Business circularity for increased resource efficiency

As a response to growing concerns for the unsustainability of our modern society, the circular economy has been put forward as a means to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. The circular economy involves a transition away from wasteful, linear modes of production and consumption to systems with circular material flows that can significantly improve resource productivity. The shift requires engagement from manufacturing industries, which must reconfigure business models such that they facilitate the reuse, remanufacturing and recycling of materials. We characterise business models that facilitate circular material flows as circular business models, and posit that circular business models form the basis for a transition to a circular economy.

A circular economy has also been framed as a strategic opportunity for manufacturers to make considerable cost savings and boost competitive advantage. However, there is currently no standardised means to compare the circularity of firms and their product offerings. In this project we seek to use and evaluate a circularity indicator as a tool for both research and industrial change.

The project runs for a total of three years and is divided into three work packages:

  1. Collaborative research with companies to examine the utilities of circularity metrics as tools to identify paths and barriers towards increased business model circularity.
  2. An interview study to identify economic and environmental opportunities and barriers associated with an increased degree of circularity.
  3. An auction study to examine willingness to pay for circulated products and how that is affected by features hypothesized to increase that willingness, such as environmental information.

The project is funded my the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg foundation and is focused on creating high quality research presented in peer reviewed journals and conferences.

Besides peer reviewed articles, the project will also produce a report aimed at managers presenting distilled and directly actionable results.

The project is closely related to Measuring product circularity (Re:Source) and Potential product circularity.