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      Changing the Business Paradigm: Regional Strategies for Transitioning Small Enterprises to the Circular Economy Selina Pechlaner-Kruk Report prepared at the request of Metro Vancouver, in partial fulfillment of UBC Geography 419: Research in Environmental Geography, for Dr. David Brownstein                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Executive Summary This project was guided by the research question: What policies can Metro Vancouver put in place to support small and medium businesses transitioning to the circular economy? In order to establish solutions I approached the question: What barriers are preventing small and medium businesses from adopting circular economy systems? Based on the participants and the large difference in size (1-99 and 100-499) employees this study was further narrowed to small businesses.  Data came from site visits to waste and resource sharing collectives, interviews with sustainability and business experts, previous work implementing collective zero waste initiatives by the researcher, and survey feedback from businesses across North America.  As a result of my findings, I recommend that Metro Vancouver develops a strong definition of the circular economy that encompasses the role of the service sector before creating new policies for the circular economy. Business need to be engaged from the onset to provide input into any new policy in order to ensure that any policy created based on the existing product based research does not negatively impact the majority of small business. Outcomes of this study:  I. Small businesses are primarily service based, the circular economy rhetoric is primarily product based.       II.          There is research and certification on creating sustainable products in Cradle to Cradle but not so for service or food based industries.  III. There is no internationally unanimous definition of the circular economy.  IV. Small businesses have increased opportunities to be sustainable working as a collective.  Summary I: Institutional foundation for a paradigm shift: I.       Supplement the existing national zero waste council with a regional sustainability team made up of members of each department of Metro Vancouver (e.g. solid waste, liquid waste), place them in the field, and dedicate them to outreach. They will ultimately increase sustainable practices in business, and gather data relevant to all cooperating levels of government for how the circular economy can best be implemented.  II.  Create an internal definition of the circular economy and what it looks like in all sectors of the economy, not just products. Permeate all levels of internal government, and attain internal feedback and consensus on the definitions by all departments.   III. Create clear goals and sub targets, identify the policies that Metro Vancouver will undertake, but also propose opportunities for policies and by-laws member municipalities can undertake, and last but not least, create a clear list of actions that businesses of any sector can take.  IV. Digitalize and publicize all of this information in multiple languages. Create a sustainability hotline open before and after conventional business hours for the entire region (e.g. 3-1-1). V. Create a certification system for service based circular economy businesses. Build upon the guidelines for Cradle to Cradle products and introduce elements of the National Industrial Symbiosis Program to include both waste streams but also collaborative green business (e.g. reducing carbon footprint, reducing heating use, using the waste of another business). Summary II- Existing barriers to a paradigm shift:  Business and Business Improvement Associations interviewed in this study identified specific barriers to adopting environmental practices and concern for specific city policies. Addressing these barriers will enable Metro Vancouver to set the ground work for effective fostering of small enterprise transition to the circular economy.  I. Target property owners to increase waste opportunities to their tenant businesses. Work with the city to reduce or remove ‘curb space fees’ and add incentives for increased diversity of bins that are recycling or green waste. II. Reduce regulations that go beyond safety (e.g. extensive community notification), increase steps for implementation, and streamline processes for community and business composting. III. Provide grants, facilitate land access, and actively engage the business community in creating resource exchanges. Projects that engage the community in their creation will see continued use of the exchange.  IV. Increase strict waste policies in combination with incentives.  V. Maintain diversity of industrial and commercial sectors within Metro Vancouver to foster domestic production and decrease import pollution.  VI. Support pilot models that encourage sharing of resources, such as the False Creek Flats pilot of the National Industrial Symbiosis Program. Investigate non industrial versions of sharing programs.  VII. Seek community organizations to assist Metro Vancouver in the significant areas   lacking Business Improvement Associations.  The Circular Economy: Cradle to Cradle The Circular Economy is a broadly encompassing concept. It has been interpreted with variation across nations with varying purview and scope. This research bases itself on the foundation of the widely accepted ‘western’ definition of cradle to cradle, a subset of the circular economy. A product wherein the components of the item after deconstruction will be reintegrated into the environment or turned into a new quality product. As a result regional, and national implementation of circular economy best practices and use of the term is highly varied in what it describes and in what it demands. At this time there has been no significant precedent in research or practice for the circular economy and its application to small or medium enterprises. I posit this is largely due to the service based nature of small business in Canada and the product based nature of large corporations. The Region: Metro Vancouver  Metro Vancouver’s Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan calls for the “avoidance of waste through an aggressive waste reduction campaign and through the recovery of materials and energy from the waste that remains.” The Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan has four primary goals: minimize waste generation, maximize reuse, recycling and material recovery, recover energy from the waste stream after material recycling, and dispose of all remaining waste in landfill, after material recycling and energy recovery. The Circular Economy Model: Cradle to Cradle Mcdonough and Braungart the authors of Cradle to Cradle and founders of the Cradle to Cradle Certification Program, are the primary voices of the circular economy in the English speaking world. They have made it their businesses to transition other businesses towards zero waste products. According to the cradle to cradle certification website the ideology has been developed and practiced for the past 20 years, certification began in 2005, and since then over 150 companies have adopted the methodology and over 400 certifications have been issued. The website claims “industry giants such as Steelcase, Herman Miller, Desso, and a government leader, the United States Postal Service” as members. Cradle to Cradle abides by the same ideological stance as the circular economy, and its creators have expressed interest in creating a cohesive definition which will increase use of the system. Cradle to Cradle is fundamentally focused on product based industries, primarily larger producers, and emphasizes the circular nature of product life, that the components of products after deconstruction will be reintegrated into the environment or turned into a new quality product.  The cradle to cradle certification program aims to provide continual improvements towards   products that are; made with materials that are safe for humans and the environment; designed so all ingredients can be reused safely by nature or industry; assembled and manufactured with renewable, non-polluting energy; made in ways that protect and enrich water supplies, and made in ways that advance social and environmental justice   Examples include from the Cradle to Cradle book propose an idealistic picture: "Worry-free packaging would safely decompose or be gathered and used as fertilizers, thus bringing nutrients back to the soil," and "Shoe soles could degrade to enrich the environment. Soaps and other liquid cleaning products could be designed as biological nutrients as well. Dirty dishwater could flow down the drain, pass through a wetland for further cleansing, then end up as clean water in a lake or river."  Research Outcomes: Barriers to Environmental Initiatives  In the process of conducting interviews about the state of environmental research initiatives in North American businesses and representative organizations [e.g. business improvement associations] identified key barriers to adopting environmental practices. These represent barriers and opportunities for Metro Vancouver to set the ground work for specific policies which enable businesses to become circular economies.  I. The nature of service based small businesses.   Production of poorly design, low quality, ‘throw away’ products and their global production routes are the primary source of waste in the current linear economic system. The existing definitions for the circular economy are already limited and chaotic. Those that do exist explain a zero waste system and steps for product based sectors of the economy, not service based.  Service based industries create waste, unlike product businesses they may have less control over the waste created (e.g. carpet sample books from carpet producers). These waste streams have the potential to be reused by other members of the business or residential community.   There is no mandatory practices or certification required for certifying service based companies. However, while there is no mandatory certification programs for the service industry there are several which exist. Lean path for restaurants and food providers, and Climate Smart for small businesses, large or small, service or product driven are examples (O’Shea).  Certification makes adopting the circular economy competitive advantage. This is how to address businesses who find environmental initiatives uninteresting and costly.   II. Small business owners often rent their space from property management or private   owners. The property owners control communal bins and access to garbage and access or lack of access to all or some aspects of recycling and compost. Private hauling companies not city garbage trucks must be hired to remove commercial waste.   Each bin outside of a commercial business is charged a ‘curb fee’ by municipal (city) government. Although business owners may want to see an increase in bins for recycling (paper, hard and soft plastics, cardboard, metals) it will increase the cost to property owners.   Property owners have different priorities than business owners. Many property owners are located internationally, many properties are managed by companies not owners, and business tenants constantly change meaning their waste needs will change. Property owners who are not motivated to be environmental or do not see the financial benefit will be unlikely to commit resources to increased services.   Hauling contracts are already in place. Changing contract terms, increasing items or diversity of items picked up, or finding a secondary hauler to remove items may be time consuming and costly.   Property owners may only agree to increase bins and items hauled if the cost is placed on their tenant business owners. Multiple businesses in a shared facility may not have consistent environmental values or interest in the variety of bins.  Existing contracts to haulers may define what is picked up and may levy significant charges for a change of contract or, the introduction of a second hauler for a different waste stream.  The process of championing or stewarding change by is extremely challenging given the huge demands on a small business owner or operator. Leadership roles are motivated by a desire to be competitive and occupt a socio-political space in their communities to advocate for their businesses. However, this work competes with the needs of the business for the owner’s time and energy. III. Small businesses have a greater dependence on outside manufacturers than larger businesses which have the money, labor, space, resources, and self-created demand to produce in house.   Increasing collectives and incentivizing partnerships between local   businesses to supply each other will strengthen the local economy, decrease pollution caused by transportation of products, and increase willingness to partner on more challenging environmental initiatives.   Provide grants, facilitate land access, and actively engage the business community in creating resource exchanges. Projects that engage the community in their creation will see continued use of the exchange.  IV. Small businesses have limited employees but equivalent diversity of tasks as a large business. They may be run by one or two individuals, families, or have some employees.  Provide clear step by step environmentalism ‘cheat sheets’, create demonstration ideal businesses full of relatable easy to implement business ideas, create a sustainability hotline, textline, facebook, twitter, and email. Offer to send a sustainability team member to hands on help to make customized changes that cannot be answered on the phone.  V. Seek community organizations to assist Metro Vancouver in the significant quantity of areas with no Business Improvement Associations.  This encompasses the vast majority of Metro Vancouver, including major cities like Vancouver. Areas without BIA’s have been stewarded by neighboring associations but not all have that opportunity or access to information. Research Outcomes: Recommendations from Business Improvement Associations:  Combining strict policies with incentives may have the strongest impact. In Strathcona opportunities to have free 30 minutes energy assessment and personalized recommendation report was offered to 450 businesses, of those, 16 accepted (O’Shea). The optional program attracted some interest, but far less than the BIA anticipated. In contrast, new Metro Vancouver policy forcing businesses to adopt food scrap diversions resulted in proactive responses and increased demand for assistance.1  The Strathcona Resource Exchange originated from the business community who saw value in materials their company produced but that they themselves could not use. Materials are                                                                 1 Anonymous BIA found that businesses where owners had language barriers, were least likely to be aware of, support, or implement environmental policy changes including those required by law.   recirculated through the Exchange to other businesses, artists, and teachers who can use the materials as inputs for other projects. Offering easy to apply for incentives such as tax breaks or reduced tariffs to businesses if their waste provides a value or resource to the community may support increased use of programs such as the Resource Exchange (O’Shea).  Metro Vancouver has the power to impact multiple parts of the process. This includes the reduction of non-safety oriented regulation (e.g. extensive community notification) through normalization of the process. In addition, creating guidelines with clear steps for implementation which will streamline the process for community and business to adopt composting. Current combinations of rigorous testing for leachate, maintaining a pristine site, and broad scale public notification about new sites makes community composting a high barrier initiative (O’Shea, Anonymous).  Maintain diversity of industrial and commercial sectors within Metro Vancouver to foster domestic production and decrease import pollution. Support pilot models that encourage sharing of resources, such as the False Creek Flats pilot of the National Industrial Symbiosis Program. [Investigate known industrial versions of sharing programs].  Research Method Metro Vancouver has 22 municipalities each with a unique character and business culture, in consequence, the most challenging component of this research project was data collection. Ultimately information came from site visits to waste and resource sharing collectives, interviews with sustainability and business experts, previous work implementing collective zero waste initiatives by the researcher, and survey feedback from businesses across North America.  Online survey was one of the methods chosen, to access the wider Metro Vancouver region.The survey was distributed to 16 different Business Improvement Associations representing 15 different municipalities within Metro Vancouver. However, the survey was largely unsuccessful with the proxy distributers. By reaching out to a small business Facebook group, I was granted access to participants from across North America. Primarily from the United States, businesses gave feedback about barriers that prevented them from adopting environmental initiatives. Due to the nature of this project, regional specificity was not required. As the Metro Vancouver region is diverse, respondents from across North America enhanced the quality of information in this report.   Small Business and the Circular Economy: An Applied Literature Review The circular economy is designed for a product based industry. However, small businesses outside of the industrial sectors predominantly provide services. Even those businesses which sell us products, like a pharmacy or corner store, are overwhelmingly selecting from existing products and are therefore service based. Consequently, current work on the circular economy   places great emphasis on redefining how production of goods can be done better. How companies can eliminate waste by making items of a higher quality, disassembling components to stop waste, and operating locally to repair products instead of internationally to get the cheapest product.   Work on business barriers by Gil and Biger established that small business growth in western Canada was impacted by lack of financing, market challenges, and regulatory issues. Commercial and community based zero waste and composting initiatives also identified major barriers in municipal and regional government regulations. In addition, Gil and Biger found that whether a firm experienced initial success had a substantial impact on its capacity for subsequent positive growth. In consequence, we can anticipate that existing businesses operating in a competitive environment will be vulnerable to failure with substantial change of policies.  