Circular economy (CE) is seen as one key strategy to a more sustainable paradigm and to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Given their size and influence, public sector organizations are expected to lead the transition to sustainability by ensuring that CE informs organizational strategic decision-making processes and operations. Worldwide, academics, industrialists and politicians share the understanding that performance assessment can ease this transition through simplified information exchange and understanding. Thus, since the paradigm shift to New Public Management (NPM) in the 90s, performance assessment has been increasingly implemented in public sector organizations and a growing number of indicators to assess organizational sustainability have been developed. These indicators broadly focus on the achievement of sustainability and more recently on the adoption of the SDGs and pay less attention to assess the effectiveness of strategies to get there, like CE approaches and initiatives. As a response to the need of monitoring the CE transition, an increasing number of attempts to analyse and develop CE indicators have been developed, covering more or less the facets of CE. Despite this background, there is still a gap in the literature regarding critical analyses of the existing indicators to assess CE performance in public sector organizations. Dealing with the multitude of available indicators, it is increasingly important to understand what and how they are assessing. Therefore, the main aim of this research is to provide a systematic overview and analyses of existing indicators that assess the CE performance of public sector organizations. The research method was a systematic and extended literature review involving English academic contributions on organizational sustainability and CE indicators found through international scientific databases, in particular Scopus and Web of Science published between 1994 and 2019. A qualitative content analysis was conducted to examine the selected documents. The assessment approaches were analysed according to their general approach (e.g. use of existing standard, modification of standards), proposed assessment categories (e.g. energy usage, water usage), methods (e.g. LCA) as well as the use of concrete indicators (e.g. carbon footprint (CF) or water footprint (WF)). The main finding is that there is a gap of indicators for CE performance assessment in public sector organizations and practitioners only have little guidance. The low degree of indicator development can explain the low implementation degree in organizational practices. Existing assessment approaches focus on specific management areas such as public procurement or organization types like higher education within the public sector. Despite the lack of a common definition or conceptualisation of CE performance in organizations some frequently used patterns could be identified. Nevertheless, the analysed assessment methods varied extensively in their approaches, proposed assessment categories, methods and indicators. Furthermore, CE performance assessment in public sector organizations often uses similar concepts as sustainability performance assessment but research on the interlinks is still underdeveloped. This critical review contributes to a deeper understanding and development of the CE concept in the public sector, in particular regarding organizational performance assessment. By identifying and classifying existing CE assessment approaches it can serve as a basis for further research on the definition of organizational CE performance.

“Circular economy performance assessment in public sector organizations: A systematic review”

Andrea Raggi;
2019

Abstract

Circular economy (CE) is seen as one key strategy to a more sustainable paradigm and to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Given their size and influence, public sector organizations are expected to lead the transition to sustainability by ensuring that CE informs organizational strategic decision-making processes and operations. Worldwide, academics, industrialists and politicians share the understanding that performance assessment can ease this transition through simplified information exchange and understanding. Thus, since the paradigm shift to New Public Management (NPM) in the 90s, performance assessment has been increasingly implemented in public sector organizations and a growing number of indicators to assess organizational sustainability have been developed. These indicators broadly focus on the achievement of sustainability and more recently on the adoption of the SDGs and pay less attention to assess the effectiveness of strategies to get there, like CE approaches and initiatives. As a response to the need of monitoring the CE transition, an increasing number of attempts to analyse and develop CE indicators have been developed, covering more or less the facets of CE. Despite this background, there is still a gap in the literature regarding critical analyses of the existing indicators to assess CE performance in public sector organizations. Dealing with the multitude of available indicators, it is increasingly important to understand what and how they are assessing. Therefore, the main aim of this research is to provide a systematic overview and analyses of existing indicators that assess the CE performance of public sector organizations. The research method was a systematic and extended literature review involving English academic contributions on organizational sustainability and CE indicators found through international scientific databases, in particular Scopus and Web of Science published between 1994 and 2019. A qualitative content analysis was conducted to examine the selected documents. The assessment approaches were analysed according to their general approach (e.g. use of existing standard, modification of standards), proposed assessment categories (e.g. energy usage, water usage), methods (e.g. LCA) as well as the use of concrete indicators (e.g. carbon footprint (CF) or water footprint (WF)). The main finding is that there is a gap of indicators for CE performance assessment in public sector organizations and practitioners only have little guidance. The low degree of indicator development can explain the low implementation degree in organizational practices. Existing assessment approaches focus on specific management areas such as public procurement or organization types like higher education within the public sector. Despite the lack of a common definition or conceptualisation of CE performance in organizations some frequently used patterns could be identified. Nevertheless, the analysed assessment methods varied extensively in their approaches, proposed assessment categories, methods and indicators. Furthermore, CE performance assessment in public sector organizations often uses similar concepts as sustainability performance assessment but research on the interlinks is still underdeveloped. This critical review contributes to a deeper understanding and development of the CE concept in the public sector, in particular regarding organizational performance assessment. By identifying and classifying existing CE assessment approaches it can serve as a basis for further research on the definition of organizational CE performance.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/708837
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