Joining forces to create a circular economy

The coronavirus crisis has made us look at consumer behaviour through a different lens and the value of a circular economy may never before have been so clear. Now is the time for consumers and businesses to jump on the bandwagon. There’s a world to gain for us all. Campaign visuals are only available in Dutch.

Circular products becoming mainstream

More and more consumers are opting for circular products and companies are increasingly shifting to circular production. Circularity is becoming mainstream. You might even be doing more in this respect than you think. You return empty bottles, have your clothes repaired, buy a second-hand car – all of which contributes to a society without waste. And that’s exactly what circularity is all about.

Joining forces for a circular world

While you as a consumer are making environmentally conscious choices in your daily life, countless businesses in the Netherlands are working on initiatives that contribute to the circular economy. ABN AMRO supports these businesses by providing advice and financing. Our aim is to clinch 100 circular deals by the end of this year. By joining forces, we can all do our bit to contribute to a circular economy, which is gradually becoming a reality.

Towards 100 circular deals

ABN AMRO supports business initiatives that are looking to bring the circular economy a step closer. We’ve committed to concluding 100 circular deals this year with companies that are working towards making this happen. And we’re well on our way to achieving this. You can read more below about a number of businesses we already support in their circular activities.

What is a circular economy?

In a circular economy products and parts retain their value and raw materials are re-used. Discarded products are not thrown away, but repaired or recycled where possible, or turned into new products and raw materials. This creates a closed cycle without waste or wastefulness. The opposite of a circular economy is a linear economy, where everything is centred around production, use and disposal of products.

The 9 R’s of a sustainable circular economy

The letter ‘R’ plays a prominent role in the circular economy. Together, the 9 R’s can be used to describe circularity. From Refuse to Reuse and from Repair to Recycle. In all circular businesses, one or more of these R’s are central to their business models. Read what they stand for below. The order in which they are listed is not coincidental: it goes from requiring no effort (Refuse) to requiring a lot of work (Recover).

Refuse
The first question we should ask ourselves is: Is it really necessary to buy or develop a product, or to use a certain raw material? If it isn’t: don’t do it!
Reduce
We must seek to reduce the use of raw materials. Try to find ways to use fewer raw materials in the production process.
Reuse
By reusing products, we create a market for second-hand goods.
Repair
If an item is broken or has reached the end of its life, don’t throw it away but have it repaired – locally, if possible, to reduce the impact on the environment. 
Refurbish
Restoring old products. More and more, used articles such as laptops and tablets are being refurbished and then resold.
Remanufacture
When remanufacturing, new products are made from old products, or parts of old items. This includes reconditioning of engines or machines.
Repurpose
When we repurpose, we reuse a product for another purpose. Designers increasingly have this at the back of their minds when developing products.
Recycle
Recycling refers to the processing and re-use of materials. It is relatively more common in the Netherlands than in other countries.
Recover
We can recover energy through the incineration of materials. Waste incineration without energy recovery is considered taboo in a circular economy.

ABN AMRO and the circular economy

As a bank, ABN AMRO has a responsibility towards society and towards the planet. Our purpose ‘Banking for better, for generations to come’ has put us on a sustainable course, and the circular economy is a key focus here.

Engaging with clients

We engage with our clients about ways in which they can make their homes or businesses more sustainable, and circularity is always addressed during these talks. That’s how circular deals are made. We’re looking to clinch at least 100 circular deals this year with a total value of 1 million euros. These initiatives should reduce carbon emissions by 1 million tonnes.

Teaming up with clients

At our Business Innovation Workshops, we team up with clients to find ways in which they can integrate circularity into their day-to-day processes. That’s how we join forces with our clients to build a circular economy.

More about our Business Innovation Workshops

Circular and sustainable purchasing

Being a large enterprise, ABN AMRO purchases a wide array of products and services, ranging from office supplies to coffee and from office space to computers and software. When selecting suppliers, Procurement doesn’t only look at cost, but also takes on board sustainability and circularity.

More about Circular procurement

Setting an example, with Circl

Circl, ABN AMRO’s circular pavilion in Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district, opened its doors three years ago. It was designed and built along the principles of circularity, where reuse of high-quality materials is key. Circl strives to be energy-neutral and to keep waste disposal to a minimum.

More about Circl

Making our offices circular

Our office buildings are sustainable as they are, but they are set to become even more so in the years ahead. With the introduction of the new interior design concept GREENE, sustainability and circularity are the name of the game. Central to this concept is that we give materials a second lease on life.

More about our offices

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