Increasing demands for ethical standards in producing and offering services result into more and more companies and large institutions who are willing to take actions. The incorporation of new ethical business strategies becomes a crucial part for progressive businesses. Especially banks, who have not been perceived as taking on a pioneer role in terms of ethical and sustainable standards in the past, are urged to rethink their working procedures. One possible answer to the question how banks and other large institutions may take steps into becoming more sustainable in the future is the incorporation of circular business models (CBM). The key of those is the effort to employ fewer materials and resources that are used to produce products or services, to extend the life of already existing products through refurbishment and to close the loop of product’s life by recycling. In short, CBM seeks to reduce, retain, and recycle.
The Green Office Team had the opportunity to visit a place that works entirely based on the above-described principles. Together with a group of interested students, the team explored Circl, a pavilion that has been developed by the Dutch ABN AMBRO bank. Emerged from the vision to not only become more sustainable but also to reconnect with its neighbourhood, the pavilion was built to create a place that would find a connection between the banking district Zuidas and its citizens. Situated just outside the ABN AMRO bank’s head office and designed according to sustainable and circular principles, Circl offers a unique place to learn, connect and work towards a more sustainable future.
Egidio Bundel, the Program Developer for Zero Waste at Circl explained the underlying ideas and principles of the Zuidas pavilion. Built for future disassembly and re-use, large amounts of materials that were used for the construction of Circl originated from other buildings and were given a second life in the pavilion. A natural way of controlling the temperature by isolating the building with recycled fibres from ABN AMRO business clothing demonstrates that no artificial air condition is required. By dispensing energy-intensive applicants and generating energy using solar panels, the pavilion manages to maintain a positive overall energy balance.
Regardless of the impressive integration of green components into the building, the actual key to the success of Circl is the collaboration with numerous partners. By cooperating with specialists who offer their expertise and rent out services and products such as lift technologies and furniture, the pavilion is able to extend the life of already existing products and keep the use of resources to a minimum. Collaborating with waste recycling companies for instance enables Circl to recycle waste and return the successively saved resources back into the production cycle. In this way, large amounts of already used paper return to Circl in form of toilet paper and paper towels. Other parts of Circl benefit from different collaborations, as well. The restaurant works closely aligned with Instock, a project that picks up unsold products at local Albert Heijn supermarkets and other producers to set a sign against food waste. The underlying concept of cooperation also plays a role when Egidio Bundel talks about the workshops that are organized to educate companies to incorporate the circular ideology, themselves. In ten meeting rooms that cater to the clients’ needs, one is able to learn all about the principles of circularity.
By creating a place that does not only set high standards in terms of sustainable construction but also in terms of creating networks that result into a far-reaching reduction of wasting resources, ABN AMBRO took a first important step into contributing to a more sustainable future. If you are interested in sustainability and you are looking for some inspiration, the Circl is definitely a place that is worth visiting.