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Circular Economy (scholarly references)

Andrews, D. (2015). The circular economy, design thinking and education for sustainability. Local Economy, 30(3), 305-315.

The origins of the Linear Economy – the ‘take-make-use-dispose’ model of consumption – date from the Industrial Revolution and the global economy developed around this model. Various social, economic, and environmental factors mean that it is no longer sustainable. A radical new model – the Circular Economy – is being advocated but as yet it is not widely practiced. This paper proposes that designers are crucial to the development of this new economic model; furthermore, this model facilitates education for sustainability and enhances employability.

Bocken, N. M., De Pauw, I., Bakker, C., & van der Grinten, B. (2016). Product design and business model strategies for a circular economy. Journal of Industrial and Production Engineering, 33(5), 308-320.

The transition within business from a linear to a circular economy brings with it a range of practical challenges for companies. The following question is addressed: What are the product design and business model strategies for companies that want to move to a circular economy model? This paper develops a framework of strategies to guide designers and business strategists in the move from a linear to a circular economy. Building on Stahel, the terminology of slowing, closing, and narrowing resource loops is introduced. A list of product design strategies, business model strategies, and examples for key decision-makers in businesses is introduced, to facilitate the move to a circular economy. This framework also opens up a future research agenda for the circular economy.

Den Hollander, M. C., Bakker, C. A., & Hultink, E. J. (2017). Product design in a circular economy: Development of a typology of key concepts and terms. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 21(3), 517-525.

In a circular economy (CE), the economic and environmental value of materials is preserved for as long as possible by keeping them in the economic system, either by lengthening the life of the products formed from them or by looping them back in the system to be reused. The notion of waste no longer exists in a CE, because products and materials are, in principle, reused and cycled indefinitely. Taking this description as a starting point, the article asks which guiding principles, design strategies, and methods are required for circular product design and to what extent these differ from the principles, strategies, and methods of eco‐design. The article argues that there is a fundamental distinction to be made between eco‐design and circular product design and proceeds to develop, based on an extensive literature review, a set of new concepts and definitions, starting from a redefinition of product lifetime and introducing new terms such as presource and recovery horizon.

Geissdoerfer, M., Savaget, P., Bocken, N. M., & Hultink, E. J. (2017). The Circular Economy–A new sustainability paradigm? Journal of Cleaner Production, 143, 757-768.

While the terms Circular Economy and sustainability are increasingly gaining traction with academia, industry, and policymakers, the similarities and differences between both concepts remain ambiguous. The relationship between the concepts is not made explicit in literature, which is blurring their conceptual contours and constrains the efficacy of using the approaches in research and practice. This research addresses this gap and aims to provide conceptual clarity by distinguishing the terms and synthesising the different types of relationships between them.

Kalmykova, Y., Sadagopan, M., & Rosado, L. (2018). Circular economy – From review of theories and practices to development of implementation tools. Resources, Conservation & Recycling, 135, 190–201.

The paper provides an overview of the literature on Circular Economy (CE) theoretical approaches, strategies, and implementation cases. After analyzing different CE approaches and the underlying principles, the paper then proceeds with the main goal of developing tools for CE implementation.

Kirchherr, J., Reike, D., & Hekkert, M. (2017). Conceptualizing the circular economy: an analysis of 114 definitions. Resources, Conservation & Recycling, 127, 221–232.

The circular economy concept has gained momentum both among scholars and practitioners. However, critics claim that it means many different things to different people. This paper provides further evidence for these critics. The aim of this paper is to create transparency regarding the current understandings of the circular economy concept. For this purpose, we have gathered 114 circular economy definitions which were coded on 17dimensions. Our findings indicate that the circular economy is most frequently depicted as a combination of reduce, reuse and recycle activities, whereas it is oftentimes not highlighted that CE necessitates a systemic shift. We further find that the definitions show few explicit linkages of the circular economy concept to sustainable development. The main aim of the circular economy is considered to be economic prosperity, followed by environmental quality; its impact on social equity and future generations is barely mentioned. Furthermore, neither business models nor consumers are frequently outlined as enablers of the circular economy. We critically discuss the various circular economy conceptualizations throughout this paper. Overall, we hope to contribute via this study towards the coherence of the circular economy concept; we presume that significantly varying circular economy definitions may eventually result in the collapse of the concept.

Lieder, M., & Rashid, A. (2016). Towards circular economy implementation: a comprehensive review in context of manufacturing industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 115, 36-51.

The concept of circular economy (CE) is to an increasing extent treated as a solution to series of challenges such as waste generation, resource scarcity and sustaining economic benefits. However the concept of circularity is not of novel as such. Specific circumstances and motivations have stimulated ideas relevant to circularity in the past through activities such as reuse, remanufacturing or recycling. Main objectives of this work are: to provide a comprehensive review of research efforts encompassing aspects of resources scarcity, waste generation and economic advantages; to explore the CE landscape in the context of these three aspects especially when they are considered simultaneously; based on an idea of a comprehensive CE framework, propose an implementation strategy using top-down and bottom-up approach in a concurrent manner.

Mendoza, J. M. F., Sharmina, M., Gallego‐Schmid, A., Heyes, G., & Azapagic, A. (2017). Integrating backcasting and eco‐design for the circular economy: The BECE framework. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 21(3), 526-544.

The circular economy (CE) is essential for decoupling economic growth from resource consumption and environmental impacts. However, effective implementation requires a systemic change across supply chains, involving both technological and nontechnological innovations. Frameworks are beginning to emerge to foster CE thinking in organizations. However, literature review carried out as part of this research has revealed gaps in their ability to fulfil CE requirements

Murray, A., Skene, K., & Haynes, K. (2017). The circular economy: an interdisciplinary exploration of the concept and application in a global context. Journal of Business Ethics, 140(3), 369-380.

There have long been calls from industry for guidance in implementing strategies for sustainable development. The Circular Economy represents the most recent attempt to conceptualize the integration of economic activity and environmental wellbeing in a sustainable way

Ritzén, S., & Sandström, G. Ö. (2017). Barriers to the Circular Economy–integration of perspectives and domains. Procedia CIRP, 64, 7-12.

Sustainable development requires disruptive changes and radical innovations, and the capability to deliver this in relation to adapt to a sustainable development is needed in mature large industrial companies. Integration between sustainability and business development is needed, which the Circular Economy model offers. Circular Economy is little implemented in practice, and in the present paper barriers to a transition to Circular Economy is identified. Barriers are financial, structural, operational, attitudinal and technological. They are also, as analyzed in relation to innovation management, characterized by a need to increase integration between a number of different perspectives and domains in industry.