Berlin session 1

“Business models for a circular economy”

Chairs: Niels Faber and Jan Jonker

Business models based on linear thinking create a pattern (take, make, dispose) where the extraction of resources, production and use creates side effects seen as negative externalities such as waste, pollution or social exclusion. This way of thinking is inadequate to address nowadays-pressing societal challenges. The Circular Economy (CE) is one of the perspectives that might offer innovative and radical solutions at system level to tackle these wicked problems. Strategically speaking it all revolves around value preservation, restoration, and revitalization. Using this perspective on the circular economy aims to integrate externalities leading to a new generation of business models. These are based on organising closed loops and driven by principles such as design for circularity, decomposability, and strategies to optimize the use of functionality. We explicitly add to this exclusive material-oriented view the need to incorporate social inclusiveness. The transition to a circular economy requires rethinking of supply chains into value cycles, forming the building blocks of a system transition. In this session, which is the fourth in a row after NBM@Toulouse (2016), which was followed by NBM@Graz (2017) and NBM@Sofia (2018), once more we like to explore the consequences of this thinking on the creation and adaptation of business models for the circular economy. In particular we focus on three subjects, namely (1) organising closed loops (leading to a coherent typology), (2) strategies that enhance the use of functionality and (3) promoting social inclusiveness.

People that are interested in contributing to this session can request a short paper exploring the main subjects. This short paper also is the synopsis of the edited book on the circular economy we intent to develop. Corresponding author Niels Faber (