Dutch aWEARness: Implementing a Cooperative Economy Through Chain Investment

In collaboration with Dutch aWEARness and PGGM, business models highlighting a cooperative economy and their financial effects on the value chain were explored

case study

The Challenge

Dutch aWEARness provides 100% recyclable uniforms and corporate wear for businesses and organisations. Aiming to continuously cycle clothing throughout its lifecycle, Dutch aWEARness aims to create a business model which allows for shared ownership of materials throughout the value chain. However, no financial structure currently exists to accommodate for shared ownership of a product.

The Approach

At the moment Dutch aWEARness remains the owner of the clothing but this is not a sustainable, long-term solution. Therefore they envision sharing the ownership of the garments with other users. In such construction, costs, as well as risks and returns, are also shared, which is likely to be the strongest incentive to keep the materials cycling throughout the product’s lifecycle. To make this a reality the company’s various financial partners explored the contours of the financial value chain.

“Dutch aWEARness is a company that invests in design for reincarnation”

– Rien Otto, CEO, Dutch aWEARness

In a shared value chain, which provides shared ownership of materials and information, financing for the entire chain rather than a single company is necessary. In such a system an innovation at one point in the chain will benefit all chain partners, therefore creating leverage to share risks and benefits. So-called “chain investment”, is a way of operating that can be a main driver for the collaboration and optimisation of the circular economy.

What’s Next?

Due to the insights gained from this case study, Circle Economy will continue to explore how chain investment can be structured. Further questions will be explored such as, “What are the trade-offs, challenges and advantages of investing in a value chain as opposed to a single company?”

The report “Money makes the world go round”, published by the FinanCE working group of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation features further information on this case study.

For more information about the report please contact elisa@circle-economy.com

Project Partners


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