Journal Circular Economy And Sustainability

The Circular Economy and Sustainability journal aims to bring a new approach of the key concepts of circular economy and sustainability, by combining the scientific disciplines of economy, management, engineering, technology, environment, and society.

As circular economy is necessary today to promote the goals of sustainable development, these scientific areas are not independent to each other, but their relations, interactions and synergies exist and should be further developed and studied. Interdisciplinary approaches and multiple connections between these scientific areas are required not only to reach the sustainability goals but also to solve diverse environmental problems, expand technological limits and overcome potential economic disturbances.

This approach is expressed with new policies (command and control, market-based instruments, and circular public procurement), technological suggestions (e.g. technical cycle solutions), environmental engineering technologies (e.g., waste management, 3r strategies, water recycle, wastewater treatment and reuse, renewable energy), circular business models, circular innovations, circular management solutions, consumers’ behavior in circular economy, new circular economy products labels and social acceptance in circular economy. These topics could be classified in three levels; the micro-level (firm-level engineering and managerial level), meso-level (industrial ecology, industrial symbiosis, eco-clusters, eco-industrial parks), and macro-level (general policies, plans, green and sustainable entrepreneurship).

All content in the journal will in 2020 and 2021 be freely accessible to everyone

Latest Results

The latest content available from Springer
  • Circular Economy and Sustainability
    28 November 2022
  • A Process Approach to Product Repair from the Perspective of the Individual
    28 November 2022


    Product repair plays an important role in the realisation of a circular economy (CE) and sustainable consumption, yet little is known about what repair entails for individual product owners or users, particularly in a realised CE. This paper proposes a comprehensive approach by conceptualising repair as a multi-stage, cyclical process, shaped by previous experiences and, in turn, impacting future repairs. Moreover, we acknowledge and consider that the repair experience is determined by both internal (to the individual) and external (environmental) factors, which overlap in the individual’s interpretation of the process, primarily as perceived cost vs. benefits. Using a literature review, the role of the individual and key factors influencing the repair experience are discerned and organised according to their relevance within the process. This comprehensive perspective of the repair experience of individuals generated a wide range of insights, including the existence of general vs. specific factors and the prevalence of themes in the repair process. Implications for the upscaling of repair and future research are suggested.

  • Incumbents’ Capabilities for Sustainability-Oriented Innovation in the Norwegian Food Sector—an Integrated Framework
    25 November 2022


    The urgency of sustainability transition requires large incumbents in the food industry to implement sustainability-oriented innovation (SOI). However, the high concentration of the food sector and the complexity of the sustainability concept make its understanding and overall transition challenging and slow. Incumbents would need to drive the transition by redesigning business models and practices and acquiring new competencies to integrate sustainability into their innovation strategy. This paper has a twofold aim: (I) analyzing the evolution of sustainability understanding over time and (II) evaluating the extent of dynamic capabilities of food incumbents to foster SOI. We developed an integrated theoretical framework combining the theory of dynamic capabilities with aspects of SOI and applied it to the case of the Norwegian food industry. We interviewed eight food incumbents and one food industry association, and we reviewed their annual and sustainability reports from 2016 till 2020. Key findings show a high strategic activity in SOI, as well as a notable and industry-wide ambiguity about what sustainability means in the food sector. Most companies reveal both an adaptive and expanding behavior implementing conscious sustainability-integrated product and process innovations. Most innovations are incremental without a radical modification of business models. Some exceptions have been detected resembling transformative changes. Clear initiatives of moving away from a linear supply chain to a more systematic approach are currently happening through food system collaborations.

