5c. Circular Economy

Track Chairs

Goals and Objectives of the Track

Circular economy (CE) research has taken off exponentially in the last years, with concerted policy efforts from the European Union and other organizations.  Aiming at an economic system wherein products are designed to maximise the value extracted from resources, much attention is being paid to how organisations (primarily, but not only, private companies) can devise and develop circular business models (Santa Maria et al., 2021). Research is also considering how companies can work in conjunction with the place they are based (Delgadillo, 2021) and range of stakeholder perspectives involved (Rincón-Moreno et al., 2022).  However, the development of a CE could contribute to a social transformation.  A tension is emerging between policy views of the CE as a form of Sustainable (economic) Development, and approaches to circularity, such as repair, refurbishment, which can be driven by organisations with a social rather than profit-driven orientation (Lekan et al., 2021).  Whether the context is public, private or third sector, there is a need to assess, rather than assume, whether a given activity is environmentally and/or socially sustainable, aside from the potentially more apparent economic advantages (Roos Lindgreen et al., 2020).

This session aims to contribute to the understanding of the sustainability impact of CE practices and the different routes to innovation that may be required, also exploring theoretical and pragmatic implications related to the Sustainable Development Goals 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).  More critical attention is needed to examine the environmental, social, and economic impact of CE practices, and how those impacts may be context and/or scale dependent.


Earlier versions of papers cited herein have all been presented at ISDRS conferences.  We are happy that there are too many to possibly include them all.  For more information see Track 5c page on the ISDRS website.

Delgadillo, E., Reyes, T. & Baumgartner, R. 2021.  Towards Territorial Product-service Systems: A Framework Linking Resources, Networks and Value Creation.  Sustainable Production and Consumption. 28 1297-1313. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spc.2021.08.003

Lekan, M., Jonas, A. E.G. & Deutz, P. 2021.  Circularity as Alterity? Untangling Circuits of Value in the Social Enterprise–Led Local Development of the Circular Economy.  Economic Geography, 97 (3) 257-283.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00130095.2021.1931109

Rincón-Moreno, J., Ormazábal M., & Jaca, C., 2022. Stakeholder Perspectives in Transitioning to a Local Circular Economy: a Case Study in Spain. Circular Economy and Sustainability 2, 693–711 https://doi.org/10.1007/s43615-021-00098-x

Roos Lindgreen, E., Salomone, R., & Reyes, T.  2020.   A Critical Review of Academic Approaches, Methods and Tools to Assess Circular Economy at the Micro Level.   Sustainability 12 4973.  https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124973

Santa-Maria, T., Vermeulen, W. J. V., & Baumgartner, R. J. 2021. How do incumbent firms innovate their business models for the circular economy? Identifying micro-foundations of dynamic capabilities. Business Strategy and the Environment.  pp. 1–28. https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.2956

Contributions shedding light on the following area are welcome:

  • policy efforts to engender CE-practices, especially in emerging and developing economies;
  • CE practices and comparative case studies that elucidate various dimensions, business types, 9R strategy implemented and challenges to be faced;
  • start-ups and ‘green’ businesses adjusted to CE principles;
  • Circular Business Models and their implementation
  • relationship between the circular economy and degrowth
  • role of the Sharing Economy;
  • role of the Circular Bioeconomy;
  • consumer perspectives and stakeholder’s perceptions and roles in CE;
  • role of industrial symbiosis, networks in resource management, and zero waste programs and projects;
  • role of Industrial Ecology methods and tools (e.g. material flow analysis, input-output analysis, life cycle assessment) to achieving a CE;
  • quantification of the specific environmental, economic and social impacts of CE;
  • CE metrics and performance indicators;
  • drivers of innovation in resource management, resource security, and resource efficiency;
  • initiation and resilience of CE practices in a rapidly changing context;
  • CE in cities;
  • relationships between native culture’s thought and CE principles.

Other CE-related contributions can also be explored.

Length and content of the proposed abstract to the track

Each proposed abstract (in connection to one of the areas pointed out above), within 300 and 500 words (including everything):

  1. shall be best organized (without headlines) along usual structures (e.g. intro/method/findings or results/ discussion/conclusions)
  2. does not need to, but can include references
  3. shall provide in a final section
    a. to which SDG(s) and SDG-target(s) their proposed abstract especially relate to (e.g. “SDG+Target: 14.1.”).
    b. a brief indication how the proposed contribution relates to the topic of the Conference “Half-way through Agenda 2030Assessing the 5Ps of SDG(people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership)