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Narrating expectations for the circular economy: Towards a common and contested European transition

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The European Union (EU) has set its sights on becoming a circular economy, envisaging a transition that implies systemic changes in natural resource transformations and material flows; and offering a response to what is commonly labelled as the ‘take-make-dispose’ conventional economic model. What does the transition toward a circular economy entail and what can it do? This paper analyses the emergence and mobilisation of expectations that are shaping the EU transition to a circular economy. It traces the narrative elements through which the circular economy is configured through an analysis of position papers presented to inform the debate on the European Commission’s circular economy package. Expectations for the circular economy are articulated as: (1) a perfect circle of slow material flows; (2) a shift from consumer to user; (3) growth through circularity and decoupling; and (4) a solution to European renewal. Extending boundaries of what is ‘in’ benefits actors driving the circular economy as, in the short-term, they can actively support a deliberately vague, but uncontroversial, circular economy. On the one hand, the expectations present a strong sense of a collective ‘we’, on the other hand we are yet to see the contentions and contestations being full playing out.

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... Thereby, initiatives outside the win-win paradigm that address the conflicts, trade-offs, and problems of leaving the linear economy are overlooked , and this might result in circularity becoming naturalized with little space for critical and hesitative reflection (Lazarevic & Valve, 2017). ...
... The diversity of meanings given to the circular economy may explain the appeal of the notion (Velis, 2018), but this also makes it hard to know what it is actually about. This is why the circular economy has been referred to as different things, for example, as a patch adaptable to changing circumstances (Fitch-Roy et al., 2019), as a vague narrative (Niskanen et al., 2020), as a horizon (Lazarevic & Valve, 2017), and as a floating (Niskanen et al., 2020) or empty signifier (Valenzuela & Böhm, 2017) lacking any substance of its own. ...
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... The Chi-square test of model fit, applied to the present research data, shows that the Chi-square value of the estimated model is higher than the Chi-square value of the saturated model (Table 11), meaning that the general modelling (see rel. [1][2][3][4][5] is representative for the present research. Table 11. ...
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... Advocates for "uncommoning" encourage instead a commitment to divergence [10], and for accommodating multiple possibilities in a "pluriverse" [30]. As Stengers puts it, within the fractured and multiple space of divergent worlds, "plurality means divergences that communicate, but partially, always partially" [94,61]. That the communication across incommensurable differences is partial is precisely what enables multiplicity and precludes the emergence of totalizing social projects. ...
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... 30 Figure 3: the 9R framework (Kirchherr et al., 2017) In addition to academic attention, there is widespread interest in the circular economy among policymakers as well. In the European Union, the concept has gained traction over the past decade, particularly due to the activities of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the European Commission (Bocken, Olivetti, Cullen, Potting, & Lifset, 2017;Kovacic, Strand, & Völker, 2020;Lazarevic & Valve, 2017). The former organisation was created in 2010 and inspires business, academia, policymakers and institutions to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. ...
... Second, the market-pull discourse is becoming dominant but only proposes, at most, only incremental instead of fundamental changes in the wastewater system. This discourse resembles what Dryzek (2005) calls ecological modernisation as well as dominant interpretations of a circular economy closely related to the prevailing model of economic growth and technological innovation (Kirchherr et al., 2017;Kovacic et al., 2020;Lazarevic & Valve, 2017). Such incremental improvements and technological fixes, instead of fundamental transformations in socio-technical systems, may be insufficient to address long-term sustainability objectives (EEA, 2018;Köhler et al., 2019). ...
... The circular economy (CE) has recently become one of the leading environmental policy concepts (Kirchherr et al. 2017;Lazarevic and Valve 2017;McDowall et al. 2017;Ghisellini et al. 2016), but researchers have questioned its ability to generate change toward sustainability (e.g., Fitch-Roy et al. 2020;Hobson 2020;Korhonen et al. 2018). Various researchers have pointed out that ignorance of the social and cultural aspects of sustainability is a major flaw in the current CE framework (e.g., Corvellec et al. 2020;Schöggl et al. 2020;Korhonen et al. 2018;Geissdoerfer et al. 2017;Moreau et al. 2017;Murray et al. 2017). ...
... The idea of CE as a policy objective has spread efficiently into influential organizations, such as the European Union (Fitch-Roy et al. 2020;McDowall et al. 2017). The CE narrative revolves around the idea that environmental problems can be tackled with CE solutions and, simultaneously, that these solutions are profitable for business (Nylén 2019;Lazarevic & Valve 2017). ...
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In this chapter, we investigate how the ideas of the social and solidarity economy (SSE) can strengthen the social and cultural aspects of the circular economy (CE) in an urban context. Cities are essential to the CE transition as over 50% of the world population lives in urban areas, and 60-80% of natural resources are consumed in cities. We analyze the various notions of SSE and their potential links with CE via a theoretical literature review and conduct a comparative case analysis focused on CE-and SSE-driven urban development projects in Finland, Uruguay, and Spain. As a provisional result, we specify SSE ideas that contribute to the vision for urban circularity and can enrich the social and cultural sustainability of CE. We conclude that careful work is needed to put these two distinct approaches into a dialogue in relevant ways.
... If they are too restrictive, actors may not see their place in this future, limiting diversity, creativity and resources, but too much flexibility can cause visions to become unstable and lack credibility (Smith et al. 2005). The circular economy has been a successful narrative in policy making precisely because of its vagueness and ambiguity (Lazarevic and Valve 2017), which allows "space for negotiation and the creation of imaginaries about the future" (Kovacic et al. 2020). Expectations for the circular economy, in Europe, have been articulated as 'a perfect circle of slow material flows', 'the shift from consumer to user', 'growth through circularity and decoupling' and a 'solution to renewal, security and competitiveness' (Lazarevic and Valve 2017). ...
... The circular economy has been a successful narrative in policy making precisely because of its vagueness and ambiguity (Lazarevic and Valve 2017), which allows "space for negotiation and the creation of imaginaries about the future" (Kovacic et al. 2020). Expectations for the circular economy, in Europe, have been articulated as 'a perfect circle of slow material flows', 'the shift from consumer to user', 'growth through circularity and decoupling' and a 'solution to renewal, security and competitiveness' (Lazarevic and Valve 2017). In this sense, its performative power has been impressive in terms of policy development, the mobilisation of capital and setting the direction of research. ...
... However, the CE agenda tends to describe an aspired future state rather than provide clear guidance for the policy choices made today (Gregson et al. 2015, Hobson 2016. As such, the openness of the concept has made it a useful communicative and expectations-creating device for environmental policy-making (Lazarevic and Valve 2017), to the extent that actors with conflicting interests can support this seemingly uncontroversial concept. ...
... Korhonen et al. 2018, Reike et al. 2018. Finally, several studies approach the CE as a fundamentally political issue, emphasizing that the CE opens up normative choices related to policy goals and instruments (Lazarevic and Valve 2017, Fitch-Roy et al. 2019, Niskanen et al. 2020. These choices further affect the evolution of business models, technologies, and modes of material organization (Levänen et al. 2018, Lazarevic and. ...
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The circular economy (CE) is currently generating considerable expectations. The concept describes an aspired future but does not provide clear guidance for policy-making. As policy outcomes often rest on initiatives generated in a bottom-up fashion, our attention must be directed to the ways policies are made accessible and interesting to those who might take the initiative. We claim that on-line publicity plays a key role in this. Our findings from a hyperlink analysis focusing on a government funding call for nutrient recycling in Finland show how multiple versions of the policy topic unfold online, as emergent hyperlink clusters prioritize specific agents, material circuits, and policy visions over others. The topic becomes connected with activities and agendas to create path dependencies and to strengthen existing divisions rather than to advocate change. Thus, we argue that CE policy design must recognize the way policy is shaped through online publicity creation.
... Thus, we present a mixed-methods approach by combining two distinct strands, one quantitative and qualitative which are linked and each having its own rigorous data collection (Creswell and Tashakkori, 2007). In terms of typology of mixed methods, we follow a partially mixed sequential equal status design (Leech and Onwuegbuzie, 2009). This involves conducting a study with two phases that occur sequentially, and each phase having equal weight. ...
... In recent years, CE has emerged as a policy agenda at the European community level, as a result of the enactment of the CE Package, which is considered the next political economy policy for Europe (Lazarevic and Valve, 2017 confidence interval we find the p-value to be 0.5 8 concluding that there is no significant difference in the perception amongst experts from Europe and the rest of the world. ...
