INSIGHT by Systemiq

Circular business models – which decouple growth from primary resource consumption and waste generation – could be the answer to creating a prosperous future. Systemiq partners with corporates and ventures to develop circular economy strategies, business models and projects. Explore some of our resources below and get in touch to learn more.

Transforming to a circular economy requires a shift in business models from one-off sales to focusing on the use, performance, and results of a product. By maximising resource productivity, consumable goods turn into durable goods.

Many businesses are already placing circular models at the core of their strategy. They see that it is possible to generate both economic and ecological value by prioritising customer needs and considering the entire product lifecycle – including quality, repairability, and recycling.


| What do circular business models look like?

Let’s take one example: product-as-a-service models. The provider retains ownership of the product; the aim is ongoing product performance and customer satisfaction – and ultimately customer loyalty. Manufacturers of high-quality products such as bicycles, IT equipment or furniture, can actively control the secondary market and build up a competitive advantage via refurbishment and resale models. In the B2B area, we are seeing tools being offered in the fleet model, machines being operated in a pay-per-part model… even turbines being billed by the operating hour.

The companies that make circular business models work for them are ambitious. They’ve realised that they need to fine-tune their business model, as well as adapting the entire lifecycle of their product to circularity. Simply offering existing products in a rental scheme is not enough. What often distinguishes the leaders is their ability to optimise a model, making it impactful by bringing in additional elements: be that a circular design that fits their business model (including product design and operational structures), a strong delivery partnership model, or advancing the data side.

Systemiq partners with companies to explore, develop, and pilot circular strategies and business models across a number of sectors – from industrial machines to sports and fashion to white goods and retail.


| find out more

Through our work we have created several tools and resources. Feel free to explore, try them out and get in touch if you would like to know more.


Systemiq Germany Partner, Sophie Herrmann, and Manuel Braun, Director Circular Business Models, in conversation with Handelsblatt, April 2023 (in German)

How businesses can thrive in the age of climate change and digitization

Data commons for sustainability can connect circular economy

Organising for Circularity looks at eight ways in which companies can prepare for a CE transition


| about

Systemiq is a collaborative system designer, developer and disruptor. Our work is a unique combination of coalition building, specialist advisory services, leadership transformation, policy development, redesign of markets and value chains, capital mobilisation, on-the-ground action, as well as incubation of and investment in early-stage businesses.


All opinions expressed are those of the author and/or quoted sources. is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around ESG investing topics.