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Accelerating the transition to a circular textile chain.

In our Circular Textile Innovation program we will support the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region to achieve their goal of 50% circular textiles in 2030 by scaling up circular innovations using a new approach developed by Metabolic, Bankers without Boundaries and Impact Hub Amsterdam.  

This new approach aims to break down the main barriers to circularity within the regional value chain;  It consists of a full value chain approach where innovation gaps are structurally identified, high value circular innovations get accelerated,  innovative impact-based financing mechanisms are developed, and a collaborative city and regional ecosystem is stimulated to act as a long term supporting network.



After 2 years of research and analysis conducted by Metabolic in close cooperation with the City of Amsterdam, our research shows that the current textile sector within Amsterdam and the wider Metropolitan Region Amsterdam has a lot to gain. Although the demand for recycled materials is growing, very little material is recovered and recycled. In addition, early-stage ventures dealing in reduce, re-use, repair, refurbishment, and other higher R circular practices in particular struggle to get adequate funding to grow their operations, leading to lower commercial acceptance of more innovative circular business models with the greatest potential for retaining value.

Whilst textiles have the fourth highest impact on the environment and climate change. It is one of the top three pressures on water and land use, and the top five in terms of raw material use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Cities, especially large Dutch cities with good economic infrastructure, are uniquely positioned to accelerate the circular fashion transition and have the potential to become hubs where a circular fashion innovation ecosystem can grow and where circular solutions can thrive.


We want to accelerate high value circular innovations throughout the full chain. The companies together will have a stronger chance to have the synergistic ability to generate transformative change more effectively than if we would focus on individual companies in silos.

Increase capital towards high value circular fashion innovations. Research by Metabolic shows that there is a mismatch between circular start-ups and the required financing. Scaling up high-value circular solutions and accelerating or transforming businesses can be done by developing innovative impact-based financing mechanisms.

Cooperation between the actors in the entire value chain is a central theme in our approach, which transforms the entire value chain for the benefit of MRA residents, but also for individual companies in the textile and adjacent value chains.

We want to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Therefore, the programme defines the approach in a series of blueprints, to serve as a practical guide for developing local circular innovation ecosystems in other cities and sectors. In addition we train future corporate finance professionals and offer demand driven training for municipal policy makers.

Higher R circular enterprises have the potential not only to address acute environmental and socio-economic challenges, but also to unlock tremendous circular employment opportunities and support regional employment and economic strategies. As such, a core outcome of the CIC program is to create 20-40 high-quality jobs in the Metropolitan Region Amsterdam, to stimulate the Dutch labour market, and to propel regional sustainable urban economic development.


We address the following actors: 

Designers, (Raw) Material Wholesalers, Fiber producers, Spinners, Fabric producers, Dyeing & Finishing manufacturers, Making/assembly manufacturers, Distributors, Retailers, Brands, Marketeers, Consumers, Collectors, Sorters, Recyclers, Recycling industry organizations. 

Cooperation between the actors in the entire value chain is a central theme in our approach.The circularity of one company depends on the capacity and circularity ambitions of all other actors within the entire value chain.

We attract private and public financiers from NL, EU/UK who want to Invest in a carefully curated selection of high potential, early-stage circular innovations in the Netherlands. The circular economy could bring an additional €900 billion to the European Union’s GDP by 2030 (Growth Within) which makes investing an interesting case.

Policymakers and local government decision makers are in a key position to accelerate the circular transition in their city.  We empower them to strengthen their current circularity efforts by creating an enabling environment where new circular initiatives can take root and thrive, through piloting a deep collaborative approach between the public/private sectors, and learning how to use novel ways to crowd in and deploy finance in service of the circularity transition through our training program and blueprints. 

The lack of access to experts is an important non-financial reason for entrepreneurs in the circular economy who are struggling to grow.  Circularity experts  can help to further expand or strengthen the Dutch circular (finance) ecosystem.

Accelerator program to close innovation gaps

After extensive research we have identified the most urgent innovation gaps to create a circular textile chain. As a result we are scouting Startups and SME – B2B as well as B2C – national or international that are working on high value innovative circular solutions in Refuse, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Repair.
The solution can be presented by a startup or SME. It has validated the problem-solution fit and (on the way to validating) product-market fit, and is ready to prepare for scaling and investment with the right partners. The companies together have a synergistic effect within the value chain, to radically transform that value chain to circularity faster and more effectively than if we would focus on individual companies in silos. Together the innovations offer the diversity that is required to meet Amsterdam’s CE targets.


There is a growing community of local services for repair, customisation, and upcycling within the city of Amsterdam. However, there are key barriers that have been identified by local stakeholders in scaling these services and engaging citizens:

●  Lack of highly-skilled workforce and craftspeople – there is a need for more training programmes / educational exchanges to bring new craft and skills into the MRA

●  Lack of knowledge of citizens as to the steps they can take to care, maintain, repair, customise or upcycle their existing clothing

●  Circular services provided within the city are not easily accessible and affordable for all citizens

●  Lack of competitive salaries for repair, refashioning and upcycling

●  The current market forces or financial incentives limit the local employment opportunities for repair and refurbishment.It is cheaper to buy new than to repair.

Emotional durability is linked both to extending a product’s lifetime but also to the trust and investment that citizens make in the products that they purchase. With the increasing awareness of microplastic pollution, citizens are looking for clothing that delivers on durability, performance and tackles the more systemic issues of microfibre release and biodegradability. Current material alternatives are limited, and there is a lot of opportunity for next generation plant-based and bio fabricated materials. As we align citizens’ values more closely with natural material cycles, they will become increasingly aware of how materials are taken and returned to the biosphere. Addressing the trade-offs between function, aesthetics and sustainability in citizen purchasing decisions will be key.

With the rapidly changing market of fashion trends and alternatives, sustainability claims are being pushed into the consumer space. Frameworks and tools are needed to navigate these claims made by brands, and bring citizens transparent and accurate information about the impact of their products, building trust and integrity in their purchasing choices. These tools should also be used to support the broader network of SMEs and microbusinesses in collecting data and measurements to support the marketing of their circular business models, thereby strengthening local community buy-in for service provision by smaller businesses.

Local textiles industries will depend upon the weaving together of craft history with craft future – the cross-pollination of local and international culture, makers and designers into new unique identities.4 These practices of sharing culture and craft will contribute to citizens feeling they have unique pieces of clothing that embody workers’ time, skill and story. This is also a high potential opportunity for beginning to integrate nature-positive practices that also link the consumer to place-based identity and impact. Some key areas that could support the transition to a more diverse and inclusive fashion industry include:

●  Helping brands and manufacturers tell the full story of their products and services

●  Tools for effective exchange of practical customisation and skills between local and international stakeholders

●  Linking regenerative raw material producers to designers

●  Including citizens in product and service customisation (on-demand) to reflect individualities and local craft


In the upcoming two years throughout the Circular Textile Innovation program we will host several events for relevant stakeholders to come together and accelerate the transition.


As part of the program we will publish several thought leadership pieces,  cases and blueprints which provide the textile sector and stakeholders with relevant guidelines to accelerate a circular textile chain in their region. 





The Circular Textile Innovation program is part of the Circular Innovation Collective - CIC. The mission of CIC is to have a leading role in the Dutch innovation ecosystem in accelerating the transition to a circular economy.