at the same time!


SUSGRAINABLE IS ON A MISSION TO RESCUE THE OVER 450,000 TONS OF BREWERS’ SPENT GRAIN PRODUCED BY CRAFT BREWERIES IN CANADA DAILY – DOING OUR PART TO DECREASE THE STAGGERING 58% OF WASTED FOOD. What inspired you to start your organization? Our story began during my time as an MBA student at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. During one of my classes, we were tasked with identifying a problem and creating a possible business solution for the problem, and a colleague who came from Vancouver’s craft beer industry mentioned the issue breweries were having with disposing of the spent grain byproduct. With my background in health promotion, I realized this byproduct is exactly what Canadians needed more of in their diets. After the class project ended, I carried the business forward with friend and business partner, Clinton Bishop. Clinton was raised on a farm that grew barley (not to mention he’s a beer lover), so he was motivated by the idea of using much more of the grain. What were some of the challenges you encountered? At first, people we talked to were skeptical about us taking on something so innovative. However, once people tried the product, they started believing we were onto something after all. Another challenge is building awareness on a bootstrapped budget and raising capital as first-time founders. By far, however, the biggest challenge has been COVID-19. We had to completely pivot the business and accelerate our timelines on some of the tasks we had for the future. This came with a lot of risk and uncertainty. We often joke that we aren’t technically first-time founders, as we have pretty much bootstrapped two businesses due to COVID-related market flipping causing us to rebuild from scratch.

Association. Despite having some serious things go wrong operationally behind the scenes, we were able to pull things off just in time. The excitement both events generated was tremendous.

What do you consider your organization's biggest success? This might be a toss-up between our Kickstarter campaign and our first-ever tradeshow, CHFA West run by the Canadian Health Food

What makes your organization unique? While our signature Upcycled Barley Flour is a unique ingredient, our circular economy approach to building our business is unique as well. We are disrupting the way to do business

Marc (left) & Clinton (right) at their very first retailer CHFA tradeshow. Turns out, retailers were very interested in what Susgrainable is up to. This event signalled to the Susgrainable team that the upcycling facility was going to be needed sooner rather than later!

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   17


within the food industry in more ways than one. The sum of all parts when it comes to how we do business and live our values is Susgrainable’s secret sauce. How do you feel your organization makes the world better? Susgrainable is making the world better by fighting food waste, tackling the lack of fibre in the Canadian diet, and creating work opportunities for students. We like to say our primary focus is on creating impact with positive financial impact being the byproduct of this work – most traditional for-profit businesses focus on creating financial returns first with impact as a secondary focus. We believe flipping the hierarchy of these two goals is the future of successful, sustainable businesses. Tell us about your organization's goals. Currently, our biggest goal is to launch British Columbia’s first-ever dedicated

upcycling facility. This will increase our capacity to rescue grains from 10,000 kg/ year to up to 5 million kg/year. With the facility, we can then be in a better position to partner with other food businesses and retailers to innovate on different products and make Upcycled Barley Flour a more known and common ingredient. A secondary goal we have is to work more closely with a few key retailers to grow awareness about Susgrainable’s mission and products. Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you'd like to share? The upcycling facility is a big next step and is currently taking up the majority of our time and focus right now. We are currently fundraising to bring this idea to reality. That being said, customers have increasingly been asking for us to get the product into grocery stores, so we’re excited to announce that we have recently launched into select Safeway, Thrifty Foods, and

Clinton (left) and Marc (right) learning about the spent grain and distilling process at a potential upcycling facility partner.

18    MAKE T H E WORLD BE TTE R MAGAZINE


ONE SUSGRAINABLE COOKIE CAN HELP YOU GET 25% OF YOUR DAILY FIBRE WHILE FIGHTING FOOD WASTE AT THE SAME TIME!

Nature's Fare Markets locations in BC! What do you most want people to know about your organization? We want people to know that we are there to support them in their journey to live a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Upcycled Barley Flour can be a fun ingredient to play with in baking. It has a great story, and you can make some incredible products with it; my favourite is the Banana Bread while Clinton’s is the Pancake and Waffle Mix. The mixes are a great starting point because they are easy enough for kids to bake something up

without making too big of a mess. Plus, it makes for a great conversation starter when talking about being mindful of food waste. How can people help or contribute to your organization's mission? The first step is giving our products a try – we’ve got a starter pack on our website, or you can look up where to find the product in-store. After that, sharing Susgrainable’s message with friends and family is a huge bonus. Word-of-mouth marketing is greatly impactful for small businesses. We love seeing posts on social media with people enjoying the

product; it gives us motivation on those tough days. For those who want to play a bigger part, feel free to reach out and let us know what you have in mind. We are always keen to collaborate when we can. Creativity and collaboration are our jam!

susgrainable.com instagram.com/ susgrainable facebook.com/ susgrainable linkedin.com/company/ susgrainable

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   19


Too Good To Go

MAKING IT THEIR MISSION TO SOLVE THE GLOBAL FOOD WASTE PROBLEM From Canada to Copenhagen, food waste is a pressing issue around the world. The need to improve how we minimize, dispose of, and reuse food is a key piece to sustainability and managing increasing food costs. So, together, let’s save some cheddar — literally and figuratively. Too Good To Go started to combat the global food waste problem and saw the opportunity for businesses and individuals to save money at the same time. We spoke with Sarah Soteroff, PR Manager, about how this Copenhagen-headquartered organization has expanded to 17 countries (and growing). Tell us about your organization's mission. Too Good To Go is a social impact company with a goal to end food waste globally. What inspired your founders to start your organization? Too Good To Go was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2016. Our Founders were dissatisfied with the amount of waste being thrown away at every level of the food industry — at home, grocery stores, and restaurants — and believed there must be a better way to save food, money, and the planet. What were some of the challenges your founders encountered? Like any start-up, getting capital to fund the operation was the first big challenge. 20    MAKE T H E WOR LD BETTE R MAGAZINE

As well, it was initially challenging to spread the word to consumers to use our service — which started as a webpage and eventually evolved into an app — while simultaneously getting businesses on board to ensure consumers have a high selection of options when they use our service. What do you consider your organization's biggest success? To date, globally, we have saved 144 million meals from going to waste in 17 countries, with more than 168,000 partners. These numbers are staggering; they tell us that food waste occurs at every level and in every country, and that there is an appetite (pun intended!) for this type of business to connect food sellers with consumers, as shown with 64 million users of our app and 163 million


TO DATE, GLOBALLY, WE HAVE SAVED 144 MILLION MEALS FROM GOING TO WASTE IN 17 COUNTRIES, WITH MORE THAN 168,000 PARTNERS. standards. However, we recognize that food waste isn't just a sustainability issue — it's also a monetary one. We provide a mechanism for businesses to make money off their surplus food while also doing something great for the environment. At the same time, we help consumers save money on necessities, the costs of which we know are always rising, and, yet, have to be purchased. We provide a win-win-win model for everyone along our journey.

