Circular economy.

SBB wishes to be a pioneer of the circular economy and thus support Switzerland’s transformation to 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 over CHF 5 billion, meaning significant material and energy use. SBB therefore wishes to be a pioneer of the circular economic model and thus support Switzerland’s transformation to a sustainable society and economy.

How can we get to a circular economy?

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 four ways:

  • Closing resource cycles, e.g. by reusing or recycling.
  • Extending material/energy cycles by lengthening product lifetimes by means of durable design or repair and maintenance.
  • Reducing the scale of material/energy cycles by increasing efficiency, making savings and using renewable resources and energy sources.
  • Establishing new business models based on the 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 has already implemented the following measures to support the circular economy: