January 17, 2018

By Mike Wilson

Release Radar: Early 2018 Research and Policy Look-ahead

2018 is now underway and we at Smart Prosperity Institute are ready for a busy year of delivering new research and policy insights for a stronger, cleaner economy. Here are the first four projects you’ll be seeing from us in the new year.

1. Policy Brief on Circular Economy in Canada

Current production and consumption models globally are unsustainable, with total demand for limited resource stocks reaching as much as 400 per cent of the Earth’s total capacity by 2050. This is projected to lead to global price volatilities and supply chain interruptions leading to as much as US$25 trillion in lost global economic activity over the same period. Fixing that means continuing the transition to a circular economy model, in which we “maximize value and eliminate waste by improving (and in some cases transforming) how goods and services are designed, manufactured and used”.

On January 24th, SPI releases the first Policy Brief in a series on the circular economy and Canada. The Brief will explain key circular economy concepts and strategies, explore the opportunity for business competitiveness, and consider the role for government in supporting the transition.

2. Improving Species at Risk Conservation in Canada

Canada’s wildlife is an iconic part of our national identity, and our commitment to protecting and recovering it is enshrined in legislation such as the Species At Risk Act. Yet recent studies show that the status of many species at risk in Canada is actually worsening.  We are both underinvesting in and under incentivizing the actions needed to recover wildlife and species at risk.

Our keystone report on how to improve species at risk recovery in Canada comes out in early February, supported by a complementary Policy Brief. It helps identify the policy tools that could enable governments, industry and civil society to prioritize conservation decision-making and investments, and improve recovery outcomes. Also stay tuned for a series of Species at Risk Policy Briefs following the report’s release.

3. Accounting for Natural Assets at the Community Level

On February 7th, SPI’s Cities & Communities team launches its latest report at the FCM Sustainable Communities Conference in Ottawa. The report is the latest installment in the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative project, which looks to equip local governments with the tools needed to identify and account for natural assets at the community level.

This next report takes a closer look at the inclusion of private lands, and engaging private landowners, in the management of natural assets. It reviews why a “whole systems approach” to natural asset management that includes both private and public lands is required, and provides an overview of tools available to local governments that complement the public lands asset management toolkit. Also be sure to catch the team at their training session on Stormwater Management and Financing in Action.

4. Accelerating Clean Innovation in Canada

The global demand for clean innovation – new technologies, products and practices that improve environmental performance – is rapidly growing. Accelerating the pace of clean innovation in Canada is not only an important tool for meeting climate and environmental goals, it also represents a critical economic opportunity across all Canadian sectors, with a growing global market measured in the trillions of dollars.

Last year, Smart Prosperity Institute introduced a model for understanding the clean innovation system, along with a Policy Brief on Accelerating Clean Innovation in Canada.

This spring, we continue our work in this area with a state of knowledge report exploring four key policy tools for government to stimulate clean innovation: Push, Pull, Grow and Strengthen. The report includes a policy-oriented review of the most up-to-date academic research and literature regarding successful clean innovation approaches, while identifying gaps, opportunities, and priority directions required of governments in order to move Canada’s clean innovation capacity to a world-class level. This comprehensive 150-page playbook on how governments can accelerate clean innovation across all sectors of the Canadian economy launches in March.


2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the environment and the economy—to stay up-to-date on these upcoming projects and more, follow Smart Prosperity Institute on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our monthly newsletter.  

Mike Wilson

Executive Director