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15 August 2023

Synergie Estrie contributed more than a half-million $ in economic benefits to Sherbrooke over the last five years

PRESS RELEASEOperating for more than five years now in Sherbrooke, the circular economy initiative, Synergie Estrie headed by Sherbrooke Innopole, is attracting an increasing number of businesses. Their five-year report testifies to its significant environmental and economic benefits.

Synergie Estrie is a regional initiative aiming to deploy circular economy strategies by developing a network of local businesses, brought together through innovative collaborations, exchange of materials and resources, both tangible and intangible (expertise, equipment, labour, etc.).

Since 2018, Sherbrooke’s circular economy coordinators have advised 175 organisations in various capacities – business visits and diagnostics, assistance in seeking financing, finding uses for unwanted materials, providing contacts for research projects, and event attendance, among other things.

Of the 93 synergies that were suggested, 42 were implemented in various forms in Sherbrooke – sale, gifting, rental, lending or sharing of resources in the form of substitution or pooling of products and/or services – and allowed the businesses involved to realize global economic benefits of $560,000. In the process, nearly 200 tons of material have been diverted from landfills, whereas 290 tons of raw materials were saved. In total, 488 tons of equivalent CO2 emissions were avoided.

Almost twenty structuring projects involving several companies, and even the general public, were implemented on the Sherbrooke territory, such as: the optimization of public transit schedules in Sherbrooke’s regional industrial park to promote the attraction and retention of workers, the installation of a polystyrene depot at Sherbrooke’s eco-centres, the contents of which are then recovered by Soprema, two regional circular economy conferences and participation in the Canadian Circular Cities and Regions Initiative to speed up Sherbrooke’s transition towards a circular economy.

We are quite proud of the concrete benefits resulting from Synergie Estrie’s actions in Sherbrooke; they substantially and positively impact the economic health of our businesses and the environment,” highlighted Sylvain Durocher, executive director of Sherbrooke Innopole. “I would like to congratulate all the Sherbrooke companies that have integrated circular economy practices into their business model, and I am inviting all the others to follow suit. This can be beneficial on many levels, either for increasing productivity, boosting profitability, and increasing business opportunities, just to name a few.”

Free… and profitable services

Synergie Estrie Sherbrooke offers a range of services free of charge to Sherbrooke’s industrial and technological businesses which would like guidance while going green:

  • Helping businesses conduct a diagnosis and identify business opportunities
  • Raising awareness about circular economy practices and ESG factors (environmental, social, and governance)
  • Providing assistance in adopting eco-friendly practices or clean technologies
  • Putting companies in touch with experts and consultants
  • Offering assistance in creating industrial synergies
  • Supporting businesses in securing financing for the transition towards environmental responsibility.

Sherbrooke’s Synergie Estrie currently has three resource persons, integrated within the Sherbrooke Innopole team: adviser, circular economy and eco-friendly practices Gabriel Leclerc, project manager Benjamin Gauthier, and intern for the fall of 2023 Julie Monsour.

“We are happy to see that more and more Sherbrooke companies are committing to reducing their environmental footprint through circular economy strategies, and we are enthusiastic to help them concretely in their efforts. Starting in the fall, we will also be collaborating to the development of a cohort of businesses, which will begin to rally and to support even more players on our territory,” said Gabriel Leclerc.

The Sherbrooke coffee roasting company, Café William, testifies to the impacts from its participation in one of the activities organized in Sherbrooke: “We participated in the networking workshop hosted by Synergie Estrie in 2018 with the goal of finding an outlet for our recurring discarded materials, notably our jute bags. We met with ArborInnov, a value-added plant producer in Sherbrooke, which just so happened to be looking to find a local supplier of that material. The synergy was implemented a few months later, and we are still diverting up to 35 tons of jute from landfills each year. It is just one of many actions we are taking towards sustainable development, a commitment that guides us every day,” said Rémi Tremblay, president-general manager at Café William.

Synergie Estrie was launched in April of 2018 as a joint pilot project by the MRC des Sources and Sherbrooke Innopole. Since September of 2020, the initiative has been deployed in seven of Estrie’s regional municipalities – Coaticook, Memphrémagog, Val-Saint-François, Haut-Saint-François, Granit, des Sources, and the city-RCM of Sherbrooke.

Synergie Estrie is a member of the Synergie Québec community which currently consists of 24 territorial and industrial symbioses.

About Sherbrooke Innopole

Sherbrooke Innopole is the paramunicipal economic development organization for the industrial and high-value-added services sector. Its mission is to accelerate the development of companies from the five key sectors – Advanced Manufacturing, Information and Quantum Technologies, Cleantech, Life Sciences and Micro-Nanotechnologies – and ensure that Sherbrooke has an attractive and innovative business environment. It is mainly financed by the City of Sherbrooke through the Bureau de coordination du développement économique. 

Source: Sherbrooke Innopole

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Sherbrooke Innopole’s mandate ends on March 31, 2024. We invite you to contact Entreprendre Sherbrooke or the Service du développement économique of the Ville de Sherbrooke for further services.
Thank you to all Sherbrooke industrial and technological businesses, as well as to all our partners for the trust granted since 2009!