New platform to help corporates forge circular economy partnerships

Environmental NGO BVRio has launched a new online platform connecting circular economy projects with corporates and impact investors, whose aim is to help small programmes scale-up and large organisations put sufficient finance behind their resource goals.

New platform to help corporates forge circular economy partnerships

Between 20% and 50% of all waste generated in the global South is managed through small-scale waste picking activities. Image: BVRio

Called the Circular Action Hub, the platform will connect sources of finance with local projects, which will have to prove that they are “ambitious and scalable” to standard-setter Verra be listed. There Is a particular focus on plastic waste – particularly removing plastic waste from habitats and diverting It for reuse or recycling – but the platform will cover all waste streams and all stages of the material lifecycle.

The scheme purports to support “a huge diversity of circumstances, technologies and approaches that can be used by projects in different parts of the world”. It has attracted sign-ups from more than 100 projects spanning 35 countries ahead off Its launch. BVRio estimates that these projects could collectively recover more than 300,000 tonnes of waste from the environment with adequate funding.

BVRio worked with an advisory coalition to develop the platform and will continue this collaboration In a bid to achieve “continuous improvement”. It Is specifically looking to build on context-based learnings, taking Into account factors like projects’ locations and their specific funding needs, and to maximise the social benefits of the projects.

The likes of Nestle, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, WRAP, Waste Aid and Regions for Climate Action sit on the platform’s advisory group, alongside the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution arm.

Nestle has also signed up as a corporate user, along with the likes of Danone and Tetra Pak.

BVVRio’s chief executive Mauricio Moura Costa said the platform should play an “important” role In the global “circular economy ecosystem”. “In particular, we are glad to have designed an inclusive system that removes barriers to entry and gives access to smaller initiatives, such as the waste picker cooperatives that operate all over the world”, he added.

Circular economy snapshot

BVRio has been working with Verra for more than a year. 2019 saw the organisations jointly launch a scheme whereby consumer goods firms, retailers and packaging producers can trade plastics credits issued by recycling and recovery providers worldwide in order to prove compliance and to “offset” plastic use.

At the time of the launch of the initiative, called 3R, between eight and 12 million tonnes of plastics were believed to be seeping into oceans and waterways annually. The Ellen Macarthur Foundation had priced the global financial loss associated with linear models of plastics consumption at between $80bn and $120bn each year.

Despite resources policies tightening in markets like the EU and seemingly stronger promises by businesses – made both through standalone sustainability strategies and collaborative initiatives – research has shown that the global plastic pollution problem is growing.

The recent ‘breaking the plastic wave’ report found that the volume of plastic on the market will double within 20 years. At the same time, the volume of plastic entering oceans and waterways will triple, and the global ocean plastic stock will quadruple.

WWF, meanwhile, is warning that a further 104 million tonnes of plastic will “leak” into ecosystems by 2030 in a ‘business-as-usual’ trajectory.

Accelerate your circular economy journey with edie’s Earth Overshoot Day Webinar 

Expert speakers from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Toast Ale and DS Smith have been announced for edie’s next webinar next Friday (21 August), which will explore the circular economy to mark Earth Overshoot Day 2020.

Sponsored by Centrica Business Solutions, this one-hour webinar is free to attend and will provide best-practice advice on resource management and business model transformation. Full information and the registration form can be found here.

Sarah George

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