September 18, 2023
Circle Economy Foundation and Regeneration.VC Partner to Supercharge Dutch Climate Innovation

Amsterdam, September 18, 2023 — Circle Economy Foundation, an Amsterdam-based impact organisation, and Regeneration.VC, an early-stage venture fund, are launching a strategic partnership. This impact-oriented collaboration aims to uncover the most impactful Dutch Consumer ClimateTech businesses and scale them globally. 

Global material consumption has tripled in the last 50 years, and the related extraction, handling and consumption of these materials generates 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Circle Economy Foundation’s Global Circularity Gap Report points out that only 7.2% of these resources are getting reused, creating a systems change opportunity to greatly improve circularity and lower resource extraction. 

The Netherlands has established itself as one of the world’s leading circular innovation hubs, drawing support and engagement from policymakers, corporations, top-tier investors and world-class entrepreneurs. Circle Economy Foundation and Regeneration.VC are partnering to accelerate Dutch circular innovations ready for the global stage that can play a pivotal role in tackling the climate emergency.  The initial investment strategy will source best-of-class early-stage Consumer ClimateTech businesses to build a concentrated Dutch portfolio.  

‘Today, many large corporations are investing in reducing or offsetting their scope-3 emissions. We believe this funding is better used to fuel climate innovations in the supply chain. Over 50% of these emissions can be addressed with circular economy solutions. In the Circle Economy—Regeneration.VC partnership, we intend to do just that—invest in start-ups that can help corporations address the root cause of their scope-3 emissions.’ says Martijn Lopes Cardozo, CEO at Circle Economy Foundation.

Within the partnership, Circle Economy Foundation will provide state-of-the-art circularity impact measurement across the portfolio. In addition, the foundation will utilise its unique position within the Netherlands to locate and scale the most promising enterprises. Regeneration.VC will provide due diligence, go-to-market strategy and manage the investment process, while its advisory team of top materials, reuse and consumer experts will further accelerate portfolio opportunities globally. 

‘In many ways, the Netherlands is leading the world in circularity. From before our inception, Circle Economy Foundation has inspired us to think more quantitatively and thoughtfully about the material flows of companies, cities and countries.  It’s incredibly exciting for our team to actively collaborate to uncover the best technologies addressing consumer supply chain emissions in the epicentre of circularity.  With upcoming EU regulations, there is tremendous innovation and investment happening in the region, and we look forward to bringing it to the US and beyond,’ according to Michael Smith, Regeneration.VC General Partner.

‘At Circle Economy Foundation, we are devoted to accomplishing real impact on the ground. As a circular entrepreneur, I believe the right partner can be a game-changer in these efforts. Together with Regeneration.VC, we are well-poised to empower entrepreneurs to address the climate challenge,’ adds Martijn Lopes Cardozo.  


Circle Economy Foundation envisions an economic system that ensures the planet and all people can thrive. We are a global impact organisation founded in 2011, and to date have worked with 80+ businesses, 31+ cities and 20+ nations around the world. Our practical and scalable approach is focused on empowering decision-makers from the public and private sectors to develop and implement circular economy strategies and business models. We do this by combining research, data, and digital tools for the greater good.


Regeneration.VC is an early-stage venture fund Supercharging Consumer-Powered Climate Innovation driven by circular and regenerative principles. We invest in Consumer ClimateTech companies across Design (AgTech & Aquaculture and Next-Gen Materials), Use (Apparel & Lifestyle and Food & Beverage brands), and Reuse (Recommerce and Reverse Logistics platforms) strategies that generate measurable environmental impact alongside outsized return potential.

For questions and interview requests, please contact Amy Kummetha, Communications Manager at Circle Economy, at

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September 13, 2023
The Circular Buildings Coalition announces the winners of the Blueprint Projects open call

Amsterdam, 13 of September 2023 —The Circular Buildings Coalition (CBC) is thrilled to announce the winners of its open call for Blueprint Projects. Ten groundbreaking European initiatives are being awarded € 20,000 for project development and replication. The winners were selected from 57 total applications by an expert jury. 

The Circular Buildings Coalition launched the Blueprint Projects programme to challenge existing barriers to scale and create demand for circular solutions, thus accelerating the transition towards a circular economy in the built environment. Our research revealed that the prevailing financial system, underdeveloped material resale markets as well as ownership and business models hinder the adoption of circular economy principles. The coalition is determined to overcome these roadblocks by selecting, showcasing and scaling circular innovations in the sector. 

