June 22, 2020

Accountants, financiers and legal experts join forces to boost the transition towards a circular economy 

The Coalition Circular Accounting, an initiative of Circle Economy supported by Invest-NL and Dutch Professional Association of Accountants (NBA), is bringing together financial and legal experts to help boost the circular transition globally.

The Coalition Circular Accounting is a collaboration between Circle Economy, NBA, Invest-NL, ABN AMRO, Rabobank, Triodos Bank, KPMG, Allen & Overy, Sustainable Finance Lab and scientists associated with Nyenrode Business University and Avans Hogeschool. 

100 billion tonnes globally 

This coalition is part of the many on-the-ground initiatives in the Netherlands working to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, boosted by the Dutch government’s ambitious goals: 50% circular by 2030, and 100% by 2050. 

An earlier report by Circle Economy found that the global economy is consuming 100 billion tonnes of materials a year for the first time ever, but reuse of resources has gone into reverse, with global circularity – the percentage of materials being reused – falling from 9.1% to 8.6%. The report also called for nations to establish roadmaps for circularity. 

Financial and accounting barriers to the circular economy

In a circular economy, suppliers and providers of different types (hardware, consumables, and service providers) collaborate to optimise the lifetime of the assets they provide, either as a service or in different models that emphasise use over consumption. This collaboration spans from pre-use to post-use, and can be represented in terms of a value hill for any product; for example, a washing machine, or a set of headphones.

The Value Hill. Adapted from Achterberg, Hinfelaar & van Bocken (2016).


However, the businesses trying to make headway are often faced with existing reporting and valuation rules (based on a linear economy) and the economic principles that underpin them, that are not fit for purpose. 

A previous community of practice in partnership with NBA.

Concrete challenges, replicable solutions

Throughout 2020, the coalition will bring together financial, accounting, legal, and other experts to discuss and work out the case of three specific, existing circular business models with a valuation or reporting issue. 

These cases are chosen based on how applicable the findings could be to other cases elsewhere. These are made freely available in the form of whitepapers and ready-to-use resources. 

“The Circular Accounting Coalition is based on a proven model of Circle Economy and partners. In the past, we’ve collaborated with a team of finance and accounting experts to finetune the business cases and with legal experts to create contract templates for intra- and entrepreneurs to help them kick-start their circular business models. They address the more practical aspects of a circular economy– what happens after the executive stamp of approval.” says Aglaia Fischer, project manager at Circle Economy.


'Circularity, the energy transition, sustainable entrepreneurship or sustainability is about economic lifetimes, determining the cost price, valuation problems, depreciation periods, residual values and business models. That is 100% our profession'. says Fou-Khan Tsang, chartered accountant and driving force of the NBA Planet Finance 

Facade-as-a-Service

The coalition is now delving into the case of three Dutch facade builders – Alkondor, Blitta en De Groot & Visser – that have entered into a partnership to offer Facades-as-a-Service: a pilot for a customisable, dismantlable facade that provides a building with ventilation, sunlight regulation and energy generation, all controllable by remote control. The three facade builders work together with area developer AM to realize the pilot project; Facade-as-a-Service in the Bajes Kwartier area development in Amsterdam.

The coalition will look at the opportunities and risks this entails for the three facade builders, what joint venture structure works best and how contracts can be formulated. 

For more information

If you are interested in participating in the Coalition Circular Accounting, or would like to know more, please contact us through our Finance Programme page.

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