Kate Black


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Kate Black, Communications Director at Metabolic, posted

New mechanisms needed to tackle Dutch early-stage circular economy funding gap

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New research reveals a large funding gap for circular economy initiatives in the Netherlands, particularly early-stage circular ventures.

Interviews with city municipalities, entrepreneurs, financial institutions and working groups indicate that the funding gap is especially acute for higher value-yielding circular business models and activities such as reducing, reusing, repairing, and refurbishing.

Entrepreneurs in these areas of the circular economy struggle to find funding even though these activity types have the largest potential to increase the economy’s resource efficiency, and provide high-quality employment opportunities in cities. Research indicates that achieving a circular economy in the Netherlands could create approximately 200,000 new jobs by 2030.

The paper Financing Circular Economy Innovation in the Netherlands authored by Metabolic Institute with support from the Goldschmeding Foundation, highlights a lack of systemic collaboration as a critical barrier to circular innovation, and proposes new approaches to circular economy financing in the Netherlands.

“Blended finance instruments in particular can help to address circular economy related risks, and make the circular economy more investable for the private sector,”’ said Seadna Quigley, Lead Circular Finance at Metabolic.

Public-private collaboration in the form of blended finance works to de-risk circular asset classes by using public or philanthropic capital to stimulate the market, provide proof-of-concept, and draw private-sector capital into the circular economy.

“But lack of funding is not the only problem facing Dutch circular economy entrepreneurs,” said Liz Corbin, Director of Metabolic Institute. “They also lack access to experts and the necessary knowledge to navigate the funding landscape.”

To address current bottlenecks, the paper proposes the creation of a mission-driven investment fund and ‘innovation ecosystem’ that convenes impact investors, philanthropies, and city governments.

Numerous Dutch cities have impressive track records when it comes to circular economy plans, but access to finance is one of their most significant barriers to delivering on these plans.

In addition to systemic impact investing and fundraising, the fund will aim to create an enabling ecosystem that brings together capital, knowledge, and networks of expertise to provide entrepreneurs in the circular economy with the financial and non-financial resources they need to scale up their businesses.

“We believe that circular innovation and job opportunities are created by financing circular entrepreneurs. But financing alone is not enough; we have to build a support system for entrepreneurs on an urban level,” said Birgitta Kramer, Circular Economy Programme Manager at the Goldschmeding Foundation. “The 'Circular Innovation Ecosystem' is a first step towards guiding financiers, entrepreneurs and local governments to collaborate in this approach.”

A call to action

An impact- and mission- driven finance ecosystem has potential to accelerate the transition to a circular economy that equitably distributes prosperity to all and safeguards the natural world.

We invite the following stakeholders to collaborate with us to advance the development of such an ecosystem:

  • Financier or investors with creative ideas and strategies for stimulating early-stage circular innovation in the Netherlands
  • Asset owner or fund managers with the curiosity to develop and test impact-driven frameworks for portfolio management and evaluation
  • Accelerators or incubators committed to supporting Dutch circular innovators and entrepreneurs
  • Circular innovators or entrepreneurs interested in matching higher value circular solutions to the contexts and challenges of Dutch municipalities
  • Municipalities looking for novel ways to deploy finance in service of circularity strategy

To learn more, please send an email to the CIE team at: circularfinance@metabolic.nl

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Kate Black, Communications Director at Metabolic, posted

New geo-design tool can help Amsterdam turn waste into value

TU Delft, AMS Institute, and Metabolic are working with an international consortium of parties to develop an interactive online application that maps resource flows in peri-urban Amsterdam – one of six living laboratories for the REPAiR project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

The tool equips city planners and urban designers with an interactive map of waste streams and shows how they could be usefully redirected, identifying the significant opportunities in peri-urban areas where the city and the countryside meet.

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Kate Black, Communications Director at Metabolic, posted

Urban Mining and Circular Construction: What, Why, and How it Works

How can we continue to build while minimising negative impacts on the environment? The answer lies in urban mining and circular construction – but what is it and how does it help cities and developers?

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Kate Black, Communications Director at Metabolic, posted

Metabolic Cities Program

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Given their immense ecological footprint and impact on human wellbeing, it is critical that cities make the transition to become sustainable and circular. Yet accessing the right resources and crafting the right policy isn’t easy. The Metabolic Cities Program is here to help.

For more information, read about the program here or look at the full Metabolic Cities Program brochure.

Get in touch by emailing <a>cities@metabolic.nl</a> or call +31 (0) 203690977

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Kate Black, Communications Director at Metabolic, posted

Metabolic Circular Cities Program Launches

By 2050, 70% of us will live in cities. To meet the challenges of today and prepare for tomorrow, cities must rapidly embed sustainable approaches into their development. The new ‘Metabolic Cities Program’ – starting with a focus on spatial planning – will bring together European cities to accelerate the transition to becoming inclusive, regenerative, and circular. Application for membership is now open.

Many European cities have taken the lead in setting goals towards becoming more sustainable. But knowing where to start and understanding which strategies can really have the most impact can be a real barrier for progress.

That’s why we’re excited to launch the Metabolic Cities Program to guide cities to engage with communities, make data-driven decisions, accelerate their progress to becoming sustainable leaders, and connect them to a change-driven network of other pioneers. The program builds on the work we have already undertaken, supporting dozens of cities and regions in their transition to a sustainable and circular future.
Membership of the Metabolic Cities Program is open to cities across north west Europe. Joining the program provides access to exclusive consulting, learning, and collaboration opportunities with cities across Europe.

Spatial Intelligence Research Trajectory

One of the cornerstone activities of membership will allow cities to participate in our yearly Metabolic Cities research trajectory. These trajectories seek to answer a critical challenge and provide a toolkit for developing smart policy and infrastructure.
Our first research trajectory will be on Spatial Intelligence. It will help cities overcome one of the biggest barriers to sustainable transition; helping them implement city-wide sustainability goals at a neighbourhood level through data modeling tools and our advanced spatial planning approach. Through the program, cities learn how to apply their policy goals spatially, define KPIs to track progress, and engage with local stakeholders to jump-start implementation. Cities share lessons learned and can build partnerships around similar challenges and interventions.

The approach recognizes that cities are complex living systems, and therefore policy must be applied locally. It also addresses the fact that spatial analysis can be resource intensive, requiring new tools and collaborations.

For more information, have a look at the full Metabolic Cities Program brochure or get in touch: cities@metabolic.nl

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Kate Black, Communications Director at Metabolic, posted

Zero-Waste Festivals: A How-To Handbook

Together with our partners at Green Events Nederland, Metabolic is excited to announce that we've produced a handbook on how to strategize and implement a waste-free festival.

Festivals are the perfect playgrounds for testing circular design, responsible upcycling and waste-free strategies. Interested in mapping the material flows of your festival? Take a look at our handbook.

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