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The Circular Economy (CE) concept has received immense traction among various stakeholders. This study aims to provide an assessment of its evolution and its positioning amidst “competing” concepts in the academic discourse. We do so by a mixed-methods approach combining text mining (topic modelling on CE literature) and Delphi study with 68 international scholars. In its evolution, we observe a structural change in the years 2014–2015 characterised by CE research undergoing immense proliferation, adopting a distinct line of inquiry from industrial ecology, becoming dispersed across topics and shifting from macro to micro-level interventions. This change is attributed to the use of CE to denote ideas and practices that existed before, increased interest from policymakers, adoption of CE terminology by businesses, and the research cycle of the concept itself shifting from being exploratory into different areas of practical implementation. In its positioning, we observe that scholars use several other “competing” concepts along with CE and do not consider it dominant despite the immense attention. The reason being, mainstream CE research is largely focussed on resource flows with limited attention to some of the long-term environmental challenges and it also overlooks the social dimension of sustainability, notwithstanding the efforts to make it inclusive. This study provides further impetus to academic knowledge on CE by a combination of quantitative analysis with a systematic, expert-based interpretive assessment of the literature. The enumeration of a wide range of concepts used by scholars provides an overview and a conceptual toolkit to researchers and newcomers to the field. This study also provides a set of informed future research avenues based on the expert assessment. The methodological contribution is of additional value to the research community.
... As a result, it is not always clear when we say "reuse" whether we mean the reuse of materials, or whether we mean the reuse of products. Likewise, "recycling," in the colloquial sense, can cover both a new life for materials as well as for products (compare, for example, the use of recycling and reuse in Lazarevic andValve, 2017), but also (Corporate Citizenship, 2014). When we describe circular strategies, therefore, it is helpful to have a clear understanding of exactly what it is that cycles. ...
... As a result, it is not always clear when we say "reuse" whether we mean the reuse of materials, or whether we mean the reuse of products. Likewise, "recycling," in the colloquial sense, can cover both a new life for materials as well as for products (compare, for example, the use of recycling and reuse in Lazarevic andValve, 2017), but also (Corporate Citizenship, 2014). When we describe circular strategies, therefore, it is helpful to have a clear understanding of exactly what it is that cycles. ...
Chapter
Chemicals industry benefits are not as well-known as the health and environmental issues its misuse may provoke. This industry has been trying to change this factor, even creating a program to prevent potential problems caused by it, improve security, and to help expand the communication with stakeholders named Responsible Care. Such measures are part of corporate social responsibility. Sustainability practices are becoming required, and corporate social responsibility has emerged to respond to the increasing stakeholder pressure for more than just profit maximization. Two of the main benefits from corporate social responsibility have an economic dimension: costs savings and revenue increase from higher sales and market share. Evidence shows the need for strong policy action to discipline sustainability practices in the sector as there is a multisided operation mind set inside the multinationals, taking advantage of permissive environmentally damaging practices and legal loopholes in less developed countries.
... Cluster 4 sheds some light on the resource allocation issues between sustainability and the EC. In addition, the keywords in this cluster are "environmental economics", "sustainability", "resource use", "business models" and "life cycle", which are related to SDGs 12 (Responsible consumption and production) and 8 (Decent work and economic growth) [46,47]. Sustainability 2021, 13, x FOR PEER REVIEW 11 of 18 The first cluster, in green, studies the interaction between sustainability and CE, with a focus on bioeconomy and environmental protection. ...
... Cluster 4 sheds some light on the resource allocation issues between sustainability and the EC. In addition, the keywords in this cluster are "environmental economics", "sustainability", "resource use", "business models" and "life cycle", which are related to SDGs 12 (Responsible consumption and production) and 8 (Decent work and economic growth) [46,47]. ...
Article
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Circular economy (CE) and sustainability are interrelated, without being exchangeable. While sustainability tries to reconcile the management of productive resources with their increasing consumption, CE aims to make the productive process more efficient, reducing, reusing and recycling the results of the productive process as much as possible. The aim of this paper is to ascertain the systemic structure of interactions between sustainability and CE through the analysis of the existing literature from 2004 to 2021. For this purpose, a computational literature review and a content analysis of the main contributions of CE and sustainability, within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were conducted. The results show that there is a positive impact of the synergy between CE strategies and certain SDGs. Specifically, the circular strategies that generate the greatest synergies have to do with preserving materials through recycling, downcycling, and the measurement of indicators or reference scenarios. This is what has led to the inclusion of these concepts in the formulation of policies and strategies, as their multidisciplinary nature allows them to have an impact on areas such as agriculture or innovation, which currently lack specific measures. Therefore, the knowledge derived from this study will contribute favorably to future decisions and actions to be considered, as there is still the potential to legislate in favor of an even more sustainable framework.
... The intensification of the CE discourse has led to the identification of significant research gaps. It has been acknowledged by a handful of scientists that CE is not a mere economic-technological system without human implications, but has social and cultural dimensions as well (Fitch-Roy et al., 2020;Hobson, 2020;Lazarevic et al., 2017;Moreau et al., 2017;Murray et al., 2017;Schöggl et al., 2020). In this vein scholars have often attributed the relatively slow adoption of CE to specific social and cultural reactions. ...
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In this introductory essay the editor first explores the many definitions of the circular economy (CE) and aims to identify the gap in the CE discourse in which social and cultural aspects may be situated. The author proposes a new solidarity economy (SSE) influenced paradigm in which both individual consumers and human actors as well as the relevant cultural and social institutions and policy environments are embedded and targeted toward the shift to CE. In the second part of the essay, the author introduces individual chapters and their relation to the overall theme of the book. These thematic chapters include cities and living, food and human waste, social aspects of food packaging and consumer law, fashion, design and art.
... Circular Economy (CE) is recently recognized as a possible solution to solve waste and emissions problems in the AEC industry. It contrasts with the "take-make-dispose" linear economy and refers to an industrial economy based on closed loops [3]. By retaining the added value in the loops as long as possible, CE saves material, eradicates waste, and creates opportunities for moving towards more sustainable development. ...
Article
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Circular Economy (CE) has proved its contribution to addressing environmental impacts in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industries. Building Circularity (BC) assessment methods have been developed to measure the circularity of building projects. However, there still exists ambiguity and inconsistency in these methods. Based on the reviewed literature, this study proposes a new framework for BC assessment, including a material flow model, a Material Passport (MP), and a BC calculation method. The material flow model redefines the concept of BC assessment, containing three circularity cycles and five indicators. The BC MP defines the data needed for the assessment, and the BC calculation method provides the equations for building circularity scoring. The proposed framework offers a comprehensive basis to support a coherent and consistent implementation of CE in the AEC industry.
... Meanwhile they are considered as one of the most important measures to achieve sustainable development (Ghisellini et al. 2016;Murray et al. 2017) and are anchored in numerous national (Kalmykova et al. 2018;Lieder and Rashid 2016) and supranational strategies, action plans and laws (EC 2014(EC , 2015(EC , 2020. Famous book publications such as Cradle-to-Cradle (Braungart and McDonough 2002) (EMF 2012(EMF , 2013a(EMF , 2013b(EMF , 2014Webster 2017) are making a significant contribution to the growing importance of the CE concept in the corporate and social environment and are promoting the vision of completely closed material cycles (Lazarevic and Valve 2017). ...
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... Also, the concept is applied with varying meanings by different stakeholders according to their particular motivations (Hobson, Lynch, 2016;Kirchherr et al., 2017;Reike et al., 2018). CE is often depicted as a synonym for material efficiency and recycling (Haas et al., 2015;Llorente-González, Vence, 2019), while the systemic approaches that most deeply challenge the status quo tend to be neglected (Desing et al., 2020;Lazarevic, Valve, 2017;Llorente-González, Vence, 2020). ...
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This study aims to characterize the eco-innovation activities implemented by the Argentine industrial firms, considering their association with different strategies of transition towards a circular economy. An analysis is made of the main motivations and factors that influence the implementation of the different types of EI, including variables such as economic sector, size, age, origin of capitals, productive linkages and innovative profile of firms. A logit regression model is proposed based on data from the National Survey of Employment and Innovation (ENDEI), which collects information from more than 3900 Argentine industrial companies for the period 2014-2016. The results reflect the heterogeneity of both the innovative behavior of the firms and the productive structure of the country. A majority of firms with EI strategies related to resource efficiency and pollution mitigation coexist with a smaller group of companies with a proactive innovative profile and genuinely circular strategies, aimed at reusing waste and designing products with less environmental impact.
... This pathway intends to break with the current linear economic rationale of take-make-dispose (e.g. Esposito, Tse, and Soufani 2018), decouple economic growth from the use of natural resources (Lazarevic and Valve 2017), and enable a more balanced interplay between environmental and economic systems (Ghisellini, Cialani, and Ulgiati 2016). ...
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This paper uses the notion of material affordances to show that a focus on how people engage with materials helps understanding how organizations transit toward sustainability. Material affordances refer to the enablements and constraints afforded by materials to someone engaging with an environment for a particular purpose. Based on a qualitative study of a company's efforts at becoming circular, we show that material affordances are evolutive as organizational members shift focus from the development of products to the establishment of a circular business model. We also show that affordances are distributed across the company's circular ecosystem. Between what they enable and prevent, they invite humans to a dynamic engagement with materials that decenters human agencies to incorporate material agency in such efforts. A key contribution of the notion of material affordances is to put the relationships of humans and materials at the core of a transition toward circularity and sustainability.
... Its fields of competence cover the issues of environment and sustainable development, and circular economy is considered as a focal point of supranational policy, aimed not only to change the quality of domestic economy but also to strengthen the positions of uniting around the world. The EU actively involves all member countries in the general process of transition to a circular economy, developing a single strategy, new principles, and requirements, political challenges, and it also supports transformations institutionally and financially (Lazarevic & Valve, 2017). ...
