Circular economy.

SBB is playing a pioneering role in the circular economy and therefore helping to transform Switzerland into a sustainable society and economy. 

Many of the goods produced worldwide are made from non-renewable materials and are dumped in landfill or incinerated after being used once. This means the materials can no longer be used. The alternative circular economy is modelled on nature’s resource cycles with the aim of reusing resources multiple times without waste and harmful emissions. So the circular economy means much more than simply recycling: it is an economic model based on reuse, repairs, restoration and recycling where cycles are (almost entirely) closed.

SBB is one of the largest providers of external contracts in Switzerland with an annual procurement volume of CHF 6 billion, meaning significant material and energy use. An analysis carried out on material flow underlines the importance of the circular economy for SBB. With over 76 million tonnes of material, SBB possesses one of the largest material banks in Switzerland. The resulting material flow has considerable impacts on the environment and the climate. By achieving a circular economy, a large part of this material flow can be avoided and the resulting environmental impacts greatly reduced. For this reason, SBB is in the perfect position to play a leading role in the circular economy.

Since January 2021, SBB has been running a Centre of Excellence focused on the circular economy. The team implements a wide range of projects, provides support for the initiation and development of circular business models and builds expertise across the Group. On the basis of the Group-wide material flow analysis, opportunities and potential are being systematically addressed and will be boosted in the coming years. 

Circular service offers for customers.

SBB is also piloting and implementing innovative, circular business models with an emphasis on stations and customers. By opening up new circular business areas, new products and services can be developed for customers, business partners and passengers. 

You can find more information on current pilot projects here Link opens in new window.

How can we get to a circular economy?

The use of circular business principles means that SBB can reduce its costs, secure important resources for the long term and help rail operations become more sustainable. The transition from the linear to the circular economy offers great potential.

SBB wants to take the circularity of products and services into account when making procurement and investment decisions and introduce circular business practices in the following three ways: