Echoes of the Forum

Key takeaways

The circular economy could help us minimize waste and maximize resources
Only 9.1% of the world’s resources are currently cycled back into use. Moving beyond our traditional waste and resource management model to a circular economy could address our most pressing resource challenges. A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, and positions “waste” as a resource. The focus is on designing products with waste prevention in mind, i.e., designing them so they can be re-used, refurbished, remanufactured or recycled at the end of their natural life. Waste disposal is minimized while the value of the materials and resources is maximized.  

Plastic is clogging our oceans and we can stop it
Almost 8 million tonnes of plastics enters the world’s oceans every year – that’s equivalent to more plastic than fish by 2050 at the current rate. The banning of single-use items such as plastic straws has picked up considerable momentum, and other initiatives are demonstrating that we can turn the metaphorical ship around with determination and innovation. Major multinational companies, such as Coca-Cola and Unilever, have been working toward plastic packaging meeting 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable requirements by 2030. Here at home, Canada is using its presidency of the G7 to persuade world's richest and most industrialized countries to adopt ambitious goals for plastics recycling and waste reduction.

Rethinking textile production could have a big impact on waste and resource use
The fashion industry is considered the second most polluting industry due to water pollution, the use of toxic chemicals, and increasing levels of textile waste. The fashion industry is also at its highest disposal rate ever, with Americans alone disposing of about 12.8 million tons of textiles annually. Pressure to reduce cost and the time it takes to get a product from design to shop floor means that environmental corners are more likely to be cut.

The good news is that brands such as Nike, Levi’s, Puma, and Patagonia are increasingly focusing on more ‘ethical’ and environmentally responsible clothing. This includes pushing for more recycling and eliminating chemicals. The Higg Index also provides tools that enable brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes to accurately measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance.

Digitalization can help address waste in industrial processes
Digitalization of existing processes promotes connectivity and data collection. Better data allows industry to identify and address how resources such as energy or water are being lost or wasted during various processes. In turn, this data can help businesses make better decisions throughout their supply chains and improve the productivity of the system.

Livestock is responsible for more carbon emissions than all transportation sources combined
The carbon and water footprint associated with raising livestock is huge. Consumers are increasingly asking for more transparency in the meat production industry, which is expected to grow by more than 50 percent by 2050.

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February 27 - 28, 2019

Spring 2020

Materials and Resources

Globally, we need three Earths to support our current resource and energy consumption habits. Developed countries have the largest ecological footprints, using up a disproportionate share of global resources. Climate change and its steadily increasing impacts are putting even greater pressure on the most vulnerable communities. With the world’s population expected to grow to 9 billion by 2048, how we use our materials and resources is an environmental, economic and social justice issue.

What can we do differently to preserve our prosperity and the planet?

In the “Materials and Resources” track at GLOBE Forum 2018, we explored potential solutions, including the circular economy model, alternatives to traditional protein, and how collaboration can reduce waste and increase resource efficiency.

Here you will find:

Key takeaways  

Full session videos

4 ways industry can accelerate the circular and/or low-carbon economy

A closer look: Speaker interviews, industry reports, and more

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4 ways industry can accelerate the low-carbon and/or circular economy 

Meat producers should embrace the opportunities of alternative proteins
Trends show that demand for protein alternatives is rapidly rising. In fact, two billion people around the world consume insects as part of their diet. Although meat is expected to continue to play a significant role in the industry, alternative proteins are more environmentally and economically sustainable.

Industry should consider product end-of-life at the start of the manufacturing process
The retail industry should consider ways to support the recycling system and create a secondary or alternative market for recycled content. Where recycling might not be possible, e.g. leftover packaging, materials can be remanufactured into clothing or carpets, which is a step towards closing the loop in the circular economy.  

Manufacturers should provide information on the materials in their products to their value chain
By determining and identifying the origins and types of particles in their products, such as microplastics, manufacturers can work with all parts of the value chain to eliminate waste. Suppliers are in the position to eliminate certain materials, consumers can remanufacture or recycle the product, and other organizations will handle the waste down the line. The wastewater treatment sector, for example, can only treat the materials they know are present. Manufacturers need to provide information on materials and fibres entering treatment facilities so the wastewater treatment sector can ensure the right technologies are in place to treat these materials.

Private equity firms can enable the scaling of new water technologies and infrastructure
More diverse, blended funding is needed to support and fix our ageing water infrastructure and to integrate the latest technologies into water systems. Municipalities, who typically oversee these systems, and investors, who could provide the funding for them, need better data to obtain a clearer picture of the water system and the potential risks. Without funding, the ability to share and integrate intelligence across the water industry will be impaired.





Session videos

The only place to enjoy full-length videos of our conference sessions.       

Emily Penn, Expedition Leader and Ocean Advocate

Paul Nicklen, Photographer, Filmmaker and Marine Biologist

“We would stop at small islands to find locals struggling to catch fish because the commercial vessels had emptied their waters.” 

Emily Penn, Expedition Leader and Ocean Advocate

"With proper sensors that track and adjust the amount of chlorine in water in countries like Vietnam, imagine how many plastic bottles we could cut down on."

Rebekah Eggers, Global Water Leader, Watson IoT, IBM

A closer look

Take a deeper dive into the conversations that took place at GLOBE Forum.

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“In the US, $1.57 trillion is needed to fund infrastructure projects. It’s going to take high net worth investors, governments, and sovereign wealth funds to come together, and realize that this is not only a problem, but also an opportunity to reward investors too.”

Noah Sabich, Director, Cimbria Capital

Heard at GLOBE Forum




Individuals, communities, governments, and businesses all have a role to play in protecting our most critical resource: our oceans, explains Dune Ives, Executive Director of Lonely Whale.

Cloud computing. Augmented intelligence. Blockchain. Rebekah Eggers, Global Water Lead at IBM, believes new tools will open up endless possibilities in the water industry.

Ocean Wise launched the #BePlasticWise pledge at GLOBE Forum 2018. Sign it today and receive monthly lifestyle challenges to help you reduce single-use plastic.

Taking the temperature of our oceans.

We’ve only just begun: Securing a safe water future.

#BePlasticWise – Take the pledge.


Circular economy best practices from eight leading jurisdictions.

The Delphi Group conducted research on eight leading jurisdictions and their circular economy policies and programs to help inform the B.C. Government’s waste-to-resource strategy.

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