Professor Cécile Fonrouge and his research team studied the importance of open data in circular business models deployment. Read a summary of their work on circular economy.
Our study revealed that data on residues, wastes and outputs from industrial and commercial activities in Quebec are almost non-existent.
This general observation needs to be put into perspective, depending on the type of data and experiments currently underway on the territory.
Some data do exist, but they are aggregated and do not yet enable entrepreneurs to obtain the information they need to develop their business models.
On the other hand, there is access to indirect data via suppliers, for example. In the agricultural sector, John Deere, a supplier of agricultural equipment, has access to a wealth of data on the inputs and outputs of agricultural activities, thanks to its artificial intelligence solutions. This raises a new issue of data ownership.
Faced with the difficulty of extracting data to enable entrepreneurs to use residues for their own activities, a number of groups are proposing the creation of territorial networks between entrepreneurs to generate occasional synergies. The Synergie Québec network is a good example of this type of networking, aimed at creating industrial symbioses between economic players.
Finally, we have listed two initiatives currently underway in Quebec to assess the quantities of waste that can be reused and recycled by entrepreneurs.
- The city of Sherbrooke in the Eastern Townships is setting up a pilot project to collect all data on material flows throughout the city. A survey was carried out on 27 companies to find out about their waste management practices, including container type, type of collection and frequency;
- The city of Shawinigan in the Mauricie region, in conjunction with the SADC and Environnement Mauricie, is currently assessing the amount of waste generated by the city’s catering activities, with a view to proposing reduction and reuse solutions.
These one-off initiatives illustrate the difficulties players have in implementing coordinated actions to identify relevant data.
In the future, they could be put to greater use as models for data networking and organization.
The likely increase in costs associated with landfill disposal could also be a way of raising awareness of the value of waste. Identifying the indirect and environmental costs borne by the community would also be an additional area of work.