November 20, 2018

What cities can learn from human bodies

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Our urban ecology consultant Nadine Galle recently spoke on the Oslo Urban Arena stage to discuss the potential of urban metabolism and the evidence-based interventions we’re working on to accelerate circular cities. Here she describes why the concept is at the heart of Metabolic’s work and how it ultimately inspired our…
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November 15, 2018

Coding recipes and 3D printers: Aruba’s mobile makerspace hits the road

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Was your primary school ever visited by a bookmobile? On the Caribbean island of Aruba, a new kind of mobile library for the 21st century is pulling into local schools – a bus filled not with books; but with 3D printers, digital drawing pads, programmable micro-controllers, and robots galore. Of…
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November 13, 2018

Raw Materials Week: 27 critical resources to safeguard

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This week policymakers and industry stakeholders are gathering in the city of Brussels for the third annual edition of the EU’s Raw Materials Week. Metabolic sustainability consultant Carlo Giallombardo takes a look at some of Europe’s most critical materials in terms of economic importance and supply risk. An initiative of…
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October 16, 2018

Ecosystem services: is it wrong to put a price on nature?

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Fresh from a six month placement with Metabolic, Nina de Haan explains why her study of ecosystem services led her to believe they are unfairly maligned. Can putting a price on nature help to protect it? This controversial question lies at the heart of a concept that has been a…
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October 11, 2018

How a circular economy is key to averting catastrophic climate change

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The IPCC report on the consequences of exceeding 1.5 degrees of warming has rippled out across the world, prompting now-familiar responses ranging from dire warnings of apocalypse, to urgent calls to action, to outright denial of scientific facts. “You’re looking at an ever greater loss of biodiversity, worsening storms, ever-more people thrust…
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September 14, 2018

World Cleanup Day is every day for Aruba’s Plastic Beach Party

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On September 15 millions of volunteers in 150 countries will join forces for World Cleanup Day, but on the Caribbean island of Aruba the Metabolic Foundation is doing more than just tidying up plastic waste – we’re helping local residents transform it into something useful. The Plastic Beach Party recycling…
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August 29, 2018

How SIDE systems can unlock an energy revolution

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Our energy systems engineer Florijn De Graaf has unveiled his report on Smart Integrated Decentralised Energy (SIDE) systems, which could hold the key to realizing the renewable energy transition by increasing flexibility from the bottom-up. As De Graaf erected the straw-packed walls of a home at his father’s sustainable Aardehuizen…
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August 8, 2018

Staging a revolution: Why DGTL continues to dominate festival sustainability

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World-renowned electronic music festival DGTL welcomes some 40,000 visitors to the NDSM-Docklands in Amsterdam North every year. For a second year running, Metabolic joined forces with the DGTL team on their mission to become the world’s first circular festival by 2020. Our consultant Nadine Galle explores what this means.  It all…
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July 31, 2018

Circular City Summer School Week Three: How to implement

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The first year of the Circular City Summer School, jointly run by UvA and Metabolic, has come to a close. The final week of the course was all about circularity implementation: where theory meets practice, and where creative solutions are needed to transform a vision into reality. Inspired by their…
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July 24, 2018

Circular City Summer School Week Two: Design and Planning

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Week two of the Circular City Summer Programme at UvA saw students putting their design and planning skills to the test. Building on foundations from the analysis phase, this week the group learned how to become ‘circular thinkers,’ using creativity and innovation to produce a circular vision. Student Ludovica Viva shares…
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July 19, 2018

Pillars of the circular economy: seven cities showing the way

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By 2050, the UN estimates that 70% of all people will live in cities – up from 55% percent today. The pace of this change presents significant challenges, but also represents a unique opportunity. By reshaping the systems that underpin cities where a growing majority of people live, the welfare…
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July 18, 2018

First week of Circular City Summer School a great success

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Last week, we kicked off  an exciting new addition to University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) annual summer educational programming. ‘The Circular City: Towards a Sustainable Urban Ecosystem’ is a three week intensive course  jointly run by UvA and Metabolic, taking place in Amsterdam in July 2018. Here, student Ludovica Viva shares her…
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June 27, 2018

Why indirect impacts are indeed your business

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Our biggest social and environmental impacts often lie beyond the company gates.  Pieter van Exter explains how businesses need to look beyond their immediate operations to truly understand their effect on people and the planet, and manage their risks.    Sustainability is high on the agenda in almost every boardroom. In 2017, 85%…
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June 23, 2018

