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6 guidelines to empower financial decision-making in the circular economy

6 guidelines to empower financial decision-making in the circular economy

6 guidelines to empower financial decision makers

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Author: 
Elisa Achterberg, Rens van Tilburg
Publication Date: 
12/2016
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Harald Friedl

The paper aims to outline the new role financiers have to play to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy. How can they change their own operations to better align with those of circular entrepreneurs? How should they judge the risks and opportunities that are presented by circular business models? What new dangers and securities do these new business models bring? What role can they play in this new economy?

This guide will help financiers thrive in the circular economy through 6 practical guidelines:
  1. Assess Different Securities
  2. Emphasise Relationship-based Financing
  3. Value Natural Capital Gains
  4. Become a Knowledge Partner
  5. Have a Long-term Vision
  6. Become a Financial Chain Director

The system shift to the circular economy fundamentally changes the role of both the entrepreneur as well as the financier. In order to overcome this change, entrepreneurs and financiers need to find each other in this new economy. 

 

Master Circular Business with the Value Hill

circular business value hill

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Author: 
Elisa Achterberg, Jeroen Hinfelaar, Nancy Bocken
Publication Date: 
09/2016
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Harald Friedl

Although the opportunities for investing in circular business models are widely available, current investment methods do not match the needs of these particular businesses. To finance these business models, both companies as well as the financial sector need to adapt. Businesses need to create an attractive business model for financiers, and financiers need to change the way they perceive the risks and opportunities associated with these models.

To help businesses position themselves in a circular context and develop future strategies for doing business in a circular economy, Sustainable Finance LabCircle EconomyNuovalenteTUDelft, and het Groene Brein got together to create the Value Hill.

The Value Hill proposes a categorisation based on the lifecycle phases of a product: pre-, in- and post-use. This allows businesses to position themselves on the Value Hill and understand potential circular strategies they can implement as well as identify missing partners in their circular network. The Value Hill provides an overview of the circular partners and collaboration essential to the success of a circular value network.

Create a financeable circular business in 10 steps

create a financeable business in 10 steps

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Author: 
Aglaia Fischer, Elisa Achterberg
Publication Date: 
11/2016
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Harald Friedl

When deciding on which circular strategies to implement, the financeability of a business is also affected. For example, product-service combinations are seen as a promising, future earning model, but they currently encounter considerable funding challenges such as securing stable cash flows, reducing risks and matching investments with payback periods. Additionally, evolving business strategies, including changing value propositions and chain collaborations, should be topics on the agenda. Enabling the transition towards these new business models is key to successfully implementing circular business strategies and future proofing our economy.

In order to better understand how these challenges could be addressed, Circle Economy and the Sustainable Finance Lab worked with circular business managers and financiers to identify ways to fund circular business strategies, a key element they desperately need to achieve. Building on this research the authors outline the following 10 Steps to Financeability in this report: 

  1. Decide on a logical starting point 
  2. Generate profit through multiple use cycles 
  3. Align incentives throughout the supply chain 
  4. Be transparent about the value proposition 
  5. Redefine the role of retail 
  6. Gradually transition to product-service systems by combining revenue models 
  7. Secure stable cash flows through a robust contract 
  8. Mitigate debtor risk 
  9. Match asset value, payback period and contract duration 
  10. Measure environmental impact on financial performance.

Circularity Gap Report 2019

Circularity Gap Report 2019

logo of 2019 circularity gap report

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Author: 
Circle Economy
Publication Date: 
01/2019
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Harald Friedl

The Circularity Gap Report 2019 finds that the global economy is only 9% circular - just 9% of the 92.8 billion tonnes of minerals, fossil fuels, metals and biomass that enter the economy are re-used annually. Climate change and material use are closely linked. Circle Economy calculates that 62% of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding those from land use and forestry) are released during the extraction, processing and manufacturing of goods to serve society’s needs; only 38% are emitted in the delivery and use of products and services.

