2017 Finalists

The Circulars 2017 Finalists were selected through a rigorous assessment and judging process, with the Winner of each category to be honoured at the prestigious awards ceremony held at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2017. Please click on the links below to view the fantastic array of Winners, Runners Up and Finalists that were selected across the six categories. You can also view the People's Choice Finalists as well as the 2016 Finalists and 2015 Finalists.

William McDonough

Chief Executive of McDonough Innovation

William McDonough, FAIA, Int. FRIBA, is a trained architect, yet works at scales from the global to the molecular. He advises leaders worldwide through McDonough Innovation; and is active with William McDonough + Partners, architects; as well as MBDC, a Cradle to Cradle® consulting firm. In 1995, McDonough and the chemists at MBDC worked with DesignTex to create the world’s first biological nutrient fabric. Climatex LifeCycle uses only rapidly renewable, natural materials and non-toxic dyes. Water leaves the factory as clean or cleaner than the potable water coming in. Production costs were lowered, waste disposal costs drastically reduced, and community relations improved. Shaw Contract Group also engaged McDonough and the MBDC team to design the world’s first PVC-free technical nutrient carpet tile to be endlessly recycled and reused as a product of service. Today, over 60% of the company’s sales come from Cradle to Cradle Certified™ products and Shaw reclaims 100 million pounds of carpet annually. These projects laid the foundation for the 2002 book co-authored by McDonough, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, which introduced the concepts of biological and technical cycles and provides a coherent framework for restorative and regenerative systems. These concepts have not only inspired the continued expansion and selection of Cradle to Cradle Certified products, but also all of McDonough’s work including Park 20|20 in the Netherlands where buildings are “material banks” designed for disassembly and as assets for future generations.

Frans Timmermans

Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission

Frans Timmermans is a Dutch politician and diplomat who currently serves as the First Vice-President of the European Commission. Through his role as the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans has brought the circular economy to the forefront of the agenda in Europe. In December 2015, it was announced the Commission has adopted an ambitious new Circular Economy Package to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs, for which Frans was responsible for leading the development of. Various targets have been put in place, for example a common EU target for recycling 75% of packaging waste by 2030, with financial instruments and funds backing up such proposals - €650 million from Horizon 2020 and €5.5 billion from structural funds from now to 2020.

Guido Braam

Director at Valley Creators, Co Founder Powered by Meaning, Initiator NL circular hotspot

Guido is a Social Entrepreneur who aims for ecological, economical and social improvement. During his career Guido was co-founder and director of Circle Economy. This was the first non-profit organization to focus entirely on the transition to a circular economy in The Netherlands and beyond. During the time of the Dutch presidency of the EU in 2016, Guido became one of the initiators and the project leader behind The Netherlands Circular Hotspot campaign. This campaign focused on positioning the Netherlands as an international circular hotspot to inspire the world. Additionally, Guido initiated a three-day trade mission with 140 participants from 20 countries, aimed at inspiring governments and business to shift from linear to circular thinking and action. Guido’s current focus is the development of the first circular business development hub in the world, Valley. This is the place where circular ideas, technologies, financing structures and business models are created.

John C. Warner

President & Chief Technology Officer, The Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, LLC

As a founder of the Green Chemistry field, John C. Warner has driven circular economy innovation and education for nearly 30 years. Warner’s career has touched all aspects of the materials economy. In industry, he worked at the Polaroid Corporation (1988-1997), where he invented several circular-enabling technologies that served as the foundation for his concepts in Green Chemistry. As an academic, he served as professor of chemistry and plastics engineering at the University of Massachusetts (1997-2007), where he pioneered efforts to reform chemistry education, creating the world’s first PhD program in Green Chemistry. As an inventor and entrepreneur at his research institute, the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry (2007-present), he has invented circular-enabling green chemistry technologies for a variety of industry sectors. Additionally, he has served in leadership roles on a number of governmental chemicals policy initiatives supporting efforts to integrate green chemistry and the circular economy.

