Special Issue "Adopting Circular Economy Current Practices and Future Perspectives"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Economics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2019).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Idiano D’Adamo
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of Law and Economics, Unitelma Sapienza—University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena 295, 00161 Roma, Italy
Interests: bioeconomy, biomethane, circular economy, e-waste, economic analysis, photovoltaic, renewable energy, sustainability, waste management
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

All scientists, researchers, citizens are employed to achieve sustainable goals. The current actions contribute to writing the story of future generations and interesting perspectives can be narrated based only on a great sense of social responsibility. The literature gives great attention to the models of a Circular Economy (CE), the topic is multidisciplinary and different sectors are involved. The relevance of CE seems to be given by its benefits for sustainable development (Homrich et al., 2018). The great challenge of CE is to overcome the linear 'take, make and dispose' economic model (Govindan and Hasanagic, 2018). It aims to reduce both virgin material inputs and waste outputs by closing resource flow loops. To make CE sustainable, its environmental, economic and social values must be demonstrated (Awasthi et al., 2018). In this way, the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible.

With this Special Issue, we invite researchers and practitioners to propose their contributions in order to support the adoption of the CE paradigm in companies and organizations around the world. All theoretical, methodological and practical studies are accepted in this issue. In particular, we suggest you to explore the following aspects:

  • The current state of CE. Programs and initiatives in both developing and developed countries.
  • Future and trends of CE. A change of program for managers, consumers and politicians.
  • The analysis of CE policies. The role of subsidies, penalties, tax burden.
  • The assessment of CE. The analysis of potential social opportunities, environmental improvements and economic advantages.
  • The measurement of CE. The definition of indicators and the quantification of the circularity of a product.
  • Rethinking the concept of waste. Needs and opportunities.
  • The transition towards a low carbon society. The relationship between the CE models and the use of renewable energies.
  • The change on the production side (innovation, efficiency, efficacy of firms) and on the demand side (attitudes, behaviors and practices of consumers).

References

Homrich, A.S.; Galvão, G.; Abadia, L.G.; Carvalho, M.M. The circular economy umbrella: Trends and gaps on integrating pathways. Journal of Cleaner Production 2018, 175, 525-543.

Govindan, K.; Hasanagic, M. A systematic review on drivers, barriers, and practices towards circular economy: A supply chain perspective. International Journal of Production Research 2018, 56, 278-311.

Awasthi, A.K.; Cucchiella, F.; D'Adamo, I.; Li, J.; Rosa, P.; Terzi, S.; Wei, G.; Zeng, X. Modelling the correlations of e-waste quantity with economic increase. Science of The Total Environment 2018, 613-614, 46-53.

Dr. Idiano D'Adamo
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Business Models
  • Circular Economy
  • Decarbonisation
  • Economic Assessment
  • End of Life Strategy
  • Environmental Assessment
  • Renewable Energy
  • Social Assessment
  • Social Economics
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable Development
  • Waste Management