It highlights the vast scope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by applying circular principles - re-use, re-manufacturing and re-cycling - to key sectors such as the built environment. Yet it notes that most governments barely consider circular economy measures in policies aimed at meeting the UN target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

This report thus highlights three key circular strategies which could be adapted throughout the economy to help limit global warming and gives examples:

  1. Optimising the utility of products by maximising their use and extending their lifetime. Ridesharing and carsharing already make it less important to own a car. Autonomous driving will accelerate this trend, potentially increasing the usage of each vehicle by a factor of eight. At the same time electric powertrains, intelligent maintenance programmes and software integration can enhance the lifetime of cars.
  2. Enhanced recycling, using waste as a resource. By 2050 there will be an estimated 78 million tonnes of decommissioned solar panels. Modular design would enable products to be easily disassembled, components to be re-used and valuable materials to be recovered to extend their economic value and reduce waste.
  3. Circular design, reducing material consumption and using lower-carbon alternatives. Bamboo, wood and other natural materials have the potential to reduce dependence on carbon-intensive materials such as cement and metals in construction. Instead of emitting carbon, these materials store it and will last for decades. They can be burnt to generate energy at the end of their life.

The report also provides recommendations for governments: while The Netherlands has set itself a target of becoming 50% circular by 2030 and 100% by 2050, most governments have yet to wake up to the potential of the circular economy. The report recommends joining up climate change and circular economy strategies to achieve maximum impact, through the use of tax and spending plans to drive change. They should:

  • Abolish financial incentives which encourage overuse of natural resources, such as subsidies for fossil fuel exploration, extraction and consumption;
  • Raise taxes on emissions, excessive resource extraction and waste production, for example by implementing a gradually increasing carbon tax;
  • Lower taxes on labour, knowledge and innovation and invest in these areas. Lower labour taxes will encourage labour-intensive parts of a circular economy such as take-back schemes and recycling.

Building Carbon Neutrality in Europe

Cemberau

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Author: 
CEMBUREAU - the European Cement Association
Publication Date: 
10/2018
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Nikos Nikolakakos

Europe has an ambitious vision of a carbon-neutral future, a vision that integrates energy-intensive industries as well as the construction sector and its entire value chain.

Cement, which binds concrete together, is at the heart of solutions to turn this vision into reality. These solutions span over the entire cement and concrete value chain: from raw materials to production, use, re-use, and recycling.

CEMBUREAU, the European Cement Association, as part of its effort to move towards a carbon-neutral construction sector, has taken stock of progress done since the publication of its 2050 Low Carbon Roadmap in 2013 and mapped routes to a resource-efficient and carbon-neutral built environment.

Building Value: A pathway to circular construction finance

Building Value: A pathway to circular construction finance

Building value image

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Author: 
Aglaia Fischer (Circle Economy / Sustainable Finance Lab)
Publication Date: 
01/2019
Country: 
Netherlands

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The transition to a Circular Economy requires innovative business models that stimulate optimised use of repairable products, reusable components and recycling of materials. A Community of Practice (CoP) has been established in which experts from different fields have collaborated to improve the financeability of circular construction. CoP members have engaged in a case of social housing corporation Eigen Haard. This report retraces the 'learning-by-doing' trajectory of this Community of Practice. It provides tools to unlock the potential of circular construction business models.

Five main lessons have been drawn from this exercise:

  1. Circular construction depends on the development of a market for used elements, products and materials.
  2. Unlocking the potential of circular construction requires new valuation methods, distinguishing between land and buildings.
  3. Circular construction can successfully be financed when risks and future potential are balanced. This can be supported by detailed financial modelling and leveraging key strengths of circular buildings as securities.
  4. Social housing corporations are ideally suited to implement circular economy business models since both favour long-term inclusive value above mere financial profits. 
  5. Collaboration and transparency support the creation of synergies between different fields of expertise (business, technical, legal, financial) to tackle the challenges of circular construction business models.

Report on Horizon 2020 R&I projects supporting the transition to a Circular Economy

Report on Horizon 2020 R&I projects supporting the transition to a Circular Economy

Report on H2020 R&I projects supporting the transition to a Circular Economy

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Author: 
Anonymous
Publication Date: 
11/2018
Country: 
EU

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The European Commission has published a policy booklet presenting a selection of its research, science and innovation on climate change adaptation. In order to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to adapt to the changes that are already taking place or are impossible to avoid, fundamental changes in societies and behaviours all over the world – as well as scientific breakthroughs, both technological and social - will need to be made.