Nate Morris

Founder and CEO of Rubicon Global

Nate Morris is a strong-willed, committed, circular economy leader. Raised from humble beginnings by a single mother and his grandmother and grandfather, a labor union leader and United States Army Veteran, today Morris is the founder of a nearly US$1 billion technology startup, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. A product of Kentucky public schools, Morris was educated at George Washington University as a Scottish Rite Scholar and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. Morris worked at the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Department of Labor, White House, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and lectured at the Beijing International Studies University. In China, Morris saw the global challenge waste had become. In 2008, using maxed-out credit cards and selling items on eBay, Morris built Rubicon Global, a circular economy leader in cloud-based waste/recycling solutions. With data-driven technology, Morris is disrupting an antiquated, hostile and unsustainable waste model, introducing a new marketplace that profits from landfill diversion.

Susan Chong Suk Shien

Founder & CEO of Greenpac (S) Pte Ltd.

Susan Chong is the Founder & CEO of Greenpac, a knowledge-based company that specializes in re-engineering, designing and distributing innovative, environmentally friendly packaging products and solutions. Greenpac has grown from a one-woman start-up in 2002 into a thriving multi-million dollar company. She is the winner of Singapore’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2014 in the Sustainable Packing Solutions Category. The company won the Most Admired ASEAN SME Enterprise for CSR in the ASEAN Business Award 2010. Under the leadership of Susan, Greenpac placed great focus in partnering with customers to re-engineer their industrial packaging processes by creating innovative and environmentally friendly packaging solutions to achieve bottom-line savings, greening the supply chain and reduce tones of packaging waste. Today, Greenpac operates from zero energy office with 30% of the production using clean energy. Susan also serves on various committees that promote sustainability. She is one of the founding members of the Recycling Working Group for SS587:2013 which is equivalent to WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) UNU. SS587 is a voluntary Singapore Standard for the management of end-of-life ICT (info-communication technology) equipment. To promote higher green awareness to the public, Susan frequently accepts invitations by other organisations to participate in environment talks and the importance of product life cycles as part of the public education activities.

NIKE, Inc.

Nike, one of the world’s largest suppliers of athletic shoes and apparel, has announced an ambitious goal – to double its business with half the impact – and through adopting the principles of the circular economy at the centre of this strategy. Nike have identified the essential global requirement for product and business model innovation, including the transition from linear to circular models and to a world that demands closed-loop products, designed with better materials, made with fewer resources and assembled to allow reuse. Nike are already on their journey. Today 71% of all Nike footwear and apparel incorporates recycled materials, and their designers use 29 high-performance materials made from factory scrap. They are implementing and scaling new design and manufacturing processes, with materials reclaimed throughout production and at the end of a product’s life. In doing so, Nike are reimagining waste streams as value streams, and are supporting the development of low-impact, regenerative materials. To accelerate this change, Nike are also driving collaboration with industry, innovators, policymakers, and business to deliver resources and capabilities that accelerate system-level change.


Patagonia, an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, California, has the principles of the circular economy embedded into its business strategy. A certified B-Corporation, Patagonia’s mission is to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Patagonia feels a responsibility to make higher quality products to help customers reclaim the act of ownership, make parts accessible and repair easy, as well as to celebrate the effort of trying to fix something. By ensuring the usable life of its products are extended, Patagonia can reduce related carbon, waste and water footprints by up to 20-30 percent per person (WRAP, 2012) simply because we’re making and throwing away less. This drives more impact than any changes Patagonia or any other company could make in fiber choice, production practices, or laundering. To enable this, Patagonia has driven the collection of garments from customers since 2005 and so far has diverted about 150,000 pounds / 82 tons of gear from landfill in the USA. While Patagonia employs over 60 repair technicians at their service center in Reno, Nevada, the largest outdoor gear repair facility in North America, and completes about 45,000 repairs per year. (FY16) Their ‘Worn Wear’ campaign has also led to huge consumer participation and last year (FY16) over 35,000 people came to Worn Wear tour stops in the US and Europe (combined).


