Circular economy (CE) has become a central concept for sustainable production and consumption since its introduction into the public eye. As part of the European research project CRESTING under the Horizon2020 programme, one of the working packages aims to evaluate whether CE actors and networks actually perform according to their sustainable image. Indeed, to ensure CE does not only increase the economic performance of companies, but also delivers on its promises regarding the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability, it is vital to measure the impact of CE practices in an integrated way. In the absence of integrated measurement, CE would risk becoming a purely profit-driven endeavour, potentially having adverse effects on other sustainability aspects. Especially sustainability measurement approaches, but also approaches to measure circularity take a multitude of forms. Therefore, this contribution aims to set a foundation to assess suitable approaches for measuring the sustainability performance of CE practices in the private sector. Two methods are applied. The first is a systematic literature review to analyse frameworks, methodologies, methods, indicators and tools which measure the sustainability impact of CE practices. In a second step, literature is compared with practical examples of sustainability measurement approaches from private actors in Italy and the Netherlands. The CE practices are to be identified through a questionnaire for companies with CE best practices. To pertinently apply these methods, the paper identifies and connects relevant CE concepts, which are Industrial Ecology (IE), one of the theoretical foundations of CE, for assessing geographically delimited areas and closed-loop supply chain management and reverse logistics (CLSCM/RL), a promising source of suitable measurement approaches for assessing the impact throughout a product’s life cycle. Furthermore, the paper stresses the importance to include the social dimension in the assessment, as it is only marginally discussed in the concepts influencing CE. In contrast, the economic dimension plays a crucial role in the concept, though it is often referring to profit-related instead of prosperity-related variables. Based on these two clarifications, the article presents a literature review protocol as well as the outline of a questionnaire to capture the practitioner perspective which can then be juxtaposed to the findings in academic publications. Identified gaps and overlaps will provide input for improving existing measurement approaches from a pragmatic point of view.

“Measuring the sustainability impact of circular economy practices: Comparing academia and practice. Aligning the methodological framework with a fuzzy concept”,

walker, anna maria;Andrea Raggi
;
Alberto Simboli;
2019

Abstract

Circular economy (CE) has become a central concept for sustainable production and consumption since its introduction into the public eye. As part of the European research project CRESTING under the Horizon2020 programme, one of the working packages aims to evaluate whether CE actors and networks actually perform according to their sustainable image. Indeed, to ensure CE does not only increase the economic performance of companies, but also delivers on its promises regarding the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability, it is vital to measure the impact of CE practices in an integrated way. In the absence of integrated measurement, CE would risk becoming a purely profit-driven endeavour, potentially having adverse effects on other sustainability aspects. Especially sustainability measurement approaches, but also approaches to measure circularity take a multitude of forms. Therefore, this contribution aims to set a foundation to assess suitable approaches for measuring the sustainability performance of CE practices in the private sector. Two methods are applied. The first is a systematic literature review to analyse frameworks, methodologies, methods, indicators and tools which measure the sustainability impact of CE practices. In a second step, literature is compared with practical examples of sustainability measurement approaches from private actors in Italy and the Netherlands. The CE practices are to be identified through a questionnaire for companies with CE best practices. To pertinently apply these methods, the paper identifies and connects relevant CE concepts, which are Industrial Ecology (IE), one of the theoretical foundations of CE, for assessing geographically delimited areas and closed-loop supply chain management and reverse logistics (CLSCM/RL), a promising source of suitable measurement approaches for assessing the impact throughout a product’s life cycle. Furthermore, the paper stresses the importance to include the social dimension in the assessment, as it is only marginally discussed in the concepts influencing CE. In contrast, the economic dimension plays a crucial role in the concept, though it is often referring to profit-related instead of prosperity-related variables. Based on these two clarifications, the article presents a literature review protocol as well as the outline of a questionnaire to capture the practitioner perspective which can then be juxtaposed to the findings in academic publications. Identified gaps and overlaps will provide input for improving existing measurement approaches from a pragmatic point of view.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/708839
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