Rabobank and businesses join forces for the circular economy

Rabobank is introducing the ‘Circular Enterprise Performance Indicator’ in association with Radboud University Nijmegen. The aim of the initiators is to gain greater insight into the circular economy in the Netherlands and the degree to which businesses currently conduct circular enterprise. It also gives businesses more insight into how circular their operations are at present.

The circular economy is gaining momentum. More and more businesses are focusing attention on recycling and efficient use of raw or other materials when designing their products and conducting their operations. This results in a closed-loop production system. It marks the first step in what is often a journey of discovery for many businesses.

Circular in focus
The ‘Circular Enterprise Performance Indicator’ is a questionnaire that gives a clear picture of where businesses stand in terms of applying circular aspects to their day-to-day practice. Do businesses know how circular enterprise can benefit them? What progress is really being made? And what can we learn about business and earnings models?

Helping businesses move forward
Businesses that complete the questionnaire will receive an indication of how ‘circular’ their business operations are. Richard Piechocki, Sustainable Business Strategist at Rabobank: ‘This gives businesses insight into the extent to which they already apply elements of circular enterprise in their operations and business model. These elements are divided into five themes: strategy, closed loops, value creation, organisation and earnings model. The results of the indicator provide a good basis for a conversation during which businesses can determine in consultation with our advisers where the opportunities lie and where there is room for improvement in their circular business model.’

The ‘Circular Enterprise Performance Indicator’ questionnaire is another example of the working method Rabobank has been applying in its Circular Economy Challenge programme for some time now. Piechocki: ‘This programme gives regional businesses the opportunity to draw up an action plan in the field of circular enterprise based on a concrete idea. This is already happening in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area and the Groene Hart region (a sparsely-populated region in the central part of the Netherlands). The action plans relate to recycling products, materials and raw materials, detachable product design, more efficient production processes, adapting return systems and organising collaboration in the chain.’

Driving a circular transition
The circular economy is more than ‘recycling 3.0’. It involves a total transition of an economy with the aim of bringing about a society that can function within the limitations of the planet. This is the process to which Rabobank wants to contribute. Knowledge of how businesses can be successful in this field is crucial to this undertaking. Rabobank Head Economist Hans Stegeman: ‘Bringing about a circular economy is a huge endeavour. Our economy is still organised primarily linearly, whereby we still measure mainly the financial transaction at the time of the sale. So a transition to an economy in which, for example, producers remain responsible for the materials they sell, there is collaboration within a chain and value creation is about more than finances, is what we as a bank want to help realise.’

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