BASF, the German based chemical company, is embracing a circular economy approach across its value chain and within its products. Notably, BASF developed the innovative “Biomass Balance method” together with TÜV SÜD, in which finite fossil resources at the entry of the production Verbund are replaced by sustainably produced renewable resources in a very flexible way. The biobased raw materials are allocated up to 100% to the respective sales products using the novel certification method. It enables BASF to produce any chemical or material by using renewable raw materials within existing, interlinked production plants. The formulation and quality of the corresponding end products remain unchanged, no adaption of customer processes is required. The Biomass Balanced products save fossil resources and lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional products. In addition, BASF’s ecovio® product is a certified compostable and biodegradable bioplastic. In agriculture, mulch film made from BASF bioplastics has helped avoid over 4,000 tons of plastic fragments on soil from conventional, very thin mulch films. In households, ecovio® bags and food packaging make food waste collection safe, easy, and clean. Since 2006, BASF bioplastics have enabled an additional diversion of over 1.5 million tons of organic waste from landfill or incineration. To further promote organic waste collection, BASF sets up partnerships with cities and regions worldwide.

Cisco Systems

Cisco, a global leader in network technology, products and solutions, is using its business capabilities to accelerate the circular economy. Cisco see the network as the platform for the connectivity and applications that enable the monitoring, data collection, analytics and decision-making to enable the circular economy. To date, circular economy initiatives driven by Cisco address used product return and remanufacture, new-product leasing and as-a-service business models, Internet-of-things (IoT) and its implementation in the cloud, and updated product designs to further improve product reuse and recycling. Cisco is working with suppliers, customers, employees, and communities to develop, pilot and implement circular economy principles. It is also introducing a new Send IT Back process to increase significantly the return of used Cisco gear by its customers and partners. Cisco currently receives about 12,000 tonne/year of used Cisco product that is recycled, used for life extension through service contracts, or remanufactured to fully warranted, like-new condition for resale. Cisco’s core business strategy is focused on IoT, cloud/data center/security, and data analytics, initiatives well aligned with the needs of the circular economy. They believe that the circular economy offers a profound transformational opportunity for the global community and place the importance of their technology at its centre. In support of this, Cisco in 2011 became a founding partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation circular economy program.

Enel SpA

Enel, a leading Italian multinational manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas, has undergone a profound repositioning in the last three years, completely transforming its strategy to move from an old-style, traditional utility to a modern, flexible, sustainable and circular business. Their transformation to a strategy to bring circular supplies to the consumer is based on four main pillars. These pillars include the development of renewable generation capacity, reducing investment in coal or nuclear power, focusing on small scale and decentralised projects, adopting a shared value and stakeholder focused approach and an ambitious overall commitment to decarbonisation, with the target of zero carbon from generation by 2050. As a result of this strategic shift, the business model was transformed accordingly, with a huge growth in renewables development, the decommissioning of a total of 23 older thermal plants (13GW, 10% of Italian capacity) and the company have driven access to energy schemes, in which they have committed to providing access to energy to 3 million people mainly in Africa, Asia and South America. Enel have also adopted a circular approach to their own business operations. Their progress has resulted in them being ranked in 5th place in Fortune Magazine’s list of Companies That Can Change the World, while Greenpeace have identified them as the only ‘Progressive Company’ in the global utilities sector.

Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls, a global diversified technology company and multi industrial leader, has established one of the world’s most successful examples of a circular economy – designing, making, transporting, recycling and recovering vehicle batteries using more sustainable methods. Its circular supply chain helped push recycling rates for conventional batteries to 99% in 2015 in North America, Europe and Brazil -- enabling the company to produce batteries containing more than 80% recycled material. The reuse of metals from used batteries results in 99% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than processing primary ore, while using recycled plastics consumes 90% less energy than processing virgin plastic. The reverse logistics network that Johnson Controls has implemented also reduces transportation miles. Their commitment to the circular economy is not confined to batteries but is across the business as Johnson Controls look to extend life, remanufacture, and recycle throughout business strategy. The company is also an active collaborator with stakeholders, sharing best practices and helping share their circular economy knowledge and to drive scale. This is exemplified in its "purpose-led" value: its aim to protect people and the environment.

MBA Polymers, Inc.