Amsterdam’s Circular Living Lab: What Organisations can Learn from De Ceuvel

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If you hop on the ferry from Amsterdam Central Station to the city’s northern suburb of Buiksloterham, you’ll find De Ceuvel, a sustainability incubator that’s been stirring up global curiosity as one of Europe’s most unique office parks. De Ceuvel sees over 35,000 visitors each year and has won numerous…
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May 17, 2018

Advancing Aquaponics at the Metabolic Greenhouse

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Not many workspaces have a testing ground for urban farming techniques that could change the global food system. At Metabolic we’re one of the lucky few. Our work on urban agriculture started with an in-depth set of consulting projects on sustainable food systems and has since grown in many directions,…
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May 4, 2018

Why we should focus on circular areas, then circular buildings

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Circular construction is often associated with how we design and develop individual structures, focusing largely on the materials we use.  But truly circular development requires us to zoom out a notch and look at the larger network of structures and utilities surrounding the buildings. Merlijn Blok explores the concept of circular…
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March 29, 2018

Urban Mining and Circular Construction – what, why and how it works

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Construction is critical to the healthy functioning of our economy. However, it is also one of the planet’s largest consuming sectors of energy and raw materials. How can we continue to build while minimising negative impacts on the environment? The answer lies in urban mining and circular construction – but…
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March 22, 2018

Adapting to a changing planet: The next chapter in Dutch water history

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The Netherlands has a long and fascinating history with water. With much of the country lying below sea level, Dutch water authorities have spent years developing smart and creative ways to keep inhabitants safe and dry. But as climate change becomes an urgent reality and the Dutch government pushes for…
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February 9, 2018

Looping the thread: Highlighting circular innovation in textiles

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The textiles sector is one of the least sustainable industries worldwide, producing huge amounts of waste and environmental pollution. Building on our work in the global textiles supply chain, we recently kicked off a project to identify the circularity potential of the textiles industry within Taiwan. As one of the…
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January 24, 2018

Towards a Circular Vlieland: lessons in island sustainability

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As closed ecosystems with exceptional challenges, islands are the perfect playground to test circular economics. In 2017, Metabolic worked with the Dutch island of Vlieland to map its resource flows and envision its roadmap towards becoming circular. Although Vlieland faces its own unique circumstances, Metabolic consultant Nadine Galle discovered many…
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December 20, 2017

Thinking Circular: a look back at our 2017

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It’s been an eventful year for circular economy practitioners and we’re pleased to have played a part in some of the fundamental developments taking place. From food to festivals, and cities to chemicals, we’ve worked with some great partners on really exciting pieces of work, reinforcing opportunities for various sectors…
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December 13, 2017

Nature-Based Solutions: The New (Green) Kid On The Block

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As urban populations grow, and societal and environmental challenges facing cities become more apparent, nature-based solutions (NbS) can provide sustainable and flexible alternatives to build resilience. Here, our consultant Nadine Galle explores the disruptive innovation currently taking place to make urban life more regenerative and sustainable.  If we let it, nature…
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December 8, 2017

A walk through the Het Ware Noorden Light Festival

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The annual Light Festival has become one of the most eye-catching events in Amsterdam. Come on a visual tour with Metabolic communications intern Natalie Bikic and see the light art installations at our cleantech playground, De Ceuvel. During the Amsterdam Light Festival artists from across the world come together to exhibit more…
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December 6, 2017

How alternative currencies can enable a circular economy

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The way we engage with money is undergoing a metamorphosis. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, people all over the world have begun to question the stability of international monetary system. Meanwhile, advances in computing have continued on their exponential path and new technologies like the blockchain have…
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November 3, 2017

Designing out waste: five guidelines for a circular festival

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Metabolic consultant Nadine Galle spoke recently at ADE Green, the conference on sustainability, innovation and social change in the music industry. She showed how it is possible to redefine the current festival model into one that is inherently circular and regenerative by nature, but most importantly, how festivals can act…
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November 2, 2017

The potential of nature-based solutions to help engineer resilience into Sint Maarten’s redevelopment

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Metabolic has partnered with Utrecht University to explore the role nature-based solutions (NbS) can play in improving the resilience of small island states. Here, student Jack Hedger reflects on the experience and outlines how the partnership helped identify practical ways that could be applied to assist the sustainable redevelopment of…
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October 19, 2017

‘Values’ drive business success – here’s how to bring them to life

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On World Values Day, we are looking at how values drive our organizational success and help us further reach our mission. Here Metabolic Communications Director Adam Stones provides the golden rules for how every business can build their own core company values, and bring them to life to accelerate change.…
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October 13, 2017

