CRI Symbiosis

The Mission of the Canadian Regional Industrial Symbiosis Program is to pilot the adaptation of the UK’s highly successful National Industrial Symbiosis Programme in Metro Vancouver.


Industrial symbiosis involves the establishment of mutually beneficial relationships between organizations to more effectively and efficiently manage resources.  The original intention was to create relationships that would create waste-to-feedstock linkages, moving industry towards a circular economy.  In practice, waste-to-feedstock linkages for materials remain an important component of IS, but other symbiotic collaboration around energy, water, and even business services like transportation have also emerged.

The most successful programme in the world is the UK’s National Industrial Symbiosis Programme or NISP.  Over 5 years, the program has reduced GHG emissions by 6 million tonnes (at an average cost of $1 CAD per tonne), diverted 7 million tonnes of waste from landfill, and saved businesses $240 million.  The government has seen an astonishing approximately 40:1 cost:benefit ratio on its investment in the programme.

International Synergies Ltd., which developed the process and tools used to advance NISP, and also administers the programme, has been invited by governments in China, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, Belguim, Denmark, Romania and many others to set up programs there.  Click here to hear Peter Laybourne, CEO of International Synergies, speak about the program.

The Project

International Synergies Ltd. is working with Light House to build capacity and transfer knowledge to launch an IS program in Canada, based on NISP and its adaptations in other countries.  Previous research at Concordia University recommended that any Canadian IS programme be run through a not-for-profit entity, in response to the funding landscape in Canada. In turn, Light House has established partnerships with BCIT and One Earth Initiative as core implementation partners.

This project represents the pilot launch of a regional IS program, targeting Metro Vancouver.  The project will run for three years and will include the following key components: Establishment of an advisory committee; refinement of IS programme business model, based on early implementation experience and stakeholder consultation; delivery of multiple workshops specially designed to draw out IS opportunities; deployment of Synergie™ software tool; identification and pursuit of industry research partnerships; and monitoring of programme performance.


Project Completion Date

Project Type

Light House Services





Design Team

Project Summary