APRIL 2016


sharing innovation




The Netherlands Circular Hotspot is a campaign that is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and 31

organizations that are committed to realizing a circular economy. Each of them has offered a statement to underline that commitment.

‘Royal HaskoningDHV is about enhancing society together. The Circular Economy movement contributes to a

true sustainable future. The transition is essential and can also provide business opportunities. We have initiated

the Green Fund, Zero Emission City Logistics; with partners we work together in e.g. Take Back Chemicals,

Park4 all, a manure valorization project with FrieslandCampina: CODE ® and the reclamation of an organic soil

fertilizer during the drinking water process with Vitens. Initiatives we are very proud of.’

Erik Oostwegel - CEO Royal HaskoningDHV

‘In the coming decades, transition will be key for the port of Rotterdam, in which an important element is the

stimulation of a circular economy. This means: using much less raw materials, maximizing their yields and, especially,

reusing them, creating opportunities that will enhance our current mode of production by attracting new business

activity. That way, we will ensure that – also in the second half of the century – the port will remain a pillar of

Dutch prosperity.’ Allard Castelein - CEO Port of Rotterdam

‘Banks play a crucial role in driving economic growth and progress, and it’s our duty to ensure they are sustainable.

Global challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity require us to rethink current economic systems and

find solutions. The circular economy, which decouples economic growth from resource use, is one such solution. ING

proudly plays its part by leading the thinking on the role of financial services in the circular economy and by empowering

clients to make the transition to circular and sustainable business models.’ Ralph Hamers - CEO ING

‘The activities of Deltares are at the service of the sustainable development of delta areas, coastal regions and river

basins. We have a leading position in the field of environmental issues relating to soil and water. We develop innovative

and sustainable solutions to enable delta life. It therefore goes without saying that we keep the environmental

impact of our own business operations to a minimum. And we want to help and inspire others to do the same.’

Maarten Smits - Managing Director Deltares

‘Rabobank believes it can make a substantial contribution to welfare and prosperity by promoting a circular economy.

We’re also convinced we can in this way improve our customers’ competitive position and resilience and as a result

their financeability. Circular enterprise furthermore lends itself extremely well for our role as financial linking pin.

Rabobank offers customers circular economy challenge programmes as an opportunity for them to turn an idea into

an action plan.’ Wiebe Draaijer - CEO Rabobank

‘Our ambition at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is to become the world’s most sustainable airport. That means a

commitment to zero waste by 2030, increased innovation, like our Blueveyor baggage belt and ‘light as a service’ in

our new Departure Lounge 2. It means striving to design and building our new pier and terminal according to circular

principles. It’s part of our commitment to transform the way we operate and develop our assets – for the next 100

years and beyond.’ Jos Nijhuis - CEO Schiphol

‘The Chemical Industry is a key enabler of the manufacturing industry. The expertise of chemical; engineers is exactly

what is required to design basic materials in such a way that they can be used in multiple lifecycles. Circular use of

basic building blocks provides a huge opportunity for radical resource efficiency and for a vital circular economy. A

precondition to ensure that by 2050 9 billion can enjoy decent living standards within the boundaries of One Planet.

Planet Possible!’ Andre Veneman - Corporate Director Sustainability AkzoNobel

‘The circular economy represents a massive opportunity for the Netherlands, a country with the right conditions

and necessities to create a luminous example of business as an engine for change. Delta Development Group leads

the way worldwide in the built environment towards the circular economy. With the development of Valley, our

national hub for the CE, we aim to create a catalyst that will inspire, accelerate and develop the circular economy

in the Netherlands and beyond.’ Coert Zachariasse - CEO Delta Development Group

‘Amsterdam has a leading role in the transition to a circular economy because of the innovations of the research

institutes, businesses and start-ups in the city. We have a strong creative industry, necessary for, for example, circular

(re)design of products. For now, it is important to gain a shared understanding of the opportunities that the circular

economy has to offer, and when the government has to act and when it has to take distance in order to foster the

development thereof.’ Abdeluheb Choho - Alderman Municipality of Amsterdam

‘PGGM believes that the financial sector must accelerate the transition to a circular economy. We also seek partners

outside our sector to stimulate this transaction, such as designers, governments, policy makers, legislators, business

leaders and consumers. I am convinced that the transition we are seeking will only be realized if all private and public

stakeholders work together. Finances will be an important instrument to accelerate this deveopment, but we also

need a disruptive change. In the real economy ánd in our financial sector.’ Else Bos - CEO PGGM



Rarely have I been prouder than I am now, to share this magazine with you, its readers.

We live in an era where the challenges facing us worldwide are at times simply

overwhelming. Struggle and conflict dominate our news headlines. But the following

pages will play you an uplifting tune, and paint a vision of a new era using brighter

colours. Because that is what a circular economy has to offer: responsible and sustainable

growth for a society in which people, businesses and our planet can flourish.

It has been truly inspiring to meet with the visionary personalities whose views and

insights you are about to read. Although very different in background and profession,

they are all focussed on finding solutions.

Circularity is all about optimism,

ingenuity and common sense

Numerous discussions and visits to projects have strengthened my belief in the role the

Netherlands can and should play in boosting the circular economy across the globe.

Optimism, ingenuity, adaptability to change and a deeply rooted compass of common

sense are all strong Dutch characteristics. The latter being the first core value of the

circular economy: it just makes sense.

Over the past few years more and more Dutch companies and entrepreneurs, together

with local and national governments, institutes, universities and NGOs have made

impressive steps in the transition towards a circular economy. It is an exciting journey

that generates a positive flow of energy throughout the country, and indeed is turning

the Netherlands into a circular hotspot.

I have no doubt that you will find inspiration, new insights, and new questions in this

magazine. Please consider it an invitation to join us – any of us – on this promising


H.R.H. Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme

Chairman of the campaign The Netherlands Circular Hotspot


3. Mgmt. Scope



There are already hundreds of circular

projects in the Netherlands. We made

a subjective selection of eleven ‘iconic’

projects and asked photographer

Barbara Kieboom to visualize ten of

them in a personal interpretation

(p. 9, 13, 16, 24, 31, 32, 35, 40, 43, 48).


The man who left earth and came back

an environmentalist.


Circular business models have a great

impact on finance.


Lady Europe is now the mother of

innovation. ‘If we do nothing, we’ll

be dependent on others for our raw

materials in 20 years’ time.’


Peter Bakker, Else Bos (p. 39) and

Erika Koehler (p. 50) weigh in on

the importance of circularity.



Eberhard van der Laan and Ahmed

Aboutaleb, mayors of Amsterdam and

Rotterdam, on how to change everyday

behaviour and create opportunities for

circular businesses.


The Netherlands’ main air hub

has grand circular ambitions, says

Schiphol’s chairman. ‘We want to be

one of the world’s greenest airports.’


Our planet and our economy cannot survive if we continue with the ‘take, make, use

and throw away’ approach. We need to retain precious resources and fully exploit

all the economic value within them. The circular economy is about reducing waste

and protecting the environment, but it is also about a profound transformation of

the way our entire economy works. I am happy to see that the Netherlands are a

frontrunner in rethinking the way we produce, work and buy. This will generate

new opportunities and create new jobs. Also at the European level, we are working

to set a credible and ambitious path for better waste management in all our Member

States with supportive actions that cover the full product cycle. This mix of smart

regulation and incentives at EU level will help businesses and consumers, as well as

national and local authorities, to drive this transformation.

Frans Timmermans

First Vice-President European Commission,

a.o. responsible for sustainable development



Bill McDonough, Sharon Dijksma

(p. 34), Chen Xu (p. 42), and Andy

Ridley (p. 47) share their vision.


An international showcase and nerve

center for circular business. Near

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport arises the

most sustainable working environment

in western Europe.


The chairman of VNO-NCW

employer’s organizations sees lots

of commercial prospects in waste.

‘We ought to have a kind of recycling

‘bank’ for raw materials.’

4. Mgmt. Scope 5. Mgmt. Scope

Photography Barbara Kieboom

‘Visiting the farm for the FrieslandCampina project, I realized that cows are as Dutch as windmills,

tulips and cheese. Maybe that is why they inspired this particular innovation: to process cow’s manure

into valuable end products does not just make ‘circular sense’, it is also illustrates typical ‘Dutch sense.’

Iconic Project


Circular hotspot project: A process solution to digest or

renew cows’ manure into valuable end products such as

biogas, recycled minerals and compost. FrieslandCampina

is building the first dairy plant that partly runs on biogas

from manure from its own farmers.

Organizations involved: In this innovation, Friesland-

Campina collaborates withmany different actors within

and outside the dairy value chain: businesses, technology

providers, knowledge institutes and (local) government.

Iconic because: The Dutch livestock sectors annually

produce a volume of 74 million tons of manure. Wasted

manure is a significant cost for farmers.

A sound business case can be made for ‘fractionating’

manure into valuable components that can be brought

back into the agricultural process, for example as a

source of renewable energy. Collaborating with partners

on manure digestion will help to develop the market

for circular products like minerals, compost and





When cities, companies, governmental ministries,

branch-organizations, NGO’s and researchers who

already started to shape a circular economy come

together to share their experiences, something

exciting happens. The result of several ‘round table’

events that were held last year: eight stepping stones

to the next phase in circularity.

The industrial Henry Ford said: ‘Coming together is a

beginning; keeping together is progress; working together

is success’. He perfectly described the three stages the

Netherlands is going through in its journey to a circular

economy. In 2016, the year of the Dutch EU Presidency

and also the year after the launch of EU’s Circular Economy

Package, Dutch ‘circular frontrunners’ finished their

years of ‘beginning of coming together’ and started the

next phase: progress.

Our current economy is a ‘take-make-waste’ model. It is a

‘linear’ and finite system. A circular economy is a regenerative

system in which infinite reuse of resources is the

norm, but not at the expense of economic growth. The

popularity of this transition is not surprising. Calculations

by consultancy firm McKinsey indicate that a circular

economy can lead to earnings of $340-630 billion per

year in Europe alone. The Dutch research institute TNO

concludes that a circular economy could deliver earnings

of € 7.4 billion per year and 54,000 new jobs in the

Netherlands alone; opportunities no country should ignore

and the Dutch strive to play a major role in this challenging

transition. The Netherlands as a circular hotspot.

All over the Netherlands the circular economy is fuelling

new business cases, technical and social innovations,

investments and policies. It is also an economic

ánd social transition that generates new challenges. The

frontrunners in the Netherlands are discovering them

through trial and error.


Starting in 2014 and inspired by the then upcoming

Dutch EU Presidency in 2016, no less than 56 companies,

3 governmental ministries, 3 cities, 4 public

organizations, 6 branch-organizations, 5 research institutes

and universities and 5 NGOs came together

in several ‘round table’ events and openly exchanged

thoughts and experiences on what they had learned

so far. Their ambition: two assess the status of circular

economy in the Netherlands, in order to distil the most

important lessons learned and use these as stepping

stones into the next phase of progress.

They proudly share these stepping stones, so other

countries, companies and organizations can equally

benefit from what a circular economy has to offer.

Tekst Peter Gersen

Circular Hotspot

6. Mgmt. Scope 7. Mgmt. Scope

All over the Netherlands the

circular economy is fuelling

new business cases

From a linear system...



Pro-active government: governments (national, regional, local)

are a pro-active stakeholder in a circular economy. They

actively stimulate innovation and circular business models,

for instance through policy and their procurement.

Living labs: companies and municipalities jointly create circular

hubs and living labs, where for instance start-ups and

larger corporations can connect and develop projects together.



New financial game plans: banks and funds have learned

that the financial structure of circular business models is far

from ‘business as usual’. The current situation, in which they

have to develop a custom made set of rules for each project,

prevents progress to larger scales. It is imperative that banks,

funds and government jointly work on new financial game




New rulebooks for partnerships: the success of circular projects

depends on how well parties work together. A new rulebook

includes an analysis at the start of a project: who needs

to sit at the table? Take the time to understand each partner’s

interests and their challenges. Share successful experiences as

well as failures and create mutual trust.



Update the tax system: current tax systems are based on a

linear economy and put extremely high taxes on labour and

hardly any on use of natural resources. The majority of ‘linear’

companies will only reconsider their business models and

choices when confronted with different fiscal incentives and

the same dynamic applies to consumers.

Create a level playing field: governments also play in important

role in creating a level playing field in which circular

business models do not suffer from, for instance, subsidies for

fossil fuels.

Take social and ecological values into account: accountancy

firms play an important role in making standards and monetizing

the so called ‘true costs’ of products and their processes.



Fossil fuels are an obstacle for a circular economy. In addition,

companies don’t like volatility, and if anything, the price of oil

is volatile. This year so far oil prices and the broader financial

markets have suffered from acute bout of volatility, with no signs

of letting up.