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The increased final consumption exacerbates the problem of the scarcity of natural resources and leads to environmental pollution. The concept of circular economy, which implies the formation of closed-loop chains of production and consumption with maximum regeneration and recycling of materials, is considered as an alternative to the firmly established “linear economy” (take-make-dispose). As a part of sustainable development strategy, the European Union adopted a general policy on the transition to a circular economy. However, for objective reasons, such transition is quite uneven at the level of member countries, which adversely affects the total progress. Therefore, the need arises to assess the positions of individual countries and identify major reasons for the uneven transition to support the countries that are lagging.The goal of the study is to identify the factors of uneven progress of the EU countries towards a circular economy. For that reason, a set of empirical data (20 indicators) has been compiled; cluster, classification, and parametric analyses have been conducted. As a result, three clusters of the EU countries have been obtained and six indicators, included into combinations that make all clusters different, have been identified. These indicators can be interpreted as the key factors contributing to the uneven progress of the EU countries towards a circular economy. The difference in harmonic means by clusters allowed quantitatively estimating a “circular gap”. It is of practical value for the EU policy aimed at bridging the gaps between member countries during the transition to a circular economy.
... However, within the models represented by this orientation, the development of the societal dimension appears marginal and essentially subordinate to an economic-productive reorganisation [10,[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19], rather than the object of an intentional and radical rethinking of the systems. More specifically, there is no consensus nor specific literature focused on a circular development that is also genuinely inclusive, as well as local and respectful of the specificities and needs of the territories and the society that inhabits them. ...
Article
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The circular economy (CE) is currently a very widespread paradigm aimed at addressing the climate crisis. However, its notions seem often to be only focused on technical, industrial and economic growth-centric goals, without practically addressing social problems such as inequality and social exclusion. In this context, type B social cooperation (SC-B) emerges in the Italian context as a type of organisation explicitly aiming at addressing social issues. It has historically fulfilled this mandate by pioneering, among others, “circular” processes in the field of waste management. In doing so, it has consolidated a high level of organizational and management capacity, which has made it an exemplary model capable of innovating the CE discourse and including marginalized people while delivering high-quality environmental services. Through evidence gathered integrating different methods and sources (interviews with social cooperatives, literature review, case study research on filed actions), this paper aims to offer a reading of SC-B as a driver for promoting a social turn of CE and local development. Moving beyond waste management and towards waste reuse, SC-B could play an active role in creating local and regional waste transformation and upcycling chains, capable of creating new employment and inclusion opportunities as well as reducing environmental impacts by processing wastes directly in the territory, shortening their treatment chain.
... Based on Ness and Xing (2017), circular economy strategies drive changes in corporate operations, product and service offerings, and supply chains, all of which reduce waste and pollution. Also, circular economy intermediaries may increase the rate of packaging and partnership innovations (Jabbour et al., 2020;Ormazabal et al., 2018) and advance reusability (Ferasso et al., 2020;Lazarevic & Valve, 2017;Salmenperä et al., 2021;Zhijun & Nailing, 2007). Additionally, Preston (2012), Mhatre et al. (2021), and Joensuu et al. (2020) claim that a circular economy can help countries make use of new, environmentally friendly technologies to minimise the use of virgin materials, design for recovery, and use low-carbon materials. ...
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Governments and policymakers worldwide have been setting targets to achieve an ambitious net-zero emission target by 2050 to tackle the pressing issue of climate change. However, achieving the net-zero emission target by 2050 depends on the factors determining the transition from traditional fossil fuel energy sources to renewables. In connection with this, policymakers have emphasised the need to transition from a linear to a circular economy. In this paper, we investigate the effectiveness of the progress towards a circular economy in reducing CO2 emissions and promoting environmental sustainability. To do so, we use annual historical data for a panel of 29 European countries from 2000 to 2020. Using an innovative identification strategy that adopts heteroscedastic-based instrumental variables and addresses endogeneity issues, we find that progress towards a circular economy significantly improves environmental quality via reducing CO2 emissions. Our findings suggest that business strategies promoting recycling and circular economy practices play an important role in environmental sustainability by reducing emissions.
... A key element of the CE is natural resources, for which the aims is to maximize their efficiency, transform waste into resources, recirculating the resources from products at the end-of-life through CE practices as recycling thus conserving natural capital [8]. The first European Commission initiative which aimed the circular economy (resource efficiency) materialized in July 2014 through a communiqué ("Towards a circular economy: a zero waste program for Europe") which established the framework for implementing circularity in the economy [9]; in December 2015, the European strategy for the transition from the linear to the circular economy has taken shape through the launching of an ambitious European Union Plan, named "Closing the loop -an action plan for circular economy" [10]. In order to facilitate the transition to a circular economy, the proposed measures by the European Commission cover the entire product life cycle so that resources remain in the economy as long as possible by closing the loop [11][12]. ...
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The paper aims to emphasize the contribution that manufacturing industry can have to meet the Circular Economy (CE) scope related to the use of resources. First, we presented the CE concept and the framework in Europe, the monitoring framework and also, we noted some aspects of manufacturing industry related to CE. Then, we performed an analysis of the secondary raw material data, which is one of the representative indicators of CE, in order to see the state of circular economy related to the resources in European Union Member States. The results showed that the resource circularity is lowest in Europe, the states which can be remarked are Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium. Highlighting these aspects, some conclusions were formulated, the most evident is that the manufacturing industry has a very important role on the CE transition, consisting in the resources fact implicated. The manufacturing industry can choose to use secondary raw materials instead of virgin raw materials, can improve resource efficiency through the technologies used in production processes and can address the circularity of a product, being an important CE actor.
... Many researchers have already studied the impact of CE on the growth and development of environmental protection [27,28]. At the same time, others have focused on studying the impact of CE on progress in ecology and analysed the importance of its sustainability and the ramifications for the country's economic development as a whole [8,29]. The main pillars of sustainable implementation of CE principles are innovative and creative human resources, which can benefit from the hardware and software support of blockchain technology in developing green products using innovative green methods. ...
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The paper aims to develop—based on a particular dual comparative analysis that follows the current European concerns—the concepts of competitiveness and innovation as pillars uprighting companies’ resilience, creating ecoinnovative jobs and social inclusion. In their struggle to meet the Circular Economy principles and Green Deal objectives, the countries chosen for analyses—Romania and Serbia—have started implementing added-value blockchain concepts in their societies to thrive in the resilient European market and build empowered societies. According to the World Economic Forum Global Sources of Competitiveness, skills considered in our study refer to businesses’ versatility and societies’ innovation capability. Based on specific data provided by Eurostat, the results showed a correlation between the ecoinnovation index and R&D personnel by sector and helped design a regression model. Hence, we demonstrate that R&D creativity, once stimulated through innovative teaching, blooms, having positive effects at society and market levels as reflected in the ecoinnovation index. Furthermore, cluster analysis within E.U. innovation helped identify strengths and weaknesses, provided new grounds in applying innovation, and led to further recommendations.
... The circular economy is not a new concept, it draws on other concepts that were developed decades ago such as spaceman economy (Boulding,1966), limits of growth (Meadows et al., 2005), performance economy (Stahel, 2010), 'cradle-tocradle' (Stahel and Reday-Mulvey, 1981) and industrial ecology (Frosch and Gallopoulos, 1989) (Kalmykova et al., 2018;Williams, 2019). The circular economy aims to maintain the circulation of resources within the economy, reduce environmental degradation and the impacts of extraction, emissions, and disposal (Harris et al., 2021;Lazarevic and Valve, 2017;Williams, 2019). China was the first country to implement the principles of circular economy into the national policy and Europe is currently in the process of developing the circular economy concept to improve the economic and environmental performance of industries (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2015;Harris et. ...
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Driven by climate change and scarcity of resources, resource management has become crucial for urban sustainability worldwide. There is an increasing interest in urban metabolism as a concept as it enables researchers to identify environment-related deficiencies in urban systems. The existing literature on urban metabolism studies shows a huge gap for such studies in the Global South. This gap is addressed in this thesis by employing the urban metabolism framework to better understand complex issues regarding the resource management system of Cairo Governorate (Egypt), an example of a rapidly urbanizing city in the Global South. This research was guided by a mixed methods approach to gain an in depth understanding of the barriers and drivers of resource management of the case study and to overcome the lack of reliable data. The findings of this study show that the flow of resources of Cairo Governorate are primarily linear flows. Cairo Governorate mainly relies on primary resources (inputs of cities: such as fossil fuels and fresh drinking water) and secondary resources (outputs of cities: such as solid waste and wastewater) are not used efficiently to feed them back into the city and develop circular flows. Sludge-to-energy and waste-to-energy projects, and the utilization of greywater present a huge potential for Cairo’s urban sustainability. The nature of urban form, the existing infrastructure, lack of an integrated sustainable waste management system, subsidies of primary resources, informal settlements and illegal connections, public behaviour, and the technical, financial and institutional capacities have a huge impact on the quality and the losses of the flow of resources of Cairo Governorate and the expansion of renewable energy projects. The outcome of this study indicates that the key challenge of resource management in developing countries is the lack of a comprehensive understanding of the interplay and interdependencies between resources and various flows. This study confirms the importance of understanding the flow of resources, the existing urban carrying capacity of cities and the limits of urban development to create robust sustainable strategies.