‘We were delighted to receive so many quality applications from all over Europe. This response reflects the enormous interest in a circular built environment and a growing understanding of its huge socioeconomic potential. The winning projects share our ambitious vision and are well-positioned to address existing barriers in the sector’, says Eva Gladek, CEO at Metabolic, the systems change agency acting as the lead of the coalition. 

The following organisations were selected to participate in the first phase of the Blueprint Projects programme. 

And The People. A Dutch foundation that aims to identify how community land trusts (CLTs) can overcome barriers to circular construction by fostering collective ownership, stewardship and governance.

Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy. The project of this Swiss Foundation will devise guidelines for PaaS contract development in Europe, aiming at creating a collaborative space for a wider uptake of this business model.

Circotrade. An organisaton from France that captures buildings’ unrealised value by listing, gauging and trading its components via an innovative futures contract. In this way, it boosts the uptake of secondary construction materials and products. 

Concular GmbH. This German company develops insurance that covers the warranty of reclaimed construction materials. This lowers the risk of buying secondary materials and facilitates their wider adoption.

Gearcraft. In this project, Dutch and German stakeholders join hands to make Facades-as-a-Service a common practice, demonstrating the business case and sustainability rationale of this ownership scheme.

Irish Green Building Council (IGBC). This organisation cultivates secondary material markets with Construction Material Exchange, a digital platform connecting stakeholders to exchange or trade excess and reclaimed construction materials.

ReLondon. The ‘London Circular Construction Coalition’ project zeroes in on the public sector, fostering demand and supply of secondary construction materials in London and creating a digital infrastructure to spur collaboration between private and public actors. 

SURA Impact. This Belgian pilot project, Material As A Service Company (MASCO), co-finances upfront investments for circular materials, lowering investment barriers and allowing secondary materials to compete effectively with virgin ones.

University College London. With its Building Passport Alignment Project (BPAP), buildings can exchange digital information with investors, supporting the reporting requirements for sustainable finance and driving investment in circular and sustainable buildings.

Zupply. This Danish start-up develops a take-back scheme for construction materials, allowing suppliers to reclaim components from demolished buildings through a digital network. 

‘These ten pioneering projects represent an important step forward in our mission to achieve a circular built environment in Europe. They address precisely the challenges identified in the analysis produced by the Circular Building Coalition. We need to push the boundaries where it’s needed the most’, says Martijn Lopes Cardozo, CEO at Circle Economy, an impact organisation based in Amsterdam, the co-lead of the coalition. 

‘Laudes Foundation collaborates with forward-thinking partners, such as the Circular Building Coalition, to help the real estate and construction industries better serve their communities and workers, as well as the planet. With the appropriate backing and financial resources, these initiatives could help transform the European built environment into something regenerative, inclusive, and free of carbon emissions. Now is the time to scale them up.’ Richard Boyd, Senior Programme Manager at Laudes Foundation, founding funder of the CBC. 

Over the following months, these organisations will produce whitepapers containing feasibility studies and plans for overcoming existing barriers to scale, creating demand and supporting the diffusion of their initiative. Based on the outcomes of this phase, the Circular Buildings Coalition plans to grant five organisations an additional € 75,000 to pilot their solution.

For questions or to request an interview, please contact Ivan Thung, Metabolic Senior Consultant and Programme Lead for the Circular Buildings Coalition:


The Circular Buildings Coalition is an initiative supported by the Laudes Foundation and empowered by Metabolic, Circle Economy, WorldGBC, WBCSD, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Arup to accelerate the adoption of circular economy principles in the European built environment. It aims to address three systemic challenges in order to scale action in Europe through building alliances, developing a common understanding and providing proven solutions. More info at

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September 6, 2023
The CEO of our newest firm, Circle Economy Consulting, reflects on ten years at Circle Economy

Over ten years ago, Marc de Wit began his journey at Circle Economy as one of its first employees building an organisation based on the vision of founder Robert-Jan van Ogtrop. When Circle Economy started in Amsterdam 12 years ago, the idea of the circular economy was hardly on the radar. Today, the concept has become well-known as a leading solution to the ongoing climate crisis. With the team now 70 people strong and the launch of a new firm, Circle Economy Consulting, on the horizon, we’re taking this opportunity to sit down with Marc to take stock of the last ten years and the journey that lies ahead.

Before diving into your 11 years at Circle Economy, what can you share about the upcoming change?

