Stronger Together: Accelerating the Circular Economy

The circular economy is a highly popular topic but the transition towards it is a bumpy road. The global circularity level is even falling over time, with the amount of reused materials and resources decreasing from 9.1% in 2018 to 8.6% in 2020. It is a narrative that needs an update. 

In order to get the transition going, Utrecht University started a collaboration with Circle Economy and ING bank: New Narrative. By generating cutting-edge knowledge and research on how system building of innovation ecosystems by circular start-ups can occur (and what may impede this), this consortium aims to accelerate transitions to a circular economy through circular start-ups. 

During the online event ‘Stronger Together’ on June 1st, Utrecht University together with ING and Circle Economy will present its most recent insights and will discuss the next steps towards a circular economy.


Thomas Bauwens, Senior researcher and lecturer at Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University

Bauwens teaches and researches on circular economy and sustainability transitions. He was the lead author of the white paper ‘Disruptors: how circular start-ups can accelerate the circular economy transition’.

Junion Hanenberg, founder IntelligentFood

As a restaurant owner Junion came in contact with the phenomenon of food waste. That is why he started IntelligentFood. A concept where, from a marketing point of view, food production companies are motivated to stop wasting food. This is done by letting the companies become members of our cooperative. In this way they become co-creators and thus co-owners. And as co-owner you are more committed.

Marvin Nusseck, Project Manager Circle Finance Programme at Circle Economy

The Circle Finance Programmes works to improve the financeability of circular businesses by identifying financial, legal and operational obstacles, and designing solutions to overcome them. Nusseck wrote a paper on the potential of cooperatives for the circular economy.

Marieke Blom, Chief Economist at ING

Blom and her team have for many years studied the circular economy and many other fields. She is also member of the Dutch National Growth Fund, also called the Wopke and Wiebe Fund. It is an investment fund of the Dutch state, which aims to invest in projects that benefit the national growth in the long run.

Martijn Lopez Cardozo, CEO Circle Economy

Until 2020 Lopes Cardozo was CEO of Black Bear, a producer of carbon black from end-of-life tires for the tire, rubber and paint industry. In the USA he built and grew a number of technology companies, all of which had successful exits. Returning to The Netherlands in 2008 he has fulfilled strategy and M&A roles at large corporates.

Prof. Dr. Marko Hekkert, Head of Department, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at University Utrecht

Hekkert is full professor of Dynamics of Innovation Systems at Utrecht University, Director of the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development and Chair of Future Food Utrecht. He studies the dynamics of emerging technological fields and the transformation of societies towards sustainable pathways.

Maarten van Dam, Investor Relations & Business Development at Pymwymic

With Pymwymic, Van Dam invest in companies that transform old production models, build new markets for sustainable practices. They aim to develop technologies that create positive change.

Mirjam Bani, economist at ING

Since 2017, Bani is member of Marieke Blom’s team at ING and wrote a paper on the circular economy: Rethinking the path to Circular Economy. Before joining ING, she worked in consultancy. Bani studied economics at the Vrije Universiteit and Finance at University of Amsterdam

Bert van Son, CEO Founder Mud Jeans

With over 30 years of experience in the fashion industry Van Son has seen it all. He wanted to do things differently. In 2013 he introduced the Lease a jeans model with his startup Mud Jeans. With Mud Jeans he puts the circular economy principles into practice.

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