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”.
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 to transition to circular business models.
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 and our Sustainable Finance team acts as a centre of expertise.
- 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 such as the Circular Supply Chain Accelerator and the medical Products as a Service proposition Papayagogo (only in Dutch).
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, the IPO of sustainable bio-plastics company Avantium, the multi-million investment in circular black carbon company Black Bear, the loan to the La Trappe brewery with a closed loop water system and financing the world’s first energy neutral and circular hotel, Breeze.
We collaborate with partners to combine our efforts to promote the circular economy and unlock business opportunities. To this end, ING joined the CE100 programme of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), a global thought leader on the circular economy, in 2016. Similarly, ING is also a member of Circle Economy, a cooperative that provides practical tools, insights and collaboration opportunities for its members to engage with the circular economy.