Is Circular Economy a New Driver to Sustainability?

  • Lorena Gamboa AbadiaEmail author
  • Marly Monteiro de Carvalho
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics book series (SPBE)


As an emerging topic, circular economy is said by several authors to be a new driver to sustainability, while others claim its just a new concept within the sustainability spectrum. This study aims to analyse the relation between the constructs of circular economy and sustainability, supported by a literature review.


Circular economy Sustainability Environmental sciences 



This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior-Brasil (CAPES)-Finance Code 001.


  1. 1.
    Bilitewski, B.: The Circular Economy and its risks. Waste Manag. 32(1), 1–2 (2012). (Elsevier Ltd.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bocken, N.M.P., et al.: Product design and business model strategies for a circular economy. J. Ind. Prod. Eng. 33(5), 308–320 (2016). Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bocken, N.M.P., Rana, P., Short, S.W.W.: Value mapping for sustainable business thinking. J. Ind. Prod. Eng. 32(1), 67–81 (2015). Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bocken, N.M.P., Ritala, P., Huotari, P.: The circular economy: exploring the introduction of the concept among S&P 500 firms. J. Ind. Ecol. 21(3), 487–490 (2017). Scholar
  5. 5.
    Brown, B.J., et al.: FORUM global sustainability: toward definition. Environ. Manage. 11(6), 713–719 (1987). Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cambridge University Press.: Cambridge Dictionary (2018). Available at:
  7. 7.
    Chen, J.Z.: Material flow and circular economy. Syst. Res. Behavior. Sci. 26(2), 269–278 (2009). Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chertow, M.R.: Industrial Symbiosis: Literature and Taxonomy. Annu. Rev. Energy Env. 25(1), 313–337 (2000). Scholar
  9. 9.
    Colbert, B.A., Kurucz, E.C.: Three conceptions of triple bottom line business sustainability and the role for HRM. Hum. Resour. Plann. (2007)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Confederação Nacional da Indústria: Economia circular: oportunidades e desafios para a indústria brasileira. Brasília/DF, Brasil (2018)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Dixon, J.A., Fallon, L.A.: The concept of sustainability: origins, extensions, and usefulness for policy. Soc. Nat. Resour. 2(1), 73–84 (1989). Scholar
  12. 12.
    Elkington, J.: Cannibals with forks—the triple bottom line of 21st century business. Environ. Qual. Manage. 8(April), 424 (1998). Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ellen MacArthur Foundation.: Towards a Circular Economy: Business Rationale for an Accelerated Transition (2015) (2012-04-03)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ellen MacArthur Foundation.: Intelligent Assets: Unlocking the Circular Economy Potential. Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2016). Available at:
  15. 15.
    Frenken, K.: Political economies and environmental futures for the sharing economy. Philos. Trans. Royal Soc. A Math. Phys. Eng. Sci. 375(2095), 1–36 (2017). Scholar
  16. 16.
    Geissdoerfer, M., et al.: The circular economy—a new sustainability paradigm? J. Clean. Prod. 143(January), 757–768 (2017). Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ghisellini, P., Cialani, C., Ulgiati, S.: A review on circular economy: the expected transition to a balanced interplay of environmental and economic systems. J. Cleaner Prod. 114, 11–32 (2016). (Elsevier Ltd.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Graedel, T.E., Allenby, B.R.: Industrial Ecology. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (1995)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Homrich, A.S., et al.: The circular economy umbrella: trends and gaps on integrating pathways. J. Clean. Prod. 175, 525–543 (2018). Scholar
  20. 20.
    Isil, O., Hernke, M.T.: The triple bottom line: a critical review from a transdisciplinary perspective. Bus. Strategy Environ. 26(8), 1235–1251 (2017). Scholar
  21. 21.
    McDonough, W., Braungart, M.: Cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things. North Point Press, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Milne, M.J., Kearins, K., Walton, S.: Creating adventures in wonderland: the journey metaphor and environmental sustainability. Organization 13(6), 801–839 (2006). Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mirabella, N., Castellani, V., Sala, S.: Current options for the valorization of food manufacturing waste: a review. J. Cleaner Prod. 65, 28–41 (2014). (Elsevier Ltd.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mulrow, J.: Worldwatch Institute, Can the Circular Economy Really Make the World More Sustainable? (2017). Available at: Accessed 22 Sept 2018
  25. 25.
    Murray, A., Skene, K., Haynes, K.: The circular economy: an interdisciplinary exploration of the concept and application in a global context. J. Bus. Ethics 140(3), 369–380 (2017). Scholar
  26. 26.
    Oram, P.A.: Moving toward sustainability building the agroecological framework. Environ. Sci. Policy Sustain. Dev. 30(9), 14–36 (1988).
  27. 27.
    Rogers, D.S., Tibben-Lembke, R.S.: Going Backwards: Reverse Logistics Trends and Practices. Reverse Logistics Executive Council (1998)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sauvé, S., Bernard, S., Sloan, P.: Environmental sciences, sustainable development and circular economy: alternative concepts for trans-disciplinary research. Environ. Dev. 17, 48–56 (2016). Scholar
  29. 29.
    Smol, M., et al.: The possible use of sewage sludge ash (SSA) in the construction industry as a way towards a circular economy. J. Clean. Prod. 95, 45–54 (2015). Scholar
  30. 30.
    Su, B., et al.: A review of the circular economy in China: moving from rhetoric to implementation. J. Clean. Prod. 42, 215–227 (2013). Scholar
  31. 31.
    Tukker, A.: Eight types of product-service system: eight ways to sustainability? Experiences from suspronet. Bus. Strategy Environ. 13(4), 246–260 (2004). Scholar
  32. 32.
    Tukker, A.: Product services for a resource-efficient and circular economy—a review. J. Clean. Prod. 97, 76–91 (2015). Scholar
  33. 33.
    World Commission on Environment and Development.: Brundtland Report: Our Common Future (1987). Available at:
  34. 34.
    York Jr, E.T.: Improving sustainability with agricultural research. Environ. Sci. Policy Sustain. Dev. 30(9), 18–40Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Yuan, Z., Bi, J., Moriguichi, Y.: The circular economy: a new development strategy in China. J. Ind. Ecol. 10(1–2), 4–8 (2006). Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorena Gamboa Abadia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marly Monteiro de Carvalho
    • 1
  1. 1.Production Engineering Department, Polytechnic SchoolUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

Personalised recommendations