Well, I am really excited that today we start a new firm, Circle Economy Consulting. Still as part of the Circle Economy family but fully focussed on helping businesses to implement circular solutions. It builds on everything we have learned over the past ten years working with so many great companies, from small ones like Fairphone to big names like Philips.

Looking back, can you share a bit about what inspired you to join Circle Economy in the beginning?

I was working in sustainability consulting when I made the transition to Circle Economy. The big draw for me was the new adventure. A new organisation. A concept that was based on such a powerful idea yet with so much territory to be explored. And the founders’ idea that this transition should focus on all relevant stakeholders—from government to education and the business community—was very intriguing to me. Being able to connect worlds, build bridges and dissect the challenges various players face in the transition to the circular economy. 

And what was it that made you stick around all these years?

One red thread has been collaboration. I have been fascinated by the variety of stakeholders that I have worked with over the years—and that are all needed to make the circular economy a reality. This was such a joy. One day, I’d be working with a civil servant in the city of Amsterdam, presenting to the deputy mayor, while the next moment, I’d be discussing how to speed up investments at a bank or discuss technological innovations and new business models in the manufacturing industries. It has been these years of seeing and discussing all perspectives that have been both rewarding as well as eye-opening.

What do you enjoy most about working with clients?

The most rewarding moment of working alongside clients is when you reach breakthroughs. From the moment we analyse the data and get a sense of where the real impact is to becoming more circular, reducing carbon emissions, boosting company resilience or delivering better products to customers. To generate these insights, we have developed and refined an approach that relies heavily on data analysis but always in combination with the human touch. 

Can you share some highlights from your time at Circle Economy?

I am really grateful for the opportunities I got during my time at Circle Economy. It has always felt like we could do everything we wanted as long as we could get the right people together and a bit of money to get started. This is how we began our work with businesses, which soon led to our first City Scan with Amsterdam in 2016. Another highlight was the article in National Geographic, which was great recognition while introducing the topic to a general audience. Also, the launch of the first CGR in 2018 and the launch of the first national CGR in Austria in 2019. So many!

What have been some of the pivotal moments for you in the development of circular thinking?

One particular point stands out for me, which must have been in 2017. The topic of a circular economy was catching on. But it struck me that there was an exclusive focus on new business models for circularity, which remained relatively vague. Thinking about moving forward in the transition, I thought it was crucial to develop a measurement of circularity. An answer to the question: How circular is the world today?  Already in the early years at Circle Economy, we started to collect data and look at patterns across the global economy. From these early steps in a small team and with our own investment, we wrote the first Circularity Gap Report (CGR) back in 2018. And this thinking is the central offering to businesses as well. Where do you stand today, where can you go and how can you get there?

What do you think the role of consulting is in the circular economy space?

When we started more than ten years ago, we were pioneers. Pioneers in developing a basic notion of what a circular economy is and is not. Grounding our analysis in data. Data that is scarcely available, but with the right mindset and experience, there is always a lot you can find if you know where to look. But moving from the analysis, it is crucial to work with people in organisations that transfer the insights and build the capabilities to continue on their own. Our work aims to get people in a position where they can move forward without us. So, in short, the key is to move from a place of long-standing and deep insights, let analysis play a role in understanding where you stand and where you want to go and get people trained up and in a place where they themselves can drive tangible change.

What do you see as Circle Economy Consulting’s unique contribution?

In short, central to our approach are two things: data and people. We strongly believe that with the right data and analysis, you have a solid starting point and knowledge to light your path. But ultimately, you need people to interpret these data and people to add their experience, skills and energy to transform and implement real solutions. We want to nourish our track record of deep insights and a pragmatic approach while creating solutions that people can apply in the real world. We strongly believe in working closely with businesses—getting to know each other and developing solutions together. 

Who are you taking with you on this adventure?

It’s great that you asked that question. Because on top of how we work, as I just explained, it is most important and fun to work with the best in the field. I am incredibly happy that I’m launching this brand-new firm with a passionate team of circular economy experts. A team with a long-standing track record of collaborating with over 100 businesses, including industry leaders like Philips, Action and Rockwool.

To wrap up, why is now the time for Circle Economy Consulting, and what are your hopes for the future?

The time for this initiative really is now. We’re coming out of a year where not only do we see nature taking a hit with record temperatures, wildfires and floods, but also businesses are feeling the impact. Even with covid-19 being a vague memory, we see that the current state of the world is putting a magnifying glass on the cracks in the system—surging resource scarcity, supply chain disruptions and, at least in Europe, increasing legislation that requires businesses to act. We want to play a proactive role in helping businesses embed circular economy thinking to become future-proof and play an active role in shaping a future where all people and the planet can thrive.