Friends enjoying the contents of their Too Good To Go Surprise Bag on a hot summer day. of our surprise bags sold to-date globally. It also tells us that people are actively concerned with lowering their personal footprints and that sustainability doesn't have to mean a sacrifice. In Canada, we have surpassed the 800,000 meals saved milestone in less than a year. We launched in seven markets and surrounding areas, and we have signed more than 3,000 partners — and we're just getting started! What makes your organization unique? We are a registered B Corp; our status has just been renewed, and this means we are held to the highest sustainability

How do you feel your organization makes the world better? Whatever small impact we're making we are tremendously proud of. By spreading the message of eliminating food waste, we hope to give people across the world the tools to make small changes at home, grocery shopping, and dining out that will have massive global impacts. Eliminating food waste starts at the local level and doesn't require huge changes to your lifestyle or spending — in fact, you may even save money! We love the planet and want it to last longer, which is why we need to eliminate waste at every level. Tell us about your organization's goals. Three simple words: end food waste! Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you'd like to share? We celebrated our one-year anniversary in Canada in July and are celebrating our one-year anniversary in Vancouver in September, which happens to coincide with the UN's International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (IDAFLW). We encourage everyone to make September 29 a day of zero food waste across Canada. It can be as simple

The Too Good To Go app, available for download in the App or Google Play Store.

as not throwing out a brown banana, and instead, freezing it for smoothies or making a baked good out of it! What do you most want people to know about your organization? Ending food waste is possible; it's achievable and necessary. How can people help or contribute to your organization's mission? Download our app Too Good To Go in the App or Google Play store and start saving delicious food and money from local businesses today. If you're a food business, sign up today and start making money off your surplus food waste!

toogoodtogo.org/en linkedin.com/company/ too-good-to-go youtube.com/c/TooGoodToGoINT

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   21


WHY WE MUST GO CIRCULAR

TRANSITIONING TO A CIRCULAR ECONOMY IS ESTIMATED TO LEAD TO 6 MILLION NEW JOBS AND A CA$5.7 TRILLION ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY GLOBALLY. 1

2

International Labour Organization1 Accenture Strategy2

22    MAKE T H E WORLD BE TTE R MAGAZINE


SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   23


FoodMesh

DIVERTING SURPLUS FOOD TO THOSE THAT NEED IT MOST Picking up fresh produce for a nice at-home meal or eating at a favourite restaurant is many people’s go-to self-care in our evertopsy-turvy world. As the meals go in our bellies, it can often be forgotten how much food waste happens behind the scenes — food waste that has a huge environmental impact and is a dig at our growing food insecure divide. FoodMesh is helping the food industry change the course of food waste — literally — to ensure it doesn’t end up in landfills and, instead, helps to feed those who are food insecure in Canada. We spoke with Jessica Regan, Co-Founder and CEO, about FoodMesh’s journey, tangible successes, and upcoming plans. Tell us about your organization's mission. FoodMesh is dedicated to helping organizations reduce their food waste. Our professional food recovery services help businesses divert the food they are unable to sell away from waste streams and ensure it is put to its highest end use, feeding people first, then animals. We do this primarily through our managed food diversion service where we match retailers to a diverse network of charitable organizations and farmers in order to redistribute their unsold food by rescuing it quickly and efficiently. As well, we measure the volume of food the retailer is diverting, so they can track their progress against their food waste reduction goals and share the social and environmental impact of their donations with the public.

Food Stash Foundation in Vancouver is one of the charitable organizations FoodMesh partners with to redistribute retailers’ unsalable food to people in need. They use the food donations they pick up from retailers to create rescued food boxes, stock a community fridge, and host a rescued food market — all designed to make it as easy as possible for people in Metro Vancouver to access nutritious food in an affordable way. Here, a member of the team is pictured after some of their pickups.

24    MAKE T H E WORLD BE TTE R MAGAZINE


When a charitable organization collects food donations from its local retailer, they input the donation weight, food type, and end destination into FoodMesh’s custom-built Diversion Tracker App. That data is compiled and shared back with the store and the donation recipients, so they can track the volume of food being rescued and the impact it is having on the community and environment. This information is critical in helping retailers track their progress against their food waste reduction goals.

What inspired your founders to start your organization? The journey began in late 2015 after I, along with our other co-founder, came across photos of beautiful edible produce headed to the landfill because it was too ripe for retail. Unable to shake these images, we started to investigate the root causes and scale of the food-waste problem. We discovered that more than half of the food produced in Canada is not eaten, according to research done by Second Harvest and Value Chain Management International. Food is often wasted because it is easier and cheaper for businesses to pay to have their overstock, close-to-expiry, aesthetically-imperfect, and mislabelled food sent to landfills than to find an alternative use for it. Meanwhile, one in eight Canadians lacks reliable access to affordable and nutritious food, according to Community Food Centres Canada. We also learned that food waste is hurting our planet. With 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions created as a direct result of lost and wasted food around the world, it is one of the leading causes of global warming, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. That’s when the original idea for FoodMesh was born — to make it as beneficial, convenient, and cost-effective as possible for businesses to divert the maximum volume of their unsalable food away from waste streams for the sake of the people and health of our planet. What were some of the challenges your founders encountered? While many businesses have the desire to do the right thing, they are producing an enormous amount of waste and finding alternatives costly. We are lucky to work with some outstanding retailers that are committed to reducing their food waste and have employed us to help them ensure that the maximum volume of their unsalable food is being redistributed to people who need it so that it doesn’t end up in the landfill.

These retailers are seeing some significant gains from their hard work. For example, one of our customers has reduced its waste-related greenhouse gas emissions seven-fold since it started diverting its unsold food to charitable organizations. We are encouraged to see an increasing number of businesses, both in Canada and around the world, publicly committing to reducing and

A Better Life Foundation has a dedicated food recovery chef, Eileen Stanley, who turns the food donations she receives from local retailers into restaurant quality meals, to share with around 25 local outreach organizations that support mothers and their children, seniors, Indigenous groups, and streetentrenched youth residing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   25


reporting on their food waste. This means there is a growing need for data on the volume of food they divert away from waste streams, as well as the services to help them do it. We are currently in the process of developing new software that will make it as easy as possible for businesses to collect, aggregate, and visualize data on their waste practices — not just food but for all their waste streams. The idea for this software is to equip businesses with a true picture of the waste they generate in real time, so they can take necessary action to reduce it. Stay tuned for more information on this initiative!

While some supermarket food may have aesthetic imperfections that render it unsalable, it’s often still perfectly edible. Fresh produce, like that pictured here, is included in the 1,000 food hampers that City Reach Care Society distributes to families, seniors and other individuals in their local communities every week.

ONE OF OUR CUSTOMERS HAS REDUCED ITS WASTERELATED GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS SEVEN-FOLD SINCE IT STARTED DIVERTING ITS UNSOLD FOOD TO CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS.

