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Business Models for Sustainable Consumption in the Circular Economy

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 March 2024) | Viewed by 6064

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Bioscience and Technology for Food, Agriculture and Environment, University of Teramo, 64100 Teramo, Italy
Interests: agri-food supply chain; food system; food policy and economics; consumers science

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Guest Editor
Department Economics and Law, University of Cassino and Lazio Meridionale, 03043 Cassino, Italy
Interests: food economics; sustainability; agri-food supply chain; food system
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Joint Research Centre, European Commission, 41092 Seville, Spain
Interests: agri-food supply chain; food system

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Resource scarcity and climate change are key challenges for the future. To address them, it is necessary to “do more and better with less” (UN, 2017) and a radical change in agrifood business models is required.

Combining the concept of circular economy with the sustainable consumption approach helps in tackling these challenges, increasing the cycle of products and materials within the economic system, thus reducing emissions and the use of virgin materials. Yet, a successful circular economic model must be able to provide value for consumers, firms, and society alike and this requires substantial business innovation. Sustainable consumption may be the fuel of this innovation, but its connection with innovative business models is still largely unexplored.

There are different options to induce sustainable consumption in the consumer market. These options include marketing and communication-based approaches, technology-based consumption, changing product design to extend use life or to stimulate sustainable consumption patterns, the recovery and reuse of materials and components. Understanding and comparing the unique advantages and disadvantages of each approach is one of the main goals of this Special Issue.

For a successful ecological transition of the agrifood system, it is fundamental to focus attention on the right circular business model to help firms achieving economic, social, and environmental sustainability at the same time.

The main purpose of this Special Issue is to contribute to the existing literature in the field of sustainable consumption and new business models in the context of the circular economy transition to go towards a more sustainable society. Contributions promoting collective understanding of drivers and impact of sustainable consumption, innovative business models for a circular economy, reshaping of value chains, food waste and upcycled ingredients, coordination and collective action for a sustainable and fair food system, sustainable standards, public policy, and all aspects and issues in the ecological transition are welcome. Articles exploring the connections between sustainable consumption and business organization are particularly well-received.

Dr. Maria Angela Perito
Dr. Carlo Russo
Dr. Federica Di Marcantonio
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainable consumption
  • innovative business models
  • circular economy
  • fair food system

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 413 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Nexus between Green Supply Chain Practices and Sustainable Waste Management in Advancing Circular Economy
by Siraj Zahran
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3566; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093566 - 24 Apr 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 575
Abstract
While examining the potential synergies between green supply chain management (GSCM) and sustainable waste management (SWM), we aim to investigate the relationship between sustainable waste management and green supply chain practices to promote a circular economy as a strategy for achieving sustainability. To [...] Read more.
While examining the potential synergies between green supply chain management (GSCM) and sustainable waste management (SWM), we aim to investigate the relationship between sustainable waste management and green supply chain practices to promote a circular economy as a strategy for achieving sustainability. To address a gap in our understanding, this study will examine how GSCM and SWM relate to one another and their effect on CE deployment’s long-term survival. The research utilized a cross-sectional design with a sample size of 50 respondents from manufacturing firms. The companies were selected using purposive sampling based on varying industry sizes and operations. The findings demonstrate considerable positive correlations among GSCM practices, SWM techniques, and CE adoption, making it evident that comprehensive sustainability methods are required. Stakeholder participation, circular business models, and better governmental frameworks to promote circularity are among the many recommendations. By providing empirical evidence for the connections between GSCM, SWM, and CE, this study contributes to the current body of knowledge. It emphasizes the value of all-encompassing sustainability strategies for reaping financial and environmental benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Models for Sustainable Consumption in the Circular Economy)
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17 pages, 716 KiB  
Article
Youth Perspectives on Collaborative Consumption: A Study on the Attitudes and Behaviors of the Romanian Generation Z
by Daniel Bulin, Georgică Gheorghe, Adrian Lucian Kanovici, Adrian Bogdan Curteanu, Oana-Diana Curteanu and Robert-Ionuţ Dobre
Sustainability 2024, 16(7), 3028; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16073028 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 742
Abstract
With the emergence of the sharing economy, a significant change in consumer behavior can be observed worldwide, which has a considerable impact on various industries. The rise of the sharing economy has changed the way people experience transport services, with ridesharing being a [...] Read more.
With the emergence of the sharing economy, a significant change in consumer behavior can be observed worldwide, which has a considerable impact on various industries. The rise of the sharing economy has changed the way people experience transport services, with ridesharing being a catalyst for change. In Romania, the debut of Uber in 2015 sparked controversy and led to legal regulations that were adapted to local specificities, highlighting the adaptability of ridesharing platforms to different legal frameworks. In the context of this development, the views and perceptions of Generation Z will be crucial in determining the direction in which this conflict between disruptive models and traditional players in the transport sector develops. The article deals with business models based on collaborative consumption, with a focus on ridesharing, and examines the attitudes, perceptions, and behavior of Romanian youths (aged 18–26) towards these models. The aim of the study is to determine the opinion of young Romanians on collaborative consumption in transport services—ridesharing (Uber case)—and their attitude towards the ethical controversies related to Uber’s business model. A quantitative research approach was chosen, and an exploratory study was conducted using a questionnaire, with the non-probabilistic sample consisting of relevant observation units aged 18–26 years. The results show that almost 90% of the young Romanians surveyed use Uber and are satisfied with the quality, convenience, and speed of the service. Despite the positive attitude, there is a paradoxical tendency among respondents to regulate ridesharing services in a similar way to traditional taxis. Ethical considerations show that respondents tend to neutralize perceptions and justify the emergence of new models as normal and beneficial for competition and consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Models for Sustainable Consumption in the Circular Economy)
16 pages, 1971 KiB  
Article
The Importance of Region of Origin in Sparkling Wines: An International Analysis of Consumers’ Perception
by Nicola Casolani, Andrea Ciccarelli, Maria Angela Perito and Emilio Chiodo
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010390 - 1 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1358
Abstract
Consumers’ perception of the region of origin represents a critical issue for building a valuable and sustainable business in the wine sector. The aim of this study is to investigate the role of the region of origin in Italian sparkling wines, comparing consumers’ [...] Read more.
Consumers’ perception of the region of origin represents a critical issue for building a valuable and sustainable business in the wine sector. The aim of this study is to investigate the role of the region of origin in Italian sparkling wines, comparing consumers’ perception of emerging wines with a designation of origin in regions not traditionally associated with sparkling wine production (Abruzzo and Romagna), with an affirmed brand (Prosecco) and with generic Italian sparkling wine. The three most important markets for Italian sparkling wines (Italy, the USA, and the UK) are considered. The importance of the region of origin is analyzed within a set of wine attributes, including color and sugar content, applying the conjoint analysis technique to simulate realistic market conditions, offering multiple options for wine attributes. There is no cumulative effect of the perception of wines with a Protected Designation of Origin in the three markets since consumers who positively perceive a specific designation do not extend this positive perception to others in comparison with generic sparkling wine. Positive and negative utilities associated with each designation of origin are calculated and used to discriminate consumers according to socio-demographic variables, consumers’ behavior, and attitudes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Models for Sustainable Consumption in the Circular Economy)
