Door: Mischa Meekes, Accenture Nederland

“Since 2013 Accenture in the Netherlands together with our local partner se.lab supports Branchevereniging Kringloopbedrijven Nederland(BKN). The members of BKN are active in the field of reusage of products while promoting employment for people with a high distance to the labor market.

As part of the Skills to Succeed program Accenture co-finances diverse initiatives by providing a cash donation, but mainly by pro bono support (mandays of Accenture employees). Accenture employees work for BKN programs ‘Opstuwen Kringloopbedrijven’ en ‘Met Kringloop Meer Werk’ on a yearly basis, sharing their strategic and professional knowledge in the field of retail, research, project management, benchmarking/finance, e-learning etc., while also making sure to involve our clients. Some of our Dutch clients act as buddies for the circular stores demonstrating their retail expertise (e.g. Intergamma and Hema).

In the past couple of years a lot has been established; a future strategy for the industry association “Kringloop 2020, samen sterk”, 6 rounds of the retail management course (almost 50 companies were trained, and on average achieved a 2-5% revenue growth), an e-learning is currently being created covering how to approach clients (meant for circular store employees as well as for young refugees), and effort is put into sharing good practices between circular stores. Regarding the last topic, in Q1 2017 over 50 good practices were identified of which two have been turned into a training. Already 12 circular stores participated in training sessions about how to setup a lunchroom and after a few weeks we can already mention that at least one store is expecting to create one payed job and 6 apprenticeships (‘leerwerkplekken’) within a few weeks.

Circular stores are often more professionally organized that you would expect. They are often eager to host visitors, provide a tour and explain more about the work they do, also for our society, and they might even have a meeting room available for your next team meeting! Each circular store is also always looking for new goods, so if you have some things you are planning to get rid of, consider a trip to a circular store, maybe someone else was looking for something just like that. And while you are there you might just find a gem for yourself you didn’t even know you were looking for.”