What do you consider your organization's biggest success? We are extremely proud of the fact that through our managed food diversion service, the retailers we work with rescue the equivalent of more than 1 million meals every month to our charity partners to help offset some of their operational costs. With one in eight Canadians reportedly food insecure (a number that only stands to rise with the rising costs of living), it is extremely heartening to know that we are not only helping businesses keep huge volumes of their unsold food out of landfills, but we are supporting the organizations that are working hard to put food onto the plates of people who really need it. This means a great deal to us. What makes your organization unique? We are excited to see a growing number of organizations that are working toward the same mission as FoodMesh, to waste less and feed more; it's this ecosystem of food waste warriors working together that will help make the change we want to see. What we think makes FoodMesh unique in that ecosystem is that we have the head of a business and the heart of a charity. We offer professional food recovery services that provide our customers with a commercial guarantee that we will help them reach their food waste reduction goals. As well as serving the food waste reduction needs of our customers, we ensure

26    MAKE T H E WORLD BE TTE R MAGAZINE

the rescued food is diverted to where it is most needed — meaning only organizations with a social impact have access to the edible food being donated. We have also built a revenue-sharing component into our service so that the organizations receiving the food donations also receive a financial stipend for the pick-ups they make in an effort to help offset some of the operational costs associated with collecting and sorting the food donations. This also helps us ensure that we are receiving regular data recording of their donations for better traceability. We are not driven by making a profit out of food waste; we are driven by our mission to eliminate food waste. This means our job is to make it as attractive and viable for everyone involved to play their part. Our diverse network comprises more than 2,000 organizations across Western Canada, which means we are uniquely positioned to help businesses redistribute the maximum volume of their surplus food to where it’s needed most, quickly and efficiently. How do you feel your organization makes the world better? Because we track all the food that the organizations we work with are diverting, we know quantifiably how our organization makes the world better. Since 2017, the organizations we work with have collectively diverted 18,876,288 kg of food, which is the equivalent of 27,398,463 meals or approximately 1 million meals each month. In keeping this food out of the landfill, we have also saved 48,494,671 kg of CO2e emissions from entering the atmosphere as of July 31, 2022. It’s the knowledge of this that gets the team really excited about the work we do. Tell us about your organization's goals. Our vision is to build a platform that digitally connects the entire food supply chain so that we can eliminate avoidable waste and create new value. Right now, we’re focused on the retail sector, but our goal is to extend our reach across the entire supply chain.


When food is past its best for human consumption, it is shared with farmers to feed their animals. Save-On-Foods at Park & Tilford in North Vancouver donates the fresh produce food that it can no longer sell and is not appropriate to donate to its charity partner to feed Maplewood Farm’s 76 animals, including horses and ponies, cows, sheep, ducks, guinea pigs, rabbits, and goats. Pictured here, from left to right: Selina Merrick, Supervisor of Maplewood Farm, and Bruce Currie, Energy and Sustainability Manager of Save-On-Foods. Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you'd like to share? We are really excited to be in the midst of a three-year project to build a Metro Vancouver food recovery network. With Metro Vancouver’s support, we are raising awareness of food waste amongst local businesses and encouraging them to join the network, so we can help them connect with organizations to recover their unsold food, so they don’t have to dispose of it. Any organization — whether they have a surplus of food or have a use for a surplus of food — is invited to join the network. We will connect them to a service that best meets their needs. If FoodMesh’s services can't help them, we will draw on our extensive network to try to connect them to an organization that can.

What do you most want people to know about your organization? Our work focuses on helping businesses reduce their waste headed to landfills by diverting it to higher-end uses, ensuring edible food goes to the organizations that can put it onto the plates of people who need it most. But reducing food waste isn’t just the right thing to do for the people and health of our planet, it makes good business sense also. Research shows that for every dollar a business invests in reducing their food waste, they save $14, according to the World Resources Institute. We want everybody to think critically about the waste they are generating and the steps Animals enjoying fresh food donations from a local supermarke, that were no longer suitable for human consumption.

they can take to eliminate it — either in their work or in their daily lives. How can people help or contribute to your organization's mission? Of the 58% of food lost or wasted in Canada, 21% is happening inside our homes, according to Second Harvest and Value Chain Management International. Love Food Hate Waste Canada is an outstanding resource that provides information, resources, and practical tips to help us eliminate food waste in our homes, including everything from how best to store food for maximum life to how to use up leftovers. As well, we can work together to hold our service providers accountable for their wasteful practices. Wherever you buy your food, whether it’s a supermarket or restaurant, ask them what they are doing with their unsold/ leftover food. How are they keeping it out of waste streams? Do they have processes in place to ensure it is all being diverted, or just some of it? Only when consumers demand change will it happen. foodmesh.ca facebook.com/foodmeshexchange instagram.com/foodmesh twitter.com/meshexchange linkedin.com/company/foodmesh

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   27


Project Learning Tree CULTIVATING THE NEXT GENERATION OF FOREST AND CONSERVATION LEADERS

A GIS analyst performing fieldwork in Frederick Arm, BC.

28    MAK E T H E WOR LD BETTE R MAGAZINE


These days, being called a tree hugger is aspirational, not disparaging. To protect our planet for generations to come, we need so-called tree huggers to save our forests to capture CO2 and foster biodiversity. But when it comes to conservation, we need to make sure we’re not missing the forest for the trees. Project Learning Tree has (PLT) been a leading environmental education program for nearly 50 years. We spoke with Jessica Kaknevicius, Vice President of Education, about PLT’s educational and career-driven resources, as well as their diversity, equity,inclusion, and belonging initiatives. Tell us about your organization's mission. Project Learning Tree is committed to advancing forest literacy and environmental education. In 2018, we launched our career pathways programming, and initially focused on providing valuable work experiences for young professionals. We’re an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) which is dedicated to promoting sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. SFI is an independent, non-profit organization that collaborates with its diverse network to provide solutions to local and global sustainability challenges. We accomplish our work through four pillars — standards, conservation, community, and education — to achieve our vision of a world that values and benefits from sustainably-managed forests. What inspired your founders to start your organization? PLT was launched in the US in the mid-1970s with the goal of developing an effective environmental education program. In 2017, SFI took on PLT and expanded it to Canada, with the goal of increasing its impact on educators and youth and exploring the opportunities to grow green career paths. Today, PLT is one of the most widely used preK-12 environmental education programs in the United States and abroad, and it has expanded its programs and resources to include career pathways and forest literacy. PLT provides educators, parents, and community

leaders with peer-reviewed, award-winning curriculum support materials to engage students in learning about the environment. It promotes forest literacy so that people acquire the tools and knowledge they need to keep our forests sustainable over the long term while continuing to benefit from them. PLT also helps build a diverse and resilient forest and conservation workforce through our skills development resources, mentorship programs, and high-value work experiences. What were some of the challenges your founders encountered? Like many organizations, we had to pivot several of our programs because of COVID-19. Prior to this, most of our programs and content were delivered in person. In fact, our first PLT Green Mentor cohort launched right at the beginning of the pandemic, and we had to adapt to deliver it completely virtually. We recognize the benefit of having an in-person, local connection to make it relevant for communities on the ground. However, we quickly realized the benefits of going virtual and using webinars and online resources. With virtual programs, we can reach more people, no matter their location. What do you consider your organization's biggest success? Our scale and reach of the work we have achieved. Since 1976, PLT has reached 145 million students and trained 765,000 educators to help students learn how to think, not what to think about complex environmental issues. Then, as previously mentioned, we launched our career pathways programming in 2018, which initially focused on providing valuable work experiences for young professionals. Now, we’ve supported over 400 employers and helped place over 6,000 young adults into green jobs including over 900 Indigenous youth

WE ACCOMPLISH OUR WORK THROUGH FOUR PILLARS — STANDARDS, CONSERVATION, COMMUNITY, AND EDUCATION — TO ACHIEVE OUR VISION OF A WORLD THAT VALUES AND BENEFITS FROM SUSTAINABLYMANAGED FORESTS. SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   29