Assemble and show as many business opportunities as possible:

it is one thing for frontrunners to conclude that the

Netherlands has enough circular cases to claim it’s a hotspot for

the circular economy, it is another thing to make it known to

others, in and outside the Netherlands. Focus on showing ánd




Include circular economy in different curricula: over the last

decade there has been more interest in sustainability from students

at Dutch universities and colleges. The upcoming circular

economy seems to build on that interest. Since it is an interdisciplinary

development with economical, technical and social innovations,

the curricula should not be limited to business schools.



Make ‘circular’ the easy, fun and smart choice for consumers:

accept that the general public does not change its behaviour

based on only the incentive of doing the ‘right thing’. Make circular

innovations tangible, practical: what is in it for him or her

and not (just) the planet. Don’t bother them with morals, but

make the new, circular choices easy and affordable.

Already stakeholders in the Netherlands are acting on these

stepping-stones: authoritative ministerial departments and

councils have published thorough reports and studies to steer

circular developments. A new study by the Social Economic

Council is in the making. Captains of Dutch industries issued

their visions, new coalitions of public and private organizations

and NGOs joined forces with ministries to assemble circular

frontrunners and their cases. Circular ‘hotbeds’ and expositions

are being realised and trade missions organized. Major cities are

implementing circular principles in their short and long term

plans. The Netherlands is making progress on its circular way,

encouraging others to work together for success. Just like Ford



Circular hotspot project: Researching the fiscal possibilities

of a fundamental tax shift from labour to the

use of natural resources; a precondition for a successful

circular economy.

Organizations involved: Deloitte, EY, KPMG Meijburg,

PwC, The Ex’tax Project Foundation, DOEN, Adessium

Foundation, MAVA Foundation.

... to a circular system

Iconic because: The fundamental value of the project

and the cooperating organizations. All reports and studies

on circular economy agree that some of the current

incentives at systems levels are perverse—for example,

taxing labour instead of material. This seems like common

sense, but the complexity of our tax systems is a

formidable barrier. In The Netherlands, the mentioned

organizations joined forces, and together they are working

together on feasible fiscal possibilities and solutions

for this tax shift. After finishing the Dutch case study in

2014, in 2016 the modelling of the tax shift for all EU

countries will be finalized and available: sharing innovation.

Iconic Project Illustration Frank Paats

8. Mgmt. Scope

9. Mgmt. Scope

Interview Carlos de Bourbon de Parme

Text Irene Schoemakers

Photography Kick Smeets

Circular Hotspot




Dutch astronaut André Kuipers went into space

an ordinary man but came back a committed

environmentalist. With so many people demanding

ever more from the Earth’s resources, cradle to

cradle is our only way forward, he believes.

‘Up there, we are recycling all the time.’

Early in the morning of 19 April 2004, Dutchman André

Kuipers, together with one Russian and one American

colleague, was launched into space from Kazakhstan.

Almost eight years later, on 21 December 2011, he

went back to space. Once again a Soyuz rocket took him

up to the ISS international space station for a mission

that would last more than six months. Today, however,

André Kuipers – who now has a planetoid named

after him – is no longer known simply for being an astronaut.

Since his space missions he has also become

a serious advocate for technology, science, nature and

the environment. One of his roles is as ambassador for

Techniekpact (technology pact); a project that the

Dutch government hopes will encourage young people

to study technological subjects. His other activities include

making appearances on TV science programmes

and travelling around the country to give lectures and

raise awareness of sustainable development.

Is saving the planet something that has always

been a major concern of yours?

‘No, certainly not. I have a brother who’s a biologist

and, when I was young, he was always very pessimistic

about humanity’s negative impact on our world. He was

fairly radical. He even thought we should stop having

children and stop using cars. He has, by the way, since

had his own children and he’s got a car, but he was fairly

fanatical about all this back then. In that respect he was

my conscience, because I actually looked at things from

a totally different perspective. I had an optimistic outlook

on life. While my brother could only see problems

ahead, I thought: it’ll all be alright in the end.’

When did your attitude change?

‘That happened during my space missions. I’d often go

and sit by the window to enjoy the view, and when you

look down on the earth you see two things: on the one

hand it’s a fantastic, beautifully-coloured ball in space. I’d call

it awe-inspiring. But as soon as you look past it, out into space,

that feeling quickly fades away. Suddenly you notice just how

thin the atmosphere is. Now the earth seems more like a single

living cell surrounded by a paper-thin membrane that’s only

about ten kilometres thick. That’s where the oxygen, wind and

clouds are. That’s where it all happens. All our lives are played

out in that narrow space. When you look at it from that kind

of distance, you get the feeling you could just blow it all away

with a single breath. It was then that I became really aware of

the truly fragile nature of life on earth. That opened my eyes

for good. If our atmosphere is ruined and we screw things up

down here, we’ve got nowhere else to go. That’s the end of


Your views literally changed right then?

‘Yes, that was how it happened. I can clearly remember flying

over India and realising that one billion people live there. Moments

later we’d left India behind, but less than one and a half

hours later we were over it again. Besides the fact that I suddenly

became aware of how vulnerable the earth is, it also became

clear to me how limited our space is down here. Our planet

isn’t actually that big at all. One minute you’re flying over the

Amazonian rainforest and a couple of seconds later you’re over

the Brazilian coast. When you’re down on the ground, standing

in the jungle, it all seems to go on forever. But when you look

down from up above, you feel and see just how small the earth

really is. All of us down here are like astronauts living in a small

spacecraft with only a limited supply of resources. That’s all we

have. Straight after my first space flight I got in contact with

the World Wide Fund for Nature. I offered to help them make

people aware of our planet’s vulnerability. Since then I’ve also

gone on to do other things to promote sustainability, science

and education.’

‘If all these people

want to live like us

in the Netherlands,

then we’d need

3.5 planet earths’



Medicine, University of Amsterdam


1991 - present day

Member of the European astronaut corps of the

European Space Agency (ESA)

1987 - 1990

Medical doctor, Royal Netherlands Air Force

Other positions

Chairman - André Kuipers Foundation

Ambassador - WWF

Ambassador - Emma children’s hospital

Ambassador - Airsmiles Foundation

Ambassador - WE Foundation

Advisory Board member - Nemo Science Center

Supervisory Board member - KNMI

Board member - Space Expo Noordwijk


Flying, diving, skiing, trekking, travel and history

Private life

Married, four children.

10. Mgmt. Scope

‘We even collect urine and process

it to make drinking water’


Circular hotspot project: Local fishermen collect discarded

nets, that wreak havoc with the marine ecosystem,

and sell them back into a global supply chain

– giving those destructive, broken nets a second life as

long-lasting carpet tile.

What causes you the most concern?

‘Humanity’s own impact on our future here. It was something I

paid conscious attention to during my space missions. You could

see the white trails left by airplanes. I could clearly see cities on

the ground, and Dubai’s palm-tree islands. But, unfortunately,

the air pollution was also clearly visible, especially over cities

in China. I also saw columns of smoke all over the place, and

bare patches on the ground – all the result of deforestation.

Madagascar, for example, where the mountains are crumbling

away because of the enormous quantity of trees being felled

there. There was also the astounding number of fishing boats

in the South China Sea. These enormous fleets - thousands of

ships - suddenly make overfishing a very tangible thing. You

can see man’s impact particularly well at night, when the earth

is cloaked with millions of tiny lights. It’s like flying over a

black carpet covered with a myriad golden stitches.’

What do you regard as the greatest threat posed by


‘There are many, but overpopulation is one of the most worrying.

A lot of people aren’t aware that no fewer than 200,000

new people join us on this planet every single day. And that’s

just the total left after you subtract the number of deaths each

day. In other words, that’s a daily increase equal to the size of a

city like Eindhoven. Every single day! If all these people want

to live like we do here in the Netherlands, then we’d need 3.5

planet Earths to achieve that. If everyone wants to live like the

Americans, that goes up to 4.5 Earths. So, that’s clearly impossible.

We can’t keep on continually growing without adopting

a sustainable approach to our resources. In short, we have to do

things differently.’

Where do you think we should be looking for the


‘Fortunately, I can think of many solutions that keep me hopeful

about the future. Take food technology. Numerous scientists

are working on things like using algae and insects in the food

industry. Technological innovations in the field of sustainable

energy also keep on coming. Wind and solar energy, for example,

and the use of alternative fuels for things like cars. Those

developments are coming at lightning speed.’

What did you think when you first heard about the

circular economy?

‘My immediate thoughts were about the cradle-to-cradle principle

and the fact that we really could be recycling much more

than we are. It’s something we do all the time in space. After

all, we only have limited room and resources up there, so we’ve

got no choice. For example, we recycle our water. It costs

€15,000 to launch a single kilo of weight into space, so we

take as little water as possible and we recycle it. That means

we also trap all the moisture in the air – whether it comes

from perspiration or wet towels. We even collect urine. We

use special equipment to remove the actual waste material and

then process it to make drinking water. It’s often even cleaner

than tap water. But we also need to keep extracting CO 2


the air. We don’t have any trees or plants to do that for us.

And we use it too. If you mix hydrogen and CO 2

you get water

and methane. We take the water and dispose of the methane.

You could also use these techniques on earth. We could, for

example, store wind energy and use it to remove CO 2


the atmosphere. The wind energy could be stored in the form

of the residual methane, providing a kind of battery that can

produce energy when there’s no wind. That would save a great

deal of energy.’

The United Nations’ 21st annual climate conference,

COP21, was held in Paris at the end of last

year. What impression did it make on you?

‘It clearly showed that countries across the world are finally

taking climate and the environment seriously – and with good

reason. We have in fact already passed the ‘point of no return’.

Climate change and global warming are already happening.

We can’t turn back the clock. But, naturally, I’m also a bit

wary. We can’t really expect any great changes to happen until

the parties concerned realise that they are going to benefit

financially by taking action on sustainability. There again, climate

change isn’t seen as a threat by everyone. It opens up possibilities

too. For example: as the polar ice in Greenland melts

away, governments are suddenly realising that this is opening

up the possibility of starting mining activities there.

Finally, what’s the Netherlands’ role in all of this?

Are we a frontrunner?

‘Definitely. There’s a lot of high-tech know-how here in the

Netherlands and we can use that to make a more sustainable

world. We need to spread that technological know-how even

more than we’re doing now. We shouldn’t be wagging our finger

at others, but coming up with solutions. That’s something

the Netherlands excels in.’

Organizations involved: Interface, the Zoological Society

of London (ZSL), Aquafil (together the ‘Net-Works


Iconic because: Interface, ZSL and Aquafil are creating a

solid business solution with long-term positive impacts on

marine and freshwater ecosystems while also providing financial

opportunities to some of the poorest people in the

world. So far over 80.000 kilograms of discarded fishing

nets have been collected in the Philippines – in Danajon

Bank, the Bantayan Islands and Northern Iloilo. If not

collected, these nets can persist for centuries, taking a toll

on the environment and marine life.

Photography Barbara Kieboom

‘The fisherman just hád to be in this photo. Because while I was feeling the new nylon thread for the

carpet tiles between my fingers, in my mind I backtracked to when the fishing nets were still used.

That was such an inspiring ‘journey’!’

Iconic Project

12. Mgmt. Scope

13. Mgmt. Scope


Circular Hotspot Interviews Carlos de Bourbon de Parme Text Irene Schoemakers Illustration Yvonne Kroese



In a circular economy, business models will

change radically. Fortunately, there is growing

momentum within the finance market, say

Wiebe Draijer and Jasper Snoek.

Few people are likely to doubt the importance of

the circular economy. If humanity continues on

its current path, our resources will go on diminishing

and the environment will grow ever more

polluted. Circularity will put an end to this downward

spiral. In a circular economy the process of

value creation can be repeated over and over

again into infinity, without harming the environment.

Not only will the world will become a better

place and the earth more habitable, there will

also be opportunities for business and commerce.

To reach that stage, however, a massive transition

must take place – and this applies equally to

the area of finance. Business models will change

radically in a circular economy. If, for example,

a manufacturer stops selling products to ‘buyers’,

and leases those products to its customers instead

– because that reduces waste production and also

means more is re-used – this will have a major

impact on the company’s balance sheet.

Fortunately, there is growing momentum within

the finance market for the transition to circular

business models, as witnessed by the enthusiasm

voiced by two influential figures in this field.

Jasper Snoek is Financial Director of DOEN, a

foundation that finances social and sustainable

initiatives. Wiebe Draijer is the ceo of Rabobank,

one of the four major Dutch banks, which

plans to do a lot in the field of circular enterprise.


‘The term ‘re-use’ now crops up in almost

all growth-related business and government

plans. So there’s a solid basis for

Rabobank’s belief that circular enterprise

is the number-one business model of the

future. That’s the reason behind us doing

things like launching the Rabobank Circular

Economy Challenge in which we’re

encouraging our customers to come up

with ‘circular’ business opportunities.

The world needs a circular economy, not

only because of the economic benefits

but also to ensure that, in the future too,

there will be enough food and energy for

everyone. What this issue really needs is a

‘grand design’. The momentum’s already

there, now it’s time for government, the

business world and social organisations to

take action and make cross-sectoral plans

for a circular economy.