MBA Polymers has found a solution to up-cycling complex plastic waste streams to a high quality for re-use and re-purposing. Plastics are perhaps the last major frontier of recycling. Most of the 280 million tons of plastics produced annually end up in incinerators, landfills or waterways. This is both a wasted valuable resource and a source of land, air and water pollution. Billions of pounds enter our oceans every year killing or disrupting marine life at alarming rates. The low recycling rate for these valuable materials is because they are extremely difficult to separate and “up-cycle”. Founded in 1992, MBA Polymers not only developed breakthrough technology, it turned an “above ground mining” business model into the world’s leading company mining plastics and other materials from large complex waste streams with about 140 million kg/year of processing capacity. MBA operates the most sophisticated plastics recycling plants on the planet and some of the largest manufacturers in the world use MBA plastics to replace virgin plastics 1:1 in their products, saving enormous amounts of CO2, energy and devastating pollution.


The Germany based company I:Collect (I:CO) developed a global take back system for used apparel, footwear and other textiles reuse and recycling. The system facilitates the logistics, the sorting and the processing of all collected items. It increases consumer awareness towards becoming more circular and decreasing the amount of clothing going to landfill. Hence driving the current linear value chain of these goods towards a circular one. To initiate this transformation among all stakeholders in the fashion industry, the I:CO system is built around the following pillars: 1. I:CO cooperates with international fashion brands and retailers in life cycle thinking by offering them a convenient and profitable solution to undertake product end-of-life responsibility. I:CO offers a global logistics, sorting and recycling infrastructure which allows all retailers and consumers to become part of the solution to the textile waste challenge. I:CO fosters innovation in recycling technologies to close the loop. With its first textile-to-textile denim recycling process, I:CO serves as a secondary raw material supplier for recovered cotton fibers. It builds the bridge between the consumer and the yarn producers in the upstream supply chain of fashion brands. Ultimately, I:CO’s innovative system increases worldwide apparel and footwear collection and reduces textile waste as well as empowers retailers and consumers to be active participants in managing a product’s lifecycle of the product and maximizing the retained value in these valuable materials.


The Dutch-based company Fairphone, is a social enterprise that is building a movement for fairer electronics. By making a phone, Fairphone is opening up the supply chain and creating new relationships between people and their products. The enterprise making a positive impact across the value chain in mining, design, manufacturing and life cycle, while expanding the market for products that put ethical values first. Together with its community, Fairphone is changing the way products are made. Thanks to the supporters who bought 60,000 first edition Fairphones, the company was able to invest in a one-of-a-kind modular design for Fairphone 2. This design allows owners to open and repair their phones without any special technical skills. This repair model, combined with carefully selected components, will lead to a longer lasting device. The buyers of the Fairphone 2 (50,000 phones sold by September 2016) show the industry that there is a market for ethical and sustainable electronics products.

Park24 Co.,Ltd.

Park24 Group, through its car sharing service "Times Car PLUS", is leading the shift towards a car sharing economy in Japan. The service began in 2009 with almost 50 vehicles in around 20 locations. As of the end of August 2016, the company has 15,704 vehicles operating in 8,366 locations. The number of its registered members has grown from nearly 900 to 691,155, and both the phrase “car sharing” and the system have earned increasing recognition. Park24 started their operations in the car sharing business seven years after Orix Auto Corporation. In terms of the number of vehicles, however, Park24 obtained the top position in the industry in the third year of its operations, as the company aggressively added to its vehicle lineup, which involves its main activity and gives Park24 the strength of running the largest scale pay-by-the-hour parking facilities in Japan. The company has retained the top position since 2011.


SAFECHEM is a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company and as The Service Company it is responsible for the sustainable and innovative use of chemicals. It provides sustainable solutions for high precision metal surface cleaning, dry cleaning and asphalt testing applications based on chlorinated and non-chlorinated solvents. SAFECHEM developed a holistic and sustainable risk management concept by applying the principles of Responsible Care®, Product Stewardship and Circular Economy. Fresh solvent is delivered to the customer and the used solvent is taken-back in the state of the art SAFE-TAINER™ system. The solvent’s life span in closed cleaning machine can be extended significantly by applying SAFECHEM range of Service Elements optimising the “on-site reuse loop” (distillation) of the solvent. It was calculated that the full solution provided by SAFECHEM can reduce up to 80% solvent content in the waste stream, and up to 80% primary solvents consumption. SAFECHEM serves its customer via a network of responsible distribution partners and OEMs.

Unusual Rigging Ltd.

