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Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1810; doi:10.3390/su9101810

Circular Business Models: Defining a Concept and Framing an Emerging Research Field

International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Lund University, Tegnérsplatsen 4, 22350 Lund, Sweden
Received: 22 August 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Abstract

To aid companies in transitioning towards a circular economy and adopting strategies such as reuse, repair, and remanufacturing, the concept of circular business models has been developed. Although the concept draws on contributions from various academic disciplines, and despite its increasingly frequent use, few scholars clearly define what a circular business model is. Understanding about what makes a business model circular is diverse, hampering the theoretical development and practical application of circular business models. This study aims to help frame the field of circular business model research, by clarifying the fundamentals of the concept from the perspectives of resource efficiency and business model innovation. Expanding on these findings, a review of how the concept is used in recent academic literature is provided. It shows that a coherent view is lacking on which resource efficiency strategies classify a business model as circular. This study clarifies which resource efficiency strategies can be deemed as relevant key strategies for circular business models, and suggests a new definition of the concept. With the definition grounded in analysis of the fundamentals in terms of resource efficiency and business models, the study contributes to theoretical advancement and effective implementation of circular business models. View Full-Text
Keywords: circular economy; circular business models; business model innovation; resource efficiency; product life extension; product life cycle circular economy; circular business models; business model innovation; resource efficiency; product life extension; product life cycle
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Nußholz, J.L.K. Circular Business Models: Defining a Concept and Framing an Emerging Research Field. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1810.

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