Rabobank, together with the other major

Dutch banks, has recently taken

the first steps in this direction. We may

compete with each like crazy, but we as

a sector can also join forces when it’s

necessary. But that’s not enough. We

will also need things like new financing

structures for circular business models,

and new chain designs. That calls for a

master plan that spells out which chains

we’re going to prioritise for the radical

changes needed to make them circular.

Make no mistake, the Netherlands has

the potential to take the global lead on

this issue. We’re a small country where

a circular economy should be fairly easy

to organise compared to larger countries.

Relatively speaking, we aren’t overly dependent

on raw materials and, on top of

that, we’ve got enormous amounts of expertise

in this country. You could see that

at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The ‘food agenda’ there was almost totally

dominated by Dutch companies like

Unilever, DSM and Rabobank.

That expertise is also recognised internationally.

We often underestimate our

own potential. But we as a country now

have a real opportunity to set the global

agenda. And let’s be clear about it, the

circular economy isn’t at all the same

thing as ‘sustainability’. That’s why it

needs its own, separate agenda. The time

has arrived, we have the expertise. Let’s

do it.’

‘The circular economy

is coming

closer to being a

reality. Using funds

from the Dutch

National Postcode

Lottery, we support

initiatives that truly

dare to lead the way in this area. Think

of examples like Ecovative, which makes

degradable alternatives for packaging

materials. A growing number of businesses

are moving away from the traditional

manufacturing principle and coming up

with new, circular initiatives. We are

also seeing an increasing number of large

businesses taking a more serious approach

to the concept of the circular economy.

Not just making it an issue for their corporate

social responsibility departments,

but actually making it an integral part

of their business operations. This could

speed things up considerably.

It’s exciting to see how financial processes

and systems will change as a result. As it

is, a large amount of financing takes place

on the basis of assets. This system is going

to change radically in the new economy.

The sale of products to consumers won’t

be the core business any more. Instead,

consumers will hire products from suppliers

and manufacturers for a certain

time. This means it will take longer to

earn back the initial investment, and

so businesses will need a larger amount

of pre-financing. The demand for capital

will increase. At the same time there’ll be

a steady stream of income from consumer

subscriptions. So, that provides a certain

form of security.

Whatever else happens, the corporate

balance sheet of the future will look completely

different. We’ll find the right ways

to do this by businesses coming together

and doing the necessary pioneering

work. We at DOEN are posing questions

to banks about this. For example: if we

support an innovative circular-economy

initiative in the initial phase, what needs

to be done in order to ‘transfer’ the party

concerned to you at a later stage? In this

way we can both ensure that circular initiatives

really have a chance to succeed,

to ensure life on our planet becomes truly


14. Mgmt. Scope

15. Mgmt. Scope


Circular hotspot project: Use-It-Wisely: a programme

to develop tools and a design structure in which office

furniture can be re-used or remanufactured, thereby reducing

environmental impact, creating new business and

contributing to the circular economy.



Photography Barbara Kieboom

‘I’ve always felt a special connection with designers; they look at the world and everything in it with

different ‘lenses’.. The circular designs at Gispen seemed to be crying out to me: we love our work.

Every piece of it.’

Iconic Project

Organizations involved: Gispen, TNO.

Iconic because: Without new designs, there will be no

circular economy. Currently most products in office interior

are designed, manufactured and sold to the end-user.

In case of malfunction, changing functional requirements

or trends, a new product is designed, produced and sold

again. Gispen and TNO are exploring ways to ‘close’

the lifecycle of office furniture. Next steps for TNO and

Gispen are the further integration of the circular economy

into Gispen’s daily business, with the design of a circularity

checklist and circular design framework that can

be applied to different products and services.




Architect Bill McDonough builds ideas as well as

buildings. The central idea behind his work is his

Cradle to cradle philosophy of rethinking design as

a positive regenerative thing, instead of a negative

or destructive one. The Dutch concept of a Circular

Economy helps us, he says. ‘It sets the stage for a

dialogue about how we are living. After all, recycling

poisonous things and calling it circular is still


McDonough, who spends a lot of time in the Netherlands,

believes the key to reshaping the world is innovation.

‘Commerce is the engine of change. Saying

we want a thing that purifies the world and heals it, as

our platform behaviour, leads me to innovate into that.

People who get into sustainability and think, ‘My job

is to select green looking things so I can join the

train’ quickly discover that what they thought was

a shopping cart exercise is not. It actually requires

innovation. The great thing

about the Dutch economy is you

have a culture of sharing – you

can’t create a polder unless you

work together. You live in a

state of awareness of the global

forces of nature. You’re under

water. I think the Dutch are in

a very good position to take

stock of everyone’s experiences

and realize that we are now

in a moment of the commoditization

of renewable power and say,

what does that mean, and design

into it. The Dutch are in a unique

position and that’s why I work here.

Leibniz said If it’s possible, show it exists.

My job is to make it exist, so that

we can show that’s it possible. And I think

the Dutch have a unique moment of alignment

and a strong convening power.

All this is going to take forever. That’s the point. But

remember, humility is important for us as designers. We

went to the moon before we put wheels on luggage.

We’re not that smart but we’re working on it.’

Text Richard Walker Photography Lynne Brubaker


16. Mgmt. Scope

17. Mgmt. Scope

Interview Carlos de Bourbon de Parme

Text Hans Pieter van Stein Callenfels

Photography Lex Draijer



‘If we do nothing,

we’ll be dependent

on others for our

raw materials in

20 years’ time’


In the past ‘Everything is speeding up’ was a phrase

to describe computer processing speeds and sports

cars on Top Gear. According to former European

Commissioner Neelie Kroes, it also now refers to the

pace at which young companies in the Netherlands

turn ideas into valuable circular business practices.

You’ve got a great deal of experience with large businesses.

What’s your view of how they’re reacting to

all the new developments with startups?

‘Some of them are playing a positive part and reaping the benefits

of all these innovations. There’s a good example in Eindhoven,

where one major company is surrounded by a cluster of startups

which, in turn, are fed by the research conducted at the university.

Large companies that have the right kind of focus on the

future – think of DSM, for example – often take a highly intelligent

approach when it comes to working with smaller partners.’



Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam


2015 - present day

Special Envoy Startup Delta

2009 - 2014

European Commissioner Digital Agenda

Circular Hotspot

When asked what she regards as the essential importance

of sustainability, Neelie Kroes quotes the advertising slogan

of a well-known wristwatch brand: You never actually

own it, you merely look after it for the next generation.

Ms Kroes says, ‘It’s our duty to make sure we pass the earth

on to our children in a way that won’t cause us to hang

our heads in shame.’ It’s a question of shouldering responsibility,

not standing on the sidelines, and of taking action.

If one thing characterises Neelie Kroes it’s her drive.

For the past 18 months she’s been campaigning on behalf

of StartupDelta, a project that’s put the Netherlands on

the world map as an attractive location for startups. New,

innovative businesses in the fields of technology, finance,

healthcare, and education want to grow rapidly in a climate

that encourages enterprise, and to establish ties with

larger companies, research institutes and financiers. No

one could be better qualified than Ms Kroes to be StartupDelta’s

special envoy. As a former Dutch government

minister and ex-European Commissioner (Competition

and, later, Digital Agenda) she has a large network, and

her words carry weight. At the core of StartupDelta’s efforts

lies innovation in business and industry, and innovation

nowadays almost always goes hand in hand with

sustainability and socially responsible enterprise. This is

why Neelie Kroes was happy to speak to Prince Carlos

de Bourbon de Parme, who – as chair of the Netherlands

Circular Economy Hotspot campaign – is working hard

on initiatives aimed at giving the Netherlands a circular


With you as ambassador for StartupDelta, the

Netherlands has moved up into the top 5 of

the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking. How

do you see the role of innovation in the Dutch


‘Innovation is essential when it comes to maintaining

your ability to compete, to keep on staying ahead of the

game. Innovation means you have to ask yourself: what

will tomorrow’s earnings model be, how will the coming

generation do things? It also means looking at all kinds of

different scenarios, including the social and climatological,

as well as economic ones.’

Has the business climate for innovation changed?

‘Of course, there have always been inventors who’ve come up

with brilliant ideas, but they were often the ‘absent-minded

professor’ types, working on new inventions in the attic or in

their garage. Nowadays the system is much more open. It’s much

easier to find the money needed to finance innovation, and the

resulting know-how and knowledge are now shared much more

quickly. The driving principle today is that we’ll all be better off

as a result.’

What’s Europe’s role?

‘Well, naturally, innovation doesn’t suddenly stop at the border.

It would be shortsighted of us not to regard Europe as one single

digital market. However, in reality we are still living in a world

of borders: physical, fiscal and political. Say, for example, you’ve

got a great startup here in the Netherlands. The business is doing

well and you want to expand into Belgium or Germany, you’ll

still have to hire a lawyer or tax advisor first. The system isn’t

fully geared up for this kind of thing yet. But we do have a gold

mine at our door: an enormous economic market. We really need

to make the very most of that.’

2004 - 2009

European Commissioner Competition

1991 - 2000

President Nijenrode University

1989 - 1991

Advisor to the European Transport Commissioner

1977 - 1989

Vice Minister (until 1981), Cabinet Minister of

Transport, Public Works and Telecommunication

1971 - 1977

Member of Parliament

1969 - 1971

Member of the Rotterdam Municipal Council

1965 - 1971

Ass. Professor Transport Economics, Erasmus University

Other positions

Special adviser Bank of America Merril Lynch

Director Salesforce

18. Mgmt. Scope

Private life

One son

‘Inventors used to be absentminded

professor types

in the attic. Not anymore’


Making money and making the world more sustainable

aren’t mutually exclusive anymore. Have you

seen examples of this in practice?

‘We organised a breakfast meeting recently, and Boyan Slat was

there. He’s the young man behind the Ocean Cleanup campaign.

It was fantastic. He’s not only thought up a clever way of cleaning

up all the plastic in the oceans, he’s also got plans for a whole

chain of operations to put that plastic to use and also to ensure

that the entire process runs on a sound business footing. The

level of energy and leadership he displayed there made a deep

impression on me. There are very many more initiatives like that

out there.’

What surprises you the most when you look at the

these startups and the work they’re doing?

‘Two things: there’s much more happening than is generally

known – in fields like the biotech industry, life sciences, and the

list goes on. Secondly, and this is connected with the first aspect,

the speed of development is without parallel. Once a concept

has been developed it’s on the market in no time. That used to

take years. It’s forcing large businesses to stay on their toes, and

to keep looking at what’s going on around them. Incidentally,

when you’re talking about the interaction between the world of

business and industry and the sustainability sector, I think the

latter could look to the it industry for an example in terms of the

speed they need.’

In what way?

‘In the sustainability sector, innovation and processes move more

slowly than in the it business. It would be a good thing for the

two sectors to support each other more. In the case of it, they

have to act extremely quickly just to keep up with the game.

In that respect, there’s less pressure on the sustainability sector.

Communication also plays a role here. Amazing things are happening

in the fields of innovation and sustainability here in the

Netherlands. They could act as a driving force for the rest of the

sector, but often we’re much too modest about these things.’

We’re paying the Chinese to recycle our batteries,

adding valuable raw materials to their resources.

Why aren’t we doing that ourselves?

‘There’s no short-term benefit to be gained from doing so. That’s

the point. We tried to address issues like this, with the help of

big business and industry, during my time in Brussels. At that

time many businesses said: the market prices are fine, we don’t

need to recycle that particular kind of waste here in Europe. But

I agree with you that this isn’t a sustainable position. If we go

on the way we are now, we’ll be totally dependent on others for

our raw materials in 20 years’ time. And, indeed, this needs to

happen at the European level. If you set up a programme for the

Netherlands alone, that will be much more expensive than if you

were to invest in three modern processing plants across Europe.’

Should the Netherlands be taking the lead on issues

like this – in partnership, for example, with two or

three other European countries?

‘We should. If you work bilaterally or as a group of three and can

come up with three examples of working projects, the rest will

soon join in as well. We in the Netherlands could lead the pack

in that regard. However, these circular initiatives will also need

the support of our Ministry of Finance, and we’ve noticed with

StartupDelta that they aren’t the most progressive of organisations.’

In your opinion, why do we need to move towards a

circular economy?

‘My feelings on the issue are two-fold. Firstly, we can’t continue

as we are now, because everyone knows that the system isn’t sustainable.

In the past, it was perhaps possible to close your eyes

to the situation, but things like climate change are now having

a concrete impact. In the future, how will we be able to explain

to our children and grandchildren that we made a total mess

of things even though we knew exactly what was happening?

Secondly, there’s a global economic process going on in terms

of sustainable development which you not only need to join in

with, but which also offers a whole range of possibilities for you

to stand out from the crowd.’

The system will have to change radically. How do

you, as a former politician, think it will be possible

to get the general public to support and participate

in that change?

‘It involves forcing people to make difficult choices. I recall from

my time as a government minister (Transport and Public Works,

1982-1989) that we had initiatives to get people to use their cars

less. That created something of a dilemma because car ownership

was finally something almost everyone could afford. It was the

same with air travel. Is the answer to force people to change?

