Auping and Rabobank’s path towards circularity; lessons learned on how to get there

13 January 2021 14:11

In January 2020, the World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD) introduced the Circular Transition Indicators (CTI) framework and CTI Tool for companies to assess their circular performance. Rabobank, a longstanding partner of the WBCSD, has the ambition to support its clients in their transition towards creating circular business and revenue models and to provide financial services to these frontrunning companies. As part of this ambition, Rabobank set up a CTI activation program to stimulate multiple Rabobank clients to apply the CTI framework and CTI Tool (built by software provider Circular IQ). As such, Rabobank is the first financial institution to do so.

man showing something on his laptop to his co-worker

One of the participating Rabobank clients in the program is Auping, a Dutch manufacturer of beds and matrasses, which is in the transition to becoming a service provider of the concept of ‘rest’. With support from knowledge partner KPMG and Circular IQ, Rabobank and Auping jointly applied the CTI framework, using the CTI Tool to organize and analyze their data. Auping measured the level of circularity of part of its matrasses business. Now that the first stage has been finalized, parties involved are looking back to evaluate the lessons learned from applying the CTI framework.

Rabobank’s lesson: CTI provides better insights in linear risks

Björn Aarts (Program Manager Circular Economy at Rabobank): "It is our ambition to support clients in their path towards circularity, which mitigates their linear business risks for example through decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources. The CTI framework enables our clients to measure the level of circularity: the inflow of circular materials, the design of their products and the actual recovery of their products and materials. This provides us the opportunity to support our clients in the challenges they face, by providing knowledge and opening up our network, but possibly also financially support them in their path towards circularity. The CTI Acceleration program with a.o. Auping has taught us that by providing the CTI framework and CTI Tool to our clients, we can support them in their transition towards becoming a truly circular company, but also provides us with better insights in the linear risks associated with their businesses."

Auping’s lesson: What gets measured, gets improved

Geert Doorlag (Researcher at Auping): “At Auping, we are in a transition to becoming a fully circular company; designing out waste, setting up return logistics service business models and developing a reuse and recycling infrastructure. An example is our Bedzzzy concept; providing a subscription-based service on our locally produced 100% circular designed mattress. CTI are developed in such a way that it give insights into circular performance. These insights help us in being more effective and efficient in our transition, for instance in steering our innovation efforts and providing transparency in the level of circularity. The WBCSD CTI framework is a great starting point for sparking conversations with our partners in the supply chain about the origin and characteristics of materials. CTI lends well to experience a learning curve on the subject of circularity, in such a way that we are now looking at ways of applying the lessons learned into our Bedzzzy concept in other products of Auping. We would like to thank Rabobank for inviting us to join their program and introduce us to the CTI framework.

KPMG’s lesson: Circularity requires changes on multiple dimensions

Suzanne Kuiper (Manager at KPMG and co-author of the CTI framework): CTI addresses the three pillars on how a company can improve its circularity: 1) through procurement, which will affect the circularity of the material and part flows that enter the company (inflow) 2) through design, which will enable the recoverability of a product (potential recovery) and 3) through the business model, which will enable a high collection and recycling rate on the products, by-products and waste streams put on the market (actual recovery).

Conclusion and next steps

Björn Aarts: "We are very enthusiastic about the CTI program and will expand the program with more clients from different sectors. This CTI outcomes will help us to achieve our circular goals.”

Geert Doorlag has similar plans: “We have learned a lot in the process of using CTI. Our next step now is to apply this framework in other parts of our organization. I am very keen to see what the outcome for other types of products will be, and how this can help us achieve our goal: to let all Dutch people opt for a circular bed or mattress in 2030.”

Interested? Contact us to learn how to get started with CTI yourself

Take a look at the CTI publication and CTI Tool. For more information, please contact the Circular Business Desk.