The objective of the report is to provide a snapshot of the numerous projects resulting from the calls for proposals of 2016-2017 in the Horizon 2020 priorities ‘Industrial leadership’ and ‘Societal Challenges’, that are contributing to the circular economy strategy.

Without aiming to be exhaustive or exclusive, the 156 listed projects represent a good sample of actions financed by Horizon 2020 in the different stages of a circular economy (production, consumption and waste).

The spectrum of priorities contemplated by the selected projects are very diverse and address more sustainable production in all kind of industrial processes, new bio-based and biodegradable products, substitution or recovery of raw materials, conversion of CO2 packaging, plastics, etc.

Report on Horizon 2020 R&I projects supporting the transition to a Circular Economy

Research & Innovation Projects relevant to the Circular Economy Strategy CALLS 2016-2017 - HORIZON 2020

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Author: 
DG RTD
Publication Date: 
11/2018
Country: 
EU

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The objective of the report is to provide a snapshot of the numerous projects resulting from the calls for proposals of 2016-2017 in the Horizon 2020 priorities ‘Industrial leadership’ and ‘Societal Challenges’, that are contributing to the circular economy strategy.

Without aiming to be exhaustive or exclusive, the 156 listed projects represent a good sample of actions financed by Horizon 2020 in the different stages of a circular economy (production, consumption and waste).

The spectrum of priorities contemplated by the selected projects are very diverse and address more sustainable production in all kind of industrial processes, new bio-based and biodegradable products, substitution or recovery of raw materials, conversion of CO2 packaging, plastics, etc.

Livre blanc - Systèmes agricoles et agroalimentaires circulaires

Livre blanc 'Systèmes agricoles et agroalimentaires circulaires' INEC

 Livre Blanc Systèmes agricoles et agroalimentaires circulaires
Author: 
Institut National de l'Economie circulaire (INEC), Groupe de Travail "Systèmes agricoles et agroalimentaires"
Publication Date: 
11/2018
Country: 
France

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L'Institut national de l'Economie circulaire (France) a lancé en 2017 un Groupe de travail sur les systèmes agricoles et agroalimentaires, dont ce Livre Blanc présente les conclusions. Il explore les solutions que les orinicpes d'économie circulaire peuvent apporter pour des systèmes agricoles et agro-alimentaires durables.

Trois thématiques prioritaires ont été sélectionnées (par le Livre blanc):

  • Systèmes agricoles et agroalimentaires circulaires: définitions, état des lieux et bonnes pratiques, sensibilisation des parties prenantes (consommateurs, professionnels, décideurs, distributeurs);
  • L'écologie territoriale appliquée aux systèmes agricoles et agroalimentaires: les synergies entre les entreprises, le niveau d’application (exploitation agricole, région, etc.), les circuits courts, l’agriculture urbaine et périurbaine;
  • Le retour au sol de la matière organique: identification des freins et leviers (acceptation sociétale, réglementation, etc.), compostage, méthanations et autres processus de transformation;
  • Valorisation des services rendus (qualité des sols, puit de carbone, approvisionnement durable…).

Destination: a circular tourism economy

Destination: a circular tourism economy

Destination: a circular tourism economy handbook cover

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Author: 
Centre for Regional & Tourism Research (CRT)
Publication Date: 
08/2018
Country: 
Denmark

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Destination: a circular tourism economy aims to increase the innovativeness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the tourism sector by supporting the integration of circular economy elements into their services, products and business models. This handbook is the result of work carried out in the Interreg South Baltic innovation project, CIRTOINNO.

In addition to providing an overall understanding of the concept of circular economy and the specificities of tourism and the South Baltic partner regions, the CIRTOINNO handbook investigates and discusses the opportunities and barriers for tourism SMEs to adopt circular economy principles, and identifies best practices. Focusing on Hotels, Restaurants and Spas, the handbook provides overall recommendations to:

  • implement monitoring systems and strategies to reduce energy and water use
  • build relationships with suppliers to rethink material flows
  • train staff to improve resource use and reduce spillage

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