Policy target demographics may target incoming and established businesses as low risk, but must be mindful that vulnerable high risk businesses will be more likely to place profit over environmental practices. Csath found that cultivating an understanding of new systems leads a business to be more innovative than its competitors. In consequence, we can establish that it is necessary to break down the circular economy to clear and easy to implement changes. Forcing a business to adopt the circular economy can have serious consequences and backlash as “low interest in learning and building a learning culture performed poorly in innovation” (Csath).  D’Este et al. found that barriers will take two primary forms; ‘Revealed barriers’ which occur through the innovation process, and the learning experience consequent on the business engaging in the innovation activity, and ‘deterring barriers’ encompass the obstacles that prevent firms from committing to innovation. Businesses are most susceptible to barriers when they are extremely innovative, are not innovative at all. Ross ascertained that the trend in strategic management is for businesses to constantly update and evolve their sources of competitive advantage. Competitive advantage in business is any advantage which allows a business to generate greater profit margins, or retain more customers than its consumers. If environmental models like the circular economy can give competitive advantage to small businesses they will be more likely to adopt them. Some participants in this circular economy study strongly recommended a certification system which will allow them to differentiate themselves for their environmental practices.  Polischuk’s questions the high cost eco-friendly and energy efficient strategies and whether environmentally friendly business practice is a lasting trend. The idea that the need to be environmentally progressive will die out shows a general view of society that environmental issues are simply not necessary. It is indicative of a real concern that many businesses will not see the value in implementing the hard changes. Strategically designed government policy has had, and can continue to have substantial impact in forcing change.     Also significant in determining government involvement, Audet and Berger-Douce identified that a major barrier to utilization of existing services is a lack of knowledge about the agencies providing the services in their region, and the utility or relevance of those services. Those who used the services felt that their needs were addressed, and the problem was grounded in the perceptions of the owners, more than the quality of the services offered. Business Improvement Associations who participated in this study identified that active outreach and offering targeted services to businesses was the most effective strategy.  Closing Remarks & Recommendations for Further Research Cradle to Cradle has transitioned 150 businesses and granted 400 certifications and is in its early stages. Further research may document the experience of those member businesses in today’s capitalist and linear economy. Are they financially suffering, surviving, or thriving? Increasing information means greater ability to amend and iron out barriers and gaps in the system, and allow for businesses to be better informed about the realistic profit climate. Further work can also be done in providing a comprehensive definition and examples of the circular economy in practice. I also recommend further research into collaborative environmental models such as the national industrial symbiosis program which is being introduced from Europe to Vancouver by Light House Sustainable Building Centre. Looking in depth at the barriers, and positive potential in contrast to the barriers and positive potential of the circular economy. Circular economy models have been explained and applied by large scale business. This project has made recommendations regarding small enterprises, but due to the interest of participants in this study medium enterprises of 100-499 employees were not included. As a result there is an opportunity for research to be done to establish if medium enterprises can operate as circular economy enterprises like their larger counterparts, it seems very likely this would be the case. However, it is equally feasible that in many respects they will be most successful in partnership with other enterprises like their small business counterparts.           Works Cited Anonymous. Anonymous Business Improvement Association. Interview. Andreas, Fred M.; Cooperman, Elizabeth S.; Gifford, Blair; Russell, Graham (2011). A Simple Path to Sustainability: Green Business Strategies for Small and Medium-sized Businesses.  Audet, J., Berger-Douce, S., & St-Jean, E. (2007). Perceptual Barriers Preventing Small Business Owners From Using Public Support Services: Evidence From Canada. International Journal of Entrepreneurship, 11, 27-48.  Csath,M. (2012) “Encouraging innovation in small and medium sized businesses: learning matters”, Development and Learning in Organizations, 26(5). 9-13 D’Este,P. Iammarino,S. Savona,M. Tunzelmann,N.(2012) What hampers innovation? Revealed barriers versus deterring barriers, Research Policy. 41(2) Pages 482-488. Gil, a., & biger, n. (2012). Barriers to Small Business in Canada. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 19(4), 656-668. Haggar, S.(2007) Sustainable Industrial Design and Waste Management: Cradle-to-Cradle for Sustainable Development. Boston: Academic Press, Print. Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management: A Solid Waste Management Plan for the Greater Vancouver Regional District and Member Municipalities  Luther, B. Cradle to Cradle Product Certification a Revolution in Product Innovation. International Journal of Innovation Science 4(1), 1-10. Print.  McDonough, W., & Braungart, M. (2002).Cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things. New York: North Point Press. O’Shea, M. Sustainability Coordinator. Strathcona Business Improvement Association. Interview.  Polischuk, T. (2008) Cradle to Cradle. Philadelphia: North American Publishing Company 55. Print.  Ross, R. B. (2007). Evaluating the economic returns to entrepreneurial behavior. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 214-n/a.         Changing the Business Paradigm: Regional Strategies for Transitioning Small Enterprises to the Circular Economy Selina Pechlaner-Kruk Report prepared at the request of Metro Vancouver, in partial fulfillment of UBC Geography 419: Research in Environmental Geography, for Dr. David Brownstein                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Executive Summary This project was guided by the research question: What policies can Metro Vancouver put in place to support small and medium businesses transitioning to the circular economy? In order to establish solutions I approached the question: What barriers are preventing small and medium businesses from adopting circular economy systems? Based on the participants and the large difference in size (1-99 and 100-499) employees this study was further narrowed to small businesses.  Data came from site visits to waste and resource sharing collectives, interviews with sustainability and business experts, previous work implementing collective zero waste initiatives by the researcher, and survey feedback from businesses across North America.  As a result of my findings, I recommend that Metro Vancouver develops a strong definition of the circular economy that encompasses the role of the service sector before creating new policies for the circular economy. Business need to be engaged from the onset to provide input into any new policy in order to ensure that any policy created based on the existing product based research does not negatively impact the majority of small business. Outcomes of this study:  I. Small businesses are primarily service based, the circular economy rhetoric is primarily product based.       II.          There is research and certification on creating sustainable products in Cradle to Cradle but not so for service or food based industries.  III. There is no internationally unanimous definition of the circular economy.  IV. Small businesses have increased opportunities to be sustainable working as a collective.  Summary I: Institutional foundation for a paradigm shift: I.       Supplement the existing national zero waste council with a regional sustainability team made up of members of each department of Metro Vancouver (e.g. solid waste, liquid waste), place them in the field, and dedicate them to outreach. They will ultimately increase sustainable practices in business, and gather data relevant to all cooperating levels of government for how the circular economy can best be implemented.  II.  Create an internal definition of the circular economy and what it looks like in all sectors of the economy, not just products. Permeate all levels of internal government, and attain internal feedback and consensus on the definitions by all departments.   III. Create clear goals and sub targets, identify the policies that Metro Vancouver will undertake, but also propose opportunities for policies and by-laws member municipalities can undertake, and last but not least, create a clear list of actions that businesses of any sector can take.  