The UK-based company Unusual Rigging Ltd provide technical solutions to the live production and entertainment industry. Highly commended last year, it has continued its transition towards a fully circular business model (CBM). Creating, capturing and distributing value through 3 core innovations. Evolving beyond a rental system that has been historically efficient at managing material loops; towards an optimized circular system that is effective at closing material loops. More than 50 tonnes worth of ‘technical nutrients’ have been reused in the past year alone. CO2e have been reduced by over 60% comparative to the previous year through a shift to renewable energy generation. Importantly, as the majority of Circular innovation appears more accessible to large corporations or small start-up enterprises, Unusual believes that it is pioneering a way for the vast middle ground of 30 year plus established businesses within the entertainment industry and beyond - demonstrating that circularity isn't just feasible but also preferable as a new model of service provision.

Scottish Government

Scottish Government was the first national Government to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100 network and works directly with EU institutions, and influences UK ambition in EU circular economy negotiations. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has placed the circular economy at the core of “Scotland’s Economic Strategy” and Manufacturing Action Plan. The government’s ambitious circular economy strategy “Making Things Last” identifies 4 priority areas with the greatest opportunity to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits: Reducing food waste and growing the bio-economy, including in the lucrative whisky and salmon industries; Driving the reuse of energy infrastructure in the renewable and oil and gas sectors; Reducing waste and taking a more circular approach to the use of resources in construction and buildings; Supporting Scotland’s well established remanufacturing sector to grow further. Early achievements include: £180m of business savings from its Resource Efficient Scotland service; a flourishing collaboration between business and academia through the Scottish Institute for Remanufacture; 34 projects in the assessment pipeline for our new £18m Circular Economy Investment Fund; and two large-scale re-use and repair hubs in the Highlands and in Edinburgh.

China Association of Circular Economy (CACE)

China Association of Circular Economy (CACE), a national cross-region and multi-industry organization, was founded in 2013 to be a leading organization in enabling and promoting the circular economy in China. CACE is administrated by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), and directed by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The CACE has nearly 700 members nationwide while the secretariat of CACE has about 50 employees. The members of CACE cover all circular economy areas, including industrial circular economy, agricultural circular economy, waste reuse and recycling, and garbage utilization, etc. In recent years, CACE has a leading role in circular economy promotion in China. CACE has led dozens of important projects in circular economy area covering policy study, circular economy model identification, local circular economy development plan, etc. Some of them are very important national level studies, such as the Study on Circular Economy Promotion Law Amendment, and the National Guidelines on Promoting the Green Consumption. CACE also conducted a number of activities such as organization of annual forum on China's circular economic development. All these projects and activities have played key roles in China’s circular economy development.

Circle Economy

A social enterprise, organised as a cooperative, Circle Economy aims to accelerate the transition to circularity through an on the ground, action focused, development of practical and scalable solutions to embed the circular economy, with a focus on international campaigns, communications, and engagement. Since 2012 it has become one of the world's leading pioneers in how to implement the circular economy. Through its innovative programmes, tools and services Circle Economy is creating value for cities by shaping sustainable futures, supporting start-ups by developing markets for circular products, and guiding sectors by creating actionable roadmaps. The cooperative is continuing this progress by investing time and resources into digitising its tools and programmes, with the ambition of scaling them on a global level. Some of its most recent successes include: a growing member network of more than 50 companies, ranging from SMEs to multinational corporations, the completion of five Circle City Scans and the anticipation of at least ten more to be completed in 2017. Furthermore, Circle Economy has developed successful sector programmes in finance, textiles and cities with aims to further specialise in the agri-food, construction, healthcare and automotive sectors in the coming years.

Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Opening in 1965, Simon Fraser University has since become Canada’s leading comprehensive university. The university is pushing the boundaries of Zero Waste by incorporating Circular Economy principles into its operations, teaching, and research. Widespread infrastructure improvements, cross-departmental governance, comprehensive education and engagement, and demand-side management have resulted in over 70% of the university’s waste being diverted from landfill, up from an estimated 25% in 2012. Waste production has also decreased by 10%, despite a growing university population, achieving financial and greenhouse gas emission savings, as well as increased operational efficiencies and enhanced sustainability literacy among students and staff. SFU’s efforts go beyond waste ‘management’ to take an in-depth look at the university’s waste footprint, finding innovative ways to model circular economy practices in everyday functions, through its teaching and research, and through its leverage with suppliers and vendors. Simon Fraser University has become a leader in circular economy best practice and has developed tools and services to assist others in the transition. Looking forward, SFU will continue to collaborate on circular economy innovation and transformation throughout BC, Canada, and beyond.