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September 6, 2023
Circle Economy launches dedicated consulting firm to better serve businesses

Amsterdam, Netherlands, September 6, 2023—Circle Economy Foundation announces the launch of Circle Economy Consulting, a dedicated consulting firm designed to better serve the needs of businesses in implementing circular economy solutions. 

Circle Economy Consulting shares the goal and vision of its parent organisation: doubling global circularity by 2032. This means envisioning an economic system—the circular economy—that ensures the planet and all people can thrive. To do this, the consultancy provides services to accelerate the circular transition within businesses.

‘After putting the circular economy on the map as a concept to drive real change, we now need to achieve speed and scale with businesses implementing real solutions’, said Marc de Wit, CEO of Circle Economy Consulting. ‘This is an exciting next step both in the history of Circle Economy and for me personally. After more than ten years of building up Circle Economy and bringing expertise to companies, I see this as a natural evolution to bring greater benefits to businesses as they move toward circularity’.

As more and more businesses begin to factor sustainability issues into their choices, Circle Economy Consulting aims to help embed circular principles into corporate strategy and culture. It assesses the current state of circularity, co-develops a future vision and identifies circular solutions that are practical, contextual and actionable. 

‘The circular economy is becoming mainstream, and companies are now looking for circular solutions, measurement and implementation support’, says Martijn Lopes Cardozo, CEO of Circle Economy Foundation. ‘With Circle Economy Consulting, we offer dedicated support and expertise for businesses in their adoption of the circular economy’. 

Circle Economy Foundation will continue to drive the transition towards the circular economy with practical and scalable solutions.

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September 4, 2023
The new head of the Circularity Gap Reporting Initiative reflects on the future of Circle Economy’s flagship product

We’re thrilled to announce the new lead of the Circularity Gap Reporting Initiative (CGRi)! Marijana Novak,  who previously led our Data team, will spearhead the CGRi and work on exciting new developments for our flagship product. Marijana joined Circle Economy in 2018, the year that the first Circularity Gap Report (CGR) was launched.  She has a background in Actuarial Science, Sustainable Finance and risk modelling using big data for real estate, the built environment and the economy. She has been active in the circular economy research field for over ten years. We took this opportunity to sit down with her and look back at the evolution of the CGRi and discuss its future.

Congratulations on your new role! Let’s talk about your journey within Circle Economy. What you’ve been busy with over the past years? 

I joined Circle Economy back in 2018, initially as a data strategist. My focus was on integrating data into the circular economy framework at scale. This involved working with research programs, shaping digital products and establishing a robust data infrastructure to bolster our initiatives—think of data collection, automation and analysis, partnerships, methodology development and addressing data gaps through alternative data, using artificial intelligence, and data collaboratives.   

When you started working at Circle, did you imagine yourself spearheading the CGRi? Was it a planned direction or rather a sudden twist in your career?

My thing is building databases, particularly ones that enable data-driven decisions in the circular economy and how to ensure we achieve a positive impact. Meanwhile, the CGRi evolved as a flagship product, bringing data research and stakeholders together to kickstart conversations around the circular economy worldwide and, ultimately, converging with my aspiration of providing evidential support for the circular economy. So I would say me and the CGRi were trotting on separate paths and then came to a clearing in the woods. 

Let’s talk about how the Initiative has evolved since its onset in 2018.

Circle Economy is an innovative research organisation. After executing numerous projects across different cities and industries, we recognised the need for a global metric, which we unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2018. It was fascinating to see how it captured the curiosity of leaders at the Forum. Subsequently, we expanded its reach to encompass nations, sub-nations, cities and industries. However, what makes the CGRi unique is not just the metric but the surrounding engagement process—bringing different people to the table to discuss the metric, what it means for them and what opportunities there are to influence this metric. It’s also become important to place circularity in the context of wider impact goals. In other words, how can circular strategies enable us to stay within planetary boundaries?

What is your view on the future of the CGRi? What changes or improvements do you plan to implement?

We’re seeing an immense interest in the Circularity Gap as both a metric and a catalyst for circularity. This fascination is widespread, spanning various countries, sub-national governments, city clusters and industry leaders, all eager to contextualise their circularity gap. The challenge we face is how to deliver CGRs to these diverse entities at scale. This entails both internal collaboration and external partnerships. We’re exploring changing the mode of delivery to achieve our impact goals, which are all about activation of circularity—getting people working towards policy changes and pilot project implementation. 

