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      From Sustainable Global Value Chains to Circular Economy—Different Silos, Different Perspectives, but Many Opportunities to Build Bridges


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          A growing interest in the circular economy concept has pushed the discourse in various management-related disciplines beyond established boundaries, with calls to better address how such a model may be developed in a world of global value chains. Still, the conventional linear economy model continues to dominate business, society, and research. While the concept of better connecting physical output and input flows at multiple production or consumption levels is becoming more accepted, it remains unclear how to make this happen while ensuring that sustainability targets are met or exceeded. Multiple scientific communities contribute different perspectives to this discourse, with promising opportunities for research. Circular economy and sustainability from business and economics perspectives are multifaceted. The existing body of knowledge needs to be advanced to assist private individuals, business managers, investors, or policymakers in making informed decisions. In this article for the inaugural issue, we provide a snapshot of the discourses among those who have studied the circular economy and its related topics. We outline conceptual inroads and potential research questions to encourage further circular economy and sustainability research and discourse from business or economics perspectives as well as from the broader transdisciplinary angle. We propose three research pathways: (1) connecting output with input needs in a global circular economy; (2) beyond today’s business logic for a global circular economy; and (3) inclusion of the Global South in North-dominated circular economies. For each, we propose concepts, theories, or methodological approaches and offer various perspectives from the micro, macro, and meso levels.

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          Most cited references85

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          Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet

          The planetary boundaries framework defines a safe operating space for humanity based on the intrinsic biophysical processes that regulate the stability of the Earth system. Here, we revise and update the planetary boundary framework, with a focus on the underpinning biophysical science, based on targeted input from expert research communities and on more general scientific advances over the past 5 years. Several of the boundaries now have a two-tier approach, reflecting the importance of cross-scale interactions and the regional-level heterogeneity of the processes that underpin the boundaries. Two core boundaries—climate change and biosphere integrity—have been identified, each of which has the potential on its own to drive the Earth system into a new state should they be substantially and persistently transgressed.
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              Conceptualizing the circular economy: An analysis of 114 definitions


                Author and article information

                Circular Economy and Sustainability
                Springer International Publishing (Cham )
                2 March 2021
                : 1-27
                [1 ]GRID grid.464611.0, ISNI 0000 0004 0623 3438, KEDGE Business School, ; 680, cours de la Libération, 33405 Talence, France
                [2 ]GRID grid.5608.b, ISNI 0000 0004 1757 3470, University of Padova, ; Padova, Italy
                [3 ]GRID grid.268323.e, ISNI 0000 0001 1957 0327, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, ; Worcester, MA USA
                [4 ]GRID grid.10825.3e, ISNI 0000 0001 0728 0170, University of Southern Denmark, ; Odense, Denmark
                [5 ]GRID grid.39381.30, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8884, Western University, ; London, ON Canada
                [6 ]GRID grid.11899.38, ISNI 0000 0004 1937 0722, University of Sao Paulo, ; Sao Paulo, Brazil
                [7 ]GRID grid.7645.0, ISNI 0000 0001 2155 0333, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, ; Kaiserslautern, Germany
                [8 ]GRID grid.5012.6, ISNI 0000 0001 0481 6099, Maastricht University, ; Maastricht, The Netherlands
                [9 ]GRID grid.62813.3e, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 7806, Illinois Institute of Technology, ; Chicago, IL USA
                [10 ]GRID grid.59062.38, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 7689, University of Vermont, ; Burlington, VT USA
                [11 ]GRID grid.6734.6, ISNI 0000 0001 2292 8254, Technische Universität Berlin, ; Berlin, Germany
                [12 ]GRID grid.5117.2, ISNI 0000 0001 0742 471X, Aalborg University, ; Aalborg, Denmark
                [13 ]Keele University and University of Manchester, Staffordshire, UK
                [14 ]GRID grid.426490.d, ISNI 0000 0001 2321 8086, Chatham House, ; London, UK
                [15 ]GRID grid.9654.e, ISNI 0000 0004 0372 3343, University of Auckland, ; Auckland, New Zealand
                [16 ]GRID grid.252119.c, ISNI 0000 0004 0513 1456, American University of Cairo, ; Cairo, Egypt
                [17 ]GRID grid.410356.5, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8331, Queen’s University, ; Kingston, ON Canada
                [18 ]GRID grid.4701.2, ISNI 0000 0001 0728 6636, University of Portsmouth, ; Portsmouth, UK
                Author notes

                Joerg S. Hofstetter, Joseph Sarkis, Nancy Bocken, Paul Dewick and Diego Vazquez-Brust are Member of the Scientific Editorial Board of Circular Economy and Sustainability

                © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG part of Springer Nature 2021

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

                Full Paper

                circular economy,circular society,sustainability,global value chains,multi-disciplinary,research agenda,micro,macro,meso


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