  • Exploratory Survey of Australian SMEs: an Investigation into the Barriers and Opportunities Associated with Circular Economy
    25 November 2022


    Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 97.4% of all businesses in Australia and, contribute, by revenue, 32% to the country’s economy. In the last decade, Australian SMEs have become increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability and need to shift away from a linear to circular economy (CE). Since 2019, there has been considerable growth on CE adoption research in SMEs, but empirical research examining Australian SMEs has yet to be undertaken. This study has used a survey and aims to understand the enablers and barriers of CE adoption in Australian SMEs. The research addresses three specific research questionsWhat are the barriers that impact CE adoption in Australian SMEs?; What enablers facilitate CE adoption in Australian SMEs?; and What is the effect of industry type, geographic location and job roles on enablers and barriers identification for CE adoption in Australian SMEs? Based on 352 responses from the survey of Australian SMEs, the paper identifies and analyses the enablers and barriers that these organizations face as they transition towards circular economy. The impact that location, industry sector and the role respondents undertake within the organization provides some interesting insights into how Australian SMEs are managing the process of adoption of CE. The research demonstrates that there is an overwhelming need for the development of consistent, sectoral, industry and location-specific policies by the federal and state governments to support internal policy development and the acquisition of new technologies in order to stimulate Australian SME CE adoption. In addition, Australian SMEs need to have a better understanding of how budgetary constraints, the lack of customer awareness and an absence of clearly defined business process impact CE adoption.

  • Product Packaging by E-commerce Platforms: Impact of COVID-19 and Proposal for Circular Model to Reduce the Demand of Virgin Packaging
    22 November 2022


    E-commerce packaging waste is a matter of concern, especially with the increasing popularity of online shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This leads to the generation of a massive amount of e-commerce packaging waste as well as resource utilisation and CO2 emissions that go into the production of packaging. The aim of this study is to analyse the impact of COVID-19 on consumer trends in the e-commerce industry, quantitatively analyse the carbon emissions of packaging used, and present a circular model to reduce the demand for virgin packaging. Using a convenience sampling method, an online questionnaire was administered to 285 respondents to gather data on changes in shopping practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer awareness levels and observations on packaging materials, and practices employed by e-commerce companies. It was found that the number of orders placed per month increased after the onset of the pandemic and that most households dispose of packaging with household wastes as opposed to reusing or recycling. Primary data (study participants packaging waste production) in combination with secondary data (emission factors) was further used to calculate emissions due to mixed packaging waste, which came out to be 2,705.94 kg CO2e per metric tonne of waste produced. In addition, the paper presents a practical solution to reducing virgin packaging material production, as well as modifications in packaging used to ensure efficient working of the packaging reuse model when implemented by the e-commerce companies.

  • Using Macroeconomic Indicators to Enact an Ambitious Circular Economy
    22 November 2022


    The circular economy has the potential to promote systemic change towards a sustainable future. However, the dominance of technical and market-oriented considerations has placed the circular economy as part of an eco-modernist agenda, which retains growth in gross domestic product as the overarching priority. In this context, we analyse 12 existing macroeconomic indicators, developed and implemented by governments and international organisations, and determine if they could enact alternative notions of circularity. Specifically, we focus on the performative role that indicators can play in both defining and surmounting such reductionist views, thus helping us to address the world we want to create. We find that many of these indicators are agents of the status quo, but that some could disrupt the omnipotence of GDP thereby getting the macroeconomic conditions right for a more ambitious understanding of the circular economy.

  • Transforming Waste to Wealth, Achieving Circular Economy
    16 November 2022


    Wastes are usually thought of as unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or considered worthless, defective, and of no use. The term is often subjective, as not every application has identical raw material requirements and sometimes even objectively inaccurate. A starting point towards managing waste is the division in basic categories, ranging from municipal and agricultural waste to radioactive and explosive waste. Through proper collection of municipal solid waste, very important metals and other valuable sources can be recovered and used in new products, thus achieving significantly lower production cost and environmental impact. Success stories in waste management are reported in countries around the world. These typically showcase optimal waste transformation to wealth. Furthermore, applied waste management methods are specified. These actions should be adapted by every organization handling waste. At a managerial level, these must be considered as potential resources, commodities with significant economic, environmental and sociological added value. This paper attempts to identify and present the valuable resources and products that exist in waste streams, focusing mainly on their monetary value, based on data recovered from literature and raw materials stock markets. Municipal solid waste and non-hazardous commercial and industrial wastes are considered in this context. The methodology followed was based on identification and analysis of cities-communities and countries that have successfully adopted waste management policies towards circular economy and waste to wealth transformation.

