Launching Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab

Co-operators contributes $350,000 to fund lab start-up and first project

Guelph, Ont., January 20, 2022– Today, representatives from Co-operators, the City of Guelph, Wellington County and the Guelph Smart Cities Office launched the Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab, a new initiative under the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL).

The lab will apply circular economy theories to develop and test new opportunities to reduce or redirect waste. As the lab’s founding corporate supporter, Co-operators is pledging a $350,000 investment to establish the lab and fund its first project to divert construction and demolition materials from landfill. Ongoing operations will be funded through public and private grants and corporate investments.

The commitment from Co-operators represents a unique local public-private sector collaboration to tackle factors contributing to climate change. It will also help extend the range of tools and innovation infrastructure developed by COIL and Our Food Future since 2019, adapting them to the construction and demolition sector as well as others in the future.

“Co-operators is committed to embedding sustainability into all areas of our business. We are especially excited that through COIL, we can help to sustainably divert materials away from landfills and keep them in the local economy,” says Chad Park, VP Sustainability and Citizenship at Co-operators. “Through this collaborative effort, we can reduce the environmental, social, and financial costs to governments, businesses and Canadian communities, while making them more sustainable and resilient.” 

“We know that 45 per cent of global carbon emissions are generated when we manufacture new products, and construction materials are particularly resource intensive,” says Barbara Swartzentruber, executive director of the Smart Cities Office. “Redesigning systems to recycle and extend the life of materials is an essential part of fighting climate change and aligns with Guelph’s climate change objectives.”

The lab’s projects will bring together researchers, industry stakeholders, entrepreneurs and government to reduce waste in specific material sectors, including salvaged materials from properties following insurance claims.

As with Our Food Future, another Smart Cities initiative, COIL’s lab will focus on designing scalable systems-level solutions that create new social, economic and environmental benefits.

“Our comprehensive circular economy approach considers not only the reuse, recovery and recycling of materials that were previously wasted, it addresses processes and decisions that prevent waste generation across an entire value chain,” says David Messer, manager, COIL.

The Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab’s projects will follow a process that can be replicated and applied across all waste streams in industries such as textiles, plastics and electronics. The lab will work with other cities, labs and circular economy innovation organizations across Canada to share best practices, advise on future strategies and collectively advance sector transformation using the circular economy approach.

The lab’s current national collaborators and advisors include:

Quotes

“This is an incredible example of public-private sector collaboration. It’s fantastic to see a major local employer stepping up and working together with the City of Guelph and County of Wellington to tackle this global issue.”

Cam Guthrie, Mayor, City of Guelph

“This program will also help the County come closer to achieving our sustainability objectives, environmental visioning and economic growth plans by creating jobs and helping businesses with their waste challenges.”

Jana Burns, Wellington Place Administrator, Museum, Archives and Economic Development, Wellington County

“More broadly, however, this program will play an important role in supporting several key priorities within Guelph’s Strategic Plan as well as wider city priorities. It will accelerate partnerships and innovations in our economy. And it will further integrate businesses into our community and cultural fabric.”

Scott Stewart, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Guelph

About COIL

Launched in April 2021 with $5 million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), COIL is an innovation platform and activation network aimed at creating, proving and scaling transformative solutions across the food and environment sectors in southern Ontario that will move Canada toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

COIL builds on the Our Food Future Smart Cities initiative which is close to meeting its goal of creating 50 new circular businesses and collaborations.

Funding for COIL program participants is provided in collaboration with 10C’s Harvest Impact Fund, a community social finance fund developer with Our Food Future aimed at supporting impactful projects to strengthen the Guelph and Wellington communities.

About Co-operators

Co-operators is a leading Canadian financial services co-operative, offering multi-line insurance and investment products, services, and personalized advice to help Canadians build their financial strength and security. The company has more than $61.5 billion in assets under administration. Co-operators has been providing trusted guidance to Canadians for the past 76 years. The organization is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. Achieving carbon neutral equivalency in 2020, the organization is committed to net-zero emissions in its operations and investments by 2040, and 2050, respectively. Co-operators is also ranked as a Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizen in Canada and is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Kincentric.