USE-IT is a Non-Profit Corporation (NPC) based in Durban, South Africa that has been in operation for 7 years, funded through government grants and private sector investments. USE-IT primary mandate is to divert as much waste as possible from landfill whilst maximizing job-creation. In its first 6 years, USE-IT has used innovation in waste beneficiation to create more than 2300 jobs in the waste sector across KwaZulu-Natal. In doing so USE-IT is a cost-negative agency saving 4.59 times its direct funds in landfill diversion alone and in its first 6 years has provided more than 1500% return on its primary funding received. USE-IT has created a model for all municipalities across South Africa to aspire to and all projects are imminently expandable. USE-IT has won 5 major national awards in 2 years for green innovation and is currently leveraging funds to expand its successes nationally and into Africa.


WRAP is a Waste and Resources Action Programme that was set up in 2000 to promote sustainable waste management. WRAP, based in the UK, works with governments, businesses and communities to deliver practical solutions to improve resource efficiency. WRAP’s mission is to accelerate the move to a sustainable, resource-efficient economy by re-inventing the design, production and selling of products, re-thinking the use and consumption of products, and re-defining what is possible through re-use and recycling. WRAP works in a unique way, building an evidence base, and then convening the right people in business, government and the community to work on specific problems, overcoming market failures and coming up with practical solutions that work and make a real difference. WRAP’s workstreams are complimentary to the EU 2020 Circular Economy vision and they deliver thought leadership and active support in this area. The circular economy is core to its Products and Services programme and this submission focusses on this area of WRAP's work. This predominantly works across the textiles and electrical products sectors. The action programme demonstrates leadership through the development and management of collaborative voluntary agreements such as the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), and the Electrical and Electronics sustainability action plan (esap) which transforms industry generating action through sustainability. WRAP is lead partner on EU LIFE with the European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP), and the Critical Raw Materials Closed Loop Recovery projects along with leading on a EU LIFE + project which pioneers Resource Efficient Business Models (REBus) for a circular economy which results in value creation through business transformation.

SJF Ventures

SJF Ventures is an American venture capital partnership founded in 1999 with offices in Durham, New York and San Francisco. The fund invests in high-growth companies creating a healthier, smarter and cleaner future. Its primary impact focus is on identifying and scaling the positive environmental and social impacts achieved through portfolio companies’ core circular economy businesses. In addition, SJF works to broaden impacts delivered through new positive company practices, policy initiatives, and thought leadership. SJF primarily focuses on companies with innovative social and environmental solutions embedded within their business models. The firm looks for circular economy business models in its six target sectors that can simultaneously scale impact and financial results. SJF looks for early evidence that target social and environmental results are being achieved by prospective investees before providing capital and expertise to accelerate growth. To date SJF has invested in 52 circular economy businesses and has a total of over $250 million in assets managed. The firm is now closing a $125 million fourth fund to further its work and impact.

ING Bank

ING, a global bank operating in 40 countries, has a mission to empower people to stay a step ahead in life and in business, and the circular economy is at the forefront of this ambition. To realise this vision, ING is going beyond traditional banking and taking steps to apply circular economy principles to its business and investigating how it can translate them into viable customer solutions. ING’s goal is to support and encourage customers in their transition process. The bank does that in several ways: by committing to grow its sustainable business portfolio; by investing in best practice companies; by applying a more holistic and in-depth analysis of clients’ financial flows; by developing intelligence on the subject and by engaging with customers through round tables, seminars and workshops. These initiatives are already delivering results. In June 2015, ING Bank published a landmark report called ’’Rethinking finance in a circular economy’’, which sets out the financial implications of circular business models. In November 2015, ING raised €1.315 billion via an innovative green bond and to date the bank has financed around $28 billion of sustainable transactions. In November 2016, ING established the Sustainable Finance Collective Asia, a first-of-its-kind funding initiative for sustainability projects in the region that promote the circular economy. And in the same month, ING was advisor and sole underwriter in a merger to form one of Europe’s leading circular economy companies. Meanwhile, ING Bank is seeking to integrate circular economy concepts into the culture of its business.

