We evaluate the opportunities and challenges of resource-light circular business models in practice

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The Catalyzer program for resource-light business models

The CET Business Lab cluster is dedicated to an in-depth exploration of ressource-light business models and their potential to scale impact. For the participating companies, this programme will provide tailored support to strengthen their businesses through coaching, expert advice and increased visibility to potential users.

The program is facilitated by Circular Economy Transition, in a partnership with WWF Switzerland and the creative design agency reverse,

What are resource-light business models and why are they interesting?

Provision of products and services which promote resource-light and responsible consumer behavior striving to moderate overall resource consumption to levels which respect our planetary boundaries. Their offerings correspond to the circular activities with the shortest loops: “Avoid, Reconsider/Refuse, Reduce, Re-sell/Reuse, and Repair and thus, have the highest possible retention value. Such initiatives and businesses have been identified by the EWZ and the city of Zurich, as having a great potential to achieve the 2000-Watt society goal.

Resource light business should apply one or more of the following activities, without being limited to them:

  • Maximise material and energy efficiency (i.e. via durable design and reparability)

  • Substitute with renewables and natural process

  • Create value from “waste”

  • Facilitate resource-light consumption (i.e. sufficiency)

  • Avoid planned obsolescence

  • Deliver functionality, rather than ownership

  • Develop scalable solutions

  • Re-purpose the business for society and the environment

What is THE PROGRAM exactly about?

  • 6 Months Prototype Program

  • Support ressource-light businesses to capture a larger audience, strengthen their operations and test ways to scale their positive impact on the environment.

  • 6 selected companies in the region of Zurich for the first edition

  • Test and evaluate the potential of such support programs and how established companies can integrate circular and sufficiency strategies into their business models.

Program Design

  • Kick-off Workshop in collaboration with TU Delft

  • 10 Evening modules on subjects and areas identified by the participants

  • Innovation and iteration process as well as self assessment learnings and progress updates

  • Midway check-in

  • Final presentations and opportunity to pitch for a price fund


For the first edition of the support program of resource-light business models, the following six projects have been selected:

  • Miniloop – offers a rental service for baby clothes.

  • Revamp it – offers a repair service for electronics and open source software.

  • Grassrooted – commits itself to stop food waste and operates a non-standard vegetables distribution service.

  • Sharely – offers rental services of everyday life products in the B2C sector

  • Offcut – fosters the creative reuse of materials of daily use.

  • Einmachbibliothek – offers tools and methods to preserve fruits and vegetables

Partners & Supporters