Circular clothing: the next step in sustainable fashion

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It is an unfortunate fact that clothes, even those made of organic, low impact or recycled materials, are often not reused or recycled themselves. The majority end up in landfill or are incinerated. Inspired by our recently launched partnership with Fashion for Good, Metabolic communications intern Hanna Dijkstra looks at…
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October 6, 2017

Tackling Beijing’s Freight Challenges through Systems Thinking

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Freight in Beijing is essential to provide goods to the city’s 20 million residents. Yet this comes with tremendous impacts: air pollution, carbon emissions, and traffic and congestion, to name just some. Efforts for change have so far come with mixed results. Working with the Smart Freight Centre, we delved…
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September 27, 2017

Empowerment: why inspiring, educating and resourcing a new generation of changemakers is essential for driving change

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Our mission at Metabolic is to transition the global economy to a sustainable state. That is no small ambition. And so to get there, we believe it is essential that we not only provide consulting services and build new transformative ventures, but that we also provide a range of programs…
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September 25, 2017

Ending hunger: as the SDGs turn 2, how we can we realise one of its biggest challenges?

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The second global goal for sustainable development (SDG) calls for us to not only end hunger, but also promote sustainable agriculture and improve food security and nutrition – three interdependent objectives that ultimately call for a transformation of the food system as a whole to a truly sustainable state. As…
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September 22, 2017

How to set up your own plastic recycling plant: lessons from Metabolic Foundation’s Plastic Beach Party in Aruba

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 The Caribbean island of Aruba imports more than 6,000 tons of plastic each year. With no recycling facilities, plastic waste poses a direct threat to the island’s environmental and social health, as well as its tourism industry. Tony Sevold of Metabolic Foundation discusses the launch of a small-scale plastic recycling…
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July 19, 2017

ISLANDS AS LIVING LABS FOR CIRCULAR ECONOMICS

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Islands have fascinated scientists for centuries as key hotspots of change. Now, economists are taking a keen interest in their role towards accelerating the circular economy. This summer, Metabolic will collect data, visualize, map, and analyze all resource flows on the Dutch Wadden Island of Vlieland. With this comprehensive overview,…
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July 12, 2017

Why Metabolic’s 150-strong alumni community is a powerful tool for change

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For Metabolic’s recent five year celebrations, we hosted our first alumni reunion party to reconnect former and current interns and staff. Metabolic Marketing and Communications Intern Hanna Dijkstra looks at how the reunion was not only a chance to learn about what our alumni have been up to, but was…
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July 5, 2017

From Waste to Resources: How to Transition to Circular Festivals

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Festivals have become synonymous with summer, and the season is well and truly underway. More than 1,300 festivals will take place in the Netherlands this year, of which more than 1,000 are music festivals. Amsterdam alone hosts over 300 festivals. But all this fun also means a lot of waste…
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June 12, 2017

Over the Years: Lessons from Metabolic’s R&D

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Since its founding, Metabolic has experimented with a variety of product design trajectories that have aimed to make clean technology more affordable and scalable. For our 5-year anniversary, we take a look back at some of these projects and share some of the lessons we’ve learned; we outline how a…
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June 7, 2017

Laying the foundation for circular buildings

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Metabolic – together with our partners at SGS Search – has developed  the world’s first roadmap for circular building tendering. Created for the city of Amsterdam, the roadmap was recently officially presented by the city to the Dutch Green Building Council as a marker of the city’s endorsement of its…
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May 24, 2017

Why cities and regions hold the key to accelerating the circular economy

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As Metabolic launches three services aimed at helping cities and regions to transition to the circular economy, here we look at the economic and environmental challenges faced by urban and regional governments (as well as by some larger regional businesses), and how transitioning to a circular economy can not only ensure long…
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May 10, 2017

Metabolic’s top sustainability reads

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Looking for a deeper understanding of sustainability and circular economics? Then we have the books you need to add to your summer reading list. Exponential growth in our population and increasing resource demands are putting pressure on the planet like never before, establishing a clear case for a thriving, ‘circular’ economy.…
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April 12, 2017

Changing the Food System through Impact Ventures

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The Global Food System is one of the most complex and impactful systems on the planet. How might social enterprises play a role in addressing some of its key challenges? As part venture building company, Metabolic believes that a social enterprise is a uniquely capable vehicle for solving global challenges at…
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