Can you give us a sneak peek into what’s coming next in CGRi? 

Certainly! Our immediate plans include launching the CGR Latin America and the Caribbean—the first multinational CGR. We are also working on the CGR Munich, a pioneering endeavour focusing on the circularity gap at city level. Moreover, we are developing an online CGRi environment, enhancing the report's accessibility and interactivity through a suite of engaging features.

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August 29, 2023
Circular economy as an overlooked opportunity to reach Denmark's climate goals

The Danish economy consumes 24.5 tonnes of virgin materials per person per year, which is three times the estimated ‘sustainable’ consumption level of 8 tonnes per capita. This amount is also higher than the European average of 17.8 tonnes per person and the global average of 11.9 tonnes, a new study finds. 

According to the Circularity Gap Report Denmark, published by Circle Economy, the Danish economy is only 4% circular, lower than the global average of 7.2%. This means that out of all the materials consumed, only 4% make it back into the economy in the form of recycled materials. 

The low Circularity Metric is explained by Denmark’s high level of consumption, which makes it difficult to source secondary (recycled) materials at the scale and speed needed to create a circular economy—despite the country’s high recycling rates. What’s more, almost half of the materials consumed are 'locked-in' to long-lasting stock like buildings, infrastructure, machinery and vehicles and cannot be recycled for years to come. This is not a ‘bad’ thing per se—when items are built to last, less virgin materials are needed to replace them. A further third of the country’s consumption is represented by biomass, such as food crops, which can be considered carbon neutral and thus don’t impede circularity. 

The Danish economy is more circular than those of Scotland (1.3% circular) and Sweden (3.4% circular). Nonetheless, it trails behind Switzerland, measured to be 6.9% circular. 

The report pinpoints the circular economy as an overlooked opportunity to reach Denmark's sustainability goals. The country already boasts mostly-renewable electricity generation and some of the world’s most audacious climate targets. However, because 70% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions stem from material handling and use, these goals could prove hard to accomplish without tackling overconsumption of resources. 

The Circularity Report Denmark introduces circular scenarios within five areas with the most impact on material use and carbon emissions—construction, lifestyle, transport, agriculture and manufacturing. Other co-benefits include bolstered biodiversity and stronger, more resilient communities as well as new opportunities in the labour market.

The construction sector was found to be the most rewarding in terms of impact. To increase circularity and curb environmental impacts from construction, Denmark could, for example, promote the use of recycled materials in new buildings, increase housing occupancy, and multifuntional buildings. Combined with other interventions, this could cut the sector’s material footprint by roughly 19%, and the carbon footprint by 12%. 

Changes in lifestyle were found to deliver the second largest impact. The report encourages Denmark’s residents to rethink their purchases of new products such as textiles and electronics and to make products live longer by embracing the ‘share, repair and reuse’ economy.

The effects of all five scenarios combined constitute a material consumption reduction of 39% and a carbon footprint reduction of 42%, which would also boost the Circularity Metric from 4% to 7.6%.

About the report

The Circularity Gap Report Denmark was produced by Circle Economy, an Amsterdam-based impact organisation and commissioned by a consortium of Danish institutions, including Danish Industry Foundation, Danish Society of Engineers, Confederation of Danish Industry, Danish Technological Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Danish Design Centre, and Lifestyle & Design Cluster. The full report can be accessed via this link:

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June 16, 2023
Canada’s Circular Cities and Regions Initiative is leading the circular economy transition

Momentum towards a circular economy in Canada is building, and Canadian cities and regions are helping to lead the way through the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI).

The CCRI, which was launched by the National Zero Waste Council, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Green Municipal Fund, the Recycling Council of Alberta, and RECYC-QUÉBEC in 2021, aims to advance circular economy knowledge and capacity in Canadian communities of all sizes.

In the CCRI’s first 12 months, 15 cities and regions participated in an immersive year of circular economy knowledge sharing and capacity building. Ten more communities have now completed a similar year of activities and are taking the next steps on their own circular economy journey: Pinawa, Peel, Squamish,  Peterborough, Yorkton, Kelowna, Guelph-Wellington, Haute Yamaska & Granby, Outremont, and Chibougamau. 

Cities and regions are key to advancing circularity and addressing climate change. Over 80% of Canadians live in metropolitan regions, but their communities are often separated by vast distances. As identified in the Council of Canadian Academies’ foundational report, Turning Point, unique Canadian geography and population distribution means that accelerating regional circular development strategies will be as important to the country’s circular economy transition as sector-specific efforts.  

