Special Issue "Circular Economy, Innovation and Quality Infrastructure"

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: 31 March 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Knut Blind
Guest Editor
Technische Universität Berlin, Strasse des 17. Juni 135,10623 Berlin Germany
Interests: standardization, regulation, economics of innovation, innovation policy, sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Simone Wurster
Guest Editor
Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Interests: innovation, sustainability, circular economy, bio-based economy, acceptance and diffusion of innovation, business models, strategic standardisation
Prof. Dr. Rainer Walz
Guest Editor
Fraunhofer ISI and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
Interests: sustainability innovations, transition research, green economy, sustainability scenarios, policy instruments
Dr. Katrin Ostertag
Guest Editor
Fraunhofer-Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Karlsruhe, Germany
Interests: sustainability transitions, circular economy, barriers and drivers of innovation processes, impact assessment wrt Sustainable Development Goals
Prof. Dr. Henning Friege
Guest Editor
1. N³ Nachhaltigkeitsberatung Dr. Friege & Partner, Scholtenbusch 11 , D-46562 Voerde, Germany
2. Honorary Professor for Sustainability Sciences, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Universitätsallee 1, D-21335 Lüneburg, Germany
Interests: Resources and waste management; Life cycle management of chemicals and materials, especially hazardous compounds and scarce resources; Cross-sectorial energy supply; Indicators for Sustainable management; International chemical policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The transition to the circular economy (CE) is an emerging global phenomenon in the sustainability context. The CE is defined as an economic system in which “the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible; waste and resource use are minimized, and resources are kept within the economy when a product has reached the end of its life, to be used again and again to create further value” (European Commission). The CE is linked with a paradigm shift in modern societies from old linear production systems and consumption towards sustainable, ideally zero-waste production and consumption processes. The success of the CE will rely on innovation in traditional sectors as well as new business models. User acceptance as well as appropriate quality infrastructure including standards, certification, and regulation to provide an appropriate playing field for all stakeholders are important pillars of the new paradigm.

Based on a clearly articulated demand in the research community, