Davos 2018: climate leadership and circular economy

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25 January 2018

It’s time again for the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) annual meeting in Davos, where leaders from governments, corporations and society get together to try and improve the state of the world.

ING is once again present with CEO Ralph Hamers, Head of Wholesale Banking Isabel Fernandez and Sustainability Head Leon Wijnands.

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Climate finance champion

ING believes banks have a duty to see how their financing can help support the energy transition and combat climate change. Ralph Hamers will take on the role of ‘climate finance champion’ in the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, announced in a session in Davos this week. Six other CEOs will take on ‘champion’ roles in other areas.

This Alliance is an informal network of CEOs that was established and strengthened with the help of the World Economic Forum ahead of the Paris Agreement in 2015. The climate finance leadership role means that Ralph will be more visible and vocal on financing climate action from now on, a topic that’s part of ING’s approach to sustainability.

Circular economy accelerator

The circular economy remains a hot topic at Davos and beyond – shifting from a ‘take, make, waste’ model to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. This transformation is often especially challenging for medium-sized companies.

Last year at Davos, ING volunteered to lead the set-up of a ‘circular supply chain accelerator’ as a member of WEF’s Platform for Accelerating Circular Economy (PACE). The accelerator is meant to help medium-sized companies in the supply chain of large multinationals to speed up their development of circular business models.

Since financing is only part of the answer, we teamed up with Accenture and Circle Economy (an organisation dedicated to accelerating circularity) and collaborated with public and private stakeholders such as the European Investment Bank to develop the concept.

Now, at Davos 2018 we announced that we’re ready to start the first round of the accelerator, in the building and construction sector.

Looking for projects

We’ll work with partners such as the European Investment Bank, Arup, Atkins, Intesa Sanpaolo and Royal BAM Group to identify projects – blocks of houses, office buildings – and invite suppliers to submit circular solutions or co-design and co-develop these in the accelerator.

If there are solutions with market potential, we’ll help create the financing request and submit this to a panel of financiers. This way, we help to grow the market for circular solutions and stimulate the systemic change that’s needed to make the circular economy a reality.

Why SMEs?

Small and medium-sized enterprises make up more than 99% of all businesses in Europe, creating around two-thirds of private sector employment. But they also cause roughly 64% of the European industrial pollution.

Bringing them on board this transformation to a circular economy can have a major impact. In the accelerator, suppliers will be taken through the full cycle of identifying, developing and financing solutions to a specific circular economy project.

The three steps of the circular supply chain accelerator:
1. Create circular projects and identify key suppliers with end-buyers.
2. Accelerate circular solutions with midsize suppliers.
3. Finance the solutions through a funding panel.

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