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21 pages, 1233 KiB  
Article
Types of E-Consumers and Their Implications for Sustainable Consumption—A Study of the Behavior of Polish E-Consumers in the Second Decade of the 21st Century
by Bożena Gajdzik, Magdalena Jaciow and Robert Wolny
Sustainability 2023, 15(16), 12647; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151612647 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1499
Abstract
This article is based on the findings of a longitudinal study examining the behavior of Polish e-consumers. A series of methodically planned and executed surveys was conducted to elucidate the evolution of online consumer behavior over the past decade. The objective of this [...] Read more.
This article is based on the findings of a longitudinal study examining the behavior of Polish e-consumers. A series of methodically planned and executed surveys was conducted to elucidate the evolution of online consumer behavior over the past decade. The objective of this article is to diagnose changes in the behavior of selected types of e-consumers from Generations X and Y over the last decade, and link them to the concept of sustainable consumption. The 2020 study employed a sample possessing attributes similar to the 2010 research study, maintaining the sample distribution in terms of gender, education, and age. Characterizations of the identified consumer types were derived from prevalent psychographic traits, attitudes towards oneself and others, behavioral patterns, and determinants of buying behavior. Four distinct types of Polish e-consumers were identified: HQ_type (those seeking the Highest Quality products), MS_type (those intending to Save Money during shopping), LT_type (those dedicating the Least amount of Time to shopping), and DP_type (those Deriving Pleasure from the shopping experience). The identified Polish e-consumer types were subjected to a comparative analysis spanning a decade. The findings reveal significant alterations in the behavior of e-consumers representing various types, with a trend favoring sustainable consumption. Generally, Polish e-consumers are shown to demonstrate conscious and sustainable consumption behaviors, such as effective financial management, especially evident in the MS_type group. They typically purchase products within their means, avoiding expensive credits to fulfill their “needs.” Half of the HQ_type, MS_type, and LT_type e-consumers recognize the importance of budgeting and spending tracking for informed consumption, whereas the DP_type, who enjoy shopping, tend to overlook active financial management, perceiving it as a burdensome task. Over the years, a positive shift in the HQ_type’s attitude towards spending management has been observed. A significant aspect of conscious and sustainable consumption involves planned purchases. More than half of the HQ_type, MS_type, and LT_type e-consumers adhere to ready-made shopping lists, while the more impulsive DP_type frequently opts to shop in-store without any preceding planning. This research carries both theoretical and practical implications. The repeatability of the studies renders them a fundamental source of knowledge about the studied populations over time, and serves as an exclusive means of learning about changes in market phenomena and processes in a scientific manner. The findings of this article may prove valuable for e-commerce managers in devising strategies for effective sales promotion and customer communication for different types of e-consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Models for Sustainable Consumption in the Circular Economy)
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20 pages, 539 KiB  
Article
Why Can Entrepreneurial Involvement Encourage the Entrepreneurship of People Experiencing Poverty?—A Study Using China’s Empirical Data
by Sheng Ouyang, Yan Guo, Xuejun Lin and Yu Tian
Sustainability 2023, 15(14), 11111; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151411111 - 17 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1065
Abstract
Entrepreneurship, as one of the key means of alleviating extreme poverty, is difficult to achieve among people experiencing poverty partly because their initiative is bound by long-term dependence and their entrepreneurial awareness is not strong. According to the existing literature, entrepreneurial involvement can [...] Read more.
Entrepreneurship, as one of the key means of alleviating extreme poverty, is difficult to achieve among people experiencing poverty partly because their initiative is bound by long-term dependence and their entrepreneurial awareness is not strong. According to the existing literature, entrepreneurial involvement can promote the entrepreneurial willingness of people experiencing poverty and produce entrepreneurial behaviour. However, the reasons and paths of entrepreneurial involvement affecting the poor’s entrepreneurial behaviour are unclear. This paper developed a model based on the theory of involvement to examine the impact of entrepreneurial involvement on the entrepreneurial behaviour of individuals experiencing poverty. A questionnaire survey was conducted with 289 entrepreneurs in poverty from the Wuling Mountain area, and data analysis was performed using a hierarchical regression model. The results indicate that entrepreneurial involvement has a significant direct positive effect on the entrepreneurial behaviour of people with low incomes through the partial mediation of local capabilities. Meanwhile, it has an indirect positive effect, and entrepreneurial role models positively moderate the relationship between entrepreneurial involvement and entrepreneurial behaviour of people with low incomes. The findings provide strong evidence supporting the significant role of entrepreneurial involvement in shaping the entrepreneurial behaviour of entrepreneurs facing poverty in less developed regions. Furthermore, the results highlight the importance of effectively leveraging local capabilities and resources through entrepreneurial involvement. Consequently, this study is of great importance in understanding how government and industries can facilitate entrepreneurial opportunities to their fullest extent by promoting entrepreneurial involvement, thus optimizing local capabilities and serving as influential entrepreneurial role models at the individual level. Furthermore, from a practical standpoint, this research offers tangible solutions and valuable insights regarding the role of entrepreneurial involvement in poverty reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Models for Sustainable Consumption in the Circular Economy)
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