Implementing circular economy (CE) in your company can be difficult. By sharing experiences and issues with your peers they can help you to accelerate. It can be about “what” you can do differently but also “how” you can do it differently. For this reason we organize CE matching sessions. During a CE matching session, sustainability professionals with specific questions arising from their own work visit another company that effectively implements CE to learn from each other.
It is for this reason that the first CE matching took place at Dutch Railways (NS), a leader in the field of CE. Host Ilse de Vos-van Eekeren, Manager Sustainable Entrepreneurship, told the story of NS during a tour in the Refurbishment and Overhaul workplace in Haarlem. Here the renovation and recycling process of the trains takes place. A unique opportunity to take a closer look at the CE processes and a source of inspiration for the group of seven sustainability professionals.
The seven participants came to the NS with their own case. The participants shared one big question: how did you start with CE within the company and how can you scale up?
- Provide a good business case. At NS, it turned out that the business case is often favorable.
- Check whether your CE project is also technically possible.
- Be realistic and consider decisions taken now, might have to change in the future.
- Check suppliers
- Bring stakeholders together. “Sometimes you have to be really convincing!”
- Find a partner in crime, you need it.
- Realize what your CE project means for all different business processes.
- Also learn from what cannot be solved circularly (yet).
- Create support. First show that it is possible on a small scale and then you can scale up. “Just start and you will get the rest to come along. Don’t give up!
MANAGEMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Part of the CE matching is sharing competencies required for the successful implementation of CE. The competency Management and Entrepreneurship emerged during this session as the most important competence in the cases.
“… I make small steps visible and share these to get more commitment in the organization (both top-down and bottom-up).” – RET
“.. I look for projects that appeal to the imagination to get others enthusiastic and start moving.” – GVB
“…I remain stubborn and just get started without first discussing everything.” – Landal
“… I look for certain ideas myself and start these without first trying to get the support of the entire organization. Just do it, look for partners and create showcases.” – Canon