Zero Waste Conference Brings Circular Economy Leaders to Vancouver

The 2018 Zero Waste Conference promises to build on past successes – offering inspirational keynotes, practical discussions, real-world solutions, and unparalleled networking opportunities. The principles of the circular economy are quickly becoming mainstream thinking. Organizations must understand and be able to respond. Are you ready for the coming revolution in materials, design, culture, and business? Read on to learn why #ZWC18 can give you the tools to say ‘Yes’.

Day One Highlights

Morning Keynote

Believing in a Better Future

Following the official opening of the conference from National Zero Waste Council chair and conference host Malcolm Brodie, and a video welcome from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, this year’s event begins with an eye-opening look at the shape of things to come. Gerd Leonhard is a futurist with a twist. Despite the doom and gloom that predominates our news, Leonhard offers an upbeat perspective, noting, “The future is better than we think.”

You need to understand the future of technology, consumer behaviour, and social trends. Artificial intelligence and algorithms will impact your organization, the decisions you make, and the way the circular economy evolves. Gerd’s presentation is going to leave you with food for thought and a better understanding of the path forward. Gerd Leonhard profile

Technology Innovation Session

It’s clear that technology is going to play a big role in the shift to a circular economy. The circular economy demands technological innovations on a scale not yet seen in our modern world. This pace of change is still quickening, continuing to yield unforeseen benefits and unintended consequences – from seeds of innovation planted using zero waste principles. We’ve gathered together representatives of key global brands to learn how they are addressing the impact of technology on our world for our first panel discussion of the day. From the unintended benefits to the unforeseen consequences, we’ll be examining both the potential opportunities and possible hurdles technology is creating as the circular economy grows.

Upcycling and Innovation Spark Talk

Arthur Huang kicks off our session on Materials and Design Innovation with a Spark Talk that will challenge your ideas about trash. This successful entrepreneur is the CEO and founder of Miniwiz, has been recognized as a green hero by National Geographic, and will come to ZWC18 ready to fire up your imagination with new and creative ways to succeed in the circular economy. Arthur’s presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on materials and design within the circular economy context. Arthur Huang Profile

Canadian Spotlight for Design Portfolio Showcase

Following the panel discussion, we will turn to real world, Canadian examples of materials and design innovation in market, with the Design Portfolio Showcase. The National Zero Waste Council has been championing Canadian leaders in smart, sustainable design since the council’s inception. The Design Portfolio Showcase will recognize select national entrants from this year’s submissions and share their stories with conference attendees.

Leadership on the Journey to the Circular Economy

Two countries taking a leading role in the circular economy are Finland and Scotland. Finland’s Sitra innovation fund is proving to be an effective tool in fostering innovation, while Zero Waste Scotland is working to eliminate waste, deliver valuable research, and provide marketing campaigns to advance the circular economy. In this conversation with Mari Pantsar of Sitra and Ian Gulland of Zero Waste Scotland, you’ll learn more about these two successful organizations and find out why embracing risk may become the new role for government in a circular economy.

Afternoon Keynote

Blueprint for a Greener Future

Wayne Visser is talking about revolutions. Digital, economic, environmental.  We’re happy to announce this respected voice for business sustainability is bringing his expertise, experience, and insights to #ZWC18, fresh from the release of his full-length documentary Closing the Loop. Visser accompanies his call for urgent action (“unless we go circular, it’s game over for the planet”) with clear-headed solutions and an eye on the bottom line.

If business success in a zero waste world is your intention, Wayne’s afternoon keynote presentation on the first day of the conference will give you an comprehensive understanding of where we are at, and where we need to go – to close the loop and fully embrace the circular economy. Wayne Visser profile

Business Model Transformation

At every size of business, from start-ups to global giants, the circular economy brings sweeping changes with principles bringing challenges to traditional business practices, rewards for successful innovators, and a fundamental shift in the way we use the goods and services that drive our global economy. So we have found panelists and presenters to show that reality, and share their experiences.

Exploring the factors bringing the biggest impacts, examining the trends still gaining momentum, and understanding the most effective ways to prosper in these exciting times – our speakers and panelists bring their creativity, experience, and vision to share with attendees.

From Swedish furniture pioneer Ikea’s commitment to sustainability and clothing icon Eileen Fisher’s reimagining of fashion, to start-ups pioneering zero waste shopping solutions everywhere from software to the soap dispenser, we’ll spend the early afternoon learning what works, what doesn’t, and how to prosper in these exciting times.

Food Waste Showcase

Leadership to Prevent Food Loss and Waste

Food waste is getting headlines. And for good reason. It’s one of the biggest areas of waste in our society. This big challenge also represents a huge opportunity. Exciting new programs and strategies are being instituted in Canada. We’ll look at the leadership role Canada is taking and see how public organizations and private companies are embracing collaboration to deliver a unified vision of food waste prevention – all the way from the farmer’s field to the consumer’s plate.

Day 1 Closing Keynote

Designing to Disrupt

Whether it’s connecting the dots between toxic smoke in Nigeria and millions of mobile phones sitting in desk drawers around the world, or showing how inefficient design in the commonplace electric kettle equals energy waste on a massive scale, Dr. Leyla’s Acaroglu self-proclaimed ‘obsession’ with the design of consumer goods equals a unique understanding of our economy’s global inter-connectedness and the scale of change required to implement the circular economy. Leyla Acaroglu profile

She’s also a polished and entertaining public speaker. Expect Leyla’s closing keynote on day one of the conference to delight at the same time as it informs.

Day 2 Highlights

Morning Keynote

Catherine McKenna, Minister, Environment and Climate Change

Minister McKenna will deliver a keynote address to the conference delegates and then join John Coyne of Unilever Canada Inc, for a one-to-one chat regarding Canada’s plans and goals for the circular economy. Chances to hear federal ministers speak about the circular economy and Canada’s role in this transformation are rare. Don’t miss this opportunity.

Plastics Innovation Forum

Like food, plastics are a major source of waste in our world. Thankfully, steps are being taken to re-examine this ubiquitous and useful material – looking for ways to reduce its impact on our environment, keep it out of landfills and oceans, and upcycle it for added economic benefits.

Those challenges and solutions will feature prominently on our second day, with Chelsea Rochman from the University of Toronto setting the scene with her latest research on ocean plastic, and panelists from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The Netherlands Circle Economy and Think Beyond Plastic offering a global perspective on keeping plastics in the economy and out of the waste stream.

The Forum will also introduce Canada’s Circular Economy Leadership Coalition and a showcase of innovative Canadian approaches to plastics. Presented by Daniella Russo, CEO of Think Beyond Plastic, the showcase will feature some of the products and packaging leading the way toward zero waste. (Daniella Russo profile)

Closing Lunch

Keynote Conference Reflections

Our newly-expanded day-and-a-half conference gives us the opportunity to offer you more chances to hear from the speakers we’ve gathered for #ZWC18. This year we’ll be closing the conference with a twist. Select keynotes and speakers will be sharing the stage, to reflect on their favourite moments of the event and the insights they’ve gathered. Opportunities to hear this caliber of circular economy leaders gather to discuss zero waste topics are rare. Don’t miss this chance. Register today.

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