IV. Digitalize and publicize all of this information in multiple languages. Create a sustainability hotline open before and after conventional business hours for the entire region (e.g. 3-1-1). V. Create a certification system for service based circular economy businesses. Build upon the guidelines for Cradle to Cradle products and introduce elements of the National Industrial Symbiosis Program to include both waste streams but also collaborative green business (e.g. reducing carbon footprint, reducing heating use, using the waste of another business). Summary II- Existing barriers to a paradigm shift:  Business and Business Improvement Associations interviewed in this study identified specific barriers to adopting environmental practices and concern for specific city policies. Addressing these barriers will enable Metro Vancouver to set the ground work for effective fostering of small enterprise transition to the circular economy.  I. Target property owners to increase waste opportunities to their tenant businesses. Work with the city to reduce or remove ‘curb space fees’ and add incentives for increased diversity of bins that are recycling or green waste. II. Reduce regulations that go beyond safety (e.g. extensive community notification), increase steps for implementation, and streamline processes for community and business composting. III. Provide grants, facilitate land access, and actively engage the business community in creating resource exchanges. Projects that engage the community in their creation will see continued use of the exchange.  IV. Increase strict waste policies in combination with incentives.  V. Maintain diversity of industrial and commercial sectors within Metro Vancouver to foster domestic production and decrease import pollution.  VI. Support pilot models that encourage sharing of resources, such as the False Creek Flats pilot of the National Industrial Symbiosis Program. Investigate non industrial versions of sharing programs.  VII. Seek community organizations to assist Metro Vancouver in the significant areas   lacking Business Improvement Associations.  The Circular Economy: Cradle to Cradle The Circular Economy is a broadly encompassing concept. It has been interpreted with variation across nations with varying purview and scope. This research bases itself on the foundation of the widely accepted ‘western’ definition of cradle to cradle, a subset of the circular economy. A product wherein the components of the item after deconstruction will be reintegrated into the environment or turned into a new quality product. As a result regional, and national implementation of circular economy best practices and use of the term is highly varied in what it describes and in what it demands. At this time there has been no significant precedent in research or practice for the circular economy and its application to small or medium enterprises. I posit this is largely due to the service based nature of small business in Canada and the product based nature of large corporations. The Region: Metro Vancouver  Metro Vancouver’s Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan calls for the “avoidance of waste through an aggressive waste reduction campaign and through the recovery of materials and energy from the waste that remains.” The Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan has four primary goals: minimize waste generation, maximize reuse, recycling and material recovery, recover energy from the waste stream after material recycling, and dispose of all remaining waste in landfill, after material recycling and energy recovery. The Circular Economy Model: Cradle to Cradle Mcdonough and Braungart the authors of Cradle to Cradle and founders of the Cradle to Cradle Certification Program, are the primary voices of the circular economy in the English speaking world. They have made it their businesses to transition other businesses towards zero waste products. According to the cradle to cradle certification website the ideology has been developed and practiced for the past 20 years, certification began in 2005, and since then over 150 companies have adopted the methodology and over 400 certifications have been issued. The website claims “industry giants such as Steelcase, Herman Miller, Desso, and a government leader, the United States Postal Service” as members. Cradle to Cradle abides by the same ideological stance as the circular economy, and its creators have expressed interest in creating a cohesive definition which will increase use of the system. Cradle to Cradle is fundamentally focused on product based industries, primarily larger producers, and emphasizes the circular nature of product life, that the components of products after deconstruction will be reintegrated into the environment or turned into a new quality product.  The cradle to cradle certification program aims to provide continual improvements towards   products that are; made with materials that are safe for humans and the environment; designed so all ingredients can be reused safely by nature or industry; assembled and manufactured with renewable, non-polluting energy; made in ways that protect and enrich water supplies, and made in ways that advance social and environmental justice   Examples include from the Cradle to Cradle book propose an idealistic picture: "Worry-free packaging would safely decompose or be gathered and used as fertilizers, thus bringing nutrients back to the soil," and "Shoe soles could degrade to enrich the environment. Soaps and other liquid cleaning products could be designed as biological nutrients as well. Dirty dishwater could flow down the drain, pass through a wetland for further cleansing, then end up as clean water in a lake or river."  Research Outcomes: Barriers to Environmental Initiatives  In the process of conducting interviews about the state of environmental research initiatives in North American businesses and representative organizations [e.g. business improvement associations] identified key barriers to adopting environmental practices. These represent barriers and opportunities for Metro Vancouver to set the ground work for specific policies which enable businesses to become circular economies.  I. The nature of service based small businesses.   Production of poorly design, low quality, ‘throw away’ products and their global production routes are the primary source of waste in the current linear economic system. The existing definitions for the circular economy are already limited and chaotic. Those that do exist explain a zero waste system and steps for product based sectors of the economy, not service based.  Service based industries create waste, unlike product businesses they may have less control over the waste created (e.g. carpet sample books from carpet producers). These waste streams have the potential to be reused by other members of the business or residential community.   There is no mandatory practices or certification required for certifying service based companies. However, while there is no mandatory certification programs for the service industry there are several which exist. Lean path for restaurants and food providers, and Climate Smart for small businesses, large or small, service or product driven are examples (O’Shea).  Certification makes adopting the circular economy competitive advantage. This is how to address businesses who find environmental initiatives uninteresting and costly.   II. Small business owners often rent their space from property management or private   owners. The property owners control communal bins and access to garbage and access or lack of access to all or some aspects of recycling and compost. Private hauling companies not city garbage trucks must be hired to remove commercial waste.   Each bin outside of a commercial business is charged a ‘curb fee’ by municipal (city) government. Although business owners may want to see an increase in bins for recycling (paper, hard and soft plastics, cardboard, metals) it will increase the cost to property owners.   Property owners have different priorities than business owners. Many property owners are located internationally, many properties are managed by companies not owners, and business tenants constantly change meaning their waste needs will change. Property owners who are not motivated to be environmental or do not see the financial benefit will be unlikely to commit resources to increased services.   Hauling contracts are already in place. Changing contract terms, increasing items or diversity of items picked up, or finding a secondary hauler to remove items may be time consuming and costly.   Property owners may only agree to increase bins and items hauled if the cost is placed on their tenant business owners. Multiple businesses in a shared facility may not have consistent environmental values or interest in the variety of bins.  Existing contracts to haulers may define what is picked up and may levy significant charges for a change of contract or, the introduction of a second hauler for a different waste stream.  The process of championing or stewarding change by is extremely challenging given the huge demands on a small business owner or operator. Leadership roles are motivated by a desire to be competitive and occupt a socio-political space in their communities to advocate for their businesses. However, this work competes with the needs of the business for the owner’s time and energy. III. Small businesses have a greater dependence on outside manufacturers than larger businesses which have the money, labor, space, resources, and self-created demand to produce in house.   