Business Models for Circular Economy

The beauty of doing research that enables a modest contribution to transition is that, in doing this research, new questions and challenges arise. Over the past five years, attention to the Circular Economy (CE) has increased dramatically. The core of such an economy is to make a transition from a linear to a circular production and consumption pattern. Despite all of the attention, we are still in the discovery phase of what the CE means for how we make and use things. We do not really know what the implications are on a system level or what the implications are for companies collaborating in value-chains and cycles. Individual companies have a difficult time understanding how their present business propositions could be turned into a circular one. In early spring 2016, a book was written and edited providing 30 short contributions written by 28 Dutch authors from different disciplines and backgrounds. The work was proposed due to the state-visit to France by the Dutch King and Queen in March 2016, and the book formed part of the documentation of the Dutch delegation on the Circular Economy. This collection of columns is available in Dutch and in French. See Publications.
However, one thing is clear: the circular economy requires a new generation of business models not only in regard to assets, resources, and commodities but also on issues related to social innovation, the labor market, and transitions in the economy. A Circular Economy is a fundamentally different economy in which the conventional meaning of economic growth is replaced by resilience, re-use, and re-cycling. This will lead to a shrinking economy. Considering the expertise that has been developed around business models, in general, and new business models, in particular, it is not surprising that OCF 2.0 has begun pilot research on Business Models for Circular Economy (BMCE). This pilot will occur in spring 2016 in the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel (the Netherlands) and is enabled through grants from Interface (Scherpenzeel), Engie (Bunnik), Alliander (Arnhem), the province of Gelderland, and the Region Arnhem-Nijmegen. Results will be presented at a seminar in autumn 2016 in Duiven in the main office of Alliander. The next step will be to conduct a national survey on BMCE’s with the support of Rabobank Nederland and other partners.