There is growing societal, market and policy impetus to have quicker and broader impact on global sustainability, particularly across many basic humanitarian needs such as water sanitation, energy poverty, food shortage, transport, finance and healthcare. Policy-makers and companies are challenged with renewing efforts to reduce the carbon footprint and dramatically eliminate wastage of resources. As such, the Circular Economy is becoming an agenda setting item in global sustainability with the European Commission launching ‘The Circular Economy Package’ – an action plan that includes revised legislative proposals on waste. China has enacted several legislative polices that are in line with the promotion of a Circular Economy and the World Economic Forum’s Community of Young Global Leaders is the host of a fledgling annual Circular Economy awards ceremony - ‘The Circulars”. Moreover, the Ellen McArthur Foundation has played an instrumental leadership role in researching and championing The Circular Economy in schools, universities, businesses and public bodies across the globe.
The Circular economy rejects the linear model of take-use-dispose in favour of a circular pathway that streamlines the use and lifetime of materials. Industrialists are already adopting practices that facilitate the circular economy, such as re-manufacturing, closed loop recycling and servitization. The pervasiveness and connectivity of disruptive technologies continues to reframe the multiple roles that consumers play in a business model and it is against this context of industrial change and global sustainability imperative that raises the potential for further extrapolation of the circular economy.
Universities are contributing to this research agenda and embedding the Circular economy in their courses. For example, the University of Bradford and Cranfield University created an MBA and MSc in The Circular Economy, respectively. There has been a number of Calls for Papers for special issues in the Circular Economy, including the California Management Review and the Journal of Industrial Ecology.
On June 14th during the ICE 2016 Conference in Trondheim, Norway, a workshop was organised and chaired by Dr Brendan Galbraith from Ulster University, with the aim of creating an interactive forum and research avenue on The Circular Economy. TCBL got the privilege of a dedicated slot in the agenda, with the presentation attached here: TCBL%20presentation%20Trondheim.pdf.
A concrete outcome of the workshop was to further refine the scope and launch a Call for Papers for a Special Issue: “Pivoting to a Circular Economy: the role of technology, policy, strategy and collaboration” in the Technology Analysis and Strategic Management Journal. This summary is also to invite researchers and practitioners in this domain to contact Dr Galbraith directly if interested in publishing on that topic there.