Nowadays you see that the sustainable alternative – whether that

is transport, or food, or drink – is often the more expensive option.

You need to take this social factor into account. People’s

first priority is to earn a living. In terms of the political debate

about these issues, however much you stick to the facts, you simply

can’t ever afford to ignore people’s feelings.’

In September of 2015, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals

(SDGs) that aim to eradicate poverty, promote peace, fuel inclusive growth and

protect the environment. At last, the world has a holistic agenda for development

by 2030 that addresses the critical social, environmental and economic challenges

our societies face.

There are solutions for many of those challenges, and business holds the key. By

using resources efficiently and sustainably, we can benefit our economies, societies

and the environment. Business must shift away from the traditional linear model

of ‘take-make-dispose’ towards a circular, closed-loop model, where the concept of

waste becomes obsolete.

The end of the take-make-dispose

era has arrived

A circular economic approach includes new business models that incorporate different

value-chain networks and opportunities for co-innovation. We have to rethink

material use and product design to deliver service-based function rather than

the traditional ownership model. Used products and materials, including wood, can

be re-engineered and used again, or reduced to raw materials to manufacture other

products. The input costs saving on materials could be as much as 20 percent or US$

700 bn per year.

At the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), we work

with the world’s leading companies to accelerate the transition to a sustainable

world. To advance the circular economy, we have developed a Horizon2020 proposal

for a large-scale system change in the EU’s secondary raw materials market. Developed

in partnership with Lancaster University, a new digital platform coupled with

eco-innovation hubs will direct materials that are not easily reused or recycled. It

aims to improve resource productivity and significantly reduce residual waste.

We believe in the potential of business innovation to improve lives across the planet

and help protect our environment. Business has a responsibility and a key role to

play in the transition to a sustainable economy. The end of the ‘take-make-dispose’

era has arrived. Sustainable profits call for a circular future where waste becomes the

new engine for value-creation.

Peter Bakker

President & ceo of the World Business Council

for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)


20. Mgmt. Scope

21. Mgmt. Scope

Circular Hotspot Interviews Carlos de Bourbon de Parme Text Hans Pieter van Stein Callenfels Illustration William McDonough + Partners




The most sustainable working environment in

western Europe: this is the ambition of The Valley,

350 hectares of land currently being turned into a

circular business nerve-centre and showcase.

The Valley, part of Schiphol Trade Park, is a collaborative

effort by project developers, sustainability organisations,

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and the municipality

of Haarlemmermeer. A place where businesses, research

institutions, logistics partners and sustainability organisations

all come together in a green, park-style environment.

The aim is to take the very best circular principles

and apply them to the creation of a climate where business,

skills and know-how can flourish. The Valley will

act as a kind of test lab where sustainability and innovation

can come together – an international showcase for

successful circular projects and initiatives.

Grand ambitions maybe, but – according to Coert Zachariasse

and Guido Braam – not a moment too soon. These

two men, both involved with The Valley project from the

outset, think it’s high time the Netherlands showed the

world how it’s blazing the trail on the path to the circular

economy and sustainable enterprise. Coert Zachariasse is

director and owner of Delta Development Group, a project

development business that has embraced cradle-to-cradle

principles since its foundation. Guido Braam is a social

entrepreneur, a partner in Kirkman Company, a former

director of Circle Economy, and responsible for the first

‘circular’ international trade mission, due to visit the

Netherlands in April.


Zachariasse: ‘’There are loads of people and businesses

who can’t wait to get going on circular projects, but they

aren’t sure where to start. We want The Valley to provide

a central location where innovative businesses with circular

ambitions can respond to regional demand. A collection

of ‘stories’, where we have concrete business cases

that allow us to show the kind of energy this issue is generating.

People need to be able to touch it, see it, taste it.’

Braam: ‘The Valley will be the epicentre of circular innovation

in the Netherlands. The circular economy is in the

exciting phase where new concepts surface all the time,

but too often they do not have a proper place to land, or

a haven to develop and grow. This is exactly what The

Valley has to offer. In one location you will be able to

find multinationals, SMEs and policymakers working independently

and in groups. Projects will be born there,

but also developed and eventually realized, with an Expo

to showcase the latest successes.’

Zachariasse: ‘What we have at the Valley is a fantastic

place to show the world just exactly what we can do.

There’s a wide demand for circular projects here – from

places like the municipality of Haarlemmermeer to the

Flower Auction in Aalsmeer. We’re turning those wishes

into deeds. The scariest thing we could do right now

would be to stay where we are and do nothing.’


Zachariasse: ‘Our world can’t continue to exist if we keep

going the way we are now, that I’m sure of. If we keep on

using our natural resources and turning them into waste,

we face a double hazard: more pollution and an end to

our supplies of raw materials. The principles on which the

circular economy is built are very simple – it’s basically a

question of closing cycles. Just look at nature, it’s been going

on there for billions of years, right in front of our very

noses. Each of us human beings has an intrinsic desire to

leave the world behind in better shape

than they found it. If you get someone to

look at two pictures – one showing a child

at a filthy garbage dump, the other with a

child standing next to a pristine lake – and

then ask, ‘which of these two worlds do

you prefer?’ everyone will choose the last

one. But once we’re part of the ‘system’,

start wearing a suit and carrying business

cards, suddenly it’s ‘Yes, I really do want

to, but I can’t’. We have to change that.’


Braam: ‘The Netherlands is an ideal

country for experiments or pilots, which

is why the transition to a circular economy

is such a natural fit. Systems don’t

change overnight; it’s a lengthy process

of trial and error. And it’s not just about

technology and economics, but also about

process: companies, national and local

governments, the academic world, they

need to work together. In this respect

the Dutch have the advantage that they

do not value hierarchy very much, which

makes it relatively easy to create unusual

partnerships and coalitions.

In 2014 The Dutch Social Economic

Council organized two meetings with

over forty representatives of a wide variety

of businesses and organizations. Multinationals,

SMEs, NGOs, municipalities,

and representatives from every corner of

government, gathered in one room, with

a Dutch Prince as chairman. Within the

hour everybody was discussing the opportunities

and challenges of the circular

economy, without any acknowledgement

of hierarchy whatsoever. These meetings

quickly led to concrete actions. I don’t

think there are many countries in the

world where a process like this could take



Zachariasse: ‘The circular economy is essentially

about collaborating on the basis

of shared values. The construction industry

has always been transaction based, i.e.

it has to cost as little as possible and ‘your

loss is my gain’. But that’s turned upside

down in the circular model where you say

to your partners, ‘this is our budget, let’s

share our thoughts and ideas about what

your role could mean for the total quality

of the project’. In that way everyone ultimately


Take Mitsubishi, who manufacture lifts

for big buildings. When they do business

with a building contractor they really get

squeezed. The price must be as low as possible

and quality suffers as a result. Consequently,

the lifts are worn out within

seven years, yet lifts like that could have

a useful working life of at least 40 years.

So Mitsubishi are now experimenting

with leasing out their lifts. They remain

the property of the manufacturer, who

will supply a top quality product and also

ensure it’s regularly serviced and maintained.

At the end of their useful lives the

lifts all go back to Mitsubishi to be re-cycled.

That’s circular: spreading the usage

costs and maximising residual value. And



it’s cost-effective: the new ‘lease-based’

method makes a difference of €15,000 on

a lift worth € 80,000.’

Braam: ‘The Netherlands holds the EU

presidency in 2016. We took this opportunity

to organize a very special ‘incoming

trade mission’. No less than 130 guests

from all over the world will participate

in a three-day programme that will show

them the most prominent and inspiring

circular projects and activities in the

Netherlands. We have people joining us

from countries like Luxembourg, Taiwan,

England and several South-American

countries. In addition to the many businesses

and organizations they’ll visit, we

will also encourage them to share their

knowledge and networks with each other.

That is one of the most fascinating things

about the circular economy: it is all about

new partnerships and cooperation.’

22. Mgmt. Scope

23. Mgmt. Scope


Circular hotspot project: The City of Amsterdam is

facilitating the development of the district Buiksloterham

into a sustainable and circular district, inviting individual

self-builders to make a contribution. The ‘Circular Buiksloterham

option form’, supports these self-builders in

realising a sustainable home with circular elements.

Photography Barbara Kieboom

‘Maybe it’s because it’s in Amsterdam, but these houses in Buiksloterham just seem to want to have

fun. And kids intuitively feel that. I felt like I had taken a step into the future, where this new generation

lived exactly the way they wanted to.’

Organizations involved: In 2015 more than twenty

different organizations and companies signed the Circular

Buiksloterham Manifesto. Together they are working to

transform Buiksloterham into a sustainable and circular


Iconic because: The circular city and sustainability are

broad ideas. They embrace themes like energy, intelligent

use of materials, recycling, climate resilience, and sustainable

mobility, as well as the shift from ownership to usership

and the development of new models for production,

consumption, distribution and logistics. Buiksloterham

Amsterdam Municipality is a great example of how also

citizens can get involved in these themes.

Iconic Project

24. Mgmt. Scope 25. Mgmt. Scope

Interview Carlos de Bourbon de Parme

Text Paul Groothengel

Photography Marco Bakker and Marc Nolte




Circular Hotspot

Amsterdam and Rotterdam lead the pack in the

pursuit of a circular economy. The cities’ mayors

– Eberhard van der Laan (Amsterdam) and

Ahmed Aboutaleb (Rotterdam) – open up about

the innovative power of circular businesses, how

to change everyday behaviour, and the switch

from owning to sharing.

Their backgrounds couldn’t be more different. Whereas

Ahmed Aboutaleb was born the son of an imam in Morocco’s

Rif mountains, Eberhard van der Laan is the son

of a GP and grew up in a protestant family in Rijnsburg.

Yet the two mayors also have a lot in common. For example,

neither of these social democrats entered politics

until late in their careers. Mr van der Laan began as a

lawyer, Mr Aboutaleb as a journalist. But politics soon

beckoned both men. Mr van der Laan became a member

of Amsterdam’s city council for the Dutch Labour Party

(PvdA) in 1990. Just two years later he was party leader

in the council chamber. In 1988, Mr Aboutaleb became

director of the Forum Institute, an amalgamation of various

organisations in the field of immigration and multi-cultural

affairs. He moved to the Labour party in 2003,

becoming an Amsterdam council executive board member

one year later. Both men then joined the national

government for a brief period. In 2007, Mr Aboutaleb became

State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment.

Just two years later, he was sworn in as mayor of Rotterdam.

Mr van der Laan became the government minister

for Housing, Communities and Integration in 2008. He,

too, became a mayor just two years later, in Amsterdam.

Something else the two mayors have in common: they

speak their minds and make no attempt to hide their enthusiasm.

Mr Aboutaleb, for example, advised Muslim

extremists ‘to shove off’ and said he ‘would like to destroy

Isis, root and branch’ following the attacks in Paris. And

four years ago, Mr van der Laan described the cuts on the

national culture budget as ‘a grim attack on our city. Cuts

are necessary, vandalism isn’t’.


Speaking to Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme about

Eberhard van der Laan (60) has been Mayor of

Amsterdam since 2010. After studying law at university,

he became a lawyer and later co-founded the legal firm

of Kennedy Van der Laan. In 1990 he won a seat on

Amsterdam’s city council as a member of the Labour

party. Three years later he was leading his party in the

council chamber. Mr van der Laan was the government

Minister for Housing, Communities and Integration

from 2008 to 2010.


Rotterdam, together with The Hague, has asked Jeremy Rifkin,

the well-known ‘future economy’ expert, to draft a ‘development

philosophy’ for the two cities as they move further down

the road to sustainability. Mr Rifkin, who also advises the European

Union and the Chinese government in this area, has

already said that within fifteen years the port of Rotterdam

could be fully automated, manned only by robots controlled via

a ‘super internet’ without human intervention. He has also said

that oil will have lost most of its importance by then, because

homes and businesses will be generating their own energy with

solar panels. According to Mr Rifkin, in the future instead of

handling fossil fuels, the port of Rotterdam will bring in things

like powder for use in 3D printers.

Jeremy Rifkin is drafting a Next Economy ‘road map’ for the

Rotterdam-Hague metropolitan region in which he will specify

the investments needed to bring about this transition. Mr

Aboutaleb insists this will be an entire philosophy, not just anthe

circular economy, the two mayors demonstrate their enthusiasm

as they talk about promoting initiatives in their respective

cities. The city of Amsterdam wants to adopt a more

intelligent and responsible approach to energy, water, raw materials

and food, says Mr van der Laan. ‘We want to be part of

an economy where waste is treated as a resource and where

we generate the energy we need from renewable sources. And

we want to do that by applying circular principles wherever

possible – recovering raw materials and using them again to

create new things.’ That requires new models for production,

consumption, distribution and logistics: ‘The movement that’s

already under way, the one that’s leading us away from owning

goods to leasing goods, that’s something we want to get going

faster. Onwards and upwards to the sharing economy. When I

was eighteen, people would almost commit murder, so to speak,

to get a driving licence and own their own car. People in their

twenties nowadays aren’t obsessed with that at all. They’re

quite happy to share a car with other road users. In their eyes,

owning a car is a thing of the past.’

