ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank launch finance guidelines for circular economy

Press release -

ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank today launched joint circular-economy finance guidelines, inspired by the ambition to create a joint framework for financing the circular economy. The guidelines meet a need for better insight into financial backing for the circular economy and aim to help drive such financing. They have been formally presented to Stientje van Veldhoven, the Netherlands’ Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Water Management, on behalf of the FinanCE Working Group, putting the three banks firmly at the forefront of international trends.

Common understanding of what circular economy means

ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank are all members of an international tie-up: the FinanCE Working Group was set up in 2014 by PGGM among other players and has close links to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It is made up of financial services companies looking to drive the transition to a circular economy. The financial industry is in need of a uniform framework of guidelines for identifying, selecting and financing initiatives based on new circular business models. The new guidelines help financial services companies establish whether or not initiatives are truly circular, for instance by monitoring recycling of products and materials and so ensuring that these retain the best possible value. By introducing finance guidelines, the three banks lay the groundwork for accelerating investment in and funding of circular business models. ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank are encouraging financial players across the world to follow suit (‘right to copy’) – by drawing up these guidelines they are urging a uniform vision and best practices at a global level.

Finance guidelines for circular economy: first of their kind

The transition to a circular economy provides a tremendous boost to the economy and produces visible environmental benefits. A circular economy means reducing carbon emissions and waste volumes during manufacturing and using less raw materials, energy and water. The Circular Economy Finance Guidelines aim to promote and develop the key role that finance can play in this transition. Financial institutions have a major role in the transition from the linear to the circular economy, as the latter sees the advent of a multitude of new business models that require different types of finance. The guidelines offer a joint framework to pick just the right type of finance for every circular initiative.

Widely accepted finance guidelines towards a circular future

Deputy minister Van Veldhoven also recognised the importance of widely accepted circular finance guidelines. “This is a step-change and it’s encouraging to see this country’s three major banks grasp the nettle. I trust that more financial institutions will follow suit and flesh out this commendable initiative. After all, the economy of the future – the circular economy – deserves greater, swifter and more fit-for-purpose funding,” she observes. 

"We aim to lead on the transition to a more circular economy, as we believe we can and will make a real difference. By joining forces with ING and Rabobank in launching finance guidelines, we will facilitate the pioneers that are shaping the circular economy. Together, we can ensure that circular becomes the new standard,” adds Fred Bos, Senior Managing Director of Commercial Banking Clients at ABN AMRO.

Annemein Kolk, Wholesale Banking Director at ING Nederland, comments: “Developing the circular economy is a key focus for ING. However, at this point we lack generally accepted guidance on circular finance. The CE Finance guidelines offer a starting point for what we can see as circular initiatives in our industry and we hope they will facilitate the journey to such financing for financial services companies across the world.” 

“Rabobank supports, encourages and actively contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Accord. The transition to a circular economy offers key opportunities to companies and those who finance them,” observes Alain Cracau, Director of Sustainable Business Development at Rabobank. “That’s why it’s so important right now to join forces across the world and arrive at a uniform vision of how financiers can contribute to the creation of the circular economy.”

The financing guidelines can be found here.

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