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Rethinking finance in a circular economy

Recently, the international discussion about sustainability has taken a new course through the development of the concept of the circular economy. The circular economy goes beyond the intention of not harming the environment as the circular economy is restorative and regenerative by intention and design. It shifts the focus from a 'take, make and waste' way of production to a 'reduce, reuse and recycle' mentality. This shift spins off several commercial opportunities and business innovation. In that respect the circular economy is a very compelling business case of sustainability. Compelling because it materialises the financial, economic and environmental benefits and costs in an integrated way. And compelling because it is an appealing concept and easy to understand how all stakeholders, society and the environment can benefit from it.

Despite the opportunities the transition towards a circular economy won't be an easy one. It poses many questions and challenges for our clients and ourselves. To name just a few; What is the circular economy precisely and is it a trend to stay or a well intended hype? Does it require different business models in order to be successful? And if so, can the financial system finance these models?

The purpose of the report is therefore threefold. First we want to identify the business opportunities of the circular economy. Secondly we want to explore differences in business models between traditional and circular businesses. If there are, the circular economy most likely also has an impact on finance. So the third goal is to explore its impact on banking activities. After all, as a forward thinking company we want to help and guide our clients to stay a step ahead in business.