Aboutaleb points to the importance of public and commercial

awareness: ‘In the case of Rotterdam, the circular economy isn’t

just a question of us using as little energy as possible or cutting

back on the amount of waste we produce. First and foremost it’s

Ahmed Aboutaleb (54) started his career as a reporter

with broadcasting organisations Veronica, NOS Radio

and then RTL News. He went on to be a press officer

at the Ministry of Welfare, Public Health and Culture

and then for the Social Economic Council. He became

director of Forum in 1998, and joined the PvdA Labour

party in Amsterdam in 2003. He became an Amsterdam

Council executive board member in 2004. Three years

later he was appointed government State Secretary for

Social Affairs and Employment. Mr Aboutaleb’s term as

Mayor of Rotterdam began in 2009.

about being very aware of how we use our raw materials, the

importance of insulating homes and reducing fine-dust emissions,

and so on. We need to become a city that, on balance,

isn’t an energy user but an energy producer.’

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a ‘circular’ residential area

North Amsterdam’s Buiksloterham district

is set to become a model example of how

‘circular’ towns of the future could look. This

is where raw materials, foodstuffs and water

will be re-used, and energy generated from

renewable sources, as much as possible. More

than 20 organisations, including the City of

Amsterdam, water company Waternet, the

Amsterdam Economic Board, energy company

Alliander and Amsterdam University of

Applied Sciences, are supporting sustainable

projects here, as well as developing new ones.

This district will become a ‘living lab’ where

new innovations, such as self-sustaining

communities, can be tried out in practice.

Buiksloterham is already home to a number

of sustainable and innovative projects. These

include a large number of ‘self builders’ who are

constructing their own homes from recycled

materials. From bricks to window frames,

everything is recycled. Another example

is De Ceuvel, a fertile haven for creative

entrepreneurs which is itself largely selfsupporting

in terms of energy and materials.

Port of Amsterdam

a breeding ground for circular enterprise

Amsterdam’s port and harbour area is growing

into a breeding ground for businesses in

the circular and bio-based economy. These

include Orgaworld, which uses organic waste

to produce green energy and other products;

Waternet, which is processing wastewater to

make phosphates; and Chaincraft, which is

developing techniques to produce bio-based

products for the chemical industry. The

presence of strong base-clusters for things like

energy, food, agricultural bulk commodities

and recycling puts the Amsterdam port area

in a strong position in terms of developing a

bio-based economy. Agricultural activities in

the immediate vicinity of the port, such as the

flower auction and local horticulture, mean

there are ready supplies of organic material. In

addition, re-usable organic materials and waste

flows are plentiful in the Amsterdam region.

other of many plans: ‘I’m quite capable of drafting a plan too,

but that wouldn’t be enough. A plan usually focuses on just

one direction. A philosophy entails a complete, comprehensive

‘story’ where the elements needed to achieve sustainable

development and a circular economy all come together and

form a whole.’


The mayor of Rotterdam wants to involve many parties in

developing this philosophy – government, business, and the

general public. ‘Obviously, you simply have to make a clear distinction

between these groups, because this can’t all come from

government.’ In contrast, Mr van der Laan says he wouldn’t

necessarily use the word philosophy. He would rather speak

about people’s attitudes - garbage is an issue for each and every

citizen, for example. ‘Last November I was in Tokyo, one of

the cleanest cities in the world as far as I can see, and while I

was there I noticed something that both surprised and inspired

me. In this city, with its population of no fewer than 37 million

people, you can’t find any waste bins at all in public areas!’

This came about as a result of the chemical attack on the Tokyo

subway system in 1995. The city government took away all

the public waste receptacles and told the city’s inhabitants that

they shouldn’t pass their rubbish on to the community, but take

care of it themselves. ‘And their message was accepted too.

What can we learn from that? That you can indeed radically

alter people’s behaviour.’ But would that work in Amsterdam?

Mr van der Laan says, ‘Why not? In the 1980s one of the biggest

irritations in our city was dog excrement. Who would have

thought back then that the problem would have disappeared

totally by now, simply because all our dog owners trail after

their pets with a small plastic bag in their hands?’


Both mayors say that the circular economy fits Rotterdam and

Amsterdam like a glove. But why is that? Mr Van der Laan: ‘We

have enormous innovative strength in Amsterdam because of

the combination of startups, established business and industry.

Startup Delta - which aims to bring startups, government,

knowledge institutions, business and financiers together - isn’t

based here for nothing. Our harbour district is already home to

a range of businesses that are operating in the circular and biobased

economy. And we have the requisite spinoffs from our

universities, such as Photanol, which is located in Amsterdam’s

Science Park district. This company aims to use bacteria as part

of a process that will turn CO 2

and sunlight into chemical products.

We have a strong creative sector that’s well positioned to

develop products for the circular economy. And, last but not

least, Amsterdam is a city of entrepreneurs. When I talk to

young entrepreneurs it strikes me again and again how they regard

the circular business model as the logical way to go.’ More

broadly, this also applies to the Netherlands as a whole, Mr van

der Laan continues: ‘We’re an enterprising little country. Look

at the creativity going on in our towns and cities. That attracts

foreign businesses, and intelligent people too. Once all these

elements come together, all kinds of things start happening.

They trigger each other in a good and positive way.’

Mr Aboutaleb points to the innovative strength of Dutch businesses

in the food industry: ‘Not only because we manage to

produce such enormous amounts of food per square kilometre

– and with limited water use, by the way – but also because

we’re really good at coming up with innovative, sustainably-produced

food products. Know-how of the kind we’ve built

up with our cattle industry – with things like cheese, milk and

meat production – that’s a first-class export product too.’


When the need for the circular economy is discussed, one of

the arguments often raised is that one of its logical side effects

will be large numbers of new jobs. Consultancy firm McKinsey

has calculated on behalf of the Ellen McArthur Foundation,

for example, that a circular economy in Europe could generate

additional added value worth around €500 billion per annum.

And the TNO research institute has calculated that, in the case

of the Netherlands, this will work out at around €7.3 billion in

extra added value, and approximately 54,000 jobs. There are

great opportunities here, particularly in the construction industry

and in food chains, both in terms of creating added value

and additional employment, as well as limiting CO 2


and reducing the use of raw-materials. Mr van der Laan: ‘We’ve

also been doing the sums for our city. Just suppose that we apply

circular design and construction methods to all 70,000 of

‘We have





the new homes we’re planning to build right now. That would

generate €150 million per year in additional net added value,

as well as 700 extra jobs. And if we started collecting all our

vegetable and fruit waste separately, that would generate an

additional €150 million per year, and 1200 new jobs. But we

shouldn’t get fixated on those figures. You need to be cautious.

You never know in advance whether those jobs will actually


In this connection, Mr Aboutaleb mentions Bill Clinton: ‘He

had some research carried out at one point and it showed that

while building a new power station would create 2,000 extra

jobs, retrofitting buildings to save an equivalent amount of energy

would generate 4,000 new jobs. In short, it’s demonstrably

better in economic terms to insulate existing buildings than to

create additional energy-generating capacity.’


Towns and cities both in the Netherlands and abroad are becoming

increasingly open about sharing their knowledge and

experiences in the field of circular activities. That’s really improved

in recent years, says Mayor van der Laan: ‘We, together

with Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, form what’s known

as the G4. That used to be a club that wrote nagging letters to

the cabinet, but now we’re really trying to help one another. I

travel abroad a good deal and colleagues from the other cities

very often go with me. As far as people abroad are concerned,

that’s only logical. To the average person in China, Amsterdam

and Rotterdam are two centres within one urban area, and The

Hague and Utrecht are part of that too. To them, our “Green

Heart” looks like some kind of oversized Central Park.’ This is

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‘Our know-how

is a first-class

export product’

Heat from Rotterdam’s refuse

Using residual heat from industrial processes to

heat homes and business – this is now a reality

in Rotterdam. Construction of a warm water

transport system - known as the Northern

Pipeline and almost 17 kilometres in length

– has connected Rotterdam’s entire urban

heating network to a supply of excess heat from

the city’s port. The use of residual industrial

heat is cutting CO 2

emissions by 60 per cent,

as well as reducing the amount of fine-particle

pollution in the atmosphere. Work on this

pipeline network started in 2013 in Rotterdam,

Rozenburg, Vlaardingen and Schiedam. Energy

company Eneco is also using this system to feed

residual heat from AVR’s (a waste-processing

company) waste and energy plant in Rozenburg

into Rotterdam’s city heating network. This

renewable source now accounts for 80 per cent

of the heating energy formerly generated by

gas-fired power plants.

This pipeline network is the first step in what

should ultimately be a much larger ‘heat

roundabout’, a large heating network in and

around Rotterdam, which will supply heat from

industry and underground sources to urban

areas and horticultural greenhouse operations.

Shipping switches to cleaner

shore-based power

Vessels waiting to be loaded or unloaded

in the port of Rotterdam often leave their

heavy, diesel-fuelled engines running while

anchored. For some time now, the port has

had a generator ban in place for inland

waterway vessels tied up at public moorings.

The port now offers an alternative in the

shape of cleaner shore-based power. This cuts

CO 2

emissions and reduces the local impact

of nitrogen and fine dust particles. It also

means that the surrounding area no longer has

to endure the irritating sounds of on-board

generators and engines. ‘Green’ vessels also get

a discount on the harbour fees charged by the

port of Rotterdam.


the scale that business parties abroad are used to dealing with.

‘This is why we like to present ourselves abroad as a combination

of four cities: Amsterdam as the creative hotspot where

foreigners and their businesses want to be located; The Hague

as the city of peace, and Rotterdam with its amazing port.’ Mr

van der Laan smiles broadly as he reveals how his own civil

servants sometimes question the compliments that get paid

to the Port of Rotterdam, pointing out to him that the port

of Amsterdam is equally fantastic and also good at things like

transhipping cocoa and petrol. ‘I tell them that this isn’t the

point, and that we all need to give each other a share of the

limelight. Our city isn’t in competition with cities like Rotterdam

or Eindhoven, but with major metropolitan areas like

London and Paris.’


Mr Aboutaleb brings up the C40, the global network of towns

and cities that are focussing on the move to sustainable development

and working closely together to tackle the effects of

climate change. Representatives from these cities also attended

the UN Climate Summit in Paris in December. Mr Aboutaleb

was invited to speak there about sustainable transport in the

port of Rotterdam. Invitations to speak publicly about his city’s

progress are nothing new. A couple of years ago he was invited

to New York by the Clinton Global Initiative. Bill Clinton

and New York’s then mayor, Michael Bloomberg, were among

the people he spoke to. ‘They’d asked me to talk about the

impact of climate change on coastal and shoreline cities. This

was prompted by Hurricane Sandy, the disastrous storm that

caused considerable damage across parts of the United States.

They were really eager to know how Rotterdam protects itself

against flooding. This international interest in Rotterdam’s story

is really great. It’s a promising sign for us, and something we

as a city can be proud of.’


Circular hotspot project: Producing fully transparent

PET-bottles from old PET-bottles.

Organizations involved: Port of Rotterdam, SUEZ,

Ioniqa (a spin-off from the Eindhoven University of

Technology and the Dutch Polymer Institute) and

plant One.

Iconic because: In its vision document the Port of

Rotterdam defined many pathways to a circular economy

in the Rotterdam/Delta region, including recycling

plastic waste to higher value applications. The successful

industrial symbiosis between Port of Rotterdam,

SUEZ and Ioniqa, is an iconic example of a ‘new pathway’,

as is the technology involved.

A true circular economy is about infinitely closing the

loop, which is especially crucial for plastic waste. SUEZ

and Ioniqa are doing just this. SUEZ by collecting and

sorting out the monostream PET and closing the loop

with partners. And Ioniqa through a treatment which

results in virgin quality PET/Polyester that is identical

to the current quality produced from fossil fuels.

It’s completely colourless and fully reusable. A game

changing innovation.

Photography Barbara Kieboom

‘Plastic is the most colourful and cheerful waste I’ve ever seen. Makes it hard to realize that it creates

major problems. So typical for ‘Rotterdam’ to roll up the sleeves and start solving them: process it

and make new colourless PET bottles out of them. It’s just how this city, its people and its Port roll.’

Iconic Project

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Photography Barbara Kieboom

‘Visiting the water… of Vitens, it struck me how the visual beauty of the unique Dutch fusion of land

and water also offers such amazing possibilities for better use of the most precious resource we have.’


Circular hotspot project: The water supply company

Vitens developed a production method whereby humic

acid can be put to use as a high-quality soil improver.

Organizations involved: Vitens, University of Wageningen,


Iconic because: Annually, Vitens produces 350 million

m3 of drinking water. This releases about 60,000 tons of

by-products, such as calcium, iron and humic acid, which

are expensive to separate. The company discovered that

these by-products could be used effectively in other sectors

and even be sold at a profit. This innovation is a big

circular step forward, because for a long time, the agricultural

industry which shares Vitens’ catchment areas has

pursued its own, sometimes conflicting, agenda. Now that

the company can produce such natural soil improvers as

humic acid and chalk pellets, they are able to cooperate

productively and complement each other’s objectives:

better crop yields and high-quality drinking water.

