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Circular Economy Center: Creating a General Concept for Circular Economy Constitutions


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Presentation by Jarmo Uusikartano
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Circular Economy Center: Creating a General Concept for Circular Economy Constitutions

  1. 1. Circular Economy Center A concept for sustainable innovative constitutions Paper presented at the ISPIM Innovation Conference 2019 Doctoral student Jarmo Uusikartano The unit of Industrial Engineering and Management Tampere University, Finland
  2. 2. Motivation of the study • Our societies are facing a sustainability challenge. This calls for new ways to pursue the sustainable development, namely circular economy (CE) constitutions. • Thus far, there happens not to be uniform and established theory for the CE constitutions (Fischer & Pascucci 2017). Therefore, a jumble of overlapping terms for the constitutions is emerging. • Harmonizing the terms would provide a structured and argued way to approach the CE constitutions phenomenon and the underlying possibilities they are having. • This study aims to cover the research gap of scattered CE constitution terminology by discovering how different innovative CE constitutions can be conceptualized. 1.6.2019 | 3
  3. 3. Theoretical positioning and key concepts • Within business, environmental, engineering and management studies terms such as • eco-industrial park • green industrial park • eco-cluster • industrial recycling networks • and eco-center (Patala et al. 2014; Wang et al. 2017; Herczeg et al. 2018) are used tangled. • However, they all seem to share very similar implicit theoretical set-up. • The essence of a CE constitution occurs in the form of a network and an actor coordinating it. 1.6.2019 | 4
  4. 4. Purpose & research question • To discover and capture the common essence of different constitutions emerging within the scattered CE field at the moment. How can the shared essence of different innovative CE constitutions be conceptualized? • The aim is to create a general conceptualization for the constitutions by elaborating the different viewpoints offered in the scientific literature. • As a response, circular economy center is offered as a general concept for CE constitutions. 31.5.2019 | 5
  5. 5. Research strategy & design • A literature review was conducted. • Search terms: “circular economy AND hub / park / industrial symbiosis / eco-industrial parks / supply chain / industrial ecology / center / cleaner production / lead organization / anchor tenant” • Themes for the selection: organization, coordination, ecosystems, multi- player network, central actor, nod, hub, co-operation models, interaction, industrial symbiosis, eco-industrial park, industrial ecology, lead organization, anchor tenant • The publication research resulted in 29 articles. • Qualitative content analysis was chosen as a method for analyzing the themes found in the review. 31.5.2019 | 6
  6. 6. Results: the definition for CE center The most common themes occurring in the review were used as building blocks for the final CE center definition. 31.5.2019 | 7 environment sustainability business multiple actors Circular Economy Center collocated actors network industrial symbiosis platform societal perspectives collaboration intentionality operator
  7. 7. Results: the definition for CE center Circular economy center is a multiple actor system consisting of a physical core of collocated actors and a broader network whose business is at least partly based on the 3R’s principles (reduce, reuse, recycle) of CE. The center is a platform for collaboration-based sustainable actions that most often emerge as industrial symbiosis interactions such as by-product exchanges. The center is founded either organically bottom-up by companies or intentionally top-down by single entity such as public authority. The existence of the center is justified by the environment-related business advantage it offers (e.g. green image, side streams) to its members and which the members cannot achieve if working only independently. For this purpose, the center has usually an operator whose mission is to enhance the CE actions and possibilities for the center members. The operator concentrates on providing, preserving and fostering qualifications for industrial symbiosis with different means. The center itself does not do business, although for outsiders it represents one entity formed by independent units collaborating with each other. Moreover, the center has a strategy based on sustainability ideology, upon which its coordination and business enhancing actions are based on. The center affects substantially the actors belonging to its orbit e.g. by non-traditional value chains. In addition, the actions of the center may have societal impacts like creating new jobs or the maintenance of municipal utilities together with the local city as well. The size of the center and the role of the operator may vary significantly in different contexts (e.g. between China and Europe), but the system structures remain still the same. 31.5.2019 | 8
  8. 8. Conclusion & implications Theoretical contribution • The study structures the field of CE constitutions and suggests new concept to aggregate the dispersed research streams. Practical implications • Innovation and technology developers: relevant center dimensions for CE-based business, critical factors for success • Policy makers: an overview to the inner mechanisms of CE constitutions • Citizens: a way to structure the fractured CE field through a simple, practical term • Researchers: different perspectives combined and therefore a structured way to start constructing CE constitution research field Future research • Through further case studies the explanatory power of the concept could be tested and possible clusters or typology examined. 1.6.2019 | 9
  9. 9. Thank you! Questions? Comments? Tampere University – Human Potential Unlimited