Teaching About Sustainable Production and Consumption

  • Helen Kopnina
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 16)


Sustainable consumption is interlinked with sustainable production. This chapter will introduce the closed loop production, the circular economy, the steady state economy, and Cradle to Cradle (C2C) models of production. It will reflect on the key blockages to a meaningful sustainable production and how these could be overcome, particularly in the context of business education. The case study of the course for bachelor’s students within International Business Management Studies (IBMS) program at three Universities of Applied Science (vocational schools), and at Leiden University College in The Netherlands will be discussed. Student teams from these schools were given an assignment to make a business plan for a selected sponsor company in order to advise them how to make a transition from a linear to circular economy model. These case studies will illustrate the opportunities as well as potential pitfalls of the closed loop production models. The results of case studies’ analysis show that there was a mismatch between expectations of the sponsor companies and those of students on the one hand and a mismatch between theory and practice on the other hand. The former mismatch is explained by the fact that the sponsor companies have experienced a number of practical constraints when confronted with the need for the radical overhaul of established practices within the entire supply chain and students have rarely considered financial viability of the “ideal scenarios” of linear–circular transitions. The latter mismatch applies to what students had learnt about macro–economic theory and the application through micro–economic scenarios in small companies.


Circular economy Cradle to cradle Education Sustainable business Sustainable consumption 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty Social and Behavioural SciencesInstitute Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.The Hague University of Applied ScienceThe HagueThe Netherlands

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