Iconic Project

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Text Irene Schoemakers Photography Kick Smeets





The circular economy is about to enter into a period of

amazing growth. If Sharon Dijksma gets her way, it will

become a truly global movement instead of a scattered

collection of individual initiatives.

Dijksma: ‘The circular economy is generating a lot of enthusiasm

among the public, businesses and in government

circles. It’s not seen - as environmental policy once was

– as a threat, but as an opportunity. That’s a good thing.

And it’s an opportunity we should all be seizing together.

Countries, businesses, or private individuals – everyone

can make their own contribution. All the lights are green.

This is why we’re currently working on a nationwide programme

involving all the government departments and


We’ve asked the Social and Economic Council to give us

its recommendations, and it should be issuing concrete

proposals in the second quarter of 2016 about using economic

and ecological opportunities. The government

is going to set out a common vision on this issue. This

should ensure it becomes a fixed item on the political

and democratic agendas.

If we really want to take the circular economy to the

next level, then government, private citizens and the

business world need to work together on this issue –

both at home and internationally. The great thing

is that we can actually achieve extremely good cooperation

where this issue is concerned. Parties are

increasingly speaking the same language, because

everyone stands to benefit. As a result, some great

initiatives have already been launched. The Netherlands,

United Kingdom, France and Flanders, for

example, recently signed an international raw materials

agreement with the business world and environmental

organisations. This Green Deal for the

North Sea Resources Roundabout makes it easier to

market and re-use the raw materials recovered from

waste incineration.

But great things are also happening on a much

smaller scale. Take the group of women in Groningen

who are making boxer shorts from old

shirts, or G-Star’s trendy jeans made out of plastic

recovered from the sea. We as a society now face

the challenge of making sure the circular economy

becomes a true movement and not just an array of

fantastic but scattered initiatives.’


Circular hotspot project: Don’t buy jeans. Lease them

from MUD jeans for a fixed period, then decide whether

to keep them or send them back for upcycling into socalled

vintage models. Recycling is also an option; the

fibres of the denim fabric are used to make other products.

Organizations involved: MUD Jeans, and among others

DOEN Foundation, Social Enterprise NL, Max Havelaar

Fair Trade.

Iconic because: The fashion industry is in urgent need

of circular business models. It is the third most polluting

industry in the world, cotton being the most pesticide-intensive

crop grown on the planet. MUD Jeans

shows that jeans brands can be hip, happening ánd circular

at the same time. Even the labels are made from

waste cotton and printed in organic ink. All products

are made from organic cotton only by fair-trade organizations.

Photography Barbara Kieboom

‘I don’t know what is is about blue jeans, but they always make me feel so alive! At Mudjeans they told

me they dream of a world without waste. I couldn’t help but think that a blue world is a happy world…’

Iconic Project

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Interview Carlos de Bourbon de Parme

Text Paul Groothengel

Photography Marco Bakker

Circular Hotspot



Air travel is never going to win any green earth

awards but at Amsterdam Schiphol airport

sustainability initiatives are the norm; from recycled

luggage belts to electric transfer buses. Ambitions

are high, says Schiphol’s ceo Jos Nijhuis. ‘We want

to be one of the world’s greenest airports.’

Jos Nijhuis smiles as he taps on a grey and red lacquered

coffee table – made from a pallet previously used at Amsterdam’s

Schiphol Airport. Mr Nijhuis, president and

ceo of Schiphol Airport since 2009, explains: ‘This is

increasingly how we handle building waste. Our ambition

is ‘zero waste’ by 2030, but there is a lot of work still

to be done.’

Jos Nijhuis started out as an accountant and worked at

PwC for 28 years, culminating in six years as chairman

of the board. His drive towards sustainability and the

circular economy is inspired by Peter Bakker, former ceo

at TNT and one of the clients whose books were once

audited by Nijhuis the accountant. ‘Bakker’s heartfelt

argument for sustainability really made an impression

on me. Much like Paul Polman of Unilever - an inspiring

leader when it comes to turning businesses into sustainable


What impact have circular economy principles

been having on Schiphol?

‘The fact is that airports are, by their very nature, not

prime examples of sustainable businesses. Nevertheless,

we can still do an enormous amount in all our operations

to make what we do cleaner, smarter, more economical

and more socially responsible. We want to be one of the

world’s ‘greenest’ airports. We’re extremely aware of the

impact the aviation business has on the environment

and our surroundings. In fact, our efforts to minimise the

impact on our surroundings have a long history. They

began way back in the 1950s when we first tried to limit

the level of noise experienced by the local population.

Quite simply, what we want to do is improve the quality

of life near our airports.

Our mission is to provide the Netherlands with the best

possible connections to the rest of the world, ‘Connecting

to compete’. This is essential to the success of the

Dutch economy. But there’s more to it than that. You

also need to focus on sustainability and the human aspects,

and we call that, “Connecting to complete”. After

all, those connections make it possible for people from

different countries to meet and establish social networks.

In this respect, I like to cite Maslow’s well-known ‘hierarchy

of needs’: connections contribute to the well-being

of individuals and societies all over the world.’

How have you increased sustainability and

implemented circular-economy principles at

the airport?

‘We don’t have a separate ‘Sustainability’ department

or something like that. I don’t believe in that approach.

This issue is a task for all our line managers, so that’s what

we’ve done: put it in their hands. After all, they’re the ones

that have to do the actual work. In this respect, my definition

of sustainability is a very broad one. For example, we also believe

it should include the way we treat our personnel. Sustainable

employment is one of the conditions needed for the

airport’s solid economic development. People need to be given

opportunities for personal development. Altogether, around

65,000 people work at Schiphol. Alongside our own personnel,

the airport as a whole also houses approximately 500 businesses

of various kinds. Take, for example, the 3,000 cleaning staff

who work at the airport. They’re not our own staff, but we do

make sure that they have decent terms and conditions of employment.’

Do you have any examples of sustainable developments

at Schiphol that are making a real difference?

‘A good example is some of the crops we grow around the airport

to discourage birds, like flax and elephant grass. The flax is

also used to make linseed oil, a basis for natural paint. We have

used that paint for our new parking garage, for example. The

elephant grass is converted into bio-concrete. Together with

the local government and other parties we’ve created benches

at Schiphol Plaza, built with this bio-concrete. The outside

material of the benches is a special bio-composite, which has

a luxurious appearance. It’s a very durable and cost-effective

solution. Once the benches have reached the end of their life,

they are broken up and used to make insulation material.

Not necessarily circular but very sustainable are our 35 electric

buses which are used to transfer passengers from planes

to the gates. Busses aren’t allowed to drive any faster than 30

kilometres per hour anywhere near the runways, and that’s too

slow to achieve the right level of combustion in a traditional

bus with a diesel engine. The extremely short distances these

buses travel, and the long time they spend standing still to let

passengers on and off, means the emission levels would be even

higher than those generated by a diesel engine in ‘normal’ use.

This is why we chose electric buses. The buses have their own

charging station at the airport, and the electricity comes directly

from our own solar panels.’

To what extent is Schiphol introducing circular


‘Well, let’s not forget that switching to a sustainable approach

can yield solid financial returns. Think of the reduction in energy

use, for example. We’ve got a long-term agreement with

the government which requires us to cut our annual increase in

energy use by two percent each year up to 2020, relative to projected

increases in passenger numbers and building expansion.

Our aim is to meet a large part of our energy needs from renewable

sources. One way to achieve this is, for example, thermal

storage in the ground and in building-concrete. We also want to

push ahead further with the switch from halogen to LED lighting,

which means a 70-percent reduction in energy consumption.

Some of our circular measures have only limited environmental

impact, yet their appeal is strong and they’re popular

with a large number of our employees. It’s a welcome side effect

that we’re also able to inspire the workforce in this way.’

Do you experiment with new circular ideas?

‘In economic and business terms, Schiphol is doing well. That

gives us the opportunity to experiment with sustainable measures

and also means we can afford to make the occasional mistake

along the way. About five years ago, for example, we came

up with the idea of using algae to remove glycol from water.

Glycol is sprayed on airplanes to prevent ice formation and

we also use it as a de-icer to tackle snow in the winter. These

agents remove oxygen from water as they break down. The sys-

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2009 - present

President and ceo of Schiphol Group

2008 - 2009

Member of Directors Team, Schiphol Group

2002 - 2008

Chairman of the Board of Directors of PwC

2001 - 2002

Vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of PwC


PwC, Partner Financial Advisory Services


1980 - 1998

PwC, various positions


Berk accountants and tax consultants

Private life

Married, three children

tem was working, but we had some trouble working together

with our business partner. Things like that happen.’

Do you watch other airports to see how they tackle


‘Of course. One bonus in that regard is that airports - because

of their regional function - are much less focussed on competing

with each other than, say, airlines. We’re fairly open

about sharing our know-how either directly or through Airports

Council International, our professional association. On a

recent visit to Chicago airport, which likes to present itself as

a sustainable operation, I was met by someone driving a Tesla.

He proudly told me that his airport had three Tesla cars. I kept

quiet about us having 167 Tesla electric cars in use at Schiphol

– which makes us the airport with the world’s largest fleet of

electric taxis.’

‘By using energyefficient

LED lamps our

electricity consumption

is cut in half’

To what extent is Schiphol cooperating with suppliers

and other partners in the field of sustainability?

‘That’s growing all the time. Other businesses, such as suppliers

like Philips and Cofely, are also setting the pace for us. One of

our lounges, for example, now has ‘circular’ lighting. How does

that work? Well, we ‘lease’ the lighting system on the basis of

a service and performance contract that regulates things like

performance requirements and energy use. We pay Philips and

Cofely – which handled all the technical installation work

– for this service. The light fittings and installations in our

lounges remain the property of Philips. They are responsible

for the lighting system’s performance and durability. By using

recyclable materials and energy-efficient LED lamps electricity

consumption is being cut in half! And this type of light fitting

has a useful life that’s 75 percent longer than normal. The new

design has also created a better lighting experience. The hardware

and raw materials used in this circular lighting system will

be re-used wherever possible, and that’s what I find so attractive

about it. Across the board we’re seeing a growing level of

creativity among our suppliers. Take Vanderlande, for example.

They’ve made luggage conveyor belts for us from non-toxic and

re-useable materials. These belts have also been designed to use

60 percent less energy. They last for about seven years and can

then be used again to make new belts.’

Since the climate conference in Paris, the Netherlands

has often been referred to as a circular economy

hotspot. How do you see this?

‘That could very well be the case. The political world, in any

case, thinks it’s an interesting issue, and that’s progress in itself.

But for a lot of parties this is a new field, so there’s always an

element of trial and error to it.’

Does the ‘circular hotspot’ label suit the Netherlands?

‘Definitely. I’ve got the impression that people abroad think it

does suit us – this small country with its very high population

density and level of infrastructure and industrial activity. But

we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. There’s still a lot of work to

be done to give more substance to that circular economy hotspot

status – even though we are indeed already leading the way

in waste management and in the switchover to electric cars.’



Money, as we know, makes the world go round. But, if used well, it can also make our

economy more circular. At PGGM, we believe that the financial sector can – and must

– accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Through an efficient allocation of

capital, the financial sector can enable companies to make urgently needed changes.

The circular economy is about risks and opportunities. Companies that continue to

produce in the conventional, linear way are exposed to price volatility and ultimately

shortages of raw materials. In the long run, investments in such companies are at risk.

By contrast, circular companies may well be tomorrow’s winners.

Circularity also brings non-financial benefits that contribute to a better world for future

generations. Less waste means better air and water quality and ultimately better health.

It also reduces the probability of severe climate change. The circular economy model

thus benefits planet, people and profit.

The circular economy is about

risks and opportunities

As a long-term investor, PGGM strives to accelerate the transition to a circular economy

in various ways. We look for attractive investment opportunities in circular companies

and projects. We engage with companies and encourage them to introduce circular

business models and thinking into their operations. And finally, we take initiatives to

increase understanding of the implications of the circular economy for the financial

sector. For instance, pay-per-use models require more and more patient working capital

than pay-for-ownership models, and bring different legal and technological risks. For

this reason, PGGM set up the working group FinanCE at the Ellen McArthur Foundation.

I am excited that the Netherlands has embraced the circular economy. It is encouraging

that the public and private sectors share this common goal and are working closely

together. Staying linear is no longer an option. PGGM is proud to be part of the transition

to a circular world.

Else Bos

Ceo of PGGM, which provides services in the field of pension

administration, communications, executive advice and asset

management to a range of clients


38. Mgmt. Scope

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Photography Barbara Kieboom

‘Honestly, I had never looked at lighting at Schiphol Airport before. But from the moment I looked

up, the massive surface of light just fell on me like a blanket. I instantly understood why selling ‘light’

makes more sense than selling lamps.’


