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Open AccessArticle

Governing Transactions and Interdependences between Linked Value Chains in a Circular Economy: The Case of Wastewater Reuse in Braunschweig (Germany)

1
Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy, Department of Technology Assessment and Substance Cycles, Max-Eyth-Allee 100, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
2
Faculty of Life Sciences, Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Division of Horticultural Economics, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany
3
Faculty of Life Sciences, Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Resource Economics Group, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1125; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041125
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 28 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 9 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Abstract

Reusing wastewater in agriculture has attracted increasing attention as a strategy to support the transition towards the circular economy in the water and agriculture sector. As a consequence, there is great interest in solutions for governing the transactions and interdependences between the associated value chains. This paper explores the institutions and governance structures for coordinating transactions and interdependences between actors in linked value chains of wastewater treatment and crop production. It aims to analyze how transactions and interdependences shape the governance structures for reusing wastewater at the local level. A transaction costs analysis based on data from semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire is applied to the agricultural wastewater reuse scheme of the Wastewater Association Braunschweig (Germany). The results show that different governance structures are needed to match with the different properties and requirements of the transactions and activities between linked value chains of wastewater treatment and crop production. Interdependences resulting from transactions between wastewater providers and farmers increase the need for hybrid and hierarchical elements in the governance structures for wastewater reuse. The authors conclude that aligning governance structures with transactions and interdependences is key to efficiently governing transactions and interdependences between linked value chains in a circular economy. View Full-Text
Keywords: agriculture; wastewater reuse; irrigation; value chains; linkage; interdependence; institutions; governance structures; transaction costs; circular economy agriculture; wastewater reuse; irrigation; value chains; linkage; interdependence; institutions; governance structures; transaction costs; circular economy
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Maaß, O.; Grundmann, P. Governing Transactions and Interdependences between Linked Value Chains in a Circular Economy: The Case of Wastewater Reuse in Braunschweig (Germany). Sustainability 2018, 10, 1125.

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