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Adopting a Circular Economy: Current Practices and Future Perspectives
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(12), 328; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8120328 - 09 Dec 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
All scientists, researchers, and citizens are involved in achieving sustainable goals. Their current actions contribute to writing a story for future generations, and interesting perspectives can be narrated based only on a great sense of social responsibility. The literature gives a great deal [...] Read more.
All scientists, researchers, and citizens are involved in achieving sustainable goals. Their current actions contribute to writing a story for future generations, and interesting perspectives can be narrated based only on a great sense of social responsibility. The literature gives a great deal of attention to the models of a Circular Economy (CE). This topic is multidisciplinary and different sectors are involved in its development. This Special Issue aims to underline the relevance of the CE models in the scientific field and its applications in real contexts in order to achieve sustainability goals. Full article
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Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle
Retailing, Consumers, and Territory: Trends of an Incipient Circular Model
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110300 - 28 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of this theoretical research is to analyze the state of retail distribution nowadays, reviewing the dynamics of action that contribute to the move from a linear to an incipient circular retail model. The framework is based on the Retail Wheel Spins [...] Read more.
The aim of this theoretical research is to analyze the state of retail distribution nowadays, reviewing the dynamics of action that contribute to the move from a linear to an incipient circular retail model. The framework is based on the Retail Wheel Spins Theory and the Retail Life Cycle (RLC), with an extra review of Bauman’s liquid metaphor. We consider two questions. Firstly, are offline retailers ready to disappear as online commerce and digital marketing aggressively break into the retail industry? Secondly, could commercial spaces (in the fifth stage in the evolution of retail and territory) be in the decline stage in the RLC in the near future or can a circular connection take place? Thus, a desk research methodology based on secondary documentary material and sources issued leads to an interpretive analysis that reveals ten trends (e.g., solid retail vs. liquid retail; glocal retail; food sovereignty) and a wide diversity of changes that could involve offline stores recovering territory and entering a circular phase. Our findings suggest that digitalized physical stores are flourishing and our reflections augur changes in pace and the closure of the linear business cycle to recover territory, the city, its local market, and its symbolism, as well as a liquid business steeped in omnichannel formats developing an incipient circular movement. Conclusions indicate that it is possible to perceive a timid change back to territory and retail spaces which, along with phygitalization, will coexist with the digital world. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Decomposing the Complexity of Value: Integration of Digital Transformation of Education with Circular Economy Transition
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(8), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8080243 - 20 Aug 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In this article, we highlight the pressing need for integrating the windows of opportunities that digital transformation of education opens up with circular economy education to accelerate the achievements of sustainability outcomes. Circular economy transition, as a multi-scalar process, relates to several contexts, [...] Read more.
In this article, we highlight the pressing need for integrating the windows of opportunities that digital transformation of education opens up with circular economy education to accelerate the achievements of sustainability outcomes. Circular economy transition, as a multi-scalar process, relates to several contexts, e.g., product, firm, industry-level transformations ranging from designing local socio-technical solutions to greening global value chains, with multi-level policy and business implications for finance, production, distribution, consumption that are fundamentally consequential to everyday life, work and learning. Drawing on theories of neo-capital, multi-level perspective and structuration, and as methodology, using content analysis and qualitative meta-synthesis of scientific publications in digital education for sustainability, we blended our findings into multi-level, multi-domain structuration blueprints, which capture the complexity of value emanating from the interactions among external structures, internal structures of agents, active agencies and outcomes, for circular economy open online education and massive open online course instructional designs. We conclude that learning and creating multiple values to increase social–ecological value, complementarily to economic value, necessitate activating the complexity of value embedded in digital education and circular economy transitions with customizable niches of learning preferences and journeys of individuals and groups, within broader (and evolving) technological, organizational and institutional structures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying the Equilibrium Point between Sustainability Goals and Circular Economy Practices in an Industry 4.0 Manufacturing Context Using Eco-Design
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(8), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8080241 - 14 Aug 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
For manufacturing companies, the transition to circular business models (CBMs) can be hampered both by the lack of relevant data and by operational tools. Eco-design, associated with Industry 4.0 IoT (Internet of Things) technologies, can be an effective methodological approach in developing products [...] Read more.
For manufacturing companies, the transition to circular business models (CBMs) can be hampered both by the lack of relevant data and by operational tools. Eco-design, associated with Industry 4.0 IoT (Internet of Things) technologies, can be an effective methodological approach in developing products that are consistent with the principles of the circular economy. The reason is that, in the design phase, decisions are made that can significantly influence the degree of sustainability of products during their lifecycle. Therefore, in the manufacturing environment, eco-design represents an innovative approach to include sustainability among the traditional industrial variables such as functionality, aesthetics, quality, and profit. This study aimed to test eco-design as a tool to define the equilibrium point between sustainability and circular economy in the manufacturing environment of ceramic tile production, and to demonstrate how new business opportunities can be created through evolution from a linear to a circular business model, thanks to IoT and Industry 4.0 technologies used as enabling factors. The main result of this paper was the empirical validation in a manufacturing environment of sustainability paradigms through eco-design tools and digital technologies, proposing the circular business model as an operational tool to promote the competitiveness of enterprises. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Tourism-Based Circular Economy in Salento (South Italy): A SWOT-ANP Analysis
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(7), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8070216 - 16 Jul 2019
Cited by 15
Abstract
This paper is aimed at eliciting, by means of a multi-level perspective, potential drivers and barriers of the tourism industry in order to generate valuable information for policy makers to improve policy strategies for an effective transition towards sustainability. A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities [...] Read more.