... Similar approaches have been conducted by a number of authors in the Science and Technology Studies literature, which helped to guide the analysis (see, e.g. Jasanoff and Kim, 2015;Lazarevic and Valve, 2017;Mutter, 2019a;Trencher and van der Heijden, 2019;Axen and Kurani, 2013;Butler et al., 2015;Rygaug and Toftaker, 2016;Sovacool, 2017;Mutter and Rohracher, 2021). This resulted in a series of major themes (nodes; n=9) generated while examining the collected data. ...
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The aim of this project was to review the context and broader systemic implications of increased electrification of urban public transportation systems. We do this by applying a novel methodology, whereby we study the discourse used to promote the electrification of Swedish bus fleets and the competition between electrification and biogas. This provides a deeper understanding of the beliefs and expectations regarding both technical systems, the potential effects of displacement, and as-pects and indicators used to motivate their benefits. This is then used to develop a description of a transition pathway, which in turn supports the creation of a quantitative dynamic model utilized to assess the environmental and socio-economic implications of electrification and the displacement of biogas. In this case, the model is applied for the electrification of Stockholm’s inner-city bus fleet.
... In this sense, for a better understanding of CE, in the food sector, CE is linked to several concepts and associated with efficient and sustainable waste management. This fact could reinforce the desired UN goal of sustainable development to curb hunger and achieve food security (Lazarevic & Valve, 2016). In this regard, some researchers think that CE can replace the concept of sustainable development as it finds its roots and limits in its linear thinking strategies. ...
Article
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The current linear economy, inherited from the 19th-century industrial revolution, has reached its limit due to the depletion of natural resources. In this context, the notion of circular economy (CE) emerged, which is regenerative and restorative. It deals with the transformation of waste or garbage into other value-added resources. This paper aims to discuss the issue of food waste from the perspective of the CE. It was evident that there is a more significant accumulation of papers published in developed countries than in developing countries on the CE of food waste. The Systematic Literature Review (SLR) raises research gaps and suggestions for future work and offers actionable inferences for practice. We found that researchers focused their studies more on the economic and environmental impacts of the CE than on the social implications in food supply chains. This paper can contribute to academics and practitioners interested in this area of study because it identifies research gaps and avenues for future studies.
... Such externalities lead to an increase in social inequality, increasingly reinforcing the dominant structures. SE can be highlighted, according to Lazarevic and Valve (2017), as a new form of consumption in which new business models enjoy a portion of the market to increase their profits, as well as in traditional businesses. Considering the transactions brokered by SE platforms, they apparently do not differ from the traditional economy because its main objective is to carry out financial transactions between people, bringing salespeople closer to consumers (Hou, 2018). ...
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Purpose: The aim of this research is to understand how the social-economic context influences the transformative potential of the sharing economy (SE). Originality/value: The literature on SE is still fraught with uncertainty. We have found that there is a paradox between generating social benefits to the community versus increasing social inequality. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected from documentary analysis, netnography, participant observation, and interviews. The data collected were analyzed in the light of the theoretical framework proposed by Wittmayer et al. (2019) for the analysis of narratives related to social innovation. Findings: The produced narratives differ in terms of the type of platform (profit and non-profit). We have found that, in non-profit platforms, the economic and social context does not influence the transformative potential guided by the SE; for-profit platforms, on the other hand, the narrative of ‘income opportunity’ is context-sensitive. The main contributions of the research are the use of a theoretical framework of social innovation to analyze the narratives of the SE and the observation of contextual differences about the phenomenon, which should lead platforms and governments (in their regulatory role) to have different views on SE. We conclude that the narratives of the SE are different. For-profit platforms either do not take part or contribute very little to the phe nomenon of social innovation as a transformative process and, in the contexts of greater social-economic vulnerability, it can be a mechanism of worsening social inequality.
... Yet, Korhonen et al. [12] defined the social objectives of the CE as being related to the SE and encouraged community use as well as increased employment. The shift in roles from the consumer to the user is an important feature of developing the CE [13]. In this process, the SE plays a central role. ...
Article
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The transition from a linear economy to a circular economy requires a new way of thinking. In a circular economy, products are used more intensively, for example, by sharing them with others. To understand the possibilities of the sharing economy, environmental, social and economic impacts all need to be considered. The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the importance of the sharing economy as well as to increase understanding of how public sharing-economy services can be launched. The research methods used include a case-study approach and assessment of greenhouse gas emissions. In this paper, an implemented cooperation process of creating a tool and device library (the Library of Things) in a small Finnish municipality is described. Furthermore, the library’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions during the first 14 months of operation is assessed. The results indicate that approximately 5752 kg CO2eq was avoided during the 14-month period, assuming that with each loan, manufacturing of a new good was avoided. In addition, strong implications of local positive effects on social sustainability were found.
... However, current business conditions on the market impose the need for constant adjustment and a continual search for ways to raise competitiveness for companies. This is precisely because of the overproduction and oversaturation of the market [11][12][13]. Consequently, companies find it challenging to differentiate and position themselves in consumers' minds (i.e., market positioning). ...
Article
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The study makes, under a new configuration of the circular economy, a cross-country analysis based on the Competitiveness and Innovation Indicators in the E.U., i.e., two sub-criteria: private investments, jobs, and gross value added; and patents related to recycling and secondary raw materials as a proxy for innovation. The analysis proved that investments influence the number of patents, and participate in societal transformation. A further cluster analysis classified countries on the level of innovation. The cluster analysis in SPSS centres on significant potential, weaknesses, impact, and waste management control through blockchain technology. It is found that the factors that influence innovation, according to the Global Competitiveness Report, link the business dynamism and innovation capability with the capacity to sustain resilient ideas, such as competitive intelligence and social entrepreneurship. The discussions aim to prove that the efforts to rethink the circular economy principles contribute to its conceptual and societal transformation role through the implementation of innovative processes, inventive solutions, and blockchain technologies, and their social consequences to solve environmental problems. Once understood and accepted, CE will drive sustainable behaviour.
... This phenomenon is particularly relevant in energy policy and energy modeling [87] and deserves more attention given its destabilizing effect on the "normal" operation of the decision-making process [31,[88][89][90]. For instance, Giampietro and Funtowicz [91] have argued that an uncritical mobilization of expectations based on simplified assumptions about how to solve problems undermines the scientific quality of the process of policymaking because: (1) assumptions are taken for granted and no longer subject to critical appraisal [92,93]; (2) no longer is there space for reflection or a genuine social discussion of the option space for solving the problems to be addressed [94][95][96]; and (3) the resulting unanimity about the solution to be adopted is used to justify large investments in technological innovations [95]. In this situation the systemic bias against uncomfortable knowledge leads to the selection of "bogus explanations" (associated with the formation of policy legends) that are instrumental for the stabilization of the establishment (see Fig. 2). ...
Article
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Despite the concerted efforts of the scientific community and politicians to contain greenhouse gas emissions, the CO2 level in the atmosphere continues to increase monotonically. This raises the question whether the scientific representations and related knowledge claims used to inform energy policy have been incomplete or incorrect. Are there alternative relevant knowledge claims that have been overlooked or ignored in the discussion of energy policies and if so, why? We answer these questions by elaborating three case studies, energy efficiency improvements, liquid biofuels, and decarbonization of electricity, and using a novel procedure for quality checking policy narratives that is based in post-normal science and developed in the EU project Moving Towards Adaptive Governance in Complexity: Informing NEXUS Security (MAGIC). The focus of our approach is on the coherence of the why (concerns or justifications), what (“solution”), and how (“scientific evidence”) of energy policies. We show that for all cases studied alternative knowledge claims, mostly derived from the relatively new field of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, would be available for better informing energy policy, but that they are unknown knowns in the chosen framing of the issues. We conclude that the idea that the various concerns identified in EU energy policy can be solved simultaneously is unrealistic. This idea can only persist by virtue of banishing uncomfortable knowledge and the creation of implausible socio-technical imaginaries. When considering different aspects of the problem and integrating different narratives and knowledge claims, a smooth and painless transition to a zero-carbon economy seems unlikely.
... Drawing on evidence from different circular waste management practices worldwide, Adami and Schiavon [34] present circular ecology as a potential solution for various environmental problems while highlighting its economic benefits [33]. However, these alternative definitions have also been contested, and some authors advocate a deliberately vague and ambiguous discourse and consider circularity a boundary object that could enable a circular economy to gain widespread support relatively quickly [31,35]. This is particularly evident in local translations of a CE's bundled ideas and principles, i.e. in their common lack of a territorial approach. ...