Circular hotspot project: At Amsterdam Airport

Schiphol, the electricity consumption of the refurbished

Departure Lounge 2 will be reduced by no less than fifty

percent as a result of using reusable materials and energy-efficient

LED lighting.

Organizations involved: Philips, Cofely, Amsterdam

Schiphol Aiport.

Iconic because: Together with Philips and Cofely, the

airport developed ‘light as a service’ for its revamped Departure

Lounge 2. With this ‘circular lighting’, Schiphol

pays for the performance while Philips remains the owner

of the lighting fixtures and installations. Philips and

Cofely are responsible for the system’s performance and

life cycle.

Not only decreasing electricity consumption by fifty

percent, but also improving the visual perception of the


Other circular projects By Schiphol are the development

of new, 99% recyclable baggage conveyors and

benches made from elephant grass

Iconic Project

40. Mgmt. Scope 41. Mgmt. Scope



Testimonial Text Richard Walker Photography Kick Smeets




As the world’s largest manufacturer, China has the power

to make or break the circular economy model. The country

claims the growth of its circular economy is outpacing

even that of its GDP. But, the policymakers agree, there

is more to be done and learned.

Xu: ‘We realize it’s a great challenge for us in China to

strike a balance between economic growth, social progress

and environmental protection. Now we have a new fixed

pillar of society – eco-civilization, promoting green innovation

and coordination, together with the principles of

openness and sharing. If we want to leave a better world

to the next generation we have to be serious about the

circular economy. We are moving in the right direction,

and we are becoming more aware of global governance.

This is a process and in some ways China is still catching

up. Even if it slows our economic growth a little bit, we

need to make sure our growth is green. And innovation is

top of the list in the factors needed to make that happen.

We need to benefit from the Dutch in this area; how you

organize yourselves in the green economy, the best use of

water and land, and in manufacturing. Although we are

very different countries in size and population, you are

really advanced in many areas.

Among Chinese people the Netherlands are known for

their ‘Four Treasures’ – tulips, windmills, cheeses and

clogs. But economically the Chinese are impressed by

the way you organize yourselves. I think the majority of

Dutch are market oriented. The size of this country is

small but its impact is big, and goes beyond the borders of

Europe. Innovation is the driving force here, along with

trade and business.

In the Chinese system we can organize many people at

the same time to concentrate our force to finish one project.

Of course, you have to move forward with the model

that is suitable to your national condition; we cannot

mechanically copy the American or the European style.

And in China our huge population means we need a

strong central government to move ahead in a stable and

steady manner.

The circular economy is not only important for energy-saving

and environmental protection, but is also

widely applicable in sectors such as heavy industry, agriculture,

and services. Strengthening cooperation in the

circular economy is essential. I believe the businesses of

both our countries will find more space to cooperate in

the future.’


Circular hotspot project: The World’s first Green Carbon

Black, through a new process that turns old tires into

the world’s first high performance, pure, ecological carbon


Organizations involved: Black Bear Carbon, Circle Economy,

EU Eco-Innovation Initiative, ASTM International.

Iconic because: Black Bear ceo Martijn Lopes Cardozo

probably says it best: ‘Tens of millions of tires are burned

annually, wasting massive amounts of valuable carbon

black. Petroleum is used for the production of new carbon

black. Black Bear thought of something smart.’ The

standard way of producing carbon black is very polluting,

but it has a high surface-area-to-volume ratio, which

makes it widely applied as a reinforcing filler in tyres and

other products. Black Bear has developed a process enabling

the recovery of high quality carbon black from waste

tires, thereby providing a sustainable solution for a problematic

waste stream.

Photography Barbara Kieboom

‘Sometimes I regret not being able to add scent to a picture. The smell of the piles and piles of tires at

Blackbear adds to the raw and masculine feel of the Black Carbon they produce. This is a man’s world.’

Iconic Project

42. Mgmt. Scope

43. Mgmt. Scope

Interview Carlos de Bourbon de Parme

Text Paul Groothengel

Photography Marco Bakker




and industry. Ideals have combined with business interests

to form the moving force behind circular enterprise. It’s exciting

and could have many benefits. It’s maybe also a matter

of time. Don’t forget, a very large number of things have

changed for the better over recent decades. I can clearly

recall my parents taking me to visit relatives in Rotterdam

when I was a child. We were country folk, from Friesland.

My father used to take a jerry can of ‘fresh water’ along as

a present for our city-dwelling brethren! The water there

was so filthy you couldn’t make a decent cup of tea with it.’

Circular Hotspot

The motivation to make all our endeavours

circular is no longer purely idealistic – business and

government are now moving forces as well. ‘And

that combination has a great potential to bring

many benefits to our country,’ says Hans de Boer,

chairman of the Confederation of Netherlands

Industry and Employers.

‘If you make a mess, then it’s fairly standard for you to

clean that up yourself, isn’t it?’ Hans de Boer (61) is

known for his plain speaking. In recent years, the chairman

of the VNO-NCW employers’ organisation has become

aware that our prosperity cannot continue indefinitely

unless we develop circular systems and activities.

But as long ago as the mid-1990s, he discovered that

waste materials need not be seen exclusively as a problem,

but that they also offer interesting commercial prospects

for the business community. At that time he was

Chairman of the Supervisory Board of De Meerlanden, a

waste processing company, which he co-founded, operating

in the region of Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and

the Aalsmeer Flower Auction. ‘We were the first waste

processor in the Netherlands to have a gasification and

fermentation plant. It was used to process waste from

the flower auction, and it proved to be a technological

and commercial success from the start.’

If this awareness of the potential of waste

processing already existed twenty years ago,

why didn’t circular economic activities develop

here much sooner, particularly when you

think about the jobs they create?

Hans de Boer: ‘That’s a good point. Look, we already

knew about “Lansink’s Ladder” back then (named after

Dutch politician Ad Lansink). His environmental

concerns led him to draw up a system of standards for

waste management. According to his ‘waste hierarchy’,

re-use and waste prevention have top priority. They

come before recycling, and definitely take precedence

over incineration and waste dumping. But we’ve had

to wait a long time for businesses to take an active interest

in this, or turn it into a commercial proposition.

Forty years ago this was an issue for the ‘tree-hugging,

sandal-wearing’ community. That’s changed totally. It’s

now become an important issue for the world of business

To what extent are the members of the Employers’

Confederation aware of the commercial and

job-creation potential of circular enterprise?

‘They’re appreciating it more and more, to my great satisfaction.

As I see it, the combination of wanting to do the

right thing – in other words, shouldering your social responsibility

– with sound business motives is the best mix you

could find.’

Could you provide an example to illustrate that?

‘Before I started here at VNO-NCW, I worked in the real

estate business for seven years. For a long time, those ugly

‘construction kit’ buildings were about the only things being

built around our towns and cities. They were relatively

cheap. They were also the first things to fall vacant when

the financial crisis struck. They should really be demolished,

but that’s not happening. That’s the total opposite

of sustainability. In recent years, however, a fantastic counter

trend has been gaining ground. Now, the only buildings

being built in our urban centres are sustainable, or we’re

upgrading existing buildings, or knocking them down and

re-using the materials. And the reasons why this is happening

are both social and economic. The crucial thing is that

real estate investors are willing to pay a higher price for sustainable

buildings. It would, by the way, be good if lenders

were to follow that lead and come up with more attractive

financing conditions for investors like these.

‘We ought to have

a kind of recycling

‘bank’ for raw




Econometrics and Public Finance,

VU University Amsterdam


2014 - present

Chairman of VNO-NCW

2007 - 2014

ceo, LSI project investment

2003 - 2007

Co-founder of various businesses, including

PolicyProductions and Verzekerd Wonen

1997 - 2003

Chairman, MKB Nederland

1994 - 1997

Director, KPMG

1986 - 1994

Founder, Economic Research and Policy Consulting


1982 - 1986

Policy advisor, government of the Netherlands


1978 - 1982

Academic associate, Institute for Research on Public


44. Mgmt. Scope

Private life

Married, two children.

‘The philosophy here is

one of no left-overs’



Another positive aspect is that people who lease these sustainable

office buildings like to publicise the fact that they’ve chosen

‘green’ premises. That’s something they can, quite rightly,

use to make a good impression.

We’ve reached a new stage now. These days newly-built office

buildings are usually energy neutral, they’re easy to disassemble,

which means the building materials can be re-used at some

point in the future, and so on. Our architects and builders are

getting better and better at marketing this circular know-how

abroad. And that automatically means new jobs.’

I often hear from people abroad that they regard

the Netherlands and Dutch business as real leaders

on the circular economy. Do you agree with

me that we in this country are not sufficiently

aware of that?

‘The PR for ‘Netherlands Inc.’ is indeed not strong. The

strange thing is that we tend to get a bit big headed at the

wrong moments. Our timing isn’t that good. It’s a bit like the

way most Dutch people dance – with a distinct lack of rhythm.

Take our dairy farmers. Their milk production generates thirty

to forty percent less in CO 2

emissions than the foreign competition.

In the same context, you have a business like FrieslandCampina

that’s developing clever ways of handling cow

manure – things like fermentation, which cuts CO 2


considerably; and extracting useful nutrients from the manure.

Yet, what’s the average Dutch man or woman saying about our

dairy farmers? They just moan about mega dairies, about ‘the

industrialisation of farming’, etcetera. Personally, I find that

really irritating.’

Do we have sufficient ammunition to put the

Netherlands on the ‘circular’ map internationally?

‘We’re in the Top 5 of the world’s largest agricultural producers.

And we’re definitely a global leader in logistics. The combination

of the scarcity of resources, our experience with re-using

materials, plus the fact that we’re a logistics and agricultural

hotspot, all offer enormous opportunities for circular activities

and development. So it would be a good idea for us to keep

those scarce resources ‘inside’ our economy – and I mean that

literally. We ought to have a kind of recycling ‘bank’ for raw

materials. That’s extremely important from a strategic point

of view. Importing and exporting all those raw materials and

waste materials is, in any event, a massive exercise in logistics.

We’re good at that; we’re skilled at designing processes. It’s

not for nothing that we have such a high productivity level

compared to other countries.’

What’s the best way for us to get that message

across outside the Netherlands?

‘We simply have to do that. I regularly go on trade missions,

and the government organises regular trips under the ‘circular

enterprise’ banner. We’re going to Indonesia soon, for example,

probably on the theme of urbanisation. So, business people

who know about combatting air pollution, about water purification

and other circular activities, could be going with us.

One thing we also want to promote throughout the

Netherlands is the project to get the 2025 World Expo held in

Rotterdam. One unique aspect of this is that our bid is based

entirely on circular ideas and principles. New construction is

kept to the bare minimum, and any new pavilions built will

have a designated post-Expo use before they’re even built. Existing

buildings – in Rotterdam’s port district, for instance –

will be ‘re-used’ for this World Expo. The philosophy here is

one of no left-overs’.

What role should government be playing in terms

of stimulating the circular economy?

‘I’m an enormous believer in government playing a leading role

in the initial phase of developments – what we used to call the

‘infant industry argument’. Why wouldn’t the government do

that? It should be encouraging rapid growth towards a circular

economy with policies that support and facilitate that. Everyone

now believes in the need for the circular economy and

the opportunities it brings. The government should be inviting

businesses to come to the table, and it also has a key role when

it comes to its own investments and acquisitions. When a new

office building is being built for a government department, then

it should be standard for it to meet the most stringent energy

and circular requirements. By the way, when it comes to purchasing

policy you also need to create a climate in which the

party handling the acquisitions isn’t judged on whether they

negotiate the lowest price, but on the total cost of ownership.

After all, we know that the initial price of circular investments

is often relatively high, while the costs over the investment’s

entire lifetime are in fact lower.’

In conclusion, what do you see as the essential value

of the circular economy?

‘That you can do something that benefits the planet while, at

the same time, you as an organisation or private citizen also

benefit or gain knowledge from doing it. And on a personal

level? That we do the right thing in the most efficient way

possible. Personally speaking, that’s something that makes me

really happy.’




Australian green movement pioneer Andy Ridley is

now one year into his role as Managing Director of

Circle Economy, the Amsterdam based cooperative

working on a range of sustainability projects. For

Ridley, the salient question is: how do you move the

topic of the circular economy from rhetoric to reality?

One of the ingredients to the answer is, he says, the


Ridley: ‘What you have here is a very unusual gathering

of companies and people who get the idea of the

circular economy and are endeavoring, in some cases

successfully, to implement it. So if you want to learn

about it, come here.

You’ve got this extraordinary expertise building up

here in the Netherlands. Your next big leap is export,

because you’ve got a gift to bring to a lot of other

places. The circular economy is in China’s next

five-year plan, so next is practical implementation.

And that’s why I like working here at Circle

Economy, that’s what we do. Implementation is

what you see when you’re at Philips. Or another

example, at Friesland Campina, which exports powdered

milk to China. Systemic changes have taken

place on their farms, how they run them and maintain

happy cows. The way they’re trying to look after the

land, how they use manure. In Australia farmers don’t

like waste and it’s the same here, the circularity is getting

deeply integrated.

