Circular North-Netherlands: A vision and roadmap for a circular economy

The metabolism of Noord-Nederland

A vision and roadmap for transitioning to a circular economy in the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland.

  • Client: Province of Groningen, Province of Drenthe, Province of Friesland
  • Partners: KNN Advies
  • Date: April 2018
The challenge

The three most northern provinces in the Netherlands – Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland – wanted Metabolic and KNN Advies to devise a plan to move from their current linear economy to a circular economic model. Due to demographic shrinkage and ageing populations, additional employment opportunities in high-tech and green businesses that emerge from the adoption of circular strategies could be a welcome addition to the region’s economy.

The challenge
Our approach

Metabolic and KNN Advies identified and then analyzed the most important materials flows in four key economic sectors: chemistry, the building sector, waste processing, and agriculture. These key material and energy flows have been quantified, as well as value losses and environmental impacts in every sector.

Our approach
The outcome

Through a large number of interviews and stakeholder workshops with both public and private actors across the three provinces, these challenges have been transformed into opportunities for sustainable business, and a policy roadmap for the region aiming to position the north of the Netherlands as a frontrunner in circular development and innovation.

The outcome

“For sectors such as agriculture, construction and consumers, we established the most important raw material flows on the basis of figures from Statistics Netherlands, industry organizations and data obtained from interviews with 30 companies.”

Lead Urban Planning & Development 


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