Circular Economy is a means to ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns. However, it is still at an embryonic stage of implementation in manufacturing companies. Given its potential, the household appliance industry is a promising arena for the adoption of Circular Economy. Thus, this study aims to investigate and systematize how Circular Economy has been adopted in the household appliance industry, through a multiple case study research. Twenty cases are analyzed following a Research Framework, to map: (i) the Circular Economy 4R strategies of reduce, reuse, remanufacture and recycle; (ii) the Circular Economy levers, i.e., whether circular product design practices, servitized business models or supply chain management actions are undertaken; (iii) the role of digital 4.0 technologies as enablers; (iv) the benefits achieved. The analysis showed that servitized business models and supply chain management actions are widely used levers, while little attention is devoted to circular product design practices. Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Cloud emerged as powerful enablers of servitized business models. Two main patterns of Circular Economy adoption in the household appliance industry emerged from cases: incremental and radical adoption patterns. Incremental adoption patterns are based on design strategies focused on reduce and recycle, mainly led by manufacturers. Radical adoption patterns are instead focused on disruptive practices based on reuse, remanufacture, servitization and sharing, where digital 4.0 technologies serve as enablers. Overall, this exploratory research lays the foundation for a stronger and more systemic understanding of the adoption of Circular Economy in the household appliance industry.
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