Circular economy

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The circular economy is about rethinking how we use our raw materials and resources to create a sustainable economy free of waste and emissions. It means shifting from the current linear model of “take, make, waste” to an economy where we “reduce, reuse, recycle”.

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Many companies have started a journey to become more circular, which happens in many forms and shapes. There are well-known companies enabling product-sharing, such as Uber and Airbnb. But others like Philips and Michelin are actively redesigning the production and use of their lighting and tyres, for example.

The circular business is booming—there are more than 20 companies worth more than one billion dollars each in the sharing, or collaborative, economy.

But moving to a real circular economy isn’t only about sharing or recycling. We also have to design differently, sell differently, value differently, treat risk differently, and finance differently. That’s where ING comes in.

We want to be more than a thought leader—we want our actions to lead the way. That’s why we started the Orange Circle, ING’s circular economy programme, which has the ultimate ambition to help our clients make the transition from ownership to access.

ING’s Orange Circle programme covers five areas:

  • Knowledge: our Economics Department has a unique position to analyse the financial benefits of going circular and publishes this in high-quality reports. We also organise client meetings to share knowledge.
  • Operations: we use our purchasing power to create market demand for circular products.
  • Deals: we do circular deals and build relationships with circular clients.
  • Ecosystem: we look at the funding for circular business models with other financial partners.
  • Innovation: we work together with our clients to develop circular propositions.

We’ve already done some ground-breaking circular deals, like the merger of Shanks and Van Gansewinkel Groep to create Renewi, one of Europe’s leading circular economy companies, and the IPO of sustainable bio-plastics company Avantium.

ING joined the CE100 programme, an initiative of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), in 2016. The EMF is a global thought leader on the circular economy. Through our membership, ING aims to grow our knowledge and network on this topic, collaborating with experts, the EMF’s partners and other CE100 members to promote the circular economy and unlock business opportunities related to it.

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