In June of this year, the Municipality of Amsterdam launched the competition ‘Digital and Circular’ on behalf of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (Metropoolregio Amsterdam (MRA) in Dutch). Through this competition, the MRA wants to challenge people to develop digital solutions that can contribute to the Circular Economy. Excess Materials Exchange (EME), Copper8 and Alba Concepts have formed a team that focuses on an integrated digital application to accelerate the transition to a Circular Economy.
The application consists of four parts:
- A raw materials passport that provides transparency about the composition of the products and the flows of waste that are released;
- A track & trace module that indicates where the raw materials are sourced (geographically);
- A valuation module, in which the raw material flows are given a value (environmental impact, social, financial);
- A matchmaking platform on which parties are assisted in exchanging the available raw materials against their current value.
Individually, the four components are important building blocks in the transition to a circular economy, but their real value is established when they’re combined. “Transparency about the composition of products and raw material flows is an important first step in the transition to a circular economy,” explains Maayke-Aimee Damen, co-founder of EME and inventor of the Raw Materials Passport, “but parties will only trade truly circularly when raw material flows are assigned a value.”
The value of raw material flows is expected to increase as a result of the transition to a circular economy, so within EME, raw material flows are assigned both financial and social values. “We expect that the financial value of the flows will increase as products become more releasable, and that the social value will decrease as the transition progresses,” says Jim Teunizen of Alba Concepts, who will play a major role in the development of the valuation module.
EME will play an important role in accelerating the transition to a circular economy. “The EME platform is technologically agnostic,” says Christian van Maaren, co-founder of EME. Van Maaren wants to establish a solid foundation for the acceleration to a circular economy, but he also wants to be able to join future developments. “Our platform is built in such a way that it can easily be linked with modules developed by other parties. This ensures that we remain relevant as a platform, and that parties can continue to rely on us as a foundation.”
While most initiatives focus on a specific sector, EME also wants to stimulate the exchange of raw material flows between sectors. “This is probably where the greatest potential lies,” says Cécile van Oppen of Copper8. “You can’t create a circular economy in isolation; collaboration between value chain partners and sectors is the only way to ensure that we really start thinking in terms of reuse.” Because of its cross-sectoral character, the consortium is convinced that it can offer added value for the MRA in the transition to a circular economy.
In order to make progress as quickly as possible, the consortium would like to start creating these win-win collaborations immediately – and you’re invited to get involved! During the Week of the Circular Economy, the consortium will hold a ‘kick-off’. The aim is to inform potential partners and users about the platform, and to use the experience gained to further shape the platform and the individual modules. Specifically, the consortium is looking for the following participants:
- Users of the platform: parties with residual flows or a demand for secondary materials;
- Logistics parties;
- Parties involved in developing technology that could be complementary to EME;
- Other interested people.