A lack of access to capital is one of the biggest barriers cities and businesses face when wanting to scale up zero waste solutions. This is why we’re working with investors and partners to create new financial models – vehicles that allow funding to flow easier into the hands of people and organisations who can deliver the change we need, moving away from traditional funding models and topics” – Jack McQuibban, Head of Local Zero Waste Implmentation at Zero Waste Europe

Building on the current momentum for new financing models, our initiative aims to ensure:

  • The quality of investments we are trying to leverage in order to create systemic changes;
  • Positive social impact by putting reusable systems in the centre of the solutions’ agenda; and,
  • The creation of conditions for these systems to scale across Europe whilst supporting cities and municipalities committed to move towards zero waste.

While everything that is needed for this transition exists, its implementation is being hindered by the current lack of funding capacity. In order to achieve this goal, we are looking into Social Impact Bonds (SIB) and other potential financial vehicles that could bridge sustainable upfront capital with public funding, while simultaneously creating a more powerful chain of diverse and committed stakeholders. These types of funding should be ethically-minded, and keep the premises of social practices and benefits.

Why social bonds?

We believe the transition to zero waste should be tackled holistically, from empowering communities to key stakeholders, without being afraid to push both bottom-up and low-tech solutions. This will be done taking into account the need to integrate social needs where technical solutions are implemented.

The Social Impact Bonds (SIB) will not only allow us to reach our objective – creating a precedent by transitioning a maximum of cities to zero waste in three years -, but will also allow us to come up with key templates translated into financial archetypes that, eventually, will frame this transition and create a sustainable path that can be easily duplicated regardless of the ecosystem’s maturity.

By issuing a SIB, ZWE is committed to creating a precedent, proving that with the right commitments (including financing), we can shift to a zero waste society and accelerate it. Furthermore, the zero waste transition should not only be considered as a ‘green’ necessary improvement, but also as a positive and measurable social impact.

If you are an impact investor, or wish to take part in our initiative, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.