Walter J.V. Vermeulen

Walter J.V. Vermeulen
Utrecht University | UU · Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development

dr.

About

161
Publications
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3,790
Citations
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August 1996 - present
Utrecht University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (161)
Article
Full-text available
Numerous multi-actor governance systems have recently emerged, ensuring sustainability of international traded products. Business and civil society actors play a dominant role in initiating and governing ‘sustainable supply chain governance systems’ (SSCG systems). Within specific product markets we see the emergence of various competing SSCG syste...
Article
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The world community convened in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 for the third UN Conference on Sustainable Development. We are, however, increasingly facing major persistent threats, which despite being known for a few decades are still far from being solved – or are even still increasing. On the individual business level, this has four major implicati...
Article
This article argues for greater attention to be paid to the dual and embedded nature of business. We propose that a more inclusive systemic perspective is needed for the challenge of speeding up the application of ‘inclusive’ corporate sustainability. The key question is how an on-going upward dynamic of transformative learning cycles can be achiev...
Chapter
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In this chapter I maintain that, despite the endless condemnations of the vagueness of the concept and definition of sustainable development (SD), in practice we can see a rough consensus on what it includes. Claims about vagueness are the result of the ongoing , open and divergent discourses on what is needed for sustainable development. This dive...
Article
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Over the last decade, the concept of the circular economy has regained attention, especially related to efforts to achieve a more sustainable society. The ‘revival’ of the circular economy has been accompanied by controversies and confusions across different actors in science and practice. With this article we attempt at contributing to advanced cl...
Article
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Multiple cases of toxic waste dumping from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries to non-OECD countries in the 1980s led to scholarly attention to transboundary waste movements. The Basel Convention was established to provide an international legal framework to tackle such problems in the early 1990s, focusing o...
Article
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The circular economy (CE) concept has become a major interest for companies, promising new business opportunities and a decrease in environmental impacts. Though research on circular business models has recently increased, few scholars have investigated how companies engaged with CE view the connection between CE and sustainability. To address this...
Chapter
This chapter provides several illustrative examples, mainly from the Dutch context, showing the application of the 10R framework of value retention options presented in the previous chapter, both for the product produce and use lifecycle, the product concept, and design lifecycle.
Chapter
Over the last decade, the circular economy (CE) concept has regained attention, especially regarding efforts to achieve a more sustainable society. Controversies and confusions have accompanied the “revival” of the circular economy concerning its meaning across different actors in science and practice. In Chaps. 3 and 4, we advance clarity in the f...
Article
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The process of developing sustainable and circular business models is quite complex and thus hinders their wider implementation in the market. Further understanding and guidelines for firms are needed. Design thinking is a promising problem solving approach capable of facilitating the innovation process. However, design thinking does not necessaril...
Research
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The Circular Sprint is a Design Thinking-based framework to support innovators in the early-stage development of a Circular Business Model, or the refinement of an existing business model concept, in a time-efficient and online manner. This User Guide is the practitioner-oriented step-by-step guide to the framework and tools presented in the artic...
Technical Report
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Critical raw materials are essential for the sustainability transitions, e.g. energy, digital and mobility of the European Union (EU). • Current electronics product design and waste policies fail to adequately integrate critical raw materials in the product design phase and recycling practices, resulting in many being lost in the waste stage. • We...
Article
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The ongoing social and ecological crises create urgency in academia and elsewhere to devise actionable problem‐solving knowledge to tackle sustainability challenges. Transdisciplinary research (TDR) represents a problem‐solving methodology for sustainability problems. TDR requires researchers to get out in the real world and engage with other socie...
Chapter
While academic literature related to sustainability assessment approaches in circular inter-firm networks continues to grow, little is known about the implementation and applicability of these approaches by industry practitioners across their supply chains. This chapter therefore compares the proposed approaches from the literature with those appli...
