Report unveiled at World Economic Forum in Davos features Guelph-Wellington in its global call for change to address the world’s food challenges

Guelph-Wellington among worldwide contributors to a report designed to help rethink world food systems

Guelph, Ont., January 24, 2019 –- A global report released by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland yesterday highlights Guelph-Wellington as one city marshalling a transformation towards a circular food economy.

The report, with analytical support from SYSTEMIQ, falls under the umbrella of Project Mainstream, a CEO-led global initiative led by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It describes an approach that outlines the critical role cities and municipalities can play to support the development of a balanced, circular food economy which contributes to environmental and health benefits.

The circular economy approach is a critical component to achieving a healthy and balanced food system for the planet. Four focus cities were studied in the report: Guelph, Canada; Porto, Portugal; Sao Paulo, Brazil and Brussels, Belgium. Each was chosen for its unique contribution to the circular economy approach.

Guelph, in collaboration with the County of Wellington and supported by Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge, is building Canada’s first circular food economy – a food system where everyone can access nutritious food, nothing is wasted and the impact on the environment is minimal. Guelph-Wellington’s vision is to move from today’s unsustainable “take-make-dispose” food system to a circular food economy that will enhance access to nutritious food, reduce the carbon footprint and turn waste into a valuable resource.

“We’re honoured to contribute to a global initiative focusing on food system challenges,” said Derrick Thomson, chief administrative officer for the City of Guelph. “In Guelph-Wellington we’re working with our residents, stakeholders and partners to build Canada’s first circular food economy and help forge a national path for change.”

According to the report, cities can work toward three ambitions for a circular economy for food: source food grown locally, where appropriate; make the most of food; and design and market healthier food products.

As a finalist in the Smart Cities Challenge, Guelph-Wellington’s urban-rural partnership is working toward all three goals by turning the city and surrounding county into a living lab, a place where social innovators, farmers and entrepreneurs work together with data and technology experts to tackle complex global food challenges.

Further supporting the circular economy model, the City of Guelph turns organic waste into high-quality organic fertilizer and compost. The City already has a robust household organics collection program, which it continues to expand while implementing innovative solutions to turn food by-products into soil-enhancing products. These efforts and the groundbreaking ways Guelph-Wellington is harnessing technology and data to support the transition to a circular economy are highlighted in the Cities and Circular Economy report.

The report acknowledges cities as only one key driver of change among many others and advocates the circular economy as one of several approaches that can support the development of a healthier and regenerative food system.

For more information

Barb Swartzentruber
Executive Director, Innovation and Intergovernmental Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260  extension 3066
barb.swartzentruber@guelph.ca