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Circular Economy in China: Translating Principles into Practice

Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, University Ca’ Foscari of Venice, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
EHS Academy, Lingnan College, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
School of Environment, State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 832;
Received: 10 December 2019 / Revised: 17 January 2020 / Accepted: 18 January 2020 / Published: 22 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Firm Management)
The concept of circular economy (CE) has recently gained momentum in the political, scientific, and economic debate, especially in China and Europe. As a result, organizations and scholars have started to establish different sets of principles for its adoption. For this reason, it is important to identify and assess the differences and similarities among existing sets of CE principles, and how organizations and individuals understand and translate them into practice. In this paper, we firstly present a brief review and analysis of the coherence among six existing sets of principles. Our analysis finds that, despite the mixed degree of coherence, all sets describe the necessity to implement CE principles at all levels of a company. We then present the results of an in-depth qualitative survey that investigates how 19 key informants representing small, medium, and multinational companies based in China understand and carry out the CE principles laid out by the BSI standard BS 8001:2017; how these principles can transform the culture and processes of these companies; and what are the opportunities and threats that such transformation can bring. Results describe a good awareness and knowledge of the CE principles and an optimistic outlook concerning their adoption. At the same time, numerous barriers and threats that the implementation of these principles might entail are presented. Overall, respondents confirm the complexity of implementing the principles of the CE in an integrated and consistent way in the management and strategies of Chinese companies and highlight the challenges that might arise during their implementation. View Full-Text
Keywords: circular economy; principles; Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs); China; circular innovation; drivers and barriers circular economy; principles; Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs); China; circular innovation; drivers and barriers
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pesce, M.; Tamai, I.; Guo, D.; Critto, A.; Brombal, D.; Wang, X.; Cheng, H.; Marcomini, A. Circular Economy in China: Translating Principles into Practice. Sustainability 2020, 12, 832.

AMA Style

Pesce M, Tamai I, Guo D, Critto A, Brombal D, Wang X, Cheng H, Marcomini A. Circular Economy in China: Translating Principles into Practice. Sustainability. 2020; 12(3):832.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pesce, Marco, Ilaria Tamai, Deyan Guo, Andrea Critto, Daniele Brombal, Xiaohui Wang, Hongguang Cheng, and Antonio Marcomini. 2020. "Circular Economy in China: Translating Principles into Practice" Sustainability 12, no. 3: 832.

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