Current human activities have a significant impact on the socio-ecological system, endangering this system’s capacity to support human civilization and biodiversity. Today’s linear industrial model can be seen as a main driver of this challenge, which implies a need for a model that uses less raw material and is more aligned with the cyclical nature of Earth. A concept that claims to provide such a model is Circular Economy (CE).
This study analyses CE for its potential contribution to strategic sustainable development, and explores the barriers and enablers companies face in its implementation process. The main methodologies used for this research include the analysis of the concept by means of a conceptual framework and a Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, as well as interviews with experts in related fields.
The research exposed several gaps between CE and strategic sustainable development. The main barriers were found on a technological, legal, economic level, and at the behavioural level, i.e. the difficulty to change mindsets. Leadership, collaboration, the CE concept itself and customer behaviour were identified as important enablers. These results show that the concept is difficult to implement and that there is a need for a refined approach, which is easier to apply while leading closer towards sustainability.
Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Author: Bechtel, Nicola | Bojko, Roman | Völkel, Ronja