Increasing collectives and incentivizing partnerships between local   businesses to supply each other will strengthen the local economy, decrease pollution caused by transportation of products, and increase willingness to partner on more challenging environmental initiatives.   Provide grants, facilitate land access, and actively engage the business community in creating resource exchanges. Projects that engage the community in their creation will see continued use of the exchange.  IV. Small businesses have limited employees but equivalent diversity of tasks as a large business. They may be run by one or two individuals, families, or have some employees.  Provide clear step by step environmentalism ‘cheat sheets’, create demonstration ideal businesses full of relatable easy to implement business ideas, create a sustainability hotline, textline, facebook, twitter, and email. Offer to send a sustainability team member to hands on help to make customized changes that cannot be answered on the phone.  V. Seek community organizations to assist Metro Vancouver in the significant quantity of areas with no Business Improvement Associations.  This encompasses the vast majority of Metro Vancouver, including major cities like Vancouver. Areas without BIA’s have been stewarded by neighboring associations but not all have that opportunity or access to information. Research Outcomes: Recommendations from Business Improvement Associations:  Combining strict policies with incentives may have the strongest impact. In Strathcona opportunities to have free 30 minutes energy assessment and personalized recommendation report was offered to 450 businesses, of those, 16 accepted (O’Shea). The optional program attracted some interest, but far less than the BIA anticipated. In contrast, new Metro Vancouver policy forcing businesses to adopt food scrap diversions resulted in proactive responses and increased demand for assistance.1  The Strathcona Resource Exchange originated from the business community who saw value in materials their company produced but that they themselves could not use. Materials are                                                                 1 Anonymous BIA found that businesses where owners had language barriers, were least likely to be aware of, support, or implement environmental policy changes including those required by law.   recirculated through the Exchange to other businesses, artists, and teachers who can use the materials as inputs for other projects. Offering easy to apply for incentives such as tax breaks or reduced tariffs to businesses if their waste provides a value or resource to the community may support increased use of programs such as the Resource Exchange (O’Shea).  Metro Vancouver has the power to impact multiple parts of the process. This includes the reduction of non-safety oriented regulation (e.g. extensive community notification) through normalization of the process. In addition, creating guidelines with clear steps for implementation which will streamline the process for community and business to adopt composting. Current combinations of rigorous testing for leachate, maintaining a pristine site, and broad scale public notification about new sites makes community composting a high barrier initiative (O’Shea, Anonymous).  Maintain diversity of industrial and commercial sectors within Metro Vancouver to foster domestic production and decrease import pollution. Support pilot models that encourage sharing of resources, such as the False Creek Flats pilot of the National Industrial Symbiosis Program. [Investigate known industrial versions of sharing programs].  Research Method Metro Vancouver has 22 municipalities each with a unique character and business culture, in consequence, the most challenging component of this research project was data collection. Ultimately information came from site visits to waste and resource sharing collectives, interviews with sustainability and business experts, previous work implementing collective zero waste initiatives by the researcher, and survey feedback from businesses across North America.  Online survey was one of the methods chosen, to access the wider Metro Vancouver region.The survey was distributed to 16 different Business Improvement Associations representing 15 different municipalities within Metro Vancouver. However, the survey was largely unsuccessful with the proxy distributers. By reaching out to a small business Facebook group, I was granted access to participants from across North America. Primarily from the United States, businesses gave feedback about barriers that prevented them from adopting environmental initiatives. Due to the nature of this project, regional specificity was not required. As the Metro Vancouver region is diverse, respondents from across North America enhanced the quality of information in this report.   Small Business and the Circular Economy: An Applied Literature Review The circular economy is designed for a product based industry. However, small businesses outside of the industrial sectors predominantly provide services. Even those businesses which sell us products, like a pharmacy or corner store, are overwhelmingly selecting from existing products and are therefore service based. Consequently, current work on the circular economy   places great emphasis on redefining how production of goods can be done better. How companies can eliminate waste by making items of a higher quality, disassembling components to stop waste, and operating locally to repair products instead of internationally to get the cheapest product.   Work on business barriers by Gil and Biger established that small business growth in western Canada was impacted by lack of financing, market challenges, and regulatory issues. Commercial and community based zero waste and composting initiatives also identified major barriers in municipal and regional government regulations. In addition, Gil and Biger found that whether a firm experienced initial success had a substantial impact on its capacity for subsequent positive growth. In consequence, we can anticipate that existing businesses operating in a competitive environment will be vulnerable to failure with substantial change of policies.  Policy target demographics may target incoming and established businesses as low risk, but must be mindful that vulnerable high risk businesses will be more likely to place profit over environmental practices. Csath found that cultivating an understanding of new systems leads a business to be more innovative than its competitors. In consequence, we can establish that it is necessary to break down the circular economy to clear and easy to implement changes. Forcing a business to adopt the circular economy can have serious consequences and backlash as “low interest in learning and building a learning culture performed poorly in innovation” (Csath).  D’Este et al. found that barriers will take two primary forms; ‘Revealed barriers’ which occur through the innovation process, and the learning experience consequent on the business engaging in the innovation activity, and ‘deterring barriers’ encompass the obstacles that prevent firms from committing to innovation. Businesses are most susceptible to barriers when they are extremely innovative, are not innovative at all. Ross ascertained that the trend in strategic management is for businesses to constantly update and evolve their sources of competitive advantage. Competitive advantage in business is any advantage which allows a business to generate greater profit margins, or retain more customers than its consumers. If environmental models like the circular economy can give competitive advantage to small businesses they will be more likely to adopt them. Some participants in this circular economy study strongly recommended a certification system which will allow them to differentiate themselves for their environmental practices.  Polischuk’s questions the high cost eco-friendly and energy efficient strategies and whether environmentally friendly business practice is a lasting trend. The idea that the need to be environmentally progressive will die out shows a general view of society that environmental issues are simply not necessary. It is indicative of a real concern that many businesses will not see the value in implementing the hard changes. Strategically designed government policy has had, and can continue to have substantial impact in forcing change.     Also significant in determining government involvement, Audet and Berger-Douce identified that a major barrier to utilization of existing services is a lack of knowledge about the agencies providing the services in their region, and the utility or relevance of those services. Those who used the services felt that their needs were addressed, and the problem was grounded in the perceptions of the owners, more than the quality of the services offered. Business Improvement Associations who participated in this study identified that active outreach and offering targeted services to businesses was the most effective strategy.  