ArcTern Ventures

ArcTern Ventures is a leading North American cleantech venture capital firm investing in breakthrough low carbon and circular economy technology companies. ArcTern's first fund has invested $50 million in 10 startups and Fund II will launch this year with $150 million. ArcTern is one of the few venture investors that has stayed the course on early stage cleantech investing while most venture investors have exited the sector. ArcTern has demonstrated it can identify and grow companies with game changing ideas in the cleantech and circular economy. ArcTern hopes this will attract additional capital to the sector at a time when the planet needs it most.

Circularity Capital LLP

Circularity Capital LLP is a UK based specialist private equity firm founded in 2015, with a mission to support growth and innovation amongst European SMEs operating in or enabling the circular economy. The Circularity Capital team brings together decades of SME private equity experience with extensive practical knowledge of, and network in the circular economy. This team has been specifically assembled to support circular SMEs, which the firm has identified as critical enablers to the wider transition to a more circular economy. Circularity Capital uses its extensive circular economy network to both identify proprietary investment opportunities and to provide strategic, operational, knowledge, business and market development support to help deliver value creation across its investment portfolio. Circularity Capital was shortlisted for The Circulars 2016, since when the company has gone from concept stage to a fully formed, asset management firm and have secured £17m of private capital from private, institutional and corporate investors.

NY Green Bank

New York Green Bank (NYGB) is a state-sponsored specialized financial entity established to accelerate clean energy deployment in New York State (NYS). As of November 1, 2016, NYGB has committed $207M, stimulating up to ~$966M in total investments in clean energy projects which are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 4.3M metric tons - equivalent to removing 49,000+ cars off the road for 19 years. NYGB’s current portfolio represents an expected leverage ratio of total project costs to NYGB’s funds of up to ~5:1. NYGB investments accelerate deployment of value-creating technologies under innovative business models including: (1) circular supplies; (2) product as service; and (3) transforming clean energy capital markets. (1) NYGB's investments offer households, businesses and municipalities increased access to renewable energy. (2) NYGB investments in solar and energy efficiency portfolios encourage third-party ownership business models, whereby a circular business offers energy-as-a-service generally under lease or PPA. These arrangements facilitate the participation of households and businesses that may be unable to cover the upfront costs. (3) NYGB structures its transactions in a way that upon certain milestones, it is expected that the models being financed can be supported entirely by private sector capital, thereby playing a transformational role in the financing markets.

Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund

Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, is an organisation under the supervision of the Parliament of Finland. The fund was valued at approximately 771 million euros at the end of 2015 and has a vision to drive Finland to succeed as a pioneer in sustainable well-being. Sitra is dedicated to supporting the transition to a Circular Economy through both investments and societal transformation activities. A significant amount of Sitra's active investment commitments of 190 million euros are related to the Circular Economy including over a dozen investments funds and companies. Sitra’s investments in Circular Economy related funds and companies have often resulted in above average industry peer returns. Sitra has invested in the introduction of Circular Economy thinking in Finland. Amongst many activities in 2016, Sitra coordinated the world’s first national road map to the circular economy “Leading the cycle”. It was prepared together with a very broad stakeholder group consisting of relevant ministries, industry representatives and other societal actors. The road map consists of actionable steps and solutions. One of the key projects in the road map is organising the World Circular Economy Forum 2017 in Helsinki, Finland, on the 5th and 6th of June 2017 to support international collaboration on the Circular Economy.

Rubicon Global

Founded in 2008, the American company Rubicon Global is now the one of the world’s leading provider of sustainable waste and recycling solutions. It is disrupting the US$1 trillion global waste and recycling industry, realigning incentives to divert waste from landfills and promote a more circular economy. The company offers an alternative to the asset-heavy business model of industry incumbents that profit from frequenting landfills and the make-take-waste culture. Instead, Rubicon built a cloud-based technology and big data platform that connects customers with a network of independent haulers to enable higher diversion rates, creative reuse of waste material, optimized truck routes and the collection, analysis and ability to act upon detailed waste data verified by Trucost. Rubicon provides waste and recycling solutions for approximately 80,000 customer locations across 50 states in the USA and Canada, as well as 18 additional countries.