Students from the Hardy School in Washington, DC learn how to monitor a forest’s condition. from more than 100 different Indigenous communities in Canada. What makes your organization unique? PLT is able to have a significant impact because of the scale and reach of our diverse network. Be it through SFI-certified organizations, educators, Indigenous communities, youth, conservation organizations, and more, we are able to reach a variety of audiences and find collaboration opportunities to co-create positive change and advance nature-based solutions. How do you feel your organization makes the world better? We believe that sustainably-managed forests are critical to our collective future. From climate change to water quality to biodiversity, well-managed forests provide viable solutions to many of the world’s most important sustainability challenges. We advance sustainability and nature-based solutions through forest-focused collaborations, specifically promoting forest literacy. As well, we provide educators, parents, and community leaders with educational resources to help

30    MAKE T H E WOR LD BETTE R MAGAZINE

develop students’ awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the environment; build their skills and ability to make informed decisions; and encourage them to take personal responsibility for sustaining the environment and our quality of life that depends on it. Through these resources, we engage diverse youth in learning about exciting and rewarding green career pathways that support nature-based solutions for a more sustainable planet. As they get older and begin considering possible jobs, they can explore our skills development resources, grow their network with our

SINCE 1976, PLT HAS REACHED 145 MILLION STUDENTS AND TRAINED 765,000 EDUCATORS TO HELP STUDENTS LEARN HOW TO THINK, NOT WHAT TO THINK ABOUT COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES.


Mentees and mentors posing for a group photo during the 2022 SFI/PLT Annual Conference.

mentorship programs, and potentially land their first work experience. Tell us about your organization's goals. PLT’s goal is to advance environmental literacy, stewardship, and career pathways using trees and forests as windows to the world. Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you'd like to share? SFI and PLT are working in partnership with Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) to ensure greater opportunities for rewarding careers in the forest and conservation sector for young Black Americans. This will include skills training resources and a mentorship program, as well as Black Faces in Green Spaces: The Journeys of Black Professionals in Green Careers, which tells the stories of Black Americans who have taken this career path and have advice and resources to share. You can learn more here and sign up to be the first to hear about the guide’s release! What do you most want people to know about your organization? PLT aims to develop a lifetime of learning to create a forest-literate society. It’s critical that we learn and value the benefits that sustainablymanaged forests have on the environment, our communities, and the economy. Educators, parents, and community leaders can use PLT resources to build forest literacy while engaging students and growing the next generation of environmental stewards. Plus, as youth grow up, they may be inspired to pursue a green career pathway and will have the resources and support to get there.

Activity sheets and supplies needed to conduct PLT’s monitoring forest condition worksheets. PLT’s lifetime of learning helps grow future forest and conservation leaders and ensures our forests are kept sustainable over the long term. How can people help or contribute to your organization's mission? Get involved with one of our programs! Learn more about PLT in your own region: attend a PLT training session for educators, hire a green jobs youth, become a mentor or encourage a young professional to sign up to become a mentee, and/or access great resources to get your family and friends outdoors. We also accept donations to Canadian and US programs.

forests.org/education facebook.com/SustainableForestryInitiative twitter.com/sfiprogram linkedin.com/company/ sustainable-forestry-initiative youtube.com/user/SFIProgram

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   31


EcoMeter HELPING VANCOUVERITES EAT SUSTAINABLY ONE TAKE-OUT MEAL AT A TIME

There’s no doubt that the advent of take-out apps has furthered the convenience of at-home dining, especially during the pandemic. While the benefits are clear, the amount of wasteful packaging that’s often used can make us lose our appetites. EcoMeter, the 2021 winner of Brands for Better’s Brand Battle for Good competition, is helping Vancouver consumers find sustainable restaurants and restaurants find sustainable partners. We spoke with Jill Robinson, Project Manager at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and EcoMeter Project Co-lead, about this volunteer-led sustainable restaurant guide. Tell us about your organization's mission. EcoMeter is a community-based resource hub that highlights the most sustainable restaurants in Metro Vancouver. We make it easy for consumers to make better dining choices by supporting eco-minded businesses. As well, we help connect restaurants that want to make a positive change to industry partners with the expertise to help them. What inspired you to start your organization? EcoMeter was the 2021 winning concept of the inaugural Brand Battle for Good, a zero-waste conference followed by an accelerated ideation and pitch competition. Our original inspiration was the compulsory restaurant health code ratings in New York City, where every establishment must display their rating from A – B – C based on their health inspection. We took this concept and applied to it a lens of sustainability and community support to ask, how can we educate consumers on the best places

Supply chains are a factor on the EcoMeter, which considers the entire food experience from farm (or ocean) to fork.

to eat that are mindful of their carbon “food” print?

We’ve learned to dream big and to listen to the experts in the field.

What were some of the challenges you encountered? When we started, none of our team members knew much about the food waste and packaging industry when it came to restaurant orders. That led us to consult and collaborate with some key partners who had been in the space much longer – industry partners like Ocean Wise, ShareWares, and Vancouver Food Runners gave us valuable advice that helped pivot our concept as it matured.

What do you consider your organization's biggest success? Our website, eco-meter.ca, officially launched in May 2022, just 12 months after the concept was born at the Brand Battle for Good. A lot of research was distilled into the four key categories that make up our restaurant grading system: food waste, supply chain, take-out packaging, and community initiatives. Already, more than 500 Metro Vancouver food establishments are listed on eco-meter.ca, so it feels great to spotlight these green-leading restaurants to consumers who care.

32    MAK E T H E WORLD BE TTE R MAGAZINE

What makes your organization unique? EcoMeter addresses the elephant in the room when we’re talking about Take-out packaging is a factor on the EcoMeter, and many restaurants have adopted ways to reduce single-use waste. Photo credit: Missy Shana


How do you feel your organization makes the world better? These days, everyone is ordering food from apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats – a number that has grown exponentially during the pandemic – but many of us aren’t thinking in terms of our carbon footprint when we choose the convenience of ordering from or experiencing a restaurant. We believe that knowing the impact of everything that goes into a meal will help us make better choices. EcoMeter exists to shine a light and educate our local community.

dining out or getting take-out. We’re experiencing a climate emergency, and local governments are stepping up measures to curb food waste and reduce single-use items. It’s a lot to consider when you just want to get some lunch before carrying on with your day, so we designed EcoMeter to highlight the food establishments that have adopted environmentally-progressive practices to make the decision-making process easier for consumers. The restaurant owners that we’ve connected with are extremely proud of their eco-friendly initiatives, and that sentiment gave us a lot of encouragement to see this project through.

CA$49 BILLION WORTH OF FOOD IS SENT TO LANDFILL OR COMPOSTED EACH YEAR IN CANADA, AND IN VANCOUVER ALONE, 82 MILLION SINGLE-USE CUPS AND 103 MILLION SINGLEUSE UTENSILS WERE THROWN IN THE GARBAGE IN 2018.

