Track 27

Circular European Economy Innovative Training Network (Circ€uit) – I. Project presentations on aspects of a circularity transition

Moderator: Arnold Tukker, Leiden University – CML and TNO
The goal of the Circ€uit Network is to train 15 young researchers in the field of Circular Economy. For this purpose, 15 PhD projects started at Leiden University, TU Delft, Aston Business School, Cranfield University, INP Grenoble, NTNU and Linkoping University covering five main perspectives on a circularity transition. These included: Business Models, Supply Chain, Users, Design and Systemic aspects. We organise two adjacent sessions ( Track 27 and track 28), with 6 presentations reflecting project results.

Presentation 1: Macro-level assessment of economic, social, and environmental implications of circularity:
Author: Glenn A. Aguilar-Hernandez, Prof. dr. Arnold Tukkker (Leiden University, CML)
Abstract: The circular economy has emerged as a paradigm that enables a sustainable future. Nevertheless, the economic, social, environmental impacts of circularity are unknown at national and global scales. To fill this knowledge gap, we assess circular economy policies and their macro-economic, social and environmental implications, which is part of the Work Package 5 from Circ€uit program. We analyze the potential impacts of circularity by applying the global, multi-regional environmental extended input-output tables (MR-EEIOT) from EXIOBASE. This approach allows us to assess which interventions can be implemented for a cost-effective transition to circularity. For example, we demonstrate that, in certain circular economy scenarios, extending product lifetime could contribute to reduce environmental impacts (e.g. CO2 emissions), but also could cause trade-off by decreasing job creation and value added. Our findings provide relevant information that can be considered by decision makers for implementing circular economy policies in the future.

Presentation 2: Engaging consumers with a circular economy through design and communication
Author: Lucy Chamberlin (NTNU, Trondheim)
Abstract: Circular economy literature has largely focused on business models and product design strategies until now, with the assumption that consumers will accept the new products and services without question. However, sociological and behavioural research has shown that consumers are complex, irrational and to a large extent ‘unmanageable’, with conflicting motivations and subject to frustrations like the values-action gap and rebound effect. Taking a cultural rather than a cognitive perspective that uses insights from the fields of design and communications and acknowledges the importance of meaning for action can help to engage people with circular practices through their everyday activities and to create a more human circular economy. In this presentation Lucy explores the relationship between consumption, design and circular economy and discusses how a cultural approach to transformative action can provide a more realistic route to changing thought and behaviour.

Presentation 3: Circular business models – why do consumers matter?
Author: Vivian Tunn (TU Delft)
Abstract: Many circular business models that are targeting consumer markets have emerged in recent years. The hope is that circular business models reconcile economic and environmental goals to satisfy consumer needs without damaging the environment. Yet, behaviour of consumer who are ultimately supposed to use these business models is often disregarded in the development process. In this presentation, Vivian will outline why consumers behaviour should be considered during the development process and how it is a crucial factor in determining the sustainability potential of circular business models. Finally, recommendations for how consumers could and should be considered in the development of circular business models are presented.

Presentation 4: Interplay among the building blocks of circular economy
Author: Yohannes Alamerew (INP Grenoble)
Abstract: Circular economy is increasingly recognized as an issue of critical importance for companies, academics, practitioners, policymakers, and society as a whole. A successful transition from the current, linear economic model towards a resource-efficient circular economy model requires a shared understanding of the interplay among the building blocks of circular economy and the interaction between various decision factors. This presentation will explore the role and interplay among the main pillars of circular economy: business models, circular design, reverse logistics, and system enablers, demonstrated through successful cases.