Introduction to Circular Economy tools

An online course on tools for the development of circular business models (#CECapacityBuilding) is organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Vietnam, the Netherlands Saxion University of Applied Sciences (Saxion UAS), and local partners with assistance from the Dutch Embassy. The training session provides information and expertise about the circular economy, problems, and models of the circular economy being deployed around the world. It also introduces the toolkit for creating circular business models and gives participants practice using it, summarizing as follow: 

  1. Quickscan Circular Business Models

With the Quickscan CBM you gain insight into the possibilities of a circular business model for your company. You use a questionnaire to assess where you are now when it comes to sustainable and circular entrepreneurship. You then explore the possibilities for a more circular business model. To do this, you choose a basic type of circular business model and select options for building blocks such as the organizational form and the revenue model. 


  1. Business Model Template

The Business Model Template offers a practical structure for developing a sustainable business model. The template consists of ten building blocks divided into three phases: the Definition phase, the Design phase and the Result phase. The building blocks are elaborated per phase and connected to each other in a consistent manner. It thus supports the joint creation of a valuable proposition with positive impact. 


  1. Circular Loop Designer

The core of the circular economy is organizing closed material loops. The Circular Loop Designer is an online tool to let you easily sketch a material loop yourself. You can start with an empty template or select one of the examples to start designing your own loop. The tool offers a unique library of symbols and arrows to draw your loops. Once drawn, you can easily save and share your sketches. 


  1. The Partner Radar

The Partner Radar helps you to identify your partners and stakeholders. With the Partner Radar you determine what their influence is on your business. It helps you to see on which partners your business depends. This will help you to determine the kind of relationships that you should establish with your partners and stakeholders. 


  1. Partner Value Matrix
  • The Partner Value Matrix helps you to clarify the mutual benefits of collaboration between you and your partners. It helps to identify what you get from your partners and what they get from you. With the Partner Value Matrix, you better understand the rationale for collaboration and have a sound foundation for establishing the right relationships and arrangements with partners. 
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  1. Process Journey
  • The Process Journey helps you to draw your workflow or business proces as a series of activities. Each process has a start and an end. There is something that triggers the process and there is some result. Between the start and the end there are connected activities. With the Process Journey you get a clear picture of your process which enables you to analyse and improve the process. 
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  1. MOOC ‘Organising for Sustainability’
  • The MOOC provides a structured approach to developing a sustainable business model. It consists of seven chapters, each based on five units. Each unit addresses a specific element of developing a business model. The MOOC is designed in a step-by-step manner, following the structure of the book which consists of three stages and ten building blocks (see below). Each unit starts with a short introduction, after which a concise central video is provided. This is followed by (if available) various assignments, some multiple-choice questions for a self-test and finally some additional material. Each unit indicates how it is linked to a specific chapter and/or paragraph of the book. When it comes to key choices such as choosing a business model archetype, we have provided additional units and a case study: this should help you to make the right choice. In addition to the seven chapters that represent the core of the MOOC, an eighth chapter is provided with ten tools that you can use while elaborating the various assignments found throughout the various chapters. 
  • The MOOC is self-paced, so you can follow it in your own time. The seven chapter structure does not oblige you to follow the MOOC in seven weeks. You can move faster or slower depending on the time you have and your particular circumstances. Moreover, you can ‘jump’ through the MOOC as you please – there is no ‘forced’ order of things. You can follow the MOOC individually but we think it is more fun to work on the various assignments as part of a team. 
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  1. Circular Economy Business Model Pattern Cards
  • About the tool The Circular Economy Business Model Pattern Cards can support you in sensing opportunities and generating ideas about potential Circular Economy business models for your company. Use this tool in interactive workshops to help your team with inspiration for ideation sessions and benchmarking about possible configurations of Circular Economy business models implemented by manufacturing companies. 
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  1. CTI tool
  • The CTI Tool was developed to help businesses in different industries worldwide to measure and improve their circular performance by supporting and guiding companies through the Circular Transition Indicators process. The tool structures data and calculates outcomes, supporting businesses in taking concrete actions towards their circularity goals. It also supports users to reach out to internal stakeholders and value chain partners for data requests that avoid confidentiality issues. Leveraging the power of digitization and smart software solutions, the CTI Tool enables companies to accelerate their transition towards a circular economy and fully understand their circularity baseline. 
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CTI Tool – Circular Transition Indicators

  1. Circularity Check
  • The Circularity Check is a free, online scan tool with a questionnaire of about 60 questions that determines a circularity score for a specific product and/or service. Is the product circular and sustainable, and if so, to what extent? A score is assigned to each question. The higher the score the better. The outcome of the check is a % that indicates how circular your product/service is. The Check also provides partial scores on design/procurement/manufacturing, delivery, use, recovery and sustainability. The Circularity Check is primarily intended as a product-based tool for self-evaluation by companies, from SMEs to multinationals. 
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  1. Circularity Calculator
  • The Circularity Calculator is created by IDEAL&CO Explore. We are a design consultancy specialised in state of the art sustainable design strategies, including Cradle to Cradle, Biomimicry and Circular Product Design. The tool has been co-created with manufacturers leading the circular economy, validated with in-market cases and endorsed by the EllenMacArthur foundation. This tool is part of a suite of advanced tools to support manufacturers in designing products for the circular economy developed in a four year international project, co-funded by the European Commission: ResCoM – Resource Conservative Manufacturing. 
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