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build a regional circular food economy that will achieve a 50 per cent increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50 per cent increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.

Our Food Future is one of the ways the City of Guelph and Wellington County are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.

Resources

Recording of live event

Media contacts

David Messer, Manager, COIL
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661
[email protected]  

Co-operators
[email protected]

Funding announcement: Guelph-Wellington Smart Cities’ COIL initiative

Media event advisory

Funding announcement: Guelph-Wellington Smart Cities’ COIL initiative

Co-operators, City of Guelph and Wellington County to announce a new circular economy collaboration

Guelph, Ont., January 14, 2022 – Representatives from Co-operators, the City of Guelph, Wellington County and the Smart Cities Office will announce a new initiative through the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) that will help lead industry across southern Ontario to a zero-waste, net positive future.

The announcement on Thursday, January 20 represents a significant and unique local private-public sector collaboration to explore new strategies to reduce waste or find new potential for unavoidable waste across several industries.

What

Live event: Guelph-Wellington Smart Cities’ COIL initiative

Who           

  • Cam Guthrie, Mayor, City of Guelph
  • Chad Park, Vice President Sustainability and Citizenship, Co-operators
  • Scott Stewart, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Guelph
  • Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director, Smart Cities Office
  • David Messer, Manager, COIL
  • Jana Burns, Wellington Place Administrator, Museum, Archives, and Economic Development

When          

Thursday, January 20, 2022 1–1:30 p.m.

Where

Link: https://guelph.webex.com/guelph/onstage/g.php?MTID=e47e99a93016c5bec0cefd0b0ba0ad9a2

Password (for users joining from a Webex app or mobile phone app):
coil2022

About COIL

Launched in April 2021 with $5 million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), COIL is an innovation platform and activation network aimed at creating, proving and scaling transformative solutions across the food and environment sectors in southern Ontario that will move Canada toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

COIL builds on the Our Food Future Smart Cities initiative which is close to meeting its goal of creating 50 new circular businesses and collaborations.

Funding for COIL program participants is provided in collaboration with 10C’s Harvest Impact Fund, a community social finance fund developer with Our Food Future aimed at supporting impactful projects to strengthen the Guelph and Wellington communities.

About Co-operators

Co-operators is a leading Canadian financial services co-operative, offering multi-line insurance and investment products, services, and personalized advice to help Canadians build their financial strength and security. The company has more than $61.5 billion in assets under administration. Co-operators has been providing trusted guidance to Canadians for the past 76 years. The organization is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. Achieving carbon neutral equivalency in 2020, the organization is committed to net-zero emissions in its operations and investments by 2040, and 2050, respectively. Co-operators is also ranked as a Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizen in Canada and is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Kincentric.

Media contacts

David Messer, Manager, COIL
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661
[email protected]  

Co-operators
[email protected]

Accelerating circular businesses across southern Ontario

Forty food and environment businesses will work with COIL to reduce or transform waste

Guelph, Ont., November 25, 2021– Today the Guelph-Wellington Smart Cities Office announced that 40 circular businesses, social enterprises and other organizations will participate in the first cohort of business programs under the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) by the end of December.

This summer, COIL collaborators including Innovation Guelph, 10 Carden Shared Space (10C), the Smart Cities Office and Provision Coalition launched four business funding programs aimed at incubating and accelerating circular businesses, developing new circular products and supporting circular economy innovation within a supply chain.  

“We received a very positive response to our call for applications,” says David Messer, Manager, COIL. “We’re seeing some fantastic local organizations that want to establish or expand their circular practices, and others coming into our region to build out their great ideas within the circular food ecosystem we’ve built here over the last few years. It’s been amazing opening Guelph-Wellington’s circular economy testbed up to companies from across southern Ontario.”