  • Consumer Role in Closing the Loop in the Apparel Industry Towards Circular Systems
    11 November 2022


    The consumption increase over the last decades brought into question the efficiency of resource use and the negative impacts generated by the linear model. Thus, investing in an economic model that treats economic and environmental rationality as decision factors is essential. To successfully apply this model, it is necessary to expand the network of collaborations, with the involvement of companies from different sectors and the participation of consumers. In this matter, this work aims to identify the role of the consumer in reverse logistics (RL) for apparel in the context of the circular economy (CE) model. From a conceptual framework, the focus group method was applied. The qualitative data were subsequently coded and categorized using the Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) Miner software, enabling two analyses. Firstly, a new framework was developed, which classified the factors influencing consumer participation in the return of post-consumption apparel products according to the different beliefs established by the theory of planned behaviour. It suggests that control beliefs are the main factor influencing consumers, i.e. their participation in RL depends on their assessment of the effort required to perform a particular activity. The second analysis revealed different ways the consumer can participate in RL in the context of circularity and suggested strategies to encourage product return focused on the consumer role. This work contributes with practical and managerial implications by identifying possible factors that influence consumer participation in product return. Finally, this paper presents several strategies for organizations to encourage a more ecologically position in society.

  • Why is Communicating the Circular Bioeconomy so Challenging?
    10 November 2022


    The circular bioeconomy concept has been around for years now, yet despite increased efforts to popularize it, the concept has so far gained little public attention. Communicating this concept effectively, therefore, poses an important challenge. This commentary synthesizes what is known, presumed, and still unknown about how to effectively communicate about the circular bioeconomy. It postulates that the circular bioeconomy communication challenge appears due to three main reasons: (i) one rooted in differing conceptualizations and competing discourses; (ii) one rooted in normativity; and (iii) due to several knowledge gaps in the communication process. These postulations are backed by examples from the growing body of social-scientific literature on the topic. Finally, it provides a series of lessons learned and some suggestions for future research on circular bioeconomy communication. The insights provided here are useful for environmental communications, and the society and technology scientific communities, as well as for policymakers, practitioners, and communication experts interested in effectively communicating the circular bioeconomy.

  • The Green Stock Market Bubble
    07 November 2022


    One may contend that there are some clear similarities between the market for sustainable assets now and the situation of tech stocks right before the collapse of the dot-com bubble. In fact, before 2000, the risk of the new technology was primarily idiosyncratic because of the limited scale of production and the low likelihood of a widespread adoption. Subsequently, with an increasing probability of adoption, also, the old economy was affected by the new technology and, hence, the wealth of the representative agent. As a result, systematic risk increased, which depressed stock prices, because it pushed up the discount rates in the new and old economies. Similarly, given the high probability of a large-scale adoption of the new “green technology,” it is likely that there is not only a bubble forming in green energy stocks, but the boom is affecting the stock market as a whole. I apply a recently developed recursive testing procedure and dating algorithm that is useful in detecting multiple bubble events. Using S&P 500 stock market data, price-dividend ratios, I identify the well-known historical speculative bubbles and find an explosive movement in today’s market starting in June 2021, which can be associated with the new “green technology.” I find that an explosive movement in green stocks started roughly a year before it was migrating to the whole stock market. I argue that this is a good bubble because it will enable businesses to invest cheaply in green energy, hastening the transition away from fossil fuels and assisting in the fight against climate change.

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Key objectives:

  • continue to refine the contemporary scientific theory and evidence base of circular economy in tandem with the research-education-business nexus;
  • provide a network to connect and convene higher education globally to stimulate new research and educational initiatives;
  • share significant findings through high quality research publications, conferences and mainstream media
  • promote educational offerings to business, government, academics and other stakeholders