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In a circular economy, products are designed to be more efficient and materials are re-used as much as possible. This does not only require fewer raw materials, but also contributes to reducing carbon emissions and promotes innovation, new business and more employment opportunities. To transition from a linear to a circular economy, the country-wide ‘The Netherlands circular in 2050’ programme was launched in September 2016, with Rabobank as one of the signatories. The programme has now been translated into a raw materials agreement and a five-point agenda with the aim of achieving a fully circular economy by 2050. This requires action at all levels of society.
Rabobank catalyses transition
Rabobank also believes that a circular society will ensure prosperity, wellbeing and a resilient and competitive economy on the long run. A future-proof economic system, with circular businesses that have healthy earning models, both individually and as supply chains, making them well fundable.
We want to catalyse the transition towards a circular economy at four levels:
- Investigating needs for financing, risks and opportunities for circular business models.
- Raising consumer awareness by providing insight and knowledge regarding various themes, such as waste separation and food waste.
- Stimulating individual entrepreneurs and groups of entrepreneurs to get going with circular enterprise by providing them with knowledge, relevant networks and useful tools.
- Contributing to insight into organisational aspects of circularity and systematic changes in infrastructure.
Collaborating on a circular economy
We have started cooperating with customers, knowledge institutions and the government, as well as partnering other circular initiatives, such as Champions 12.3. This initiative is named after section ‘ 12.3 - food waste’ of the United Nations sustainability agenda. Champions 12.3 is a cooperative venture between 30 leading organisations, aimed at halving food waste by 2030. Reducing food waste and re-using waste food is a practical example of circular enterprise.
Widely accepted recognized finance guidelines towards a circular future
ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank launched joint circular-economy finance guidelines internationally, inspired by the ambition to create a common framework for financing the circular economy worldwide. The Circular Economy Finance Guidelines will provide a better insight into the contribution by the financial community for the transition towards a circular economy. Moreover, it will drive and enable financing and funding worldwide. The new guidelines help the financial community to establish whether or not initiatives are circular, for instance by monitoring recycling of products and materials and so ensuring that these retain and contribute the best possible multiple value. With this we argue for the development of a uniform vision and working method at an international level.