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Implementing and Monitoring Circular Business Models: An Analysis of Italian SMEs

Department of Economics and Management, University of Brescia, 25121 Brescia, BS, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David K. Ding
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010270
Received: 18 November 2021 / Revised: 21 December 2021 / Accepted: 23 December 2021 / Published: 27 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Models for SME’s Sustainability)
The transition from a linear to a circular economy (CE) is at the center of the debate among institutions, enterprises, practitioners, and scholars. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with their high presence in the business environment, play a pivotal role in the successful implementation of CE principles. Therefore, this paper aims to understand the state of the CE among Italian SMEs, considering both their different sizes and sectors. This study investigates CE knowledge and application, strategic relevance, benefits from and barriers to the transition towards circular business models, and the use of CE-related performance indicators in management control and external reporting. Through an online survey carried out in cooperation with the Italian Confederation of Craft Trades and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CNA), we collected primary data from 623 respondents. Findings revealed the existence of cultural, technological, market and financial barriers, which have hampered the adoption of circular practices among Italian SMEs. Poor understanding of CE potential, combined with difficulty in raising public and private funds to finance the transition from linear to circular, are the greatest problems. To overcome such issues, we recommend serious intervention by public institutions, trade and consumer associations, and the higher education system to develop a climate more favorable to the CE. View Full-Text
Keywords: circular economy; sustainability; SMEs; survey; awareness; benefits; barriers; circular economy-related KPIs; reporting on circular economy circular economy; sustainability; SMEs; survey; awareness; benefits; barriers; circular economy-related KPIs; reporting on circular economy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Salvioni, D.M.; Bosetti, L.; Fornasari, T. Implementing and Monitoring Circular Business Models: An Analysis of Italian SMEs. Sustainability 2022, 14, 270. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010270

AMA Style

Salvioni DM, Bosetti L, Fornasari T. Implementing and Monitoring Circular Business Models: An Analysis of Italian SMEs. Sustainability. 2022; 14(1):270. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010270

Chicago/Turabian Style

Salvioni, Daniela M., Luisa Bosetti, and Tommaso Fornasari. 2022. "Implementing and Monitoring Circular Business Models: An Analysis of Italian SMEs" Sustainability 14, no. 1: 270. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010270

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