Embodied Carbon: The New Frontier Accelerating the Circular Economy and Fighting Climate Change

As the urgency to combat climate change grows, it’s evident that current efforts to cut carbon emissions will fall short. To achieve Canada’s climate targets, we must think beyond conventional solutions and embrace innovative approaches. Embodied carbon, the emissions associated with the products we make and use daily, accounts for a staggering 45% of our carbon emission targets. It’s time for governments, businesses, and everyday Canadians to recognize this challenge and seize the significant opportunity it presents.


Unveiling the Hidden Challenge

Graphic from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Pie Chart showing how of total current emissions, 55% is energy and 45% are products. This is further broken down into Food, Steel, Cement, Plastic, and Aluminum. There is expected emission reductions in 2050 following circular economy.

The Circular Economy: A Transformative Approach

Enter the circular economy—a sustainable pathway that tackles embodied carbon by promoting production and consumption practices that do more with less. Integrating circular practices means making products that can be fixed, shared and that will last longer. Governments regulate markets, support these products, and use their own purchasing power to prefer them. Average Canadians get smarter about what they buy, who they buy from, how they use what they buy, and how to continue their value when they are finished with them. By adopting circular principles, businesses, governments, and individuals can play a vital role in optimizing resources, thereby reducing carbon emissions generated throughout the entire lifecycle of products.

Supporting these Five Key Circular Business Models

Five Business Models of Circularity. 1) Circular Supplies. 2) Product As Service. 3) Product Life Extension. 4) Sharing Platform. 5) Resource Recovery.

Five key business models are central to a circular economy. Each model delivers value for the planet, people, and profit, by reducing production, carbon emissions, waste, and costs.

  1. Sharing Platforms: Promoting the sharing of products and resources, optimizing utilization rates, while reducing demand for production.
  2. Product as a Service: Shifting from ownership to service-based models, where individuals gain the value or function of a product without owning it.
  3. Product Life Extension: Extending the lifespan of products through repair, refurbishment, and remanufacturing, embracing the new 3RS approach.
  4. Circular Supplies: Creating products from discarded and renewable materials as well as using renewable energy to produce them.
  5. Resource Recovery: Utilizing discarded materials and repurposing them to manufacture new products.

Join the Circular Economy Movement: Take Action Today!

Ready to explore the transformative potential of the circular economy and its powerful solutions? Join us at the 2023 Canadian Circular Economy Summit, where delegates across all sectors will gather to discuss strategies for redesigning products, transitioning markets, and creating the necessary demand to meet our climate goals while protecting natural resources. Fostering change at the market level is crucial for widespread implementation.

Stay Informed: Next Steps on Your Circular Journey

In the coming months, together with our partners, we will share Canada’s roadmap to a circular economy and a series of detailed articles on our website. These articles will provide inspiring examples, practical guidance, and deep insights into the five circular economy business models. Our aim is to propel organizations and individuals to get involved in driving the circular economy forward.

Embrace the Circular Economy: Decide its Trajectory

With businesses and governments worldwide embracing the circular economy and its opportunities, it’s individual Canadians who will shape its trajectory. We invite all to join us on this exciting journey and be part of the transformative change we can achieve together!

Circular Business Model Article Series

In our Circular Business Models series, we delve into the role of various business models in accelerating a circular economy. Read the articles below:

Accelerating Canada’s Transition to a Circular and Low Carbon Economy. Circular Business Models: Circular Supplies. – For businesses to understand the benefits and importance of a Circular Supply business model.

From Waste to Worth: The Role of Product Life Extension in Mitigating Embodied Emissions – For businesses and municipalities to understand the benefits and linkage of product life extension and circular procurement in minimizing embodied emissions.

Stay tuned for the upcoming articles through our website, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram & Twitter), or email list!





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We offer collaborative opportunity and inspiration to redefine value in communities across Canada through showcase opportunities and putting circular economy concepts into action.