70% percent of global emissions are tied to material use and handling. Supporting the development of local circular economies could help reduce high transportation costs by shortening supply chains and retaining value locally. By implementing circular solutions and integrating them within existing climate plans, cities can lead both the net-zero and circular transition in Canada. 

The 10 local governments that participated in the CCRI’s 2022-2023 cohort are geographically diverse and varied in size and economic context, with each having its own unique entry point to the circular economy. To help kick-start thinking across different departments, the communities took part in an action planning workshop hosted by Circle Economy—a global impact organisation based in Amsterdam. The workshops helped the communities identify opportunities and next steps in their circular economy journey, and it came as no surprise that each community had its own challenges and priorities. 

For Yorkton, Saskatchewan, the community workshop provided a better understanding of the circular economy and connected the municipality to more experienced peers. ‘We are using what we have learned from this workshop to prioritise and implement initiatives which will benefit our community. One of our main lessons is that you can’t do everything at once! Being a smaller community, we have had to be specific and pick initiatives that fit our community's needs,’ says Lyndon Hicks, Solid Waste and Environmental Programs Manager, City of Yorkton. 

The smallest community, Pinawa, Manitoba, has only 1,558 residents. As a starting point, they are building on their success with community events, expanding them to include additional circular activities such as repair workshops and the recycling collection of special products. 

Meanwhile, Peel Region, Ontario, with a population surpassing 1.5 million, has identified the need for circular economy solutions and strategies with regard to public procurement. ‘The main lesson from participating in the CCRI has been the ability to take stock of the initiatives and activities currently being undertaken in all three local municipalities that are circular in nature but not marketed as circular. There’s a great amount of work that we can tap into to further advance circularity,’ says Erwin Pascual, Manager, Waste Planning, Peel Region. 

Haute Yamaska & Granby, Quebec, which house a robust industrial sector, determined that they are well-poised to boost industrial symbiosis, transforming by-products and waste generated by one company into raw materials for another company. This would include a focus on increasing the circulation of more sustainable materials, like those that are recyclable, renewable, and non-toxic, as feedstock for industry. 

Further west, the City of Kelowna, British Columbia, is experiencing significant growth and development and is leveraging its participation in the CCRI to focus on the built environment. In particular, the community is considering policy options to address embodied carbon in new buildings and exploring ways to discourage the demolition of older buildings. 

These CCRI member cities and regions, alongside others across the country, are leading the way in Canada’s circular economy transition. They are unlocking new economic opportunities, accelerating progress on climate change mitigation, and creating thriving communities from coast to coast to coast. 

To find out how to get involved with the CCRI, reach out directly about future opportunities to join the next cohort of communities or learn more at For more information on how to get started on your own local circular economy journey, check out, A Guide to Catalyzing a Circular Economy in Your Community, produced by FCM’s Green Municipal Fund. 

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May 31, 2023
MDBs join forces to accelerate the circular economy transition

During the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) 2023 in Helsinki, environment focussed directors from the leading Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) met to discuss the topic of the circular economy for the first time. 

The African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), IDB Invest, and the World Bank acknowledged the importance of the circular economy transition in combating the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, and emphasised the key role the financial sector has in supporting countries’ transition to a circular economy.  

The directors recognised the value of collaboration between the MDBs on the circular economy, and agreed that their institutions should continue to work together, including via the Circularity Exchange Network (CEN) - a group initiated by Circle Economy and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management that also consists of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, UNEP-FI and the World Economic Forum. The Network enables the MDBs to exchange knowledge on the circular economy, as well as providing a platform to collaboratively work on standards, tools and products to facilitate circular activities and projects. 

As outlined in the report “Unlocking the Potential of the International Financial Institutions in the Circular Economy Transition”  the future MDB collaboration will consider the following aims:

  • Link circularity to key environmental objectives and in particular with the goals of the Paris Agreement. 
  • Improve and align impact assessment methods for circular economy investments 
  • Aim at increasing the share of high-impact circular projects in lending and investment practices. 
  • Build internal (MDBs) and external (project partners) capacity for utilising the circular economy as a strategy to achieve economic success and resilience in client countries.
  • Develop mechanisms to de-risk investments in the circular economy and facilitate better access to blended finance through public-private collaboration.

Based on the above, the MDBs will continue to work with private sector and national agencies, to introduce circular economy approaches into their sustainable development activities.

For questions or further information please reach out to Marvin Nusseck ( 

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