Teamwork makes the dream work

Radical change takes radical collaboration. Not only to understand how we can change course, but also to ensure that we understand the bottlenecks for organisations seeking to implement the circular economy.‍

As a partner in the transition, we are able to convene the most unlikely of allies in complex multi-stakeholder projects.‍

Sometimes, all it takes is to get the right people around the same table – we make it easy for them to do so.
in our network, and thousands more in our orbit

A problem shared is a problem halved

the issue

Manufacturers of capital equipment—long-lasting, hardware products such as servers, medical scanners and ships—consume more than seven billion tonnes of raw materials per year. This includes more than half of all metals, making it critical to find circular strategies to manage capital equipment stocks.

the response

The Capital Equipment Coalition (CEC) is a group of nine businesses—including Philips, Cisco, and Dell—which have pledged to apply circular economy principles to preserve and recover value throughout the lifecycle of their products. The coalition meets four times a year on hot topics to enable change such as design, procurement and policies, and to address common challenges and share best practices.

our role

The CEC is an initiative of the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), of which Circle Economy is a strategic partner and facilitator. We design and research the sessions, support collaboration between members, invite experts and collect key learnings from the workshops. These insights are published, under Chatham House Rules, to inspire other companies to define their own commitments to transformation of the capital equipment sector.


Mutual accountability

In January 2018, every CEC member company committed to a series of bold pledges to close the loop in capital equipment. From 100% circular operations to the adoption of new business models, these public commitments were an essential step by leading multinationals to engage the full sector to join the transition and jump on the shared learning curve.

Tanja Roeleveld
Sustainability Manager International at Lely
At Lely we are working on realising Circular Equipment to contribute to the Circular Economy. We are proud to be part of the Capital Equipment Coalition and share knowledge and learnings.
accounting for a sizeable amount of the capital equipment pledge market
hosted to date
published so far, available for download via the PACE website

Shared learning

The coalition reports on progress against members' pledges and shared learnings on a yearly basis, and published its first summary of key learnings in January 2019, and a second learning and progress document in January 2020. Members meet quarterly to address shared problems and build the business case for circular projects, including factors such as internal decision-making, key circular value drivers; and how to approach organisational change.

What's next?

The coalition has focused three of its four annual workshop sessions on specific, function-oriented insights to facilitate rapid learning. We encourage businesses in the production and supply of capital equipment goods to embark on their own journeys towards circularity. For further enquiries, please get in touch through the Circle Economy website.

Something borrowed, something old

the issue

A shift towards fast fashion in the past two decades has led to a dramatic decrease of the practical service life of clothes (how long they are worn) compared to their technical service life (how long they could be worn). Today, consumers buy 60% more and keep their clothes for half as long. Extending the active service life of garments, via for instance resale and rental, is considered one of the most effective ways to reduce the overall impact of the clothing industry as it can decrease the need for new production and reduce the growing volume of textile waste generated every year.

the response

Switching Gear is a two year project that aims ​to accelerate the practical implementation of resale and rental business models in the apparel industry.

The project guides four apparel brands—LINDEX, Asket, ETP, and Kuyichi—on a circular innovation process towards the design and launch rental and/or resale business model pilots by 2021.

Additionally, the project connects the participating brands to the Switching Gear Enabling Network (SGEN), a global collective of solution providers, innovators, frontrunning brands and experts who can support the operationalisation and scaling of the respective pilots.
Switching Gear is one of four initiatives that have been supported by the Laudes Foundation to bridge the implementation gap for circular business models—alongside WRAP/WRI, Forum for the Future and QSA/LWARB.

our role

Circle Economy leads the Switching Gear project.

Together with our multidisciplinary team of design thinkers and researchers, we are guiding the four apparel brands along a circular innovation process. This entails designing and delivering a year-long masterclass programme on the circular economy, business model innovation and change leadership, and providing one-to-one guidance, as needed.

Furthermore, Circle Economy manages the SGEN community, with the support of Fashion for Good. We facilitate knowledge exchange via themed content webinars, connect partners via matchmaking events and meetings and elevate the topic of rental and resale globally via targeted events and communications.


Building brand capacity to innovate for circularity

As of July 2020, the four core brands are halfway through the circular innovation process and have created their initial pilot concepts, which they are currently preparing to prototype. Their final pilots will launch in March 2021. 

Upon project completion, Circle Economy will develop open-access tools and resources for the wider industry based on the process that our core brands follow and the insights garnered as they progress. These resources will be packaged into a ‘Circular Business Model Toolbox’ and published online.

on a circular innovation process
in the global Switching Gear Enabling Network
Esther Oostdijk
Director Product & Operations, and ETP’s CSR Officer
Although an average turnover in our customers’ staff is about 15%, very little of their clothing is currently saved for re-use, with some clothing not returned to ETP and remaining at their locations. By joining Switching Gear, we expect to establish what the real potential of rental or resale models is in reducing costs, reducing pressure on natural resources, and extending the purpose of the clothing that we have already made.
Zoé Daemen
Corporate Responsibility Manager at Kuyichi‍
A recommerce (resale) business model is the perfect addition to our circularity ambitions, especially considering the durable nature of denim. We are excited to work with the Switching Gear project team on innovating within Kuyichi and developing the right model for our organisation. Kuyichi was founded to show all that is possible to run a more conscious business, we’re positive that recommerce will be no exception to this.
Anna-Karin Dahlberg
Corporate Sustainability Manager at Lindex
We want to prolong the lifetime of our products and use resources in the smartest way possible throughout our operations. A circular business approach will help us with our goals to reduce material streams and sending zero waste to landfill, and the guidance of the Switching gear project team will be of great value in our work to fulfill our promise to future generations.
August Bard-Bringeus
Co-founder at Asket
We want to continue to lead by example and see that a recommerce or rental business model would allow us to take our mission to change the way we consume clothes and reduce waste even further. Joining Switching Gear will fast track our thinking, and we are excited for the collaboration opportunities that come with the Switching Gear Enabling Network.