Article
The existing system of Extended Producer Responsibility focuses on waste generation on the national level. To account for the international trade of waste and second-hand products the concept of Ultimate Producer Responsibility is a promising approach.
Article
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An emerging research area is dedicated to developing approaches for assessing the ‘circularity’ of companies and their products, within the context of sustainability goals. However, empirical evidence on the uptake of these assessment approaches remains scarce. Using a purposive sampling, we conducted a survey receiving 155 responses and held 43 se...
Article
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The circular economy (CE) has become a key sustainability discourse in the last decade. The Netherlands seeks to become fully circular by 2050 and the EU has set ambitious circularity targets in its CE Action Plan of 2015. The plastics sector, in particular, has gained a lot of attention as it is a priority area of both the EU and Dutch CE policies...
Article
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The circular economy is promoted as a contributor to sustainable development; however, the process of circular business model innovation remains under‐explored to date, hindering its implementation. Dynamic capabilities research provides a theoretical perspective to explore how incumbent firms can innovate in rapidly changing environments. An abduc...
Presentation
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The Circular Economy (CE) is commonly promoted as a contributor to Sustainable Development, however, the implementation of Circular Business Models (CBM) in the market has been low, due in part to the complexity of operationalizing CE-based ideas and the lack of guidelines for firms. Design Thinking has been identified as an innovative problem-solv...
Article
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Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a proposed policy approach to promoting the circular economy (CE) within the European Union. This research used a policy Delphi to explore perspectives on improving EPR policies to further contribute to the CE goals of the Netherlands. Both the potential improvement and critical reflections discussed by CE...
Preprint
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The current enthusiasm for circular economy (CE) offers a unique opportunity to advance the impact of research on sustainability transitions. Diverse interpretations of CE by scholars, however, produce partly opposing assessments of its potential benefits, which can hinder progress. Here, we synthesize policy-relevant lessons and research direction...
Conference Paper
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The implementation of Circular Business Models in the market has been low, due in part to the complexity of operationalizing Circular Economy-based ideas. Design Thinking is an innovative problem-solving approach, capable of addressing complex challenges through multidisciplinary collaboration, such as Circular Business Model development. Business...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Circular Economy (CE) is commonly proposed as a means to advance towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Design thinking (DT) has been identified as an innovative problem-solving approach, capable of addressing complex challenges, such as the CE, through multidisciplinary collaboration. Currently, the spaces for multi-stakeholder collaboration h...
Article
Circular economy has become a central concept of sustainable production and consumption since its introduction into the public eye. However, to ensure circular economy actually delivers on its promises regarding sustainability, it is vital to anticipate and assess the impact of circular economy practices in an integrated way. For that purpose, holi...
Article
Despite the frequent association of circular economy (CE) with sustainability, most CE practices have yet to prove they actually contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and social aspects in particular. To attain the consensually established targets in the SDG framework, it is vital to assess the impact of CE practices. As...
Article
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Purpose The objective of this paper is to open a discussion on the implications and challenges of including positive impacts in LCAs of products and to propose a set of criteria for their inclusion in LCA in general and in the Oiconomy system in particular. Methods Using the existing literature, guided by the recent reviews by Di Cesare et al. (20...
Article
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Widespread adoption of sustainable and circular business models is required to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable society, however, the literature supporting the process of Business Model Innovation for the Circular Economy - or Circular Business Model Innovation (CBMI) - is currently emerging. Several publications on this field have b...
Article
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Since the publication of the European Union's Circular Economy Action Plan in 2015, this new sustainability paradigm has become a guiding force behind the environmental and economic policies of the Junker Commission. The European Union (EU) has taken a particular approach to circularity, with high expectations to increase competitiveness, promote e...
Article
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Electronics are produced, consumed and disposed of through a highly complex, globalised value chain, creating numerous challenges in the governance of sustainable electronics. To understand how sustainability is governed throughout the electronics value chain, this paper uses current literature to analyse the structure (e.g. actors) and composition...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Widespread adoption of sustainable and circular business models is encouraged for a transition towards a sustainable future, however, implementation in incumbent firms has been slow. The process of circular business model innovation (CBMI) remains under-explored, resulting in lack of guidelines for firms interested in the circular economy. Through...
