The Quebecois economy is currently largely linear, but the province has strong potential to reduce its reliance on linear practices and, importantly, reduce its very large material footprint.
To close the Gap we explored six ‘what-if’ scenarios that apply core circular strategies to transform the economy.
The impact of each scenario is limited, but when combined, Quebec can become 9.8% circular—nearly a threefold increase—and, crucially, cut its material footprint by nearly half (48.2%), to 16.6 tonnes per person.
Design circularity into stocks
By implementing interventions focused on using less, cycling more, championing natural, lightweight materials and decreasing residential energy use, this scenario can bump the Circularity Metric from 3.5% to 4.4%, and reduce Quebec's material footprint by 11%, to 241.2 million tonnes.
Prioritise conscious consumables,
Eliminate all food waste from farm-to-fork and reduce the material intensity of fishing and aquaculture through responsible sourcing. Stop importing selected food products and instead, consume only domestically produced meat, dairy and cereals for food and feed. Source all biomass related to food systems sustainably and responsibly.
Strive for circular agriculture
Making agricultural production circular by using waste as a resource, shifting the Quebecois population towards more plant-based diets, consuming less and eliminating waste throughout the supply chain, and valorising organic waste are crucial strategies in ensuring a circular agricultural system. This scenario could bump the Circularity Metric from 3.5% to 4%, and lower the material footprint by a huge 12.3%, to 237.6 million tonnes.
Leverage government procurement
This scenario would see the government's public procurement become more circular, prioritising goods with extended lifetimes and high recycled content. Resource efficient procurement and public health care are also crucial strategies. This scenario would deliver an increase in the Circularity Metric of 0.5 percentage points, bringing it from 3.5% to 4%, and a reduction in the material footprint of 7.9%, lowering it to 249.6 million tonnes.
Make manufacturing circular
Improvements in manufacturing processes, material substitutions and a commitment to sustainably sourced biomass are crucial to realising this scenario, which can bump Quebec's Metric from 3.5% to 3.8% and reduce it's material footprint by 9.1%, bringing it down to 246.4 million tonnes.
Make mobility clean
The scenario proposes reducing the vehicle fleet by championing ride sharing and public transport, traveling less, designing more circular, lightweight vehicles, improving the cycling of vehicle components and electrifying transport; this could boost the Metric from 3.5% to 3.7% and bring the material footprint down by 6.6% to 253.1 million tonnes.