Article
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Globally, many national, regional, and urban governments are facilitating circular economy transitions through various pathways. The European Union and China have spearheaded the worldwide shift towards circularity by adopting primarily ecomodernist and technocratic approaches. However, the relevant literature has highlighted the need to integrate conceptualisations of circularity that are more politically and spatially embedded to better suit the local contexts and actual social needs of specific populations. In this paper, we therefore argue that the Japanese approach to circular practices exemplifies a place-bound and just pathway and offers a potential alternative to the European and Chinese methods. Accordingly, we first trace the historical roots of spatial circularity in Japan and then articulate some contemporary circular concepts. Next, we present a detailed analysis of wastescapes in the city of Onomichi to demonstrate through the lived experiences of its citizens that the rather orthodox understandings of circularity that permeate Japanese discourse on circularity coexist with alternative considerations that promote human interactions with nonhuman nature, acknowledge spatial ranges of operations, and value traditional knowledge.
... First, while the food and beverage packaging has been highlighted in many circular economy (CE) policy documents (see, e.g., [18][19][20]), brewers are increasingly using single-use plastic kegs. This marks a move away from the traditionally circular steel kegging system to a potentially linear system at a time when plastics and packaging, primarily single-use plastics, have attracted explicit policy attention [18,19,21] and with the circular economy gaining attention in the business sector [22,23]. Second, despite a large number of studies reviewing and assessing the sustainability of beer packaging, the environmental performance of plastic keg solutions has not received critical scientific analysis, despite several recent reports and claims on their environmental performance [24][25][26]. ...
Article
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In the craft brewing industry, kegging solutions have changed dramatically in recent years. While steel kegs once dominated the draught beer market, single-use plastic kegs have increased in popularity due to their convenience, especially in the craft brewing sector. With the increasing importance of the circular economy and the introduction of policies in Europe to move away from single-use plastic systems, this study aims to assess and compare the sustainability of conventional steel and single-use plastic kegs. The environmental and economic performance are assessed through life cycle assessment and life cycle costing approaches. The results suggest that steel kegs have better environmental performance and life cycle costs. However, these are limited to the local markets, and with larger distances, plastic kegs may become the better option due to their lower weight, suggesting that both kegs are useful in certain situations. This is especially important in countries that have long distances between breweries and their markets. The importance of extending the lifetime of the keg fleet is also highlighted to improve the environmental performance as the results are influenced by the assumption on the lifetime of the steel kegs. To improve the environmental performance of plastic kegs, efficient closed-loop recycling systems should be developed. Careful decision-making is needed to ensure that more sustainable packaging options are chosen for draught beer and that sustainability aspects be taken into account beyond convenience.
... The CE definition reviewed in literature lacks clarity on social justice ("everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities") and the advantages to future generations (Merli et al., 2018). However, according to Lazarevic and Valve (2017), the literature is evident on the CE concept to maintain the flow of resources in an economy while reducing the environmental pressure due to business activities. Saidani et al. (2019) further claim that literature suggests that CE exists on the three levels, "micro, meso and macro"; however, the levels lack a connection between them. ...
Article
Purpose The circular economy (CE) is an evolving subject transitioning from conceptualization to empirical testing. Over the past decade, researchers have done an exhaustive study to understand the concept of CE and its realized values both financially and environmentally on organizations that have traditional business models based on linear consumption. For understanding the transitional phenomena completely, the paper aims to review the current and emerging research trends in CE to ascertain future direction. Design/methodology/approach The research was conducted on 91 articles published in the study area during the past decade (2016–2021) in renowned peer-reviewed journals. The criteria set to review literature are based on the following assortment: CE drivers, CE barriers, definitions by different authors, yearly distribution of the publication, research publisher and journals, google citation and methodology used in the selected research articles. Findings The study suggests that researchers from the selected years are keen to understand the transition and its critical factors by bringing forward frameworks and incorporating CE with digital technologies. The digital technology implied are Industrial Technology (IR) 4.0, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Data Analytics to increase organizational and environmental performance. CE researchers need to use empirical testing in different sectors to understand and bring forward more improvised business models and practices according to the dynamics of the industry. Originality/value The literature review suggests gaps exist to integrate the micro, meso and macro levels to get CE implementation's system-wide benefits. The study has also identified that many CE frameworks available in the literature for implementation must be empirically tested to yield performance results.
... 1 the rebound effect on consumption 2 increased product obsoleteness 3 shortened product life spans 4 recycle effectiveness (Lazarevic and Valve, 2017). ...
... As the CE is a new economic model, several conditions hinder its adoption [68,69]. The transition from a universally recognised model to a new one must be supported by the main economic agents (public powers, firms), but there is still limited public or private support for the CLS [70]. ...
Article
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A circular economy (CE) transforms the linear system into a resource flow model based on reusing products and materials and increasing lifetime periods. This academic work aims to review the current CE research status from business, economic, and managerial (BEM) research perspectives. We carried out a systematic and bibliometric analysis to gather information on the current state of the art applications and learn about the leading research topics and sources. To reach these goals, we reviewed 962 research papers published in journals indexed on the Web of Science. After analysing the articles, three categories emerged worldwide: literature reviews, case studies, and frameworks and guidelines based on the current closed-loop system approach. Results evidence that BEM research in the CE is focused on the existing barriers to adopting a CE. More concretely, findings show that CEs are being slowed by the fact that citizens and companies do not know how to be circular. At the same time, the article showcases how the BEM areas and the recurring topics in CE research are increasingly being developed by collaborations between engineers and economists to design and create robust and measurable closed-loop models.
... From an institutional perspective, European cities are considered the most active players in promoting the circular economy and facilitating changes in urban lifestyles and consumption patterns, generating positive outcomes in terms of economic and employment recovery (Fratini et al. 2019). The circular economy is supposed to reduce waste by 17-24% by 2030, increasing the European Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by EUR 630 billion per year (Lazarevic and Valve 2017). Partly due to their growing dependence on European funds allocated through the Horizon 2020 programmes, circularity has become a primary objective for European cities (Vanolo 2013). ...
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In recent decades; the balance of power between institutional and economic actors has radically changed; with a significant impact on the modes and dynamics of governance. In the broad array of experimental practices of co-production; Living Labs (LLs) represent a promising mode of collaboration among public bodies; research centres; private companies and citizens. By means of LLs; public actors aim to co-produce experimental policies; breaking out of traditional policy schemes to find new solutions to collective problems. On an urban scale; such tools have come to be known as Urban Living Labs (ULLs), and they are increasingly used by local governments to tackle complex problems such us stimulating the circular economy to tackle climate change. This paper provides a systematic review of case studies to understand whether and how the ULLs can represent an effective policy tool to foster the circular economy on an urban scale.
... The vision presented in EU policy documents is one of a future without waste; although waste is produced, it is not considered an externality of socio-economic metabolism but fed back into production as an input (Kovacic, Strand, and Völker 2020). Expectations for the EU's circular economy have been categorized into four distinct areas (see Lazarevic and Valve 2017), which are also be found in Finland's circular economy roadmap (Sitra 2016). First, 'a perfect circle of slow material flows' is supported by actions such as nutrient recycling, industrial symbiosis, the valorization of mining and construction waste, which slows the flow of materials within the economy. ...
... CLSC was considered as having a foundation in closed-loop cycles principles. As a result, some authors acknowledge its paramount influence on the definition of the CE (Lazarevic and Valve, 2017). Fig. 5 shows the huge interconnections between all the asset phases approaches/concepts, the design (1a, 1b and 1c), construction (2a and 2b), In-use (3a and 3b) and the EOL (4a). ...
Article
In the context of shifting the built environment to a circular economy, this paper first provides a meta-synthesis of the literature that clarifies the strategies related to the asset lifecycle in the circular economy (CE) context. The definitions of forty-two approaches, classified into seven categories (A to G) were analysed to identify their differences and similarities using a text mining method. Based on the definitions, approaches’, their needs and requirements, and their benefits and impacts have been listed. Four variables have been identified: the asset phases (V1), the sustainable approaches (V2), the benefits and impacts (V3) and the needs and requirements (V4). As the main contribution to knowledge, two diagrams have been drawn to picture the relationships between, first, V1, V2 and V3 and secondly V1, V2 and V4. An additional contribution is semantic information captured and drawn in a Force Directed Graph (FDG) to clarify the diversity of existing approaches and their relationships. More than a hundred approaches/concepts are staged in a diagram and their links are identified. Particularly the importance of the design phase and its related approaches are developed. The FDG illustrates the complexity of the building projects involving multiple stakeholders. The paper also provides the limitations of the variety of approaches that should be overcome to achieve CE. In particular, the limitations of reuse (components cannot be reused indefinitely) and limitations of design-only approaches (like prefabrication where deconstruction is not prepared). Further research is recommended about the Product Service Systems associated with Extended Producer Responsibility that appears to be key enablers for the CE. Work is also needed to define the circularity of buildings and the associated circularity assessment tools. The outputs could be used to rationalise policies to foster those approaches to enable the construction sector to develop strategies to overcome the current obstacles to the transition to a circular economy.