Article
Full-text available
The circular economy (CE) has recently become a popular discourse especially in government and corporate sectors. Given the socio-ecological challenges of the Anthropocene, the concept of CE could indeed help the transition to a sustainable, just and resilient future. However, the actual definition, objectives and forms of implementation of the CE...
Article
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The circular economy (CE) emphasises closing material loops to retain material value. The current practice of tyre recycling in the Netherlands, through a system of extended producer responsibility (EPR), appears an overwhelming success, with claims of 100% recovery. Yet, there is limited critical understanding regarding the system's circularity, c...
Article
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The principle of cascading, the sequential and consecutive use of resources, is a potential method to create added value in circular economy (CE) practices. Despite conceptual similarities, no research to date has explored how cascading has been operationalised and how to integrate it with CE R-imperatives (Reduce, Reuse etc.) to facilitate impleme...
Conference Paper
The circular economy (CE) has recently become a popular discourse especially in the public and private sectors. The proponents of this concept are advocating many social, economic and environmental benefits from the application of CE practices. Given the current challenges of the Anthropocene to overcome resource scarcity, climate change, biodivers...
Article
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In recent years the concept of Circular Economy has received growing attention, both in the worlds of science and of policy making. Some scholars and practitioners present it as a novelty, but we have to acknowledge that it builds on the legacy of predecessors, like waste recycling and separation, industrial ecology, eco-industrial parks and indust...
Article
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In anni recenti il concetto di economia circolare ha ricevuto sempre maggiore attenzione, sia nel settore scientifico che in ambito decisionale politico. Anche se vari studiosi e professionisti lo presentano come una novità, in realtà è stato costruito sull'eredità di alcuni predecessori, concetti come il riciclo e la separazione dei rifiuti, l'eco...
Article
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Dat de integratie van duurzaamheid in een bedrij fscultuur niet eenvoudig is, blij kt uit de hoge diversiteit aan benaderingen omschre-ven in de wetenschap. Opvallend is dat succesverhalen uit de praktij k hier nauwelij ks in worden meegenomen. Wij onderzochten daarom in hoeverre de verschillende bena-deringen omschreven door wetenschappers overeenkomen...
Article
Change agents for Corporate Sustainability (CS) play an important role for companies when integrating CS into their business activities. While change agents can be differentiated by their worldviews, little is known about the contextual factors influencing their success in supporting CS integration. By proposing and illustrating an analytical model...
Article
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Purpose Corruption is one of the key social aspects, heavily impacting all three Planet-, People- and Prosperity sustainability pillars and is therefore essential to be included in S-LCA. The objective of this article is to consider the available options to quantify corruption in preventative cost-based S-LCA, and to make a first proposal for quant...
Article
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Addressing corporate impacts on the sustainability of society entails a dynamic capability and management of organisational change. Although the integration of Corporate Sustainability into the corporate culture involves both the physical and social dynamics of business activities, scientific research has been mostly focusing on interventions in th...
Article
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Various tools have been developed to support companies integrating corporate sustainability (CS) into their organisational system. Research on the use of these tools does not clearly show how these tools support the integration process of CS. This paper focuses on the CS integration support of three tools most often mentioned in the literature. We...
Article
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This article aims to shed light on mechanisms to integrate a strategy on Corporate Sustainability in companies. The analysis is based on a holistic method derived from organisation theory, organisational behaviour theory and strategic management theory. The process of integration into the organisational system is explored by analysing the coalescen...
Article
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Purpose This paper is part 1 of our twin articles on income reference points for Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA). Preventative costs based LCA systems, such as the EcoCost system and the Oiconomy system, need targets (performance reference points) to determine the marginal preventative costs, the costs of the most expensive measure that globall...
