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Overcoming the Main Barriers of Circular Economy Implementation through a New Visualization Tool for Circular Business Models

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Bologna, 47121 Forlì, Italy
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Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6614; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236614
Received: 12 October 2019 / Revised: 7 November 2019 / Accepted: 14 November 2019 / Published: 22 November 2019
There is a huge gap between the broad concept of circular economy (CE) and its practical implementation in the industrial sector due to several types of barriers, which shall be led back to the lack of consistent and precise information about resources, products, and processes. Without a proper information flow, it is impossible to quantify circular initiatives, both in comparison with the actual linear situation or with circular alternative opportunities. A proper quantification of circular initiatives allows the assessment of economic, environmental and social benefits and the preventative identification of potential barriers and relative solutions, monitoring the risk associated with circular investments and supporting the decision-making process. This paper describes a new tool to ensure the quantification of circular initiatives and the method to define it. It is a new Circular Business Model (CBM) visualization tool, which overcomes the main limitations of the existing models able to explain CE concepts but not to boost its practical implementation in industry. The new CBM visualization tool can be adopted in every industrial sector to highlight circular opportunities that are still hidden or unexploited or to select the best CE strategy. The proposed CBM visualization tool differs from the previous diagrams in two main characteristics: (i) the possibility to quantify resource flows and important indicators representing energy consumption, environmental and social impact, and (ii) the focus, which is not only on the product, but on the whole system, involving also the process, the company and the entire supply chain. The methodology to adopt and adapt the proposed model to different scales is described in detail. To provide a practical example, the model was qualitatively applied to a generic technical product to highlight its potential in the identification and quantification of circular activities. View Full-Text
Keywords: circular business model; visualization tool; sustainable initiatives; socio-economic impact; intelligent technologies circular business model; visualization tool; sustainable initiatives; socio-economic impact; intelligent technologies
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bianchini, A.; Rossi, J.; Pellegrini, M. Overcoming the Main Barriers of Circular Economy Implementation through a New Visualization Tool for Circular Business Models. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6614. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236614

AMA Style

Bianchini A, Rossi J, Pellegrini M. Overcoming the Main Barriers of Circular Economy Implementation through a New Visualization Tool for Circular Business Models. Sustainability. 2019; 11(23):6614. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236614

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bianchini, Augusto; Rossi, Jessica; Pellegrini, Marco. 2019. "Overcoming the Main Barriers of Circular Economy Implementation through a New Visualization Tool for Circular Business Models" Sustainability 11, no. 23: 6614. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236614

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