This paper is aimed at eliciting, by means of a multi-level perspective, potential drivers and barriers of the tourism industry in order to generate valuable information for policy makers to improve policy strategies for an effective transition towards sustainability. A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats–Analytic Network Process (SWOT-ANP) framework was employed to explore the potential development of a second-generation biorefinery in Salento (a touristic area located in the southeast of Italy in Apulia Region) able to integrate waste management, renewable energy and bio-products production based on resource circularity in the tourism industry. Results indicate that survey participants recognized a higher level of priority for the pressures coming from the overall external setting involving values, dominant practices, rules and technologies (landscape and regime) over the internal tourism industry dynamics (niche). Results also show that the top five ranked factors are mainly pertaining to weaknesses (excessive bureaucracy and lack of technology and infrastructure) and threats (social acceptability and lack of long-term planning by governments), which can concretely jeopardize the transition towards a greater sustainability in the investigated area. The analysis presented constitutes a valuable model for agenda setting in order to find adequate policy actions to promote the transition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Waste Management Analysis in Developing Countries through Unsupervised Classification of Mixed Data
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(6), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8060186 - 13 Jun 2019
Cited by 13
Abstract
The increase in global population and the improvement of living standards in developing countries has resulted in higher solid waste generation. Solid waste management increasingly represents a challenge, but it might also be an opportunity for the municipal authorities of these countries. To [...] Read more.
The increase in global population and the improvement of living standards in developing countries has resulted in higher solid waste generation. Solid waste management increasingly represents a challenge, but it might also be an opportunity for the municipal authorities of these countries. To this end, the awareness of a variety of factors related to waste management and an efficacious in-depth analysis of them might prove to be particularly significant. For this purpose, and since data are both qualitative and quantitative, a cluster analysis specific for mixed data has been implemented on the dataset. The analysis allows us to distinguish two well-defined groups. The first one is poorer, less developed, and urbanized, with a consequent lower life expectancy of inhabitants. Consequently, it registers lower waste generation and lower C O 2 emissions. Surprisingly, it is more engaged in recycling and in awareness campaigns related to it. Since the cluster discrimination between the two groups is well defined, the second cluster registers the opposite tendency for all the analyzed variables. In conclusion, this kind of analysis offers a potential pathway for academics to work with policy-makers in moving toward the realization of waste management policies tailored to the local context. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Development of the Health and Social Care Sector in the Regions of the Czech Republic in Comparison with other EU Countries
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(6), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8060170 - 03 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this paper, the quantitative status of employees in the Health and Social Care sector in the Czech Republic is assessed, and the future development of the sector is predicted both for the Czech Republic as a whole, and for individual regions according [...] Read more.
In this paper, the quantitative status of employees in the Health and Social Care sector in the Czech Republic is assessed, and the future development of the sector is predicted both for the Czech Republic as a whole, and for individual regions according to the NUTS3 classification. At present, labor market prognoses are created using the ROA-CERGE model, which includes the main professions in the Health and Social Care sector. This article expands the predictions by adding the regional level and using extrapolation of time series, and it identifies the regions important for the given sector and the labor force. The position of the Czech Republic with regard to selected professions in comparison with other countries of the European Union, i.e., its qualitative status, is also assessed in the paper. The following professions are assessed: general nurses and midwives (both with and without a specialization), physicians, and professional assistants. Healthcare workers do not manifest geographical mobility between regions and work primarily in the region where they live. Since the Czech Republic’s accession to the EU, staff working in key professions have been able to work under comparable conditions in any of the member states. The workforce flow depends, among other things, on its qualitative representation in the given country. To find groups of European countries with similar characteristics of quantitative coverage in selected professions in the Health and Social Care sector, cluster analysis is used to identify homogeneous clusters of countries, as of 2016. Secondary data was obtained from the Czech Statistical Office (CZSO) and the Information System (ISA+) of the National Institute of Education (NIE). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Adopting Circular Economy at the European Union Level and Its Impact on Economic Growth
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(5), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8050159 - 24 May 2019
Cited by 12
Abstract
Based on the findings of the economic studies on the implications of industrialization in the case of growing economies, this study aims to present the economic factors that are at the basis of the development of circular economy at the European Union level. [...] Read more.
Based on the findings of the economic studies on the implications of industrialization in the case of growing economies, this study aims to present the economic factors that are at the basis of the development of circular economy at the European Union level. Starting with the model of economic growth based on the recycling rate of municipal waste, human capital, productivity of the resources, and green energy use, three statistical hypotheses were validated through a panel data model with the use of EViews 10 statistical software. The analysis was conducted for 27 European Union countries during the time frame 2008–2017. The paper highlights that the circular economy model is determined by resource productivity, labor employed in environmental protection, recycling rate of municipal waste, and renewable energy use. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Profitability of Residential Photovoltaic Systems. A New Scheme of Subsidies Based on the Price of CO2 in a Developed PV Market
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(9), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7090148 - 31 Aug 2018
Cited by 33
Abstract
Photovoltaic (PV) resource drives the clean global economy of the future. Its sustainability is widely confirmed in literature, however some countries present a growth very low in the last years. A new policy proposal is examined in this work. It aims to stimulate [...] Read more.
Photovoltaic (PV) resource drives the clean global economy of the future. Its sustainability is widely confirmed in literature, however some countries present a growth very low in the last years. A new policy proposal is examined in this work. It aims to stimulate a new diffusion of PV plants in mature markets (e.g., Italy) regarding residential consumers. The subsidy is given to the amount of energy produced by PV plant for a period of 20 years (equal to its lifetime) and its value is calculated according to the scheme of European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) is used as economic method and two indexes are proposed: Net Present Value (NPV) and Discounted Payback Time (DPBT). The baseline case studies vary in function of two variables; (i) the share of self-consumption (30%, 40% and 50%) and (ii) the price of emissions avoided (10, 35 and 70 € per ton of CO2eq). Results confirms the environmental advantages of PV sources as alternative to the use of fossil fuels (685 gCO2eq/kWh) and economic opportunities are verified in several scenarios (from 48 €/kW to 1357 €/kW). In particular, the profitability of PV systems is greater with a subsidized rate of fiscal deduction of 50% in comparison to subsidies with a value of carbon dioxide lower than 18.50 €/tCO2eq. Full article
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