Tell us about your organization's goals. We’re pushing back against the sobering statistics. According to the National Zero Waste Council, CA$49 billion worth of food is sent to landfill or composted each year in Canada, and in Vancouver alone, 82 million single-use cups and 103 million single-use utensils were thrown in the garbage in 2018, according to the City of Vancouver. EcoMeter strives to change consumer behaviour and lower the carbon footprint of restaurants. We want to align with the City of Vancouver’s Zero Waste 2040 plan and help to create the greenest city in the world. Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you'd like to share? We are openly exploring next steps to allow this project to blossom into its full potential as a driver of change. Conceivably, we could hand off this opportunity to an organization with an aligned mission and dedicated resources to harness the scalability and promise of the EcoMeter platform. Our team is so proud of what we’ve built, and it's remarkable that it was all done through volunteers’ efforts. We will be looking for a partner with a similar passion. What do you most want people to know about your organization? We truly think that education can empower and ripple change throughout

Food waste, take-out packaging, supply chain, and community initiatives affect a restaurant's EcoMeter rating. the industry. The facts of climate change and huge amounts of waste around the globe are both sobering and inevitable; however, EcoMeter is a resource for our community to make a positive and preventative change to support businesses that give a damn. We are privileged to work, live, and play on the ancestral and unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations (commonly known as Vancouver), and we need to take care of this land for generations to come. How can people help or contribute to your organization's mission? Visit eco-meter.ca to discover your next favourite restaurant and so many others that are taking steps to be more sustainable. Tag @ecometer on Instagram when you eat at a restaurant you found on our website. And when you spot the EcoMeter decal – a leaf pointer on a four-level scale – displayed on the windows and doors of a participating restaurant, let the owners know that you appreciate their efforts to be more sustainable.

eco-meter.ca facebook.com/ecometer.van instagram.com/ecometer linkedin.com/company/ ecometer-vancouver

SEP 2022 • ISS UE 03   33


WHY WE MUST GO CIRCULAR

CANADA IS THE WORLD’S #1 PRODUCER OF WASTE PER CAPITA. Statista 2022

34    MAK E T H E WOR LD BETTE R MAGAZINE


SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   35


Enerkem

USING EVERYDAY WASTE TO POWER OUR LIVES

Landfills often seem like a necessary evil as a result of our consumption of everyday products. But what if there was a way to reclaim waste from landfills and natural biomass waste and use it to power our lives? Over the past 20 years, Montréalheadquartered Enerkem has developed and commercialized a unique chemical

36    MAK E T H E WORLD BE TTE R MAGAZINE

Enerkem, whose head office is in Montréal, was established in 2000. Today it employs some 235 full-time employees and many external collaborators.

recycling technology to produce advanced biofuels and circular chemicals from non-recyclable waste and residues of forest biomass. We spoke with Valerie Gonzalo, Public Relations and Communications Consultant, to learn more about this disruptive clean technology company.


Tell us about your organization's mission. Our mission is to establish Enerkem as a worldclass provider of disruptive clean technology to enable the production of biofuel and circular chemicals from waste that cannot be recuperated or recycled. In this way, Enerkem offers an innovative, sustainable solution for waste management, energy diversification, and the implementation of a circular economy.

ENERKEM IS THE FIRST COMPANY IN THE WORLD TO DESIGN A TECHNOLOGY THAT CAN, AT A COMMERCIAL SCALE, PRODUCE CIRCULAR CHEMICALS AND BIOFUELS FROM NON-RECYCLABLE, NONCOMPOSTABLE MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE.

What inspired your founders to start your organization? Enerkem’s breakthrough technology was initially inspired by the research and development led by Dr. Esteban Chornet, Professor Emeritus at the Université de Sherbrooke in Québec. In the 1940s, Esteban’s father ran sawmills in Mallorca, Spain; the country was then emerging from a long civil war with little access to energy sources. The electricity needed to power the sawmills was produced mainly from sawdust, using a rudimentary biomass gasification process. This was developed into what has now become Enerkem’s unique technology.

Since our foundation, we have devoted great efforts to adapt our technology to the needs of the market. We have tested and validated several different feedstocks, from solid waste coming from several municipalities to dozens of other types of residues such as forest biomass. Our technology was rigorously scaled up from pilot to demonstration to commercial stage during a period of over 10 years of disciplined efforts. We clearly succeeded as evidenced by the fact that we are now involved in major industrial projects here and abroad.

What were some of the challenges your founders encountered? Two of the most important challenges we faced were financing our operations and adapting our technology to market requirements. We have met both with great success. To support our development, we have raised over CA$1 billion in mostly private funding since 2000. The list of our investors includes major businesses and organizations, such as Suncor, Repsol, Rho, Braemar, Monarch Alternative Capital, and Avenue Capital Group, to name but a few.

What do you consider your organization's biggest success? Our biggest success is the deployment of our technology currently underway in Canada and Europe. We’ve emerged as a small local company from Québec to a world-class player in the field of waste treatment and biofuel production. Our first plant started its operations in Edmonton in 2016 and is the world’s first commercial-size facility capable of transforming waste into biofuels and circular chemicals. We are now involved in the construction of a second commercial-sized facility in Varennes, Québec. Varennes Carbon Recycling, carried out with a group of strategic partners including Shell as

More than 1.3 billion metric tons of municipal solid waste is generated around the world every year. Enerkem’s technology provides a sustainable waste management solution which is complementary to recycling and composting.

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   37


the lead investor, along with Suncor and Proman, will produce 125 million litres of biofuels from 200,000 tons of feedstock made up of non-recyclable waste and residues of forest biomass. Hydrogen and oxygen used in our process will be produced by electrolysis. Québec’s clean and renewable hydroelectricity is an essential component of this innovative industrial complex. In Tarragona, Spain, Enerkem has joined with Repsol and Suez to create Ecoplanta Molecular Recycling Solutions, a partnership that aims to build a plant to convert non-recyclable waste into biofuels and circular chemicals. This large-scale facility will process approximately 400,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste per year from the surrounding areas and is expected to be operational by 2026. It was recently selected by the European Commission to receive €106 million (CA$140 million) in financial support and Enerkem’s chemical recycling technology particularly impressed the European Commission. In Rotterdam, Netherlands, Enerkem is now working with Shell and the Port of Rotterdam on a projected plant to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This project, currently under development, could process up to 360,000 tonnes of waste annually and produce up to 80,000 tonnes of circular fuel. What makes your organization unique? Enerkem is the first company in the world to design a technology that can, at a commercial scale, produce circular chemicals and biofuels from non-recyclable, non-compostable municipal solid waste. Our solution replaces the use of fossil fuel sources like petroleum and natural gas with

Enerkem’s advanced thermochemical recycling process recycles the carbon in waste into advanced biofuels and circular chemicals such as methanol and ethanol. As a result, the process avoids methane emissions from landfills and reduces reliance on fossil fuels.