Closing Remarks & Recommendations for Further Research Cradle to Cradle has transitioned 150 businesses and granted 400 certifications and is in its early stages. Further research may document the experience of those member businesses in today’s capitalist and linear economy. Are they financially suffering, surviving, or thriving? Increasing information means greater ability to amend and iron out barriers and gaps in the system, and allow for businesses to be better informed about the realistic profit climate. Further work can also be done in providing a comprehensive definition and examples of the circular economy in practice. I also recommend further research into collaborative environmental models such as the national industrial symbiosis program which is being introduced from Europe to Vancouver by Light House Sustainable Building Centre. Looking in depth at the barriers, and positive potential in contrast to the barriers and positive potential of the circular economy. Circular economy models have been explained and applied by large scale business. This project has made recommendations regarding small enterprises, but due to the interest of participants in this study medium enterprises of 100-499 employees were not included. As a result there is an opportunity for research to be done to establish if medium enterprises can operate as circular economy enterprises like their larger counterparts, it seems very likely this would be the case. However, it is equally feasible that in many respects they will be most successful in partnership with other enterprises like their small business counterparts.           Works Cited Anonymous. Anonymous Business Improvement Association. Interview. Andreas, Fred M.; Cooperman, Elizabeth S.; Gifford, Blair; Russell, Graham (2011). A Simple Path to Sustainability: Green Business Strategies for Small and Medium-sized Businesses.  Audet, J., Berger-Douce, S., & St-Jean, E. (2007). Perceptual Barriers Preventing Small Business Owners From Using Public Support Services: Evidence From Canada. International Journal of Entrepreneurship, 11, 27-48.  Csath,M. (2012) “Encouraging innovation in small and medium sized businesses: learning matters”, Development and Learning in Organizations, 26(5). 9-13 D’Este,P. Iammarino,S. Savona,M. Tunzelmann,N.(2012) What hampers innovation? Revealed barriers versus deterring barriers, Research Policy. 41(2) Pages 482-488. Gil, a., & biger, n. (2012). Barriers to Small Business in Canada. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 19(4), 656-668. Haggar, S.(2007) Sustainable Industrial Design and Waste Management: Cradle-to-Cradle for Sustainable Development. Boston: Academic Press, Print. Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management: A Solid Waste Management Plan for the Greater Vancouver Regional District and Member Municipalities  Luther, B. Cradle to Cradle Product Certification a Revolution in Product Innovation. International Journal of Innovation Science 4(1), 1-10. Print.  McDonough, W., & Braungart, M. (2002).Cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things. New York: North Point Press. O’Shea, M. Sustainability Coordinator. Strathcona Business Improvement Association. Interview.  Polischuk, T. (2008) Cradle to Cradle. Philadelphia: North American Publishing Company 55. Print.  Ross, R. B. (2007). Evaluating the economic returns to entrepreneurial behavior. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 214-n/a.         Changing the Business Paradigm: Regional Strategies for Transitioning Small Enterprises to the Circular Economy Selina Pechlaner-Kruk Report prepared at the request of Metro Vancouver, in partial fulfillment of UBC Geography 419: Research in Environmental Geography, for Dr. David Brownstein                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Executive Summary This project was guided by the research question: What policies can Metro Vancouver put in place to support small and medium businesses transitioning to the circular economy? In order to establish solutions I approached the question: What barriers are preventing small and medium businesses from adopting circular economy systems? Based on the participants and the large difference in size (1-99 and 100-499) employees this study was further narrowed to small businesses.  Data came from site visits to waste and resource sharing collectives, interviews with sustainability and business experts, previous work implementing collective zero waste initiatives by the researcher, and survey feedback from businesses across North America.  As a result of my findings, I recommend that Metro Vancouver develops a strong definition of the circular economy that encompasses the role of the service sector before creating new policies for the circular economy. Business need to be engaged from the onset to provide input into any new policy in order to ensure that any policy created based on the existing product based research does not negatively impact the majority of small business. Outcomes of this study:  I. Small businesses are primarily service based, the circular economy rhetoric is primarily product based.       II.          There is research and certification on creating sustainable products in Cradle to Cradle but not so for service or food based industries.  III. There is no internationally unanimous definition of the circular economy.  IV. Small businesses have increased opportunities to be sustainable working as a collective.  Summary I: Institutional foundation for a paradigm shift: I.       Supplement the existing national zero waste council with a regional sustainability team made up of members of each department of Metro Vancouver (e.g. solid waste, liquid waste), place them in the field, and dedicate them to outreach. They will ultimately increase sustainable practices in business, and gather data relevant to all cooperating levels of government for how the circular economy can best be implemented.  II.  Create an internal definition of the circular economy and what it looks like in all sectors of the economy, not just products. Permeate all levels of internal government, and attain internal feedback and consensus on the definitions by all departments.   III. Create clear goals and sub targets, identify the policies that Metro Vancouver will undertake, but also propose opportunities for policies and by-laws member municipalities can undertake, and last but not least, create a clear list of actions that businesses of any sector can take.  IV. Digitalize and publicize all of this information in multiple languages. Create a sustainability hotline open before and after conventional business hours for the entire region (e.g. 3-1-1). V. Create a certification system for service based circular economy businesses. Build upon the guidelines for Cradle to Cradle products and introduce elements of the National Industrial Symbiosis Program to include both waste streams but also collaborative green business (e.g. reducing carbon footprint, reducing heating use, using the waste of another business). Summary II- Existing barriers to a paradigm shift:  Business and Business Improvement Associations interviewed in this study identified specific barriers to adopting environmental practices and concern for specific city policies. Addressing these barriers will enable Metro Vancouver to set the ground work for effective fostering of small enterprise transition to the circular economy.  I. Target property owners to increase waste opportunities to their tenant businesses. Work with the city to reduce or remove ‘curb space fees’ and add incentives for increased diversity of bins that are recycling or green waste. II. Reduce regulations that go beyond safety (e.g. extensive community notification), increase steps for implementation, and streamline processes for community and business composting. III. Provide grants, facilitate land access, and actively engage the business community in creating resource exchanges. Projects that engage the community in their creation will see continued use of the exchange.  IV. Increase strict waste policies in combination with incentives.  V. Maintain diversity of industrial and commercial sectors within Metro Vancouver to foster domestic production and decrease import pollution.  VI. Support pilot models that encourage sharing of resources, such as the False Creek Flats pilot of the National Industrial Symbiosis Program. Investigate non industrial versions of sharing programs.  VII. Seek community organizations to assist Metro Vancouver in the significant areas   lacking Business Improvement Associations.  