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Pathfinder project #6

Circular business tools and services Business Tools icon

Project overview

In this project, led by Provision Coalition Inc., we’re developing, curating and sharing a suite of circular economy tools and diagnostics that will help enterprises reinvent their processes and business models: minimizing waste, extracting more value from resources and reducing energy use.

These tools and diagnostics will produce:

  • Baseline data and interventions for the processing sector, utilizing measurement and sensor technology,
  • A key performance indicator (KPI) dashboard for waste, and
  • Best practices for reducing municipal food waste.

As part of this project, we’re working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to pilot their circular transition indicators with the businesses we work with and to provide feedback. The Council’s Circular Transition Indicators v1.0 (available at wbcsd.org)are as follows:

Close the loop—calculate the company’s effectiveness in closing the loop on its material flows

  • Percentage circular inflow
  • Percentage circular outflow
  • Percentage water circularity
  • Percentage renewable energy

Optimize the loop—provide insights on resource use efficiency

  • Percentage critical material (share of material considered critical or scarce)
  • Percentage recovery type (recycle; remanufacture or refurbish; reuse or repair)

Value the loop—illustrate the added business value of a company’s circular material flows

  • Circular material productivity (revenue divided by total mass of linear flow)

Approach

Develop baseline data for the processing and manufacturing sector

We’ll work with eight companies to:

  • Embed circular thinking into their strategic planning and decision making,
  • Identify food loss and waste prevention opportunities, and
  • Implement product innovations and prevention solutions.

We’ve already selected two of those companies. Rootham Gourmet Preserves in Puslinch produces savoury sauces, jams, dessert sauces, BBQ and salad dressings with a focus on local ingredients. The second company is Guelph’s Wellington Brewery, an award-winning microbrewery based in Guelph. We are currently looking for six more companies to fill the remaining spots.

Business tools and services for the food sector to reduce waste

Initially, the goal for this project was to work with five companies. However, in light of growing needs created by COVID-19, Provision Coalition Inc. is increasing the number of businesses receiving assessments and consulting services from five to eight: three small enterprises, three medium enterprises and two large enterprises. These businesses will come from a cross-section of industries, some from Guelph and some from Wellington County. They will also receive a guaranteed spot in R-Purpose MICRO, a 12-week educational program focused on building sustainable practices, circularity and business resilience, delivered by Provision Coalition.

This initiative is leveraging $200,000 in funding from Our Food Future. New businesses intakes are underway, and key learnings from the assessments will be showcased to help other food businesses adopt circular practices.

Tools, templates and technology used

Food Loss and Waste Protocol: The Food Loss and Waste Protocol is a multi-stakeholder partnership that has developed the global Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard—also known simply as the FLW Standard.

The Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard enables companies, countries, cities and others to quantify and report on food loss and waste so they can develop targeted reduction strategies and realize the benefits from tackling this inefficiency. It provides a common language and clear requirements, enabling organizations around the world to establish baselines and tracking progress in a consistent, quantified way.

Provision Coalition’s Food Loss and Waste Prevention Toolkit: This free toolkit allows food and beverage manufacturers to measure and reduce food loss and waste in food and beverage manufacturing facilities. The toolkit guides companies through the assessment process; calculates the economic, social and environmental value of food loss and waste within the production process; and helps companies identify ways to reduce loss and waste. It also calculates the return on investment and payback period they can expect by implementing those solutions.

Enviro-Stewards and Provision Coalition Inc. have used the tool to complete assessments at 50 food and beverage processors across Canada, identifying an average of $228,000 of annual savings per facility with a payback period of less than one year. In total, they’ve identified $11.4 million in savings per year and 9.3 million kilograms of avoidable food waste. That adds up to 32,600 tonnes of CO2 equivalents and 15.4 million meals saved each year.

Provision’s Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Dashboard: This KPI Dashboard helps companies track their key performance indicators. It will also be used in the circular carbon credits project.

Provision Coalition dashboard image

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