38    MAK E T H E WOR LD BETTE R MAGAZINE

OUR LONG-TERM VISION IS TO DEPLOY OUR TECHNOLOGY WORLDWIDE TO HELP REDUCE UP TO 90% OF WASTE CURRENTLY PRODUCED BY TRANSFORMING NON-REUSABLE MATERIALS INTO BIOFUELS TO POWER VEHICLES OR MANUFACTURE PRODUCTS. sustainable biofuels and chemicals to produce a broad range of everyday products. As well, our people make us unique. Throughout the years, we have built a dynamic team of specialists and researchers who are now recognized worldwide. How do you feel your organization makes the world better? Enerkem’s technology provides an alternative to landfilling waste that cannot be recuperated or recycled. From this feedstock, we can produce biofuels that considerably reduce the carbon footprint of hard-to-decarbonize sectors, such as heavy transportation and commercial air transport. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in The Sky’s the Limit Challenge, a competition organized by the Government of Canada, where the objective was to encourage research and development aimed at the difficult-to-reduce carbon footprint of air transport, which currently accounts for roughly 3% of total global GHG emissions, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute. Enerkem won this competition last April by producing a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) which lowers GHG emissions by 93%. What's more, the produced biofuel comes from an iconic source in


Enerkem Alberta Biofuels, located in Edmonton, Canada, is the world’s first major collaboration between a large city and an innovative waste-to-biofuels producer. Canada: forest biomass residues which are discarded in large quantities every year. Tell us about your organization's goals. Our long-term vision is to deploy our technology worldwide to help reduce up to 90% of waste currently produced by transforming non-reusable materials into biofuels to power vehicles or manufacture products. Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you'd like to share? Our main focus will be the pursuit of our current deployment in Canada and in Europe through the projects in Varennes, Tarragona, and Rotterdam. With NOVA Chemicals Corporation, we are also conducting a very promising research project on plastics at our Edmonton research centre. The objective is to convert synthesis gas produced from used, non-recyclable plastics to feedstocks for virgin-grade plastics, a significant step toward a circular economy. What do you most want people to know about your organization? We are currently in the right place at the right time; we have a unique technology and are developing projects at an accelerated pace in Québec,

Canada, and abroad. We have the ability and the obligation to make a difference for the future of our planet. And we are working on it every day. How can people help or contribute to your organization's mission? Everyone can play a role in building a circular economy. When consuming, think circular. Be aware that waste will be produced when a product is discarded and favour the one with the lowest environmental footprint. Consumers can also contribute to our mission by staying informed about the impact current technologies can have on improving waste reprocessing and the production of circular materials such as biofuels. Technology has a major role to play to address the environmental challenges we face. People need to be aware of the evolution of this fascinating, promising world.

enerkem.com linkedin.com/company/enerkem twitter.com/enerkem facebook.com/enerkem youtube.com/user/EnerkemVideos

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   39


Circular Rubber Technologies KEEPING THE WHEELS TURNING ON RUBBER TIRE MANUFACTURING

This photo shows how large off-the-road (OTR) tires are. By processing one of these tires, we expect to generate a revenue of roughly $4,000 and save around nine tonnes of CO2 emissions. From left to right: Talia Hoffman, Maartje van der Sande, and Bram van den Berg.

40    MAKE T H E WORLD BE TTE R MAGAZINE


The oil and gas industry may be known for its controversial environmental footprint, but part of this impact may be where you’d least expect: rubber tire waste. Once a site is done with any fracking and drilling, leftover equipment is often left behind to waste away. Circular Rubber Technologies (CRT) saw this issue and decided to do something — or should we say some tonnes — about it. We spoke with Maartje van der Sande, Co-Founder & CEO, about repurposing end-of-life mining tires and reducing their waste in the process. Tell us about your organization's mission. Circular Rubber Technologies (CRT)’s purpose is to turn the world’s waste streams into value, and we are on a mission to redirect at least 300,000 end-of-life mining tires from landfills through the production of 1 million tonnes of our rubber reclaim product. In doing so, we’ll reduce CO2 emissions by 3 million tonnes and generate CA$1 billion revenue. What inspired you to start your organization? After over a decade in the oil and gas industry, I decided it was time to start focusing on making the world a better place instead of contributing to projects that had a negative impact on future generations. I got involved in several projects which led to a realization that most mining companies bury their end-of-life mining tires on site. If you have ever seen one of these giant tires, you'd understand that burying thousands and thousands of these tires would have a huge environmental impact. I also learned that there are roughly 20 million tonnes of virgin rubber being used every year to make new tires. These two facts and the huge disconnect between tire waste on one end and the need for raw materials to make new tires on the other end sparked the idea for CRT and became one of our biggest drivers: closing the circle and ensuring end-of-life tires become new tires again. What were some of the challenges you encountered? At CRT, we work with large multinationals: mining companies for the feedstock of our

product and tire manufacturers as our reclaim product customers. The first challenge is obviously getting your foot in the door – finding the right people at the right level in the organization to talk to so they can champion your idea within their organization. This isn’t something that can be done overnight; it takes time and persistence. Meanwhile, we try to operate as lean and fast as possible since we’re a start-up. Another challenge, which I think all startups face, is to stay optimistic when things do not go as planned. For example, when we shipped 18 big bags of rubber feedstock crumbs to our testing facility, we did not anticipate that due to the transportation, the crumb was no longer free-flowing, but it was basically a solid one-tonne rubber block. Luckily, we rallied our team to come up with a solution to break up the rubber block into crumbs again. However, the challenges didn’t end there; we were shut down by inspection when we were finally producing our product because the neighbours complained of the rubber smell. We have overcome these challenges, and, in hindsight, I am actually thankful they happened. We have been able to learn from them, optimize our process, and improve our design. With all these hurdles, I think the biggest challenge is sometimes to stay optimistic, keep the team motivated and the end goal in mind, and be open and creative in addressing any unexpected situations. What do you consider your organization's biggest success? Apart from all the great technical successes we have had and the milestones we have reached in terms of technical de-risking, scale up, product

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   41


development, and initial sales, I am especially proud of the fact that we have recently become a benefit corporation and reached a pending B Corp status. This speaks to the values we cherish as a team and the standards we hold ourselves and the organization accountable to. I believe this is CRT’s biggest success in that we have been able to cement these beliefs, values, and our purpose in the foundation of the business. What makes your organization unique? We provide tire manufacturers with a sustainable alternative to virgin rubber. We ensure that tires that would otherwise be landfilled or end up in low-grade applications get used to make new tires. We provide a true circular solution: tires can be tires again.

An endless amount of tires are waiting to be processed. This is just one location where the giant OTR's are being collected. The majority stay in the mines and are never processed.

How do you feel your organization makes the world better? We solve two problems in one go. Firstly, we help mining companies direct one of their largest operational waste streams to be processed in a true circular manner. At the same time, by selling our product to tire manufacturers, they will be able to produce more sustainable tires. By using our product,

42    MAKE T H E WORLD BE TTE R MAGAZINE

As of now, we officially carry the Pending B Corp status. This shows we are committed to using our business as a force for good and that we are on the path to becoming a Certified B Corporation

they will need less virgin rubber, which means fewer rubber plantations and less CO2 emitted. Tell us about your organization's goals. Our most important goal currently is to get our first facility operational in the second half of next year. This will be a huge milestone for CRT, and it will mean we will be able to convert roughly 5,000 giant mining tires into our reclaim product each year. Our subsequent goal is to quickly expand within Canada and beyond. We see a strong and growing demand for more sustainable materials and products, and tires are no different. Global tire manufacturers are increasingly


A proud moment: the first full pallet of product produced during the development phase and scale-up. This pallet was later sold to the first customer for the use into new tires. CRT CCO Marc Beeldsnijder (left) and CEO Maartje van der Sande celebrate this accomplishment.

searching for sustainable alternatives to lower their carbon footprint, and we plan to help them by providing them with a continuous stream of our high-quality reclaim on each continent. Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you'd like to share? As mentioned above, we have recently reached the pending B Corp status and are now working to become a fully certified B Corp over the course of the next year. We are about to release the key findings of some interesting work we have done with the Impact Institute to determine the true price of virgin synthetic and natural rubber and CRT’s alternatives.