The Circular Economy: Cradle to Cradle The Circular Economy is a broadly encompassing concept. It has been interpreted with variation across nations with varying purview and scope. This research bases itself on the foundation of the widely accepted ‘western’ definition of cradle to cradle, a subset of the circular economy. A product wherein the components of the item after deconstruction will be reintegrated into the environment or turned into a new quality product. As a result regional, and national implementation of circular economy best practices and use of the term is highly varied in what it describes and in what it demands. At this time there has been no significant precedent in research or practice for the circular economy and its application to small or medium enterprises. I posit this is largely due to the service based nature of small business in Canada and the product based nature of large corporations. The Region: Metro Vancouver  Metro Vancouver’s Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan calls for the “avoidance of waste through an aggressive waste reduction campaign and through the recovery of materials and energy from the waste that remains.” The Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan has four primary goals: minimize waste generation, maximize reuse, recycling and material recovery, recover energy from the waste stream after material recycling, and dispose of all remaining waste in landfill, after material recycling and energy recovery. The Circular Economy Model: Cradle to Cradle Mcdonough and Braungart the authors of Cradle to Cradle and founders of the Cradle to Cradle Certification Program, are the primary voices of the circular economy in the English speaking world. They have made it their businesses to transition other businesses towards zero waste products. According to the cradle to cradle certification website the ideology has been developed and practiced for the past 20 years, certification began in 2005, and since then over 150 companies have adopted the methodology and over 400 certifications have been issued. The website claims “industry giants such as Steelcase, Herman Miller, Desso, and a government leader, the United States Postal Service” as members. Cradle to Cradle abides by the same ideological stance as the circular economy, and its creators have expressed interest in creating a cohesive definition which will increase use of the system. Cradle to Cradle is fundamentally focused on product based industries, primarily larger producers, and emphasizes the circular nature of product life, that the components of products after deconstruction will be reintegrated into the environment or turned into a new quality product.  The cradle to cradle certification program aims to provide continual improvements towards   products that are; made with materials that are safe for humans and the environment; designed so all ingredients can be reused safely by nature or industry; assembled and manufactured with renewable, non-polluting energy; made in ways that protect and enrich water supplies, and made in ways that advance social and environmental justice   Examples include from the Cradle to Cradle book propose an idealistic picture: "Worry-free packaging would safely decompose or be gathered and used as fertilizers, thus bringing nutrients back to the soil," and "Shoe soles could degrade to enrich the environment. Soaps and other liquid cleaning products could be designed as biological nutrients as well. Dirty dishwater could flow down the drain, pass through a wetland for further cleansing, then end up as clean water in a lake or river."  Research Outcomes: Barriers to Environmental Initiatives  In the process of conducting interviews about the state of environmental research initiatives in North American businesses and representative organizations [e.g. business improvement associations] identified key barriers to adopting environmental practices. These represent barriers and opportunities for Metro Vancouver to set the ground work for specific policies which enable businesses to become circular economies.  I. The nature of service based small businesses.   Production of poorly design, low quality, ‘throw away’ products and their global production routes are the primary source of waste in the current linear economic system. The existing definitions for the circular economy are already limited and chaotic. Those that do exist explain a zero waste system and steps for product based sectors of the economy, not service based.  Service based industries create waste, unlike product businesses they may have less control over the waste created (e.g. carpet sample books from carpet producers). These waste streams have the potential to be reused by other members of the business or residential community.   There is no mandatory practices or certification required for certifying service based companies. However, while there is no mandatory certification programs for the service industry there are several which exist. Lean path for restaurants and food providers, and Climate Smart for small businesses, large or small, service or product driven are examples (O’Shea).  Certification makes adopting the circular economy competitive advantage. This is how to address businesses who find environmental initiatives uninteresting and costly.   II. Small business owners often rent their space from property management or private   owners. The property owners control communal bins and access to garbage and access or lack of access to all or some aspects of recycling and compost. Private hauling companies not city garbage trucks must be hired to remove commercial waste.   Each bin outside of a commercial business is charged a ‘curb fee’ by municipal (city) government. Although business owners may want to see an increase in bins for recycling (paper, hard and soft plastics, cardboard, metals) it will increase the cost to property owners.   Property owners have different priorities than business owners. Many property owners are located internationally, many properties are managed by companies not owners, and business tenants constantly change meaning their waste needs will change. Property owners who are not motivated to be environmental or do not see the financial benefit will be unlikely to commit resources to increased services.   Hauling contracts are already in place. Changing contract terms, increasing items or diversity of items picked up, or finding a secondary hauler to remove items may be time consuming and costly.   Property owners may only agree to increase bins and items hauled if the cost is placed on their tenant business owners. Multiple businesses in a shared facility may not have consistent environmental values or interest in the variety of bins.  Existing contracts to haulers may define what is picked up and may levy significant charges for a change of contract or, the introduction of a second hauler for a different waste stream.  The process of championing or stewarding change by is extremely challenging given the huge demands on a small business owner or operator. Leadership roles are motivated by a desire to be competitive and occupt a socio-political space in their communities to advocate for their businesses. However, this work competes with the needs of the business for the owner’s time and energy. III. Small businesses have a greater dependence on outside manufacturers than larger businesses which have the money, labor, space, resources, and self-created demand to produce in house.   Increasing collectives and incentivizing partnerships between local   businesses to supply each other will strengthen the local economy, decrease pollution caused by transportation of products, and increase willingness to partner on more challenging environmental initiatives.   Provide grants, facilitate land access, and actively engage the business community in creating resource exchanges. Projects that engage the community in their creation will see continued use of the exchange.  IV. Small businesses have limited employees but equivalent diversity of tasks as a large business. They may be run by one or two individuals, families, or have some employees.  Provide clear step by step environmentalism ‘cheat sheets’, create demonstration ideal businesses full of relatable easy to implement business ideas, create a sustainability hotline, textline, facebook, twitter, and email. Offer to send a sustainability team member to hands on help to make customized changes that cannot be answered on the phone.  V. Seek community organizations to assist Metro Vancouver in the significant quantity of areas with no Business Improvement Associations.  This encompasses the vast majority of Metro Vancouver, including major cities like Vancouver. Areas without BIA’s have been stewarded by neighboring associations but not all have that opportunity or access to information. Research Outcomes: Recommendations from Business Improvement Associations:  Combining strict policies with incentives may have the strongest impact. In Strathcona opportunities to have free 30 minutes energy assessment and personalized recommendation report was offered to 450 businesses, of those, 16 accepted (O’Shea). The optional program attracted some interest, but far less than the BIA anticipated. In contrast, new Metro Vancouver policy forcing businesses to adopt food scrap diversions resulted in proactive responses and increased demand for assistance.1  The Strathcona Resource Exchange originated from the business community who saw value in materials their company produced but that they themselves could not use. Materials are                                                                 1 Anonymous BIA found that businesses where owners had language barriers, were least likely to be aware of, support, or implement environmental policy changes including those required by law.   recirculated through the Exchange to other businesses, artists, and teachers who can use the materials as inputs for other projects. Offering easy to apply for incentives such as tax breaks or reduced tariffs to businesses if their waste provides a value or resource to the community may support increased use of programs such as the Resource Exchange (O’Shea).  Metro Vancouver has the power to impact multiple parts of the process. This includes the reduction of non-safety oriented regulation (e.g. extensive community notification) through normalization of the process. In addition, creating guidelines with clear steps for implementation which will streamline the process for community and business to adopt composting. Current combinations of rigorous testing for leachate, maintaining a pristine site, and broad scale public notification about new sites makes community composting a high barrier initiative (O’Shea, Anonymous).  