Circular EconomyRichmond's Vision for Circular Economy
The City of Richmond has demonstrated leadership in environmental sustainability by developing innovative policies, programs, and services shaped by community and stakeholder participation. This has resulted in increased use of environmentally sound products and services by the City. Richmond is further build on this with the goal of creating a road map to realizing a true circular economy.
Circular Economy emerges as a counterpoint to the linear model. This new model combines economic growth with a development cycle that preserves and enhances natural capital, optimizes resource production and minimizes risk through the management of limited resources and renewable loops. Additionally, it enables companies to reduce production costs and losses, generate new sources of revenue and reduce their dependence on natural raw materials.
The City of Richmond’s vision for circular economy is to maximize the value of resources, by design, through responsible consumption, minimizing waste and reimagining how resources flow in a sustainable, equitable, low-carbon economy.
The Current Linear Economy is Outdated and Unsustainable
The current linear economic model for the production of goods and services is based on raw material being used on a ‘take-make-use-dispose’ cycle. This model boosts short-term consumption does not use resources unsustainably.
In nature, there are no waste or landfills; all materials and elements fulfill a function continuously in the ecosystems and are reused in different ways. The ‘take-make-use-dispose’ model strongly challenges the life cycle of nature and conflicts with sustainable development.
Why Do We Need to Move to a Circular Economy?
If the consumption of natural resources remains in the linear model, the reserves available for some materials will be depleted in a few decades. Coupled with inadequate waste disposal, this over-exploitation of natural resources has also led to environmental problems such as climate change, soil contamination, natural capital lost and human health problems. Thus, it is necessary to rethink the use and application of resources, energy and other assets in our economy and communities.
A circular economy can have a variety of positive impacts that go beyond economics and the environment, including the elimination of waste and pollution, preserving products and materials, regenerating natural systems, all playing an important role in the achievement of climate change targets. This gives Richmond the option to grow prosperity, jobs, and resilience while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and pollution.How Will the City Implement Working Within a Circular Economy?
The City has started using circular economy criteria in various ways, guided by the following 5 principles:
- Designing out waste & pollution by prioritizing regenerative resources
- Keeping products and materials in operational use
- Regenerating natural systems and mitigating climate change
- Collaborating to co-create innovation and joint value
- Maximizing economic value for money
What is the City Doing Now?
Circular Cities & Regions Initiative (CCRI)
In June 2021, the City of Richmond was one of fifteen local governments selected to participate in the Canadian Circular Cities & Regions Initiative (CCRI) program which is designed to promote Peer-to-Peer networking to bring together communities and exchange best practices for implementing circular economy strategies and policies.
Having access to one-on-one mentoring and support from advisors representing leading Canadian and international leaders and practitioners and direct interaction with subject matter experts, Richmond will further develop the City’s unique circular economy roadmap.
Richmond will continue to be a municipal leader in the transition to a circular economy, where waste is designed out, natural systems are regenerated and products and materials are kept at their highest utility and value.Circular Economy Criteria for City Purchasing Activities
In January 2021, City Council integrated circular economy criteria into their purchasing policy. The revised policy includes a City definition of circular economy to allow staff and stakeholders to make more informed decisions and better understand how to drive suppliers towards circularity while achieving City's goals and strategies. The policy includes the following:
- Circular economy criteria that contributes to sustainability goals, reduce environmental and social impacts and potentially improve value and generate financial benefits into City projects and operations.
- The circular approach included in the Policy entails a systemic multi-level change toward circular economy, including technological innovation, new business models, and stakeholder collaboration, by understanding more fully the potential life cycle impacts and potential benefits of available options.
- A circular procurement ensures that value is retained and impacts are minimized through lifetime optimization.
The circular economy principles allow tracking incremental progress as circularity is applied to existing and future procurements. This allows feedback, learning and adjustment to occur in an environment of continuous improvement.Integrating Circular Economy into City Procurements
The following reports give a greater insight into the City's efforts to accelerate its progression towards a circular economy.
|Date||Report||Agenda Item #||Meeting Minutes|
|Apr 12, 2021|| City Participation in Circular Cities and Regions Initiative
|Feb 22, 2021||Procurement Policy Enhancements with Circular Economy Criteria||12||Minutes|
|May 27, 2019||Integrating Circular Economy Criteria into City Procurements||10||Minutes|
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