Circular Food Leadership Program

Executive Sustainability and Circularity Training

Innovation North
Ivey Centre for Building Sustainable Value
Image of Executives working at laptops

Around the world, food sector businesses are finding innovative ways to turn operational waste or byproducts into new revenue using upcycling strategies, part of what’s known as the circular economy.

Upcycling strategies help mitigate climate change and reduce environmental harm, while turning waste streams into new products, collaborations and value streams. The circular economy is the future—it will help you grow your business while helping the community and the environment—but do you know how to implement these ideas in your day-to-day operations?

If you are interested in creating new upcycling solutions for your organic waste products, come join our partnership including food industry SMEs in Southwestern Ontario, Innovation North, Ivey’s Centre for Building Sustainable Value, and COIL.

***Register by June 5, 2022 for $200 Early Bird Discount***

The Process

Over the span of a year, your business will be guided through a structured innovation process to drive successful food waste exchanges and a resilient circular economy in Ontario. The process will take place over the following three phases:

Process map showing  June - September 2022 Onboarding, arrow to September - May 2023 Workshops, arrow to May - June 2023 Circular Pitch Sessions
  • Onboarding: You will participate in a brief interview to ensure the program meets your needs and goals.
  • Workshops: You will participate in a series of 4 in-person workshops where you will be guided through processes to help develop circular solutions for your organization.
  • Circular Solutions Pitch Sessions: You will present your circular solution. COIL will provide prototype funding for the pitches that demonstrate the most sustainable product and process-related benefits to the business and the greatest potential for environmental, societal and economic impact.


Businesses should be SMEs with 10 – 250 employees based in Southwestern Ontario. The process is not intended for start-up businesses.
Businesses should be involved in meat, dairy, or produce supply chains. They can be operating in one or more supply chain tiers, including: producers (farming, plant cultivation, animal husbandry); processors (materials and ingredients valorization); or consumer-facing businesses (retailers and food services).

Benefits to your business:

We anticipate the following benefits to you and your business through this partnership:

  • Learning leading edge sustainable business growth strategies from Ivey faculty
  • Developing a circular solution tailored to your business’s needs, with potential prototype funding through COIL
  • Informing ground-breaking research and policy recommendations on circular solutions and corporate innovation practices that will be amplified by reports published by Ivey and COIL
  • Networking and collaborating with innovative food sector businesses in Southwestern Ontario

Your Commitment

A member of your organization, such as Chief Operating Officer or Supply Chain Manager, will commit to engaging actively in the sessions and the activities between sessions. A time commitment of 50-60 hours will mainly be spent developing circular solutions to address your business’s challenges.

As we are engaging a range of businesses, the participation fee will be on a sliding scale between $700 and $1400 depending on company size.

Program Instructors

Jury Gualandris
Associate Professor, Operations Management & Sustainability
Associate Director, Centre for Building Sustainable Value (BSV)

Tima Bansal
Professor, General Management, Sustainability & Strategy
Executive Director, Network for Business Sustainability
Canada Research Chair in Business Sustainability

Sign up to attend an info session:

What is the circular economy? 

The circular economy is a model that seeks to eliminates the concept of waste. Circular economies are designed so that the waste of one economic actvity is the feedstock for the next economic activity. 

The image below shows how your food business could participate in a circular collaboration. Learn more about the circular economy here. 


An infographic showing how companies exchange waste in innovative circular business models. The chart shows company A 0 a local retailer, repurposing unsellable fruits and vegetables with a juice producer. The juice producer repurposes waste from juice making to a baker who turns them into cracker and cookies. Waste from baking operation is then sent to the farmer who uses them as fertilizer and for animal feed. The Farmer then sells fruits and vegetables back to the retail store to complete the full circular loop.
Our Food Future Guelph Wellington Funded by Canada

Any Questions?

Want to learn more about this program and if it could be a fit for your business? Send us a question and we’ll get back to you shortly.

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