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The sustainable development way of implementing circular economy

A system thinking approach

Written by P. Aggesund

Paper category

Master Thesis






Master Thesis: The "Iceberg" of Circular Economy Using the "iceberg model" to describe the circular economy leads to a description of the circular economy similar to the use of micro and macro levels to describe this concept. Prieto-Sandoval et al. As their review of different definitions of circular economy shows that the concept and its implementation are usually analyzed at these three different levels (Prieto-Sandoval et al., 2018) and Ghisellini et al. (Ghisellini et al., 2016) ) ). At the micro level, as described by Prieto-Sandoval et al., the application of circular economy in companies is described and analyzed. Understanding the circular economy at this level includes understanding the company's changes in order to obtain more circular flow, and the new set of practices is guided by the principles of circular economy. This corresponds to the top of the iceberg, the event. It reflects how a single company alone decides to change its business methods in a specific way, but it is not necessarily related to event patterns or systemic changes in society. In addition to practices adopted by companies, incidents can also consist of single-consumer practices (Ghisellini et al., 2016). On the other hand, at the meso level, multiple events form a pattern, and the principle of circular economy begins to bring regional benefits to the economy and nature. When the circular economy becomes a model, as some individual work restrictions are removed, it is easier for companies to stick to the circular economy practice and achieve success (Huamao & Fengqi, 2007). At this level, the benefits of industrial symbiosis, a way for companies to collaborate and effectively use and reuse resources in symbiosis, are often the subject of analysis (Prieto-Sandoval et al., 2018). At the meso level, the regional circular economy also needs to be addressed, that is, the material cycle has extended beyond industry and is also a part of people's life activities (Huamao & Fengqui, 2007). The type of circular economy described at the macro level mainly relates to how environmental policies and institutional impacts become part of the implementation of circular economy (Prieto-Sandoval et al., 2018). This means that the implementation of circular economy as a system structure, the new foundation of the iceberg, will in turn have an impact on upcoming models and events. In the words of Huamao and Fengqi, at this stage, circular economy is regarded as a governance method that affects the development of the entire society and economy (Huamao and Fengqi, 2007). Prieto-Sandoval et al. proposed the micro and macro division of circular economy analysis and implementation. The components of the concept were further inspired (Prieto-Sandoval et al., 2018). 4.1.1. The tip of the iceberg-circular economy practices. When companies adopt new practices inspired by circular economy, their main goal is to find ways to continue to create value in a world where resources are scarce (de Angelis, 2018). This can be explained as The pressure to respond to the system means that adopting circular economy practices is a way to satisfy customers, or it can be a response to the threat of losing their competitive advantage when the resources they use are exhausted (de Angelis, 2018). Guided by the principles of circular economy, companies can find new sources of competitive advantage, enabling them to pursue value creation, but in a slightly different way. New practices can be adopted in production and consumption, as well as in resource recovery methods, which are mainly controlled in waste management systems (Prieto-Sandoval et al., 2018). New practices in production range from ecological design, green design or environmental design to cleaner production, aiming to prevent pollution and reduce the use of toxic substances in the design and production process (Ghisellini et al., 2016). Part of the goal of these practices is to improve the product, consider whether it can be disassembled and disposed of without affecting the environment, and change the distribution and return, durability and reliability of the product (Ghisellini et al., 2016). According to Ghisellini et al. Design and production practices with this goal will produce high-quality and high-performance environmentally friendly products (Ghisellini et al., 2016). Prieto-Sandoval et al. When discussing the practices used to implement a circular economy, the focus is shifted to sustainable design strategies and defined as catalysts for the imminent reduction, reuse, and recycling of materials and products (Prieto-Sandoval et al., 2018). In addition to changing design and production practices, companies can also adopt new practices designed to influence consumer choices. For example, such practices are the introduction of labelling schemes to inform consumers of choices and promote the consumption of products produced according to the circular principle (Ghisellini et al., 2016). It is also possible to adopt a business model based on any type of sharing, lending or co-ownership, which will require less resource extraction because there are fewer products to be produced. The event of an individual deciding on responsible consumption is also an important manifestation of the circular economy. It is also an event where individuals choose to reduce consumption, purchase reusable products, or recycle (Hua Mao and Feng Qi, 2007). All in all, the practices adopted by companies or individuals guided by the principles of circular economy vary in scope and often require innovative measures. Read Less