When I first came there it was a bit of a culture shock

for me. There’s much more discussion before a decision

gets made than in the Anglo-Saxon business culture.

I think that has a great bearing on the circular

economy because it requires so much interaction between

the different elements. I think there’s a unique

entrepreneurial spirit here in the Netherlands. The

word entrepreneur is used here as a compliment.’

Here in the Netherlands a lot of companies are identifying

some of the issues that obstruct the circular

economy. One of those is how do you change the consumer’s

expectations? No one’s engaged the creative

industries yet on this and I’d love to see that happen.’

Text Richard Walker Photography Kick Smeets


46. Mgmt. Scope

47. Mgmt. 47. Scope Mgmt. Scope

Photography Barbara Kieboom

‘Arriving at Park20|20, I was not very excited. These were, well.. office buildings. Then I went inside...

My first thought: do people really work here? It’s like working in a park. But it’s an office. With plants

and trees. Like a park. But it’s an office. With lots of sun and water. Like a park. But it’s an office. Or is it?’

Iconic Project


Circular hotspot project: Park 20|20, the first worldwide

Cradle to Cradle ® business park near Hoofddorp.

Organizations involved: Delta Development Group,

VolkerWessels and the Reggeborgh Group and among

others: Gemeente Haarlemmermeer, Arizona State University,

TU Delft, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Dutch

Green Building Council and the Cradle to Cradle Products

Innovation Institute.

Iconic because: It’s simply the business park of the future.

Park 20|20 combines an optimal ecological approach

with a ‘circular’ view on doing business. Human well-being

is the central element, which is so often forgotten

in office buidlings. This focus results in an inspiring and

healthy work environment. The park is made up of approx.

88.000 m 2 of office buildings and about 3.500 m 2

for amenities. Renewable energy through heat and cold

storage and photovoltaic cells as well as water purification

by means of helophyte filters are amongst its features.

48. Mgmt. Scope 49. Mgmt. Scope


The Netherlands Circular Hotspot is a campaign that is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and 31

organizations that are committed to realizing a circular economy. Each of them has offered a statement to underline that commitment.

‘Participating in a circular economy will become a license to operate for Waste to Energy plants. More specifically,

the reuse of all aggregates and metals in their ash will help them in becoming more circular. It decreases the industry’s

carbon footprint and preserves our nature’s scarce resources for future generations. Inashco’s mission is to be the

partner of choice for the Waste to Energy sector and other stakeholders focussing on responsible ash management.’

Arno La Haye - CEO Inashco


‘True cooperation is key to transform to the circular economy. Besides the fact that cooperation is a necessity,

it is also much more fun. It enriches life in all ways and above all, we huma ns cannot survive alone. Cooperation

is the only natural way.’ Cas van Arendonk - Managing Partner Powered by Meaning


Erika Koehler

Project leader of the Innovation Expo 2016

Coming in to land at Schiphol airport, spreading beneath you is a small country

with plenty of water. Surprisingly for such a densely populated place, instead of skyscrapers

we see meticulously planned farmland, company sites, waterways and roads

that, together, reflect the entrepreneurship that went into building them. And yet,

few passengers know that the Netherlands is a world leader in agricultural efficiency,

photonics, chip technology, logistics, and bio-based production, to name but a few.

Once on the ground, after noticing some challenging weather, visitors will find a

country populated by happy, healthy people.

Addressing the criticism of the OECD, that the Netherlands lacks productivity-boosting

megacities, I would therefore reply that the country in fact is one green

megacity of the future. Or, put more modestly: a Sustainable Urban Delta.

The Netherlands is one green

megacity of the future

The Netherlands has centuries of experience in public-private co-creation. It can

share its expertise with countries around the world in all aspects of urbanization and

create for itself a new, uniquely Dutch, industry. This is the theme for the Innovation

Expo in April 2016, held in Amsterdam. During its 2016 EU Presidency, the Netherlands

is hosting many events on innovation, of which the Innovation Expo is the

largest. It was initiated by the government fourteen years ago and is co-organized by

start-ups, topsectors, civil projects, universities, polytechnics, and the media. More

than 4000 people are gathering to see 220 showcases, and to exchange ideas.

I feel proud to be a project-manager of the Innovation Expo, but it goes further than


It is my belief that the Netherlands needs to become a living laboratory for the

dreams that lie underneath the innovations I’ve mentioned. Naturally, circular production

is what we all want, but most people are unsure about how to make that

happen. The government should take the lead, by forbidding plastic bags in shops,

for example. Yes, personalized medicine is wonderful, but the most important thing

is a healthy lifestyle. Of course, coding is important, just like reading and writing, but

imagination and cooperation should be the most important results of a child’s education.

It’s the mentality and the dreams people share, that bring meaningful change.

What’s next? The Circular Hotspot Valley opening in Schiphol’s Trade park is a

great initiative providing our circular businesses with more international visibility.

Why not combine a number of national innovation events to produce a large bi-annual

event? Then when people think of Holland they will think of innovation.

‘Through our work with organisations that are making the transition towards a circular economy KPMG is wellpositioned

to enable change with its clients. Companies and governments aim to show the value that the circular

economy create. This is where our experience in valuating societal impact comes in and supports leading companies

to show the environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of their solutions. Through this we aim to

inspire other players and create momentum.’ Bernd Hendriksen - Practice Leader of Sustainability KPMG

‘Circular Economy is a new approach of managing and eliminating all aspects of waste and recycling. Using renewable

resources, available capacity, embedded value of resources and generating new innovative services will create

value that is both good for the economy ánd the planet. As digital technologies play a critical role in supporting these

circular business models and will help companies to put them at the core of their strategies, the best time to act is

now’ Manon van Beek - Managing Director Accenture Netherlands

‘I believe it’s not only our moral duty but also economic sense to actively pursue a more sustainable, circular economy.

Rotterdam operates at the forefront of circular economy developments, leading the way in water management and

delta technology. Reducing and recycling waste also results in lower cost levels for the city, its companies and inhabitants,

simultaneously creating new jobs. Rotterdam actively supports initiatives by companies, knowledge institutes

and individuals who can take the circular economy forward.’ Ron Voskuilen - CEO Rotterdam Partners

‘As a utility company, we continually look for innovative solutions for a circular economy where waste no longer

exists and energy is sustainable. That’s not utopian, it is inevitable. Scarce raw materials will be depleted and the

demand for energy will only increase in a growing global population of nearly 9 billion and a rapidly expanding

digitalization of society. Together we can create a resilient circular economy. We must strive for an economy where

consumption is replaced by reuse.’ Wim van Lieshout - CEO HVC

‘Dutch Water Authorities (DWA) consider waste water to be a valuable source of renewable energy, raw materials,

and clean water. It has set up the Energy & Resource Factory network organization, in which energy and raw materials

are being recovered from waste water. However, the waste status of these materials and different EU quality standards

hamper innovation. We therefore ask for EU wide ‘end of waste’ criteria for secondary materials, including waste

water, to create a level playing field.’ Ingrid ter Woorst - Board Member DWA ‘Water quality & sustainability

‘Of course we feel responsible for our extensive ‘raw material bank’; thousands of kilometers of cable and pipe and a

lot of technical installations that we install and maintain for decades. It helps us that the properties and challenges

of the energy transition and material transition are comparable. Both can amplify each other to harvest from the

technological, financial and social opportunities.’ Peter Molengraaf - CEO Alliander

‘The circular economy needs a runway. Now, right at this moment! Lots of people are willing to change the system.

Here – in Haarlemmermeer- you’ll find a local government with great ambitions and companies and organizations

who are innovative and eager. That makes us an ideal living lab for the circular society. And that’s why last year the

Circular Hotspot started here.’ John Nederstigt - Alderman Municipality of Haarlemmermeer

‘ROCKWOOL believes that buildings should be a part of the circular economy vision. Buildings can only be sustainable

if they are comfortable, safe and designed for the people who work, learn, heal and live in them. However,

this needs a coordinated political vision and strategy, including positive legislative drivers such as waste prevention

targets, promotion of products that are easier to reuse and remanufacture, but also tender policies and building assessment

methods that include social impact.’ Hannie Stappers - Director Public Affairs ROCKWOOL B.V.

‘At LUNE we make Dutch designed waste bins that are used for sorting waste at the source. They have been developed

and manufactured to fulfil the objectives of the circular economy. They play an important role in the end of

life and retrieval of other products and are designed to last! Furthermore, our bins are designed for disassembly, to

facilitate an efficient repair-, re-use- and refurbish process.’ Wido F.I. van den Bosch - CEO LUNE

50. Mgmt. Scope


The Netherlands Circular Hotspot is a campaign that is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and 31

organizations that are committed to realizing a circular economy. Each of them has offered a statement to underline that commitment.

‘Black Bear has a circular economy solution for the waste tire problem and an alternative for the fossil based carbon

black that is used for tire production. For each upcycling facility we can save more CO 2

than 1 million trees can

consume. Even better, there are enough tires in the world to build over 800 facilities! We believe that the

Netherlands can lead the circular economy by creating successful examples that can be upscaled internationally.’

Martijn Lopes Cardozo - CEO Black Bear Carbon

‘Sustainability is one of our company’s most important guidelines. As a global company and as part of a regional

society, Siemens wants to contribute to economic, ecological and social developments. We do not only take ownership

and responsibility when it comes to serving our different stakeholders in the short term, we also take account

of the effects for future generations. In a nutshell: finding the optimal balance between ‘people, planet and profit’

Ab van der Touw - CEO Siemens

‘Business leaders must ensure we don’t reduce the circular economy to a mere varnish for yesterdays’ business as usual.

The course of change is never smooth, but it requires you to uproot fundamental assumptions of your business, add

a strong dose of conviction and be determined to build a new core competence that future-proofs your organisation

and the wider economy. This is the time to act, for it enables us, business leaders, to do true good in our markets.’

Rob Boogaard - president en CEO Interface EMEA

‘In our conversations with business leaders, we sense a renaissance of ‘stewardship’: the responsible management

of something entrusted to one’s care. True leaders understand they are ‘mere’ stewards, and that their stewardship

includes the responsibility for a sustainable world. At TEN we believe the leaders of the future are the leaders for

the future. Courageous, creative, with the power of will and a belief in the benefit of sharing, they strive to achieve

goals that are larger than life.’ Marty Tuk - Partner The Executive Network (TEN)

‘The recycling centre collects and passes on. That is why it’s not just an environment-friendly place to dump waste,

but a point of conversion; a circulation site where people give products and materials new uses. That is why Modulo

intends to turn the recycling centre into an inviting place that involves people in the natural cycle of waste, reuse

and creation. Each person has to take their own responsibility. The market is shifting from linear to circular!’

Ron van Ommeren - CEO Modulo Milieustraten

‘To DSM, the transition to a circular economy is a necessity to meet global demands for more value from the

available resources, to combat climate change and to reduce and start reusing our waste. I believe we are nearing

the tipping point of that transition: at COP21 we found many multi-nationals, governments and NGOs fully aware

of the urgency and willing to make this transition happen. The Netherlands, a highly dense urban delta, simply hás

to act and is moving into the right direction.’ Feike Sijbesma - CEO Royal DSM

‘Philips embraces circular economy, because of the intrinsic benefits for societies and because it is a driver for economic

growth. We already took significant steps in redesigning our product propositions, business models and end-to-end

value chains. We are pioneering asset tracking to close the loop on re-use of parts, designed consumer products from

recycled plastics and have been selling refurbished medical equipment for years. A large part of our R&D activities is

based in the Netherlands; an ideal testing ground to jump start innovations.’ Frans van Houten - CEO Royal Philips

‘We regard products as the temporary storage of valuable raw materials. At Van Gansewinkel we want to prevent

waste and ensure that it only reaches our recycling processes after many cycles. This is how we partner with our

clients toward the realisation of the circular economy. Van Gansewinkel is the bridge-builder, able to complete the

circle from waste to raw material. We make sustainability tangible by recovering scarce raw materials and resupplying

them as the ingredients for new products.’ Marc Zwaaneveld - CEO Van Gansewinkel

‘As a circular company, we have a stronger relationship with our customers. At the end of the lifespan of their office

interior, we take the complete interior back from our clients, with guaranteed residual value. We aim to reuse as much

as possible. By revitalizing and remodelling the furniture, we give it a second and third cycle. Through the three-year

repurchase program, the life of office furniture is extended up to 21 years. We give our customers all the tools to be

sustainable.’ Michael Kuiper - CEO Desko

‘We’re shifting from a linear economy, where everything is based on ‘take-make-dispose’, towards more circular

processes. We’re moving from ownership to access and this is coming to fruition in the sharing economy, not only

for consumers, but also for businesses. At FLOOW2 we facilitate this change towards more efficient use of what

companies already have with an online B2B Sharing Marketplace on which businesses can share equipment,

services, but also the skills and knowledge of personnel worldwide.’ Kim Tjoa - Co-Founder FLOOW2

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