Peerby enables people to rent and borrow the things they need from others nearby and has now developed into the largest online sharing community in the Netherlands, with recent international expansion. With a billion dollars worth of products available on the platform, a quarter million signups and $4 million in funding, Peerby is the world leader in sharing a wide range of consumer goods. Peerby was the first to find a way to create a liquid marketplace for borrowing these items and is now leading the way to build a scalable model for peer 2 peer rental. Its members save an average of $100 when they borrow or rent and owners make up to $500 per month renting out their products. The Peerby platform reduces the impact of consumer products by millions of tons of waste, carbon & greenhouse gas emission and use of natural resources every year. In addition it generates millions of dollars of social capital by connecting people in neighborhoods.


12Return is returns management software for branded and retail companies, created in the Netherlands, that streamlines the authorization, transportation, processing and settlement of product returns from consumers and business customers. In doing so, 12Return has developed a unique process framework for the reverse supply chain. Based on the framework it has created a returns management software as a service solution that enables brands and retailers to implement a product return cycles into their supply chain. The solution is serving multiple customers in different industries with a returns management solution for a customer centric and circular economy. In 2016, 12Return has been awarded business by IBM to implement a global solution for product take-back and asset recovery. In 2016 it has published its returns management vision in a book called "Returns Management - building a closed loop supply chain for a customer centric and circular economy".

Hello Tractor

Hello Tractor is a Nigerian based and award-winning agricultural technology company, focused on improving food and income security for smallholder farmers relying on expensive and often unavailable manual labour. It has engineered a low-cost “Smart Tractor” that pairs the tractor owner with labour-constrained farmers willing to pay for tractor services. Farmers needing a tractor service simply send a text message request and the powerful software pairs that request with the nearest Smart Tractor owner in the market with the applicable tractor attachment. Hello Tractor supports all their Smart Tractor owners with its technology, which informs owners of usability and functionality to help owners manage machine fleets in the field, minimize fraud and maximize machine value. Hello Tractor also coordinates low-cost financing to help facilitate the purchase of a Smart Tractor and enable them to become owners.

NCC Industry

Loop Rocks is a platform developed by the Sweden based Nordic Construction Company (NCC) to provide a solution to one of the construction industry’s largest challenges – the handling and transportation of masses from construction sites. Today the process of handling and transporting masses are done in costly, wasteful and complex flows. By utilizing Loop Rocks, the entire construction industry as well as end-users can handle waste and secondary masses in a smarter, cost-reducing, more efficient and environmentally friendly manner. Through Loop Rocks, NCC has created an open eco-system platform based on collaboration to solve a known problem, breaking with traditional industry standards and building a user-centric solution, thus becoming a business-integrator. All Loop Rocks users benefit by reducing time, costs and environmental impact by using less virgin masses and unnecessary transportation resulting in lower CO2 emissions and excavation impact, adding value from both a financial and environmental standpoint. The network opens up for anyone to connect to the eco-system, resulting in disruption for players that make money off today’s inefficient handling of masses at the expense of the environment. Loop Rocks provides transparency, working to make the entire construction industry more circular.


UPMADE is an Estonian design and production system that has been developed by sustainable designer Reet Aus PhD, after 6 years of research. It allows any garment brand to commercialize industrial-scale upcycling at the production stage. The technology identifies one´s textile leftovers and enables the leftovers to be returned back into mass-production, turning cost into revenues and achieving remarkable environmental savings thanks to waste prevention. The UPMADE Software is first used to transparently analyse the leftovers, using specific production data and UPMADE algorithms, with new garments for the brand then designed out of leftover material. UPMADE Software then calculates how much water, energy and CO2 emission these upcycled garments save. Production is prepared, avoiding any interruption of the production processes. Garments are UPMADE Certified, proving they meet standards on waste prevention, labour rights and avoiding hazardous chemicals. UPMADE is the first industrial-scale upcycling method in the World, preventing mass-production leftovers becoming waste. It has proven to be financially viable for any size of a brand.