COIL’s first cohort of programs include:

  • Ten scaleup and five start-up businesses are participating in the Activate Accelerator and Evolve Pre-Accelerator programs. These participants will work with Innovation Guelph to grow their businesses to be investor-ready.
  • Twenty-one organizations are participating in the Circulate CoLab, an innovation process where each of five team receives $20,000 to prototype a circular supply chain innovation over 12 weeks. All teams will then compete for an additional $100,000 in funding to scale their idea up. Several teams are developing or testing new technologies to help reduce food waste or upcycle food waste into new products.
  • Six companies ranging from large processors to local farms are participating in the Re(PURPOSE) Incubator, a program that provides expert consulting from Provision Coalition to help companies develop new ways to turn food waste into new circular products and collaborations.

As with Our Food Future, also run by the Smart Cities Office with a mandate to create Canada’s first modern circular food economy in Guelph and Wellington County, COIL programs focus on creating social, economic, and environmental benefits. Several social enterprises are participating in COIL programs to develop innovative ways of addressing access to nutritious foods for people experiencing food insecurity.

COIL Advisory Council of Industry Experts

Along with local collaborators like 10C, Innovation Guelph and Provision Coalition, COIL has convened an expert advisory council of industry leaders that are providing guidance on funding decisions as well as the overarching COIL initiative strategy. All advisory council members are volunteering their time and expertise in a personal capacity.

“We feel very fortunate to have this team of people with exceptional talent and expertise to help guide our programming and look forward to learning from them as this work unfolds,” adds Messer.

Advisory council members include:

  • Melissa Annett, Principal, Senior Project Manager, Strategic Advisor Manufacturing, RWDI
  • Pierre Courtemanche, Sustainability and Supply Chain Strategist
  • Bryce Diagle, Director, Market Strategy and Planning, Instacart
  • Tim Faveri, VP Sustainability and Shared Value, Maple Leaf Foods
  • Karen Flamand, AVP Claims Shared Services, National Claims, The Co-operators
  • Catherine Leighton, Senior Environmental Consultant, Sustainability and Environment, TELUS
  • Sourabh Malik, Vice President CPG, Restaurant Brands International
  • Dana McCauley, Chief Experience Officer, Canadian Food Innovation Network
  • Joe Solly, Partner, Sustainability and Climate Change, Deloitte
  • Bruce Taylor, President, Enviro-Stewards

Quotes

“We couldn’t be happier with the interest and enthusiasm we’re seeing from businesses and organizations in our region that want to inject a more circular approach to their operations. Given recent global commitments to put our food system in the centre of strategies to address climate change, this announcement reinforces that Guelph-Wellington is a leader in this important work.”
Anne Toner Fung, Executive Director and CEO, Innovation Guelph

“This is an exciting development that supports the City of Guelph’s Strategic Plan: Guelph. Future ready. The work of COIL, the Smart Cities Office, and all those involved will help accelerate Guelph’s unique position in the innovation corridor, establishing this community as a leader in the fast-growing global circular economy. I can’t wait to learn more about the companies and ideas that this work will accelerate.”
Scott Stewart, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Guelph

About COIL

Launched in April 2021 with $5 million in funding from FedDev Ontario, COIL is an innovation platform and Launched in April 2021 with $5 million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), COIL is an innovation platform and activation network aimed at creating, proving and scaling transformative solutions across the food and environment sectors in southern Ontario that will move Canada toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

COIL builds on the Our Food Future smart cities initiative which is close to meeting its goal of creating 50 new circular businesses and collaborations.

Funding for COIL program participants is provided in collaboration with 10C’s Harvest Impact Fund, a community social finance fund developer with Our Food Future aimed at supporting impactful projects to strengthen the Guelph and Wellington communities.

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build a regional circular food economy that will achieve a 50 per cent increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50 per cent increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.

Our Food Future one of the ways the City of Guelph and County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.

Resources

Example of some of the companies involved in COIL programs

Media contacts

David Messer, Manager COIL
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661
[email protected]  

Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3066
[email protected]