Business models for the circular economy

To reach the ambitious levels of a 100% circular society, we need to change the economic models entirely. This is a much more fundamental issue than building circular offices or providing light saving services. It will at least take a few decades to get there, stressed Jan Jonker, Professor of Sustainable Entrepreneurship, yesterday at CIRCL in Amsterdam. In a true circular economy, the extraction of raw materials is not enough and actions ‘to sustainify’ houses are just the first level of ambition.

In an inspiring lecture Jonker stressed the power of cycles (value cycle instead of value chain).
He set out 5 key business models for the circular economy:

  1. Product-as-a-service models
  2. Sharing platforms
  3. Smart logistics (bridging digital and material)
  4. Life cycle extension
  5. Cascading models

One of the key challenges to address, is how to engage with banks for new finance models if value has a different meaning than before. How to stem the tide?