WE OFTEN FORGET THAT WE ALL HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY HERE: BY MAKING MORE CONSCIOUS CHOICES ON CONSUMPTION AND USE OF PRODUCTS AND SIMPLY BY CONSUMING LESS, WE MAKE IT EASIER TO SOLVE THE WASTE REDUCTION SIDE OF THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY.

And, of course, people should stay tuned on the progress we are making with the realization of our first facility based in Alberta, Canada. What do you most want people to know about your organization? We are an impact company. The more successful we become, the greater the impact we make. How can people help or contribute to your organization's mission? I think more generically, if we truly want the circular economy to work, we must also revisit the first part of the circle: the manufacturing of products and the consumers that use them. This is a fundamental part of the circle in the circular economy, and we often forget that we all have a role to play here: by making more conscious choices on consumption and use of products and simply by consuming less, we make it easier to solve the waste reduction side of the circular economy. Essentially, if we generate less in the first half of the circle, there’s less to “clean up” in the second part of the circle.

circularrubber.com linkedin.com/company/circularrubber-technologies-inc

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   43


Circular Economy Leadership Canada

ACCELERATING THE TRANSITION TO A CIRCULAR ECONOMY IN CANADA Tell us about your organization's mission. Circular Economy Leadership Canada (CELC) is uniquely positioned as a multi-sectoral, national organization dedicated to advancing the circular economy in Canada. CELC is working to connect Canada’s circular economy community and serves as a bridge to similar networks around the world. We provide thought leadership, technical expertise, and collaborative platforms for accelerating systems change and the transition to a low-carbon, circular economy in Canada.

From implementing zero-emission transportation to banning single-use plastics, Canada is at the forefront of environmentally-conscious initiatives. Yet, even with advocates and industry leaders paving the way, there is still a knowledge gap about a game-changing model of production and consumption: the circular economy. The Circular Economy Leadership Canada (CELC) is working to bridge this awareness gap to advance the circular economy in Canada. We spoke with Paul Shorthouse, Managing Director of CELC, about being a “network of networks” for circular economy innovation. 44    MAKE T H E WOR LD BETTE R MAGAZINE

What inspired your founders to start your organization? The CELC initiative is a project of The Natural Step Canada, a non-profit charity based in Ontario focused on creating a more sustainable future through effective systems change and social innovation. CELC was officially launched in 2018 at the G7 Oceans Partnership Summit in Halifax and was originally made up of a small number of corporate leaders, non-profit think tanks, and academic researchers. This group was part of the Ontario-based Circular Economy Lab that was largely focused on eliminating plastic packaging waste and pollution. What were some of the challenges your founders encountered? The key issues we’ve faced include the low level of awareness among businesses, governments, and the public in terms of the circular economy and its benefits for Canada, as well as the fragmented and siloed nature of our supply chains.


chains, enhancing innovation and improving the competitiveness of Canada’s economy over the long term.

These are two areas we are working to address: raising awareness about what the circular economy is and its benefits and acting as a cross-sector platform to create systems change. What do you consider your organization's biggest success? One of our greatest successes was the launch of the Canada Plastics Pact (CPP) in January 2021. CELC acted as an incubator to form and launch this network that now consists of more than 90 key stakeholders across the entire value chain in Canada, focused on creating a circular economy for plastics packaging in the country, including its roadmap to 2025. What makes your organization unique? We currently have more than 45 partners across Canada coming from all sectors and regions, as well as a handful of international partners, with CELC acting as a “network of networks.” CELC is dedicated to bringing value to our partners by

THESE ARE TWO AREAS WE ARE WORKING TO ADDRESS: RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT WHAT THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY IS AND ITS BENEFITS AND ACTING AS A CROSSSECTOR PLATFORM TO CREATE SYSTEMS CHANGE.

filling existing gaps in the marketplace and supporting efforts to accelerate the transition to a circular economy in Canada. We do this by serving as a national hub that connects people to the knowledge, networks, and opportunities to help achieve circular innovation; fostering constructive dialogue between government and industry on critical issues where collaboration is key to the system transition required to achieving circularity; making the business case for new approaches by shining a light on corporate leadership and circular innovation; championing a national circular economy strategy and a coordinated innovation ecosystem; and accelerating circular economy transitions in key sectors through our Circular Economy Solutions Series, focused on taking advantage of opportunities and tackling the barriers. How do you feel your organization makes the world better? We’re hyper-focused on the circular economy, which addresses our planet’s triple environmental crises: climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. The circular economy model leverages actionable business strategies to eliminate waste and pollution from our economy, reduce the demand on our ecosystems and natural resources by keeping materials and resources in use for as long as possible, and regenerate nature in the process. Tell us about your organization's goals. Our goal is to advance a circular economy in Canada across all sectors and supply

Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you'd like to share? CELC’s work is carried out through our Solutions Series work streams where we have a number of projects underway in areas that include plastics, food systems, metals and minerals, construction and built environment, and finance. You can find more at circulareconomyleaders.ca/ solutions-series/. As one example, CELC has recently launched a project in collaboration with BOMA Canada, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), CSA Group, and others from the real estate sector, exploring the use of circular strategies to extend the life of existing buildings – including innovative leasing and renovation – and, in turn, preserve the embodied carbon found within buildings. What do you most want people to know about your organization? To advance the circular economy in Canada, we must work together in partnership to create the systems change we need. Through our collaborative approach and CELC’s platform for convening, we can accelerate the opportunities and tackle the barriers together. How can people help or contribute to your organization's mission? We welcome organizations to join our network as CELC Partners, investing in the work streams we have underway, establishing the business case for action, and helping to communicate the benefits and advantages for Canada in transitioning to a more circular economy.

circulareconomyleaders.ca facebook.com/ CircularEconomyLeaders twitter.com/CELeadershipCA linkedin.com/company/ circular-economy-leaders

SEP 2022 • ISSUE 03   45


Textile Lab for Circularity WEAVING TOGETHER THE FASHION INDUSTRY FOR GREATER CIRCULARITY No shirts, no shoes, no service. Clothing is essential for survival and navigating modern society; however, the shirts on our backs have also evolved to be emblems of our status and reflect our unique personalities — all great qualities until it’s time to retire that novelty souvenir t-shirt we wore once as a joke. The Textile Lab for Circularity is fighting fashion and textile waste in Canada through extensive research and collaboration with industry players. We spoke with Megan Bourassa, Communications Coordinator, to learn more about the Textile Lab for Circularity’s fashionfocused initiatives in the circular economy space.

Tell us about your organization's mission. The Textile Lab for Circularity (TLC) is a social innovation lab connecting unlikely allies across Western Canada to divert fashion and textile waste from landfills and move the industry toward circularity. We envision a thriving circular textiles economy in British Columbia by 2031. We believe that collaboration is key to making the circular economy a reality, and we strive to build the spaces for strategic cross-sector connections and industry clusters to form and flourish.

