More and more circular solutions

The first Rabobank Circular Economy (CE) Challenges for this year are now complete, and some are still in progress. More than 20 entrepreneurs have already started working on their circular action plans. The interest in circular enterprise is growing, and is delivering increasing circular solutions.

Etro Vastgoed, winner of the CE Challenge in the Amsterdam region, got started with circular enterprise directly following the challenge. ‘The CE Challenge helped us to focus our efforts. This means we can now work in a very targeted way,’ says Floris Hei, Managing Director at Etro Vastgoed. ‘We’ve even found someone to work with on circular renovation. Together with housing corporation Eigen Haard, we’re going to transform an office building in Amsterdam-Noord into a residential complex using circular methods.’

Bas Rüter, Director of Sustainability at Rabobank: ‘This year, we’ve been working on accelerating our approach to helping entrepreneurs to switch from a linear to a circular business model. This is because circular entrepreneurship will be one of the mainstays of the Dutch economy in the near future. We’re noticing that increasing numbers of entrepreneurs are seeking us out. At the moment, the CE Challenges are taking place in the Zuid-Holland Zuid and Arnhem Nijmegen regions, among others. In the autumn we’ll be starting up in the Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan Region and Eindhoven Brainport. A number of regions have also expressed interest in the CE challenge for 2018.

‘We are a partner in the Rabobank CE Challenge and we’re contributing our network and our knowledge,’ explains Maria van der Heijden, Managing Director at CSR Netherlands. ‘On 12 September, during the CE Challenge workshop for the Zuid Holland Zuid region, we’ve not only provided substantive guidance, we’ll also be commencing the targeted provision of matchmaking opportunities. We also used our platform, Futureproof.Community. This platform offers the opportunity to match supply and demand among businesses so that new circular solutions can be developed between them. We’re going to be actively guiding the participants of CE Challenge Zuid Holland Zuid in this.

Reactions from the participants demonstrate that the CE Challenge provides added value for entrepreneurs. It encourages them to work on circular enterprise, gives them access to new circular networks, and various companies go on to perform an important role as a model in their region. The challenges also inspire new collaborations and circular solutions. Bas Rüter: ‘This is because operators from extremely diverse sectors, ranging from transport and waste disposal to office equipment, are taking part. During the dialogue sessions, everyone examines the business processes of the other entrepreneurs from their own perspective and background. This proves to be very educational and refreshing. In Amsterdam, it even yielded a new business case. Three companies (a waste processor, a timber trader and an egg processor) took part in one of the dialogue sessions, from which arose an idea to develop a new high quality product using each other’s waste stream. They are now further developing this business case.’