Switching Gear Enabling Network

To date, the network has convened five times via content webinars to discuss shared opportunities and challenges such as consumer appetites for new models of consumption, the metrics needed to measure the true impact of circular business models, and the role of technology in driving their uptake. We’ve also hosted a matchmaking event to connect brands and retailers with the network.

Knowledge-sharing and raising awareness

What's next?

2020 will see the brand’s pilot concepts turned into reality. The Enabling Network will continue to grow in size, reach and engagement, and work to use its collective power to address common challenges and its collective voice to drive the urgency for change within the industry.

The Circular Business Model Toolbox will be published in Q2 2021, as an open-access resource for all apparel brands who wish to follow in the footsteps of our frontrunning Switching Gear brands and develop rental and resale business model pilots. 

A whole that is greater than the sum of its parts

the issue

Aiming to be circular by 2050, the Netherlands has put various transition agendas in place to ensure that leading sectors are organised and unified in their transition and to stimulate circular innovations. Yet many of these innovations still exist in silos: unaware of each other's work, innovators fail to benefit from the shared knowledge, support, networks, and common end markets they could stand to gain in a less fragmented field.

the response

The Dutch Circular Textile Valley (DCTV) brings together all stakeholders across the Dutch fashion and textile industry to accelerate the industry’s transition to circularity. The project provides acceleration support to circular innovators and stimulates regional cooperation between municipalities and textile-focused organisations.  DCTV is an “iconic project” for the textiles sector, which falls under the Consumer Goods transition agenda.

our role

Circle Economy is the project partner responsible for connecting the network of regional hubs and for marketing and communication activities. Other partners include Fashion for Good, Modint, MVO, Het Groene Brein and ABN Amro, all key stakeholders in the national circular textiles industry.


Breaking down silos in the Dutch circular textiles value chain

DCTV established four “regional hubs” in different provinces of the Netherlands that stakeholders in and outside the industry can go to for questions on circular textiles. Each hub is focused on one key circular textiles issue: high-quality recycling technology, circular corporate clothing, circular brands and business models, and circular design and new (biobased) materials.  

The DCTV team published a database of 170 Dutch circular innovators from across the textiles value chain. This database can be filtered by different categories, making it easy for the industry to find the right innovator. It further marks the first step in assessing the size of the national market for circular textiles solution providers.  

We also hosted and participated in four events that brought together key stakeholders in circular textiles around knowledge-sharing and generating new solutions for the industry: the launching event of DCTV, Rethinking Fashion, the Circular Fashion Games, and the National Conference of the Circular Economy.

On-the-ground cooperation

In light of the covid-19 pandemic, the DCTV team put out a call for solution providers from other sectors to use the increasing amount of post-consumer textiles that are being stored in warehouses across the country as a result of the pandemic (20,000 bales of post-consumer clothes). The call received multiple reactions, and the DCTV team is currently judging which is the most feasible solution, matchmaking will happen over the next months.

provided with acceleration support

Increasing awareness of Dutch circular textile innovators on the market

DCTV provided acceleration support to 6 innovators: SaxCell, Lena the Fashion Library, Fast Feet Grinded, ICCT, Remo, Denim Deal and Ioniqa. 

The innovators database, publicly available for anyone to consult on the DCTV website, has received over 2,700 visits since it was first published in February 2020, 70% of which are from the Netherlands and 30% of which are from 67 other countries, providing the innovators with additional reach and exposure.

Elisa Jansen
Co-Owner Lena Library
DCTV has contributed to the final steps to launch a pay-per-use platform. They are also looking at the possibilities of sharing the knowledge and data of a circular business model with the wider network.

Critical feedback to the Dutch textiles value chain

DCTV publicly responded to a national plan which is due to play a significant role in shaping the Dutch textiles industry: the Dutch Textile Sector Plan. The Sector Plan created by industry representatives Modint and Inretail proposed to introduce an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme in order to accelerate circularity by 2050. DCTV used its convening power to align partners and key players in forming a response to this plan, which played a role in increasing the national ambitions set for in the Dutch Textiles Policy Plan, also aimed at accelerating circularity by 2050. While the sector plan itself has not changed drastically as a result, we believe it’s important to push for more ambitious targets and to critically and publicly evaluate industry-wide and governmental plans to transition the industry.

An educational tool to understand the potential of textile fibers after first use

The Polyester Fibre Recycling overview was developed to shed light on the potential of this fibre after its first use. The spider diagram shows what happens after a polyester product is discarded into the textile collection bin, and importantly also shows what issues are present at these different points in the post-consumer supply chain– important issues that need attention in the circular textiles chain.

What's next?

In its second year, DCTV aims to build on the strong foundation which has been set to date, with an increased focus on driving on-the ground-action. Key activities will include accelerating four innovators and connecting these innovators to the Dutch and international end-markets. DCTV will also work towards matching 20 innovators with brands and clients as well as improving the uptake of circular innovations by delivering  circular trainings to Dutch brands.  


The ultimate design brief