Article
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Purpose This paper is part 2 of our twin articles on income reference points for social life cycle assessment (SLCA). The purpose of this article is to provide a well-founded fair minimum wage standard, which enables the determination of the preventative costs for the impact category of unfair prices for labour in preventative costs-based SLCA. Me...
Article
Although companies have shown a growing awareness of the importance of Corporate Sustainability (CS), integration of CS into their business activities is still problematic. Most of the CS research focuses on large corporations, with limited discussions of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Research on SMEs has shown that most CS activities...
Article
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Private standards increasingly play a major role in creating sustainable practices in international trade relations. This paper presents the results of an impact study in tea produced for export in India and it compares a group of certified tea estates with non-certified farms. It aims to determine changes in time and differences between the two gr...
Article
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This research aims to find a relationship between governance strategies to involve suppliers in sustainability implementation and the creation of shared value in the buyer-supplier relationship. The implementation of Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan has been taken as a case study. This allows for the analysis of the nature of the buyer-supplier i...
Conference Paper
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Companies have become more aware of the impact they generate on society. Some companies take up the challenge to convert this awareness in an added value to their core business activities. There is an extensive amount of CS approaches (tools, instruments and initiatives) available to companies enabling the integration of CS in the core business act...
Article
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A major part of global unsustainability is embedded in consumption and the processes involved in the lifecycle of products, but there is currently no comprehensive and objective method for product sustainability measurement, including both environmental and social issues. This requires a life cycle approach. Current life cycle assessment (LCA) syst...
Research
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Dutch trade has become ever more sustainable, over the last years. A number of imported natural resources and products, such as coffee, timber, palm oil, cacao, fish and soya, more and more often carry a sustainability label. The sustainable market share was able to soar, also because of the efforts by social organisations, consumers and the busine...
Article
Sustainable supply chain governance approaches aim for improvement of environmental and community living conditions at the developing country's side of the global supply chains. Impact evaluation in remote and multiple sourcing countries is hardly done in practice because of its complexity and costs. Evaluating the impact potential with this method...
Conference Paper
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A B S T R A C T Although there is a growing awareness among companies of the importance of Corporate Sustainability (CS), they struggle in getting CS integrated into their business activities. Most of the literature and research on CS focus on large corporations, with limited debate on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Research shows that...
Article
A significant number of different sustainable initiatives have emerged to improve sustainability and inclusion of small farmers in global supply chains. These include production process adjustment advice and implementation of different sustainable product standards. In practice two different approaches are taken. Development projects focus on enabl...
Article
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The concept of sustainable development (SD) has highly been debated since it was presented 25 years ago, with ‘hard science’ approaches on one side and more process-oriented approaches on the other side. Academic teaching in SD has emerged in response to this in very different contexts, partly mirroring this academic debate. Some master’s programme...
Technical Report
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Advice on developing a widely accepted measurement method of 'circular products and services' (in Dutch). In opdracht van: Economic Board Utrecht (EBU)
Article
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Sustainable development issues are characterised by their multidisciplinary character, and the fact they are not merely an academic exercise but pertain to real-world problems. Academic sustainable development curricula should therefore not only focus on developing the analytical and research skills and theoretical and professional knowledge of the...
Article
In the last decade, many authors have observed shifts from government to governance in the environmental policy domain. However, a clear conceptual framework to differentiate between modes of environmental governance is lacking and our understanding of when, how and why environmental governance changes from one mode to another is limited. In this p...
Article
Business strategy is linked to organisational values and culture, which is determined to some extent by national culture. This can provide a challenge in a global supply chain where culture and values at one end of the chain do not correspond with culture at the other end. This paper contends that shared values contribute to effective sustainabilit...
Article
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The purpose of this paper is to reflect on an innovative initiative taken spontaneously by producers in the supply chain of the table grapes and wine industry to empower employees. Empowerment is a fundamental force for change in doing business in South Africa and its societies, especially in the lives of previously disadvantaged people (PDI). The...