Guelph, county join Queensland, Australia to harness circular economy synergies

GUELPH – Queensland, Australia’s Department of Innovation announced its commitment to provide a letter of support for the City of Guelph and County of Wellington’s Smart Cities Challenge application. 

Also on Feb. 25, Leanne Kemp, Queensland’s chief entrepreneur in the Department of Innovation, and Minister for Environment, announced the establishment of a new circular economy lab in Queensland.

With the support of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, the two cities have come together to form the Sister Cities Initiative for Circular Economy to capitalize on shared practices, data and technologies.

The Sister Cities Initiative for Circular Economy will enable businesses in Queensland and Guelph-Wellington to:

– access information on pioneering manufacturing and circular economy practices through global networks;

– explore opportunities to improve business efficiencies, with a focus on circular economy, smart cities and sustainability;

– be encouraged to establish pilots and scale production to improve supply chains, with a focus on the circular economy model, rather than the traditional linear model; and

– implement technology solutions by harnessing Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The interest shown from the State of Queensland and the City of Brisbane proves the work we’re doing to turn Guelph-Wellington into a living lab can be replicated across countries and continents,” said Scott Stewart, deputy CAO for Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services, City of Guelph. “We’re turning Guelph-Wellington into a living lab and working with partners, tech, and big data to build Canada’s first circular food economy. This latest development elevates our work to the global stage and enables us to connect with like-minded organizations around the world.”

Re-imagining the current food system, which has precipitated the partnership with Australia, has been made possible through the collaborative efforts of the City of Guelph, the County of Wellington, community partners including Canada’s Food University, the University of Guelph, residents, stakeholders and entrepreneurs.

“Together we have developed a bold vision with ambitious targets to increase access to affordable nutritious food by 50 per cent, create 50 new opportunities for circular business and collaborations, and increase circular economic revenue by 50 per cent. In turn, the 50x50x50 by 2025 goals, which form the basis of the Smart Cities application, present an exciting opportunity to develop Canada’s first circular food economy,” states a press release issued by the City of Guelph.

Guelph-Wellington is one of 10 Smart Cities finalists vying for $10 million in additional funding. The city and county agree Queensland’s support comes at a critical time as the final proposal submission deadline was March 5. The Feb. 25 announcement is expected to help fortify the case worldwide for moving from the current take-make-dispose food system to a circular food economy.

“Reciprocal and synergistic support with the City of Guelph and County of Wellington provides incredible opportunities to connect Queensland businesses into the global conversation and, moreover, pioneering practices, that are being undertaken around the globe as part of the Circular Economy,” said Kemp.

Like Guelph-Wellington, Queensland has a rich history in agriculture. Guelph-Wellington is known nationally and internationally as an established technology sector hub and innovator in the agri-food arena.

Queensland has established the Circular Economy Lab (CE Lab) in collaboration with the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur. The CE Lab harnesses the progressive mindset of its people, businesses, academia and government to accelerate the development of tangible and commercial circular outcomes.

Guelph-Wellington has created worldwide networking capabilities through the Circular Food Economy Innovation Hub (CFE iHub) and through its links to emerging resources from local agri-food accelerators and businesses. 

Visit for more information about Guelph-Wellington’s circular food economy.