Maintain diversity of industrial and commercial sectors within Metro Vancouver to foster domestic production and decrease import pollution. Support pilot models that encourage sharing of resources, such as the False Creek Flats pilot of the National Industrial Symbiosis Program. [Investigate known industrial versions of sharing programs].  Research Method Metro Vancouver has 22 municipalities each with a unique character and business culture, in consequence, the most challenging component of this research project was data collection. Ultimately information came from site visits to waste and resource sharing collectives, interviews with sustainability and business experts, previous work implementing collective zero waste initiatives by the researcher, and survey feedback from businesses across North America.  Online survey was one of the methods chosen, to access the wider Metro Vancouver region.The survey was distributed to 16 different Business Improvement Associations representing 15 different municipalities within Metro Vancouver. However, the survey was largely unsuccessful with the proxy distributers. By reaching out to a small business Facebook group, I was granted access to participants from across North America. Primarily from the United States, businesses gave feedback about barriers that prevented them from adopting environmental initiatives. Due to the nature of this project, regional specificity was not required. As the Metro Vancouver region is diverse, respondents from across North America enhanced the quality of information in this report.   Small Business and the Circular Economy: An Applied Literature Review The circular economy is designed for a product based industry. However, small businesses outside of the industrial sectors predominantly provide services. Even those businesses which sell us products, like a pharmacy or corner store, are overwhelmingly selecting from existing products and are therefore service based. Consequently, current work on the circular economy   places great emphasis on redefining how production of goods can be done better. How companies can eliminate waste by making items of a higher quality, disassembling components to stop waste, and operating locally to repair products instead of internationally to get the cheapest product.   Work on business barriers by Gil and Biger established that small business growth in western Canada was impacted by lack of financing, market challenges, and regulatory issues. Commercial and community based zero waste and composting initiatives also identified major barriers in municipal and regional government regulations. In addition, Gil and Biger found that whether a firm experienced initial success had a substantial impact on its capacity for subsequent positive growth. In consequence, we can anticipate that existing businesses operating in a competitive environment will be vulnerable to failure with substantial change of policies.  Policy target demographics may target incoming and established businesses as low risk, but must be mindful that vulnerable high risk businesses will be more likely to place profit over environmental practices. Csath found that cultivating an understanding of new systems leads a business to be more innovative than its competitors. In consequence, we can establish that it is necessary to break down the circular economy to clear and easy to implement changes. Forcing a business to adopt the circular economy can have serious consequences and backlash as “low interest in learning and building a learning culture performed poorly in innovation” (Csath).  D’Este et al. found that barriers will take two primary forms; ‘Revealed barriers’ which occur through the innovation process, and the learning experience consequent on the business engaging in the innovation activity, and ‘deterring barriers’ encompass the obstacles that prevent firms from committing to innovation. Businesses are most susceptible to barriers when they are extremely innovative, are not innovative at all. Ross ascertained that the trend in strategic management is for businesses to constantly update and evolve their sources of competitive advantage. Competitive advantage in business is any advantage which allows a business to generate greater profit margins, or retain more customers than its consumers. If environmental models like the circular economy can give competitive advantage to small businesses they will be more likely to adopt them. Some participants in this circular economy study strongly recommended a certification system which will allow them to differentiate themselves for their environmental practices.  Polischuk’s questions the high cost eco-friendly and energy efficient strategies and whether environmentally friendly business practice is a lasting trend. The idea that the need to be environmentally progressive will die out shows a general view of society that environmental issues are simply not necessary. It is indicative of a real concern that many businesses will not see the value in implementing the hard changes. Strategically designed government policy has had, and can continue to have substantial impact in forcing change.     Also significant in determining government involvement, Audet and Berger-Douce identified that a major barrier to utilization of existing services is a lack of knowledge about the agencies providing the services in their region, and the utility or relevance of those services. Those who used the services felt that their needs were addressed, and the problem was grounded in the perceptions of the owners, more than the quality of the services offered. Business Improvement Associations who participated in this study identified that active outreach and offering targeted services to businesses was the most effective strategy.  Closing Remarks & Recommendations for Further Research Cradle to Cradle has transitioned 150 businesses and granted 400 certifications and is in its early stages. Further research may document the experience of those member businesses in today’s capitalist and linear economy. Are they financially suffering, surviving, or thriving? Increasing information means greater ability to amend and iron out barriers and gaps in the system, and allow for businesses to be better informed about the realistic profit climate. Further work can also be done in providing a comprehensive definition and examples of the circular economy in practice. I also recommend further research into collaborative environmental models such as the national industrial symbiosis program which is being introduced from Europe to Vancouver by Light House Sustainable Building Centre. Looking in depth at the barriers, and positive potential in contrast to the barriers and positive potential of the circular economy. Circular economy models have been explained and applied by large scale business. This project has made recommendations regarding small enterprises, but due to the interest of participants in this study medium enterprises of 100-499 employees were not included. As a result there is an opportunity for research to be done to establish if medium enterprises can operate as circular economy enterprises like their larger counterparts, it seems very likely this would be the case. However, it is equally feasible that in many respects they will be most successful in partnership with other enterprises like their small business counterparts.           Works Cited Anonymous. Anonymous Business Improvement Association. Interview. Andreas, Fred M.; Cooperman, Elizabeth S.; Gifford, Blair; Russell, Graham (2011). A Simple Path to Sustainability: Green Business Strategies for Small and Medium-sized Businesses.  Audet, J., Berger-Douce, S., & St-Jean, E. (2007). Perceptual Barriers Preventing Small Business Owners From Using Public Support Services: Evidence From Canada. International Journal of Entrepreneurship, 11, 27-48.  Csath,M. (2012) “Encouraging innovation in small and medium sized businesses: learning matters”, Development and Learning in Organizations, 26(5). 9-13 D’Este,P. Iammarino,S. Savona,M. Tunzelmann,N.(2012) What hampers innovation? Revealed barriers versus deterring barriers, Research Policy. 41(2) Pages 482-488. Gil, a., & biger, n. (2012). Barriers to Small Business in Canada. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 19(4), 656-668. Haggar, S.(2007) Sustainable Industrial Design and Waste Management: Cradle-to-Cradle for Sustainable Development. Boston: Academic Press, Print. Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management: A Solid Waste Management Plan for the Greater Vancouver Regional District and Member Municipalities  Luther, B. Cradle to Cradle Product Certification a Revolution in Product Innovation. International Journal of Innovation Science 4(1), 1-10. Print.  McDonough, W., & Braungart, M. (2002).Cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things. New York: North Point Press. O’Shea, M. Sustainability Coordinator. Strathcona Business Improvement Association. Interview.  Polischuk, T. (2008) Cradle to Cradle. Philadelphia: North American Publishing Company 55. Print.  Ross, R. B. (2007). Evaluating the economic returns to entrepreneurial behavior. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 214-n/a.  

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