Networking at the first in-person social innovation lab on textile waste, in 2017.

46    MAK E T H E WOR LD BETTE R MAGAZINE

What inspired your founders to start your organization? While facilitating a social innovation lab for the hospitality industry in 2015, our Founder Sara Blenkhorn witnessed the severity of the textile waste problem. She saw that textile waste resulted from almost every stage of the product life cycle, with no comprehensive, scalable solutions to divert this waste from the landfill. Folks working on solutions were isolated from each other, and she saw an opportunity to bring them together to make more progress, faster.


THE TEXTILE LAB FOR CIRCULARITY (TLC) IS A SOCIAL INNOVATION LAB CONNECTING UNLIKELY ALLIES ACROSS WESTERN CANADA TO DIVERT FASHION AND TEXTILE WASTE FROM LANDFILLS AND MOVE THE INDUSTRY TOWARD CIRCULARITY. She launched the first textile-focused lab through her consulting firm Leverage Lab. This two-year interactive lab program resulted in a white paper that mapped the flows of textile waste in Metro Vancouver and identified leverage points to take action. The first lab identified that in Metro Vancouver alone, upwards of 22,000 tonnes of textiles make their way to landfills annually. We also know that approximately 95% of this landfill waste is repairable, reusable, or recyclable, showing a large opportunity for the circular economy. This opportunity is what inspired Sara to start the Textile Lab for Circularity. What were some of the challenges your founders encountered? There are a few challenges we’ve encountered and continue working on, including pivoting from in-person programming to 100% online due to the pandemic; pivoting to the changing needs of the industry during this turbulent time, thus redesigning our offerings to work for companies that had pivoted away from long-term climate and waste prevention strategies to short-term pandemic mitigation; and minimizing TLC added-value activities to extend the lifetime of our initial funding to save money. As well, there are some challenges we’re encountering on an ongoing basis, including juggling the back and forth between the industry needing regulation

and legislators waiting for the industry to take the lead. And more recently, we have seen an emerging need in our networks for reshoring textile/fashion production due to unstable supply chains. However, there are gaps in the workforce and infrastructure to make that a reality at the moment. What do you consider your organization's biggest success? Our biggest success since our official formation in 2019 is our massive pivot that led to producing our now-annual Building Your Circular Strategy Workshop! From 2017-19 we partnered with Vancity, the City of Vancouver, Metro Vancouver, and the Vancouver Economic Commission to convene 25 businesses and organizations from textiles-related sectors to collaborate on the issue of regional textile waste. We mapped the regional textile system through participant and network interviews and secondary data sources, and we produced the white paper, Unravelling the Problem of Apparel Waste in the Greater Vancouver Area. This study revealed a systems map of apparel waste flows in the Lower Mainland, establishing critical baseline data. This foundation positions us well to identify and act on opportunities that disrupt the conventional take-make-waste process. The TLC was formed as a result of this white paper and its five leverage points for systemic change: increasing industry

collaboration, investing in circular fibre development, educating consumers, levelling the playing field, and, ultimately, making circular fashion business models mainstream. We designed and began marketing a Phase 2 lab in the winter of 2020 to take serious collaborative action on the leverage points that the white paper identified; however, COVID-19 disrupted this plan. Unfettered, we performed an in-depth analysis of the leverage points and the emergent needs of the industry. We determined that our lab model could be parsed out into two phases: an educational workshop to level the playing field and tangible pilot projects down the line. As a result, we successfully recruited and guided nine organizations through our new educational program and are now gearing up for a second cohort. What makes your organization unique? We act like mycelium around the complex systemic issues of textile waste, transmitting knowledge, connections, and resources between key nodes when they wouldn’t otherwise relate. We believe that by breaking down silos in this highly-competitive industry and open sourcing key research and resources, we can move the whole industry further, faster. We also employ the science-based Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, grounding our programs in a holistic methodology that accounts

SEP 2022 • ISS UE 03   47


resilience in BC’s fashion and textile organizations. Together, we help companies understand their current system, set a circular mission, and develop a custom plan for embedding circularity into their business model. Teams will leave with their own internal Circular Strategy and the confidence to implement and communicate it internally and externally.

The first cohort of the TLC's virtual Building Your Circular Strategy program, launched in October 2021. for the long-term well-being of both people and planet. This helps us guide the industry toward addressing the root problems, rather than implementing band-aid reactionary strategies. How do you feel your organization makes the world better? Our organization is composed of sustainability experts with deep experience in education and facilitation. We make the world better by championing collaboration in an increasingly competitive world. By creating safe spaces for exploration, open conversation, and sandboxes for play, we are able to spark ideas and partnerships otherwise inaccessible. We also aim to facilitate and normalize the open sourcing of key research to move the industry forward together.

The TLC's mission visualized. Moving the textile industry from the current linear economy to a circular economy.

48    MAK E T H E WORLD BE TTE R MAGAZINE

Tell us about your organization's goals. As mentioned, we aim to create a thriving circular apparel industry in British Columbia by 2031. To get there, we are focused on taking action on these five leverage points designed to catalyze systemic change: 1) increase industry collaboration in the collection, sorting, recycling, and design for the environment; 2) invest in circular fibres development, recycling technology, and collection infrastructure; 3) educate consumers, designers, and brands about their role in a zero-waste fashion future; 4) set a level playing field that supports the reduction of apparel waste; and 5) make circular fashion business models mainstream. Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you'd like to share? One project we’d like to share is our upcoming landmark research project, the Roadmap to Textile Recycling in Western Canada. This roadmap is a cross-sector study engaging folks from government, industry, non-profit, academia, and funding to forge a path through the complex ins and outs of making scalable textile recycling in Western Canada a reality. The second initiative we’d like to share is gearing up for the second cohort of our one-of-a-kind Building Your Circular Strategy program. This four-session training is designed to spark circular strategies for long-term

What do you most want people to know about your organization? We truly believe that the future is collaborative. Together, we have the know-how, the resources, and the passion to make the apparel industry circular. As a non-profit organization, we are not driven by money but rather by the quality of the connections we facilitate. We measure our success on impact — all the way from individual conversations to systemic shifts. How can people help or contribute to your organization's mission? Non-profit, laser-focused Social Innovation Labs like ours are a key ingredient in catalyzing and accelerating innovation. We realize this is still a new concept to many, so please join us, support us, and amplify our work! Some ways to get involved are to join or sponsor one of our programs, subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on social media at @textilelabforcircularity.

labforcircularity.com facebook.com/ textilelabforcircularity instagram.com/ textilelabforcircularity twitter.com/textilelab linkedin.com/company/ textile-lab-for-circularity


THIS SPACE COULD BE YOURS Advertise in Make The World Better Magazine

Be part of our mission to bring critical issues to light and spark positive change. Join the growing community of value-aligned organizations featured in our magazine by advertising your unique, world-changing story. To advertise, get in touch with us here: advertising@sparxpg.com


WHY WE MUST GO CIRCULAR

10 MILLION TONNES OF TEXTILE WASTE IS SENT TO THE LANDFILL EACH YEAR IN NORTH AMERICA, 95% OF WHICH COULD BE REUSED OR RECYCLED. Waste Reduction Week in Canada

50    MAK E T H E WOR LD BETTE R MAGAZINE