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Centre for intersectoral study and research into the circular economy

ÉTS and Desjardins launch lab “ecosystem” to accelerate shift to circular economy

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Centre for intersectoral study and research into the circular economy (CERIEC) of the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) is pleased to announce the launch of the ecosystem of circular economy acceleration laboratories (ELEC), thanks to a $2.1M contribution over five years from Desjardins, a major partner in the initiative.

ELEC will represent a unique testing ground to promote the research, development and transfer of new practices and innovative technologies. Further, it will help initiate and catalyze the transition of key sectors toward a circular economy. The network will be composed of eight or nine interconnected laboratories deployed over a span of five years. For example, these laboratories might be dedicated to industrial sectors such as construction, agri-food, mines, or plastics, or they may focus on specific strategies such as the product-service system or the social/solidarity-based economy. The ensuing projects will aim to develop and test solutions so that they can ultimately become mainstream.

Co-creating solutions to circularize the economy
Establishing a circular economy is contingent on unprecedented collaboration between a multitude of players. Now more than ever, it is therefore necessary to break down the silos and begin working together in innovative ways. 

Based on the living labs model and bringing together actors from relevant value chains and researchers from different backgrounds, ELEC aims to become an open forum of exchange intended to co-identify the challenges to be addressed and co-create and test innovative solutions.  This approach will set the stage for rapid implementation of innovations, in addition to facilitating their adoption by socioeconomic players.

“The circularity of the global economy is less than 9% and the rate of resource depletion is accelerating, not to mention the rapid degradation of ecosystems and growing inequality. The current linear economic model that consists of extracting, transforming, using and discarding is absolutely unsustainable. It is critical to identify and promptly implement solutions if we want to maintain past achievements, ensure the well-being of future generations and reach our GHG emission reduction targets while living within the support capacity of the planet.”
–  Daniel Normandin, CERIEC Director

“The pandemic we are currently experiencing is teaching us to view the economy from the perspective of public well-being as well as the importance of buying locally and reducing the wasteful use of resources. More broadly, shared prosperity is an important theme for Desjardins Group, as we have long considered that wealth creation must take into account not only economic but social aspects as well. We are therefore extremely proud of the $2.1M circular economy partnership that we have developed with ÉTS. We’re talking about a sustainable economy that reflects our cooperative values.”
–  Guy Cormier, President and CEO, Desjardins Group

“Innovation and the environment are important focus areas at ÉTS, and the circular economy allows us to combine them in order to develop cutting-edge expertise in emerging fields. ELEC is a promising project designed to propose innovative solutions for the circular economy and sustainable development.”
–  François Gagnon, CEO, ÉTS

About the circular economy
The circular economy is a production, exchange and consumption system aiming to optimize resource use at every stage in the life cycle of a product or service through a circular approach, reduce the environmental footprint and contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities*. 

*: As defined by the Pôle québécois de concertation sur l’économie circulaire (Quebec Centre for consultation on the circular economy) on the Québec circulaire website.

Established in September 2020 at ÉTS, CERIEC endeavours to help shape and deploy the circular economy. To do so, it intends to implement an interdisciplinary scientific research program as well as initiatives that revolve around training, dialogue, added-value and knowledge transfer. These actions aim to maximize the benefits for economic players, governments and civil society. 

Émilie Chiasson

Communications Advisor, CERIEC | ÉTS

514 294-6705

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