... Döngüsel ekonomi düşüncesi ekonomik sürdürülebilirlik ve doğal kaynakların sınırlı olduğu tartışması, endüstriyel ekoloji/simbiyoz, performans ekonomi, mavi ekonomi, beşikten beşiğe gibi yaklaşımlarla beslenir (Murray, Skene & Haynes, 2017;Lazarevic, & Valve, 2017;Sauvé, Bernard, & Sloan, 2016;Merli, Preziosi, & Acompora, 2018). Beslendikleri yaklaşımlar bile, amacın endüstriyel yapıların sürdürülebilirliği ve gelişmesi olduğuna işaret etmektedir. ...
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Dünyanın yeni bir ekonomik paradigmaya her zamankinden daha fazla ihtiyacı var. Özellikle son iki yüzyılda, başta Batı Avrupa ve ABD olmak üzere ülkeler ekonomik olarak çok hızlı büyümüş görünüyor. Bu agresif büyüme toplumların kaldırabileceğinin ötesinde zorluklar getirdi. Sürdürülebilirlik kavramı içerisinde “döngüsel ekonomi” uygulamaları, dünyanın üstesinden gelmeye çalıştığı kontrolsüz üretim ve sorumsuz tüketim sorununa çözümler sunmaktadır. Ekonomiden çevreye, eğitimden yerel yönetim politikalarına, finanstan ticarete kadar birçok alanda döngüsel ekonomi çerçevesinde yaklaşımlar geliştirilmektedir. “Döngüsel Ekonomi ve Sürdürülebilir Hayat” kitabı, döngüsel ekonomiyi kavramsal açıdan tartışıyor ve gerekliliğini sorguluyor. Sonrasında alanda uzman yazarların kaleme aldığı bölümlerle bu kavramın uygulamalarına odaklanıyor. Bu kitabın özgün yanı, sadece döngüsel ekonominin tanımına odaklanmamasıdır. Sermaye piyasaları, değer zincirleri işgücü piyasası, kripto paralar, işletmelerin yönetimi gibi iktisadi konuların yanında eğitim ve çevre başlıklarındaki pratiklere de kitapta yer veriliyor.
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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. However, there has been little research on the different and often contested discourses, governance processes and policy mechanisms guiding the transition to a circular economy and society. This paper aims to fill these gaps by asking what circular discourses and policies are being promoted in the Netherlands and what sustainability implications and recommendations can be drawn from it. It does so through a mix of media analysis, policy analysis, semi-structured interviews, and surveys using Q-methodology. Results indicate a dominance of technocentric imaginaries, and a general lack of discussion on holistic, and transformative visions, which integrate the full social, political, and ecological implication of a circular future. To address those challenges, this research brings key policy insights and recommendations which can help both academics and practitioners better understand and implement the transition towards a sustainable circular plastics economy.
Article
Sustainability and a less resource intense way of living is increasingly becoming a necessity in the wake of increased environmental degradation and global warming. In this context, the concept of circular economy becomes relevant. The study presents how an eco-fiction can help garner more support for circular economy among citizens by making the abstract idea of circular economy more relatable and accessible. The paper is an auto-ethnographic report on the process of writing an eco-fiction. It is a novel study that presents insights into the writing process and the relationship between own lived experiences of circularity (including disappointments and realisations) on the story choices. The study additionally situates itself in published works on the circular economy and literary theory.
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 directions for a sustainable CE and identify three narratives – optimist, reformist and skeptical – that underpin the ambiguity in CE assessments. Based on 54 key CE scholars’ insights, we identify three research needs: the articulation and discussion of ontologically distinct CE narratives; bridging of technical, managerial, socio-economic, environmental and political CE perspectives; and critical assessment of opportunities and limits of CE science-policy interactions. Our findings offer practical guidance for scholars to engage reflexively with the rapid expansion of CE knowledge, identify and pursue high-impact research directions, and communicate more effectively with practitioners and policymakers.
Conference Paper
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The Circular Economy (CE) is conceived by many as paramount to decouple economic growth from environmental impacts and resource depletion. Implementing this economic paradigm in the private sector is challenging, as it requires substantial changes at the strategic level. However, while SMEs represent 99% of all businesses and 67% of employment in Europe, the available support for a CE transition has been mainly focused on large corporations. Therefore, the backbone of the European economy might be left out by the CE if tailored solutions are not implemented for SMEs. Furthermore, most strategic decision-making activities lack Futures Literacy (FL): the capability to understand the role that the future plays in influencing the present and the skills to generate the imaginary futures to catalyse change today. Through a literature review, complemented by a snowballing technique, we reviewed the available CE and FL approaches and analysed further the most prominent of these frameworks. As the available frameworks lack guidance for their implementation, we developed an integrated and systematic process to make it more practical and applicable, especially for those SMEs to which the FL concepts are novel. The combination of Futures Studies (FS) methods and a Futures mindset could contribute to a successful transition towards sustainable futures by (i) understanding the different concept and meanings of the term future(s); (ii) exploring possible future pathways for better decision-making in the present, and (iii) building resilience for unexpected events to survive and stay future-relevant in uncertain times. The developed process provides a customisable approach to SMEs, contributing to both disciplines’ literature. This paper attempts to discuss the relation between FS, CE and how SMEs can thrive with the support and input of both disciplines. We expect this research will influence the interface between top-down policy-making and bottom-up business decision-making as a valuable hands-on guideline. By that, the approach could enhance the policy developments that focus on supporting the vast number of existing and future SMEs in Europe and around the globe.
Thesis
La lutte contre le réchauffement climatique et la réduction des tensions dues à l’utilisation des ressources requièrent des changements drastiques quant à la façon dont l’humanité interagit avec l’environnement et comment elle doit concevoir et gouverner les systèmes énergétiques à l’avenir, autrement dit comment arriver à des systèmes durables. La mise en œuvre de cette transition touche notamment les territoires infranationaux où sont localisées la majeure partie de la production des déchets et de la pollution mais également plusieurs ressources dont l’exploitation peut contribuer à l’atteinte d'objectifs ambitieux de décarbonation et de durabilité. Cela place les collectivités locales comme des acteurs incontournables dans cette transition, qui sont davantage pris en compte dans la définition des politiques visant la décarbonation des systèmes énergétiques. En France, la déclinaison de la politique énergétique vers ces territoires atteint une étape importante avec la loi relative à la Transition Energétique pour la Croissance Verte de 2015 car elle invite ces derniers à contribuer à la décarbonation du pays en favorisant la mobilisation des ressources énergétiques locales, renouvelables, en leur donnant davantage de compétences pour le faire. La France envisage également de passer à une économie circulaire, laquelle vise à instaurer un système de consommation et production plus durable, en transformant les déchets en ressources qui seront réutilisées dans le système économique, minimisant ainsi la consommation de ressources et la production de pollution. Pour tous ces enjeux à relever pour construire demain, l’utilisation d’outils de modélisation prospective s’avère déterminante en ce qu’elle permet de répondre aux différentes questions qui émergent dans la poursuite de solutions énergétiques durables et neutres en carbone. Dans ce contexte, l’objectif de ce travail de thèse réside dans l’étude de systèmes énergétiques locaux, en particulier de la région française SUD PACA et des options qui s’offrent à elle pour assurer une transition énergétique et d’économie circulaire. Dans un premier temps, les enjeux énergétiques considérés par des outils de modélisation énergétique ont été discutés au cours du temps en montrant comment singulièrement ces modèles ont convergé vers l’étude de la transition énergétique tant au niveau mondial que national et, en particulier, comment ces études s’appliquent de plus en plus aux systèmes énergétiques de territoires infranationaux. Puis, nous avons mis en évidence le rôle croissant pris par les collectivités territoriales dans la définition et la mise en œuvre de politiques énergie-climat-environnement, en nous concentrant en particulier sur le cas de la France. Malgré l’intérêt croissant porté par les gouvernements, les scientifiques et les entreprises au concept d’économie circulaire comme stratégie pour faire face aux problématiques d’épuisement des ressources, un consensus fait défaut quant à ses principes, objectifs et définition. Pour y contribuer, nous proposons une définition intégrant les aspects clés qui ont été mentionnés dans différentes études concernant ce concept. Finalement, en nous appuyant sur le modèle de prospective TIMES SUD PACA que nous avons construit, nous montrons que les collectivités territoriales sont déterminantes pour atteindre les objectifs de décarbonation nationaux et internationaux, à travers la mobilisation de leurs ressources et l'adoption de politiques de décarbonation ambitieuses adaptées à leur contexte économique et démographique. Pour se faire, l’économie circulaire est un levier incontournable, mais elle doit être accompagnée d’une allocation stratégique de leurs ressources : par exemple dans le cas de la région SUD PACA, destiner l’hydrogène aux poids lourds et à la production de gaz de synthèse, ce dernier devant alors n’être alloué qu’aux secteur industriel, ou encore prioriser la récupération de chaleur dans le secteur résidentiel-tertiaire.
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In light of climate change and multiple ecological crises we are facing, sustainability driven urbanism is needed more than ever. While regenerative design has been around for over a decade, the notion of regenerative cities has seen a recent spike in interest as both governments and industry push to adopt circular economy principles. In this chapter, we examine the case of the city of Brisbane winning the bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympics, which are the world’s first games required to not just be carbon-neutral but climate-positive. After establishing some contextual background around the history of urban regeneration strategies and the more recent focus on circular economies in cities, we juxtapose the bid’s sustainability aspirations of becoming net positive with the realities of urban economic growth and the need to upgrade existing and build new sporting venues. We use punctuated equilibrium theory to ask if the city’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host the Olympics can be the urgently needed catalyst for a radical shift away from ongoing systemic issues underlying urban regeneration and towards embracing genuinely sustainable and regenerative city design.
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The need to change the way we produce, consume, and live in a resource constrained world is a reasonable argument to make. This has made the concept of Circular Economy (CE) popular in recent years because its vague definition has enabled policymakers and industry to envision an ideal solution to the natural resource problem and the continuation to economic growth simultaneously. However, realising a tangible change in practice is complicated because CE is a contested concept that has different meanings and objectives for different interest groups. Hence, its implementation requires more consensus and clarification. In this paper, I propose solutions to the common barriers to implementation of circular practices identified in the literature and practice.
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Blockchain is increasingly lauded as an enabler of the transition to a circular economy. While there is considerable conceptual research and some empirical studies on this phenomenon, scholars have yet to develop a theoretical model of blockchain's role in this transition. Grounded in the sustainability transition literature, this paper addresses this gap through the following research question: What role does blockchain play in the transition to a circular economy? Following an abductive approach, we conducted interviews with ground‐level experts implementing blockchain innovations for the circular economy across Europe and the United States. Through a thematic analysis, we derived a theoretical model of the relationships among (1) drivers and barriers of the transition to a circular economy, (2) blockchain innovation for the circular economy, (3) technical challenges of blockchain, and (4) the circular economy. While blockchain plays a moderating role, interviewees considered it only an infrastructural resource rather than a panacea.
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Resource-service systems (RSS), such as product-service systems (PSSs) and material-service systems (MSS), are services that have a resource component. Current RSS approaches, although helpful, are insufficient to understand the change that is needed within and between businesses to address structural waste and to capture its value: (1) current RSS approaches do not engage in sufficient detail with resources, waste, and circular strategies, and (2) they lack the capacity to investigate actor configurations that facilitate circularity across different lifecycle stages. To address these gaps, we explore the potential of RSS using the Resource States and the “Big Five” structural wastes frameworks, with illustrative cases drawn from the automotive sector. Through this, we develop an analytical approach that integrates the current RSS literature and connects it firmly with circular economy (CE).
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Circular economy (CE) literature discusses the need for cooperation between different stakeholders to promote a CE; there is also an assumption regarding the benefits of loop closing on a local or regional scale. However, the potentially conflicting priorities, understandings, and expectations of the stakeholders involved have not been sufficiently addressed. Regional (or local) authorities have a responsibility to promote prosperity for stakeholders in their administrative region, within the constraints of national policy; conversely companies can have financial imperatives associated with stakeholders who may be globally distributed. Evidence of these conflicting priorities, the various positions stakeholder take, and their expectations of each other can be seen in the language choices regional actors make in their public-facing policy and report documents. The aim of the paper is to consider the challenges for creating a regional-scale CE that might arise from the differing priorities and values of companies and public agencies relating to specific places. It uses discourse analysis (including critical approaches) to examine how policy and business documents represent the stakeholders of the CE, their place in it, their priorities, and, importantly, the relationship between CE actors, focusing on the case of North Humberside on the North East coast of England. The plans set out in these reports are designed for external stakeholders and allow us to gain an insight into company and policy thinking in relation to CE developments in the coming years, including how they view each other’s roles. Findings indicate a shared motivation across scales and sectors for the CE as a means towards sustainable growth within which business plays a central role. However, there is a critical double disjuncture between different visions for implementation. First, between policy scales, a regional-scale CE is prioritised by regional policymakers, who have an interest in economic advantage being tied to a specific place and call for national scale support for their actions. Second, between regional policymakers and business, companies focus on their own internal operations and potential supply chain collaborations, with little attention given to the regional scale. This can be seen in the way organisations represent the actors of a nascent CE differently. In addition, a hegemonic business-focused growth discourse excludes other visions of the CE; the public are relegated to a passive role primarily as consumers and recipients of under-specified “opportunities” of wealth creation. CE theorisations need to incorporate and address these critical perspectives in order to support the development of strategies to overcome them.
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This paper chronicles the rhetorical mechanisms that fostered a potentially radical re-thinking of water rights and property in a most unlikely place: the libertarian Western U.S., and mobilized by the least likely of actors: state officials. There is growing interest, in geography and beyond, in the question of what constitutes the ‘‘properly political” in contexts where dissent is actively forestalled by those with power. Much has been written about the ‘‘properly political” as the disruption of the established order by previously excluded actors. Comparatively less research, however, has focused on the ‘‘conditions of possibility” that might exist within ostensibly ‘‘post-political” governing arenas. This paper deepens our understanding of this by examining a participatory water planning group in Montana, which was convened by the state to develop recommendations for a new state water plan. The group was inspired by an alternative drought-management model called ‘‘shared giving.” Imbued with principles of ‘‘collectivism” and ‘‘equality,” the model was strategically (and necessarily) promoted through the discursive shell of the existing prior appropriation system. This was accomplished not by an oppositional force of marginalized actors, but state officials that are rarely, if ever, deemed ‘‘disruptive,” and through tactics that are best characterized as post-political. We interpret this case as reflecting a hybrid governing assemblage that highlights both post-political closure and transformative possibilities simultaneously, and conclude by suggesting that the post-political concept, itself, risks foreclosing on conditions whereby fruitful outcomes might become possible from within established governing frameworks otherwise written-off as post-political.
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The role of a particular aspect of collaboration, dissensus, in stimulating critical reconsideration of ‘prior appropriation’, a historically hegemonic condition related to water rights in the western United States, is examined via a collaborative planning effort in Montana. Consensual support for a water-use measuring proposal was undermined by strong libertarian resistance to governmental regulation, and an unwavering embrace of the status quo. However, based on insights from scholars engaged in the ‘post-political’ dimensions of contemporary forms of rule – dissensus – understood as the manifestation of consensus-forestalling disagreement articulated between oppositional voices – is revealed as a condition to be actively nurtured, rather than purged. This case reveals how dissensus can open discursive spaces for hegemonydisrupting modes of inquiry, alternative perspectives, and innovative possibilities, even among sanctioned participant voices operating within otherwise established, depoliticized governing arenas. The study thus deepens our understanding of the complex political dynamics of participatory water planning.
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The performance economy is a concept which goes beyond most interpretations of a “circular economy”: the focus is on the maintenance and exploitation of stock (mainly manufactured capital) rather than linear or circular flows of materials or energy. The performance economy represents a full shift to servicisation, with revenue obtained from providing services rather than selling goods. While the form of industrial economy which has dominated the industrialised countries since the industrial revolution is arguably appropriate to overcome scarcities in a developing economy, the performance model is applicable in economies close to saturation, when the quantities of new goods entering use are similar to the quantities of goods being scrapped at the end of life.
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We outline the frameworks that shape and hold apart waste debates in and about the Global North and Global South and that hinder analysis of flows between them. Typically, waste is addressed as municipal waste, resulting in a focus on domestic consumption and urban governance and an emphasis on cities and the national scale. The prevailing ways of addressing the increasingly global flows of wastes between the North and South are those of global environmental justice and are underpinned by the geographical imagination encoded in the Basel Convention. New research on the trades in used goods and recycling in lower income countries challenges these accounts. It shows that arguments about dumping on the South need revision. Wastes are secondary resources for lower income countries, harvesting them is a significant economic activity, and consequent resource recovery is a key part of the global economy. Four areas for future research are identified: (a) changing patterns of global harvesting, (b) attempts to rescale resource recovery and the challenges faced, (c) the geopolitics of resource recovery, and (d) changes in resource recovery in lower income countries.
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This article uses a formal systematic review to examine the extent to which literature discussing collaborative approaches to water governance reflects understanding and awareness of power-related considerations. It makes the case that an analytical approach grounded in theory on power can facilitate assessment of the factors affecting collaboration by identifying the multiscalar, interrelated mechanisms through which power affects collaborative processes and outcomes. Through the review process, it became apparent that fully accounting for power will better enable scholars to link together seemingly disparate conditions for collaborative success (e.g., inclusion, decision-making power, capacity). A power-based approach also incorporates broad socioeconomic factors that fundamentally shape processes but often lie outside the analytical scope of local or regional studies on collaboration. Accounting for power, in the forms and scales identified, will result in better -designed, more effective collaborative approaches to water governance.
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The worldwide economic downturn and the climate change in the beginning of 21st century have stressed the need for cost efficient and systematic operations model for the monitoring and management of surface waters. However, these processes are still all too fragmented and incapable to respond these challenges. For example in Finland, the estimation of the costs and benefits of planned management measures is insufficient. On this account, we present a new operations model to streamline these processes and to ensure the lucid decision making and the coherent implementation which facilitate the participation of public and all the involved stakeholders. The model was demonstrated in the real world management of a lake. The benefits, pitfalls and development needs were identified. After the demonstration, the operations model was put into operation and has been actively used in several other management projects throughout Finland. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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Heightened concerns about long-term sustainability have of late enlivened debates around the circular economy (CE). Defined as a series of restorative and regenerative industrial systems, parallel socio-cultural transformations have arguably received less consideration to date. In response, this paper examines the contributions human geographical scholarship can make to CE debates, focusing on ‘generative spaces’ of diverse CE practices. Concepts infrequently discussed within human geography such as product service systems and ‘prosumption’ are explored, to argue that productive potential exists in bringing these ideas into conversation with ongoing human geographical research into practices, materialities, emergent political spaces and ‘everyday activism’.
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nicky.gregson@durham.ac.uk m.a.crang@durham.ac.u sara.fuller@mq.edu.au h.holmes@sheffield.ac.uk Biographical notes: Nicky Gregson is a Professor of Human Geography at Durham University. She led the ESRC-funded Waste of the World programme and has published extensively on waste and recycling in economies. Mike Crang is a Professor of Geography at Durham University who has worked on waste, cultural values and landscape. He has published several books and is currently finishing 'Unbecoming Things' with Nicky Gregson and a work on Wastescapes in photography. Helen Holmes is a Research Assistant at the University of Sheffield, currently working on the EPSRC-funded interdisciplinary project 'Solar Energy for Future Societies'. As the project's ethnographer, Helen's role builds upon her interest in practice by exploring interdisciplinary practices among the research team. Sara Fuller is a lecturer in the Department of Environment and Geography at Macquarie University, Australia. Her research explores concepts and practices of justice and democracy in the field of environment, with empirical focus on grassroots, community and activist responses to climate change. Prior to joining Macquarie, she worked and conducted research in the UK and Hong Kong. Abstract The concept of the circular economy has gained increasing prominence in academic, practitioner and
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When scientific evidence is used in policy controversies, it is always embedded in narrative stories. The Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) is an empirical framework used to study the role of narratives in public policy. While the NPF has considered the relationship between evidence and narratives from different angles, it has not used a consistent approach in examining how evidence is embedded in narratives. This article develops a categorization of narrative uses of evidence. A narrative use of evidence is defined by the different roles that evidence plays in the plot of a narrative depending on which narrative element is addressed by a given piece of evidence. To distinguish different narrative uses of evidence, the article examines how competing coalitions use the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) study in Swiss direct-democratic campaigns on school policy. Quantitative and qualitative content analyses of newspaper articles and governmental documents show how evidence may relate to all main narrative elements and may play different roles in the plot of a narrative. The findings demonstrate significant differences in the narrative uses of PISA between coalitions related to the story types and narrative strategies that each coalition uses. Finally, the implications for future NPF research are discussed.
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In making the claim for a unique European business-government relationship this article sets out in the first part of the issue, which is about why firms located to Brussels and how they and EU institutions learned to play a specific lobbying game. In so doing the article describes how the creation of the single market and the concurrent increases in regulatory competencies of the Commission and the increasing fiscal and monetary convergence of member states reduced the ties to home capital lobbying and incentives for individual lobbying of the EU. Having identified what motivated lobbying of the EU and the creation of government affairs offices in Brussels, the first section attempts to explain how best practice and lobbying norms emerged over time-especially as interest group overloading created a more competitive political environment and pressure on EU institutions to manage interest group representation via the creation of an elite pluralist process of fora and consultations. The second part assesses how large firms have organized their political affairs functions and developed increasingly sophisticated government and EU affairs offices in Brussels.
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Abstract In order to reconfigure global socio-economic systems to be compatible with social imperatives and planetary boundaries, a transition towards sustainable development is necessary. The multi-level perspective (MLP) has been developed to study long-term transformative change. This paper complements the MLP by providing an ontological framework for studying and understanding the role of narratives as the vehicle of meaning and intermediation between individual and social collective in the context of ongoing transitions. Narratives are established as an analytical entity to unpack how disturbances at the level of the socio-technical landscape are translated into and contribute to the transformation of socio-technical regimes. To illustrate and test the approach, it is applied to the case of the Fukushima catastrophe: The narratives in relation to nuclear power in Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom are scrutinized and it is explored how these narratives have co-determined the policy responses and thus influenced ongoing transformation processes in the power sectors of the respective countries.
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The purpose of this article is to contribute to the development of new theoretical and methodological resources for analysing power dynamics in planning studies. Our overarching aim is to demystify the concept of ‘power’ and what it purports to be describing, making those practices grouped under this label more tangible and, hence, also more readily contestable. Investigating how the effects we label as power are produced, instead of using ‘power’ as an all-covering explanation of societal events, demands a conceptualization of power as the outcome of social processes rather than as a causal variable behind them. An empirical study of a referendum regarding a major urban development in a Swedish suburban municipality illustrates how strong assumptions regarding the dominance of, for example, pre-existing powerful actor-constellations or purely economic relations are not always very helpful, highlighting the need for more acute attentiveness to the micro-physics of power.
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The chapter presents an overview of research on the way in which global companies deal with their ecological impact in relation to the theory of ecological modernization. The study of global companies and the connections they provide among national economies is presented as contributing to a deeper understanding of the extent to which national economies can be said to decrease their ecological impact in a globally interlinked economy. Adopting the systemic perspective of industrial ecology, the impact of global companies is seen in terms of the role they play in global flows of material and energy. At this global level firms are embedded in production and consumption systems that cross several national boundaries. At the same time, global companies make use of local production facilities and are consequently confronted with local demands to reduce ecological impact. Thus, global and local demands shape the way in which companies deal with their ecological impact. This edition first published 2013
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The Water Framework Directive takes an ambitious approach to environmental protection, albeit characterized by flexibility in both language and environmental objectives. This flexibility is constrained by the explicit terms of the Directive, which without commanding particular results, demand that particular tools, approaches, and considerations be used in decision making. The flexibility is further constrained beyond the terms of the legislation through the Common Implementation Strategy, which provides for cooperation between the member states, the Commission and others in the detailed implementation of the Directive. The novel approaches in the Water Framework Directive inevitably raise concerns around both legal and political accountability. However, the combination of these ambitious objectives with mechanisms of new governance is no coincidence - flexibility recognises social and ecological realities, and without it the ambition of the Directive would not be possible. The constraints within and beyond the wording of the legislation keep that flexibility within certain bounds.
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Most work on industrial ecology continues to emphasize its roots in engineering and the technological sciences. This book differs in that it explores the social context of industrial ecology and presents empirical work addressing how cognitive, cultural, political and structural mechanisms condition the emergence and operation of industrial ecology. The empirical chapters are written from various social science perspectives and the editors have also invited reflective commentaries by authors with cross-disciplinary experiences. © Frank Boons and Jennifer Howard-Grenville 2009. All rights reserved.
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This paper explores the conceptual and practical linkages between climate change governance, diversity of authority and regenerative sustainability. It empirically explains such linkages in the context of adaptive flood risk management in the delta cities of Rotterdam and Hong Kong which are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It addresses three questions: 1) if what is being witnessed is a transition to more inclusive, engaging, empowering, place-sensitive modes of urban climate governance gaining authority to deliver climate policy, how should these transitions be conceptualized and analysed? 2) how do transitions towards collaborative governance and regenerative sustainability and the deployment of authority in these transitions serve manage the risk of flooding in places with different cultural and climatic settings? 3) what do different cases demonstrate in terms of the practical pathways and examples of implementation of regenerative sustainability? Conceptual and empirical understandings are needed to assess whether these new, flexible forms of governance might ultimately challenge state-centred authority in the policy responses to climate change. This paper reveals that new governance systems are diluting, not supplanting, state authority.
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This Handbook compiles the state of the art of current research on sustainable consumption from the world’s leading experts in the field. The implementation of sustainable consumption presents one of the greatest challenges and opportunities we are faced with today. On the one hand, consumption is a wanted and necessary phenomenon important for society and the economy. On the other, our means of consumption contradicts many important ecological and social long-term goals. Set against this background, the Handbook aims to offer an interdisciplinary overview of recent research on sustainable consumption, to draw attention to this subject and to encourage discussion and debate. In 27 chapters, leading authorities in the field provide their expertise in a concise and accessible manner.
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The article examines the key features and functions of the proposed Finnish Climate Change Act (fcca). It also analyses the legal implications of the Act and the qualities and factors which may limit its effectiveness. The paper argues that, despite its weak legal implications, the fcca would provide the regulatory preconditions for higher-quality climate policy-making in Finland, and it has the capacity to play an important role in national climate policy. The fcca would deliver regulatory foundations for systematic and integrated climate policy-making, also enabling wide public scrutiny. The proposed model leaves room for manifold climate-policy choices in varying societal and economical contexts. The cost of dynamic features is the relalow predictability in terms of sectorial paths on emission reductions. Another relevant challenge relates to the intended preparation of overlapping mid-term energy and climate plans with instruments of the fcca.