At the World Economic Forum in Davos, the World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched the Circular Transition Indicators (CTI) framework and a supporting online tool (built by Circular IQ) for companies to assess their circularity. The CTI, developed in collaboration with KPMG, provides companies with a transparent, universal and consistent way of measuring circularity, giving companies a common language and relevant insights for well-informed decision-making.
As part of their ambition to integrate circularity into their operations, Dutch Railways was one of the first companies to measure their circular performance using the CTI and its accompanying tool. With support from KPMG, Dutch Railways set out to gain insight into the level of circularity of part of their retail business. In this initial project, they focused on the packaging materials used or added by their own food formulas Kiosk, Railcatering, StationsHuiskamer and Julia's, which are located at train stations throughout the Netherlands. Now that the project has been finalized, they are looking forward to applying the CTI framework on their core business: trains. Which lessons learned out of the first CTI assessment do they take with them?
Lesson 1: By measuring circularity, we can perform sensitivity analyses on the impact of our decisions
Ilse de Vos van Eekeren (Manager Circular Business at Dutch Railways): "When measuring circularity using the CTI, it is possible to forecast the future impact on circularity of different decisions in our business, enabling us to make better business decisions. In this particular case, it's our ambition to prevent waste in the most efficient way. Insights in how far we are in reaching our goals, help us in the discussion with our suppliers on how to design retail products and packaging in a circular, mono-material way. Often, when looking at circularity, most attention goes to the reusability of products at their end-of-life. By using the CTI tool, we have gained more insights about the level of circularity and the impact of the material inflow of our retail products. As Dutch Railways, we are now able to perform a sensitivity analysis on our intended future decisions and boost the demand for non-virgin and renewable materials in our retail business."
Lesson 2: CTI enables us to steer decision-making on different levels: from business unit level to operational procurement level
Ilse de Vos van Eekeren: "CTI is developed in such a way that it can be used to steer decision-making on different levels in our organization. Besides measuring circularity on an organization- or business unit level, CTI can, for example, be used to steer decision-making during procurement tenders. CTI allows us to develop and improve over time, starting with a business unit level approach, which can be refined at an operational level over time."
Lesson 3: Getting the right data and the data right is essential to make the right business decisions
Suzanne Kuiper (Senior Consultant at KPMG and co-author CTI): "CTI is an objective, data-driven and transparent framework. Meaning that the quality of the data used as input determines the quality of the outcomes. Therefore, it is essential to get the right data and the data right, to be able to steer business decision-making." Ilse de Vos van Eekeren: "Having the conversation with your suppliers beforehand and asking these questions, that's where it all starts …."
Conclusion and future approach
Ilse de Vos van Eekeren: "We have learned a lot in the process of using CTI. Our next step now is to apply this framework to our main assets: trains. I am very curious about what the outcome of the level of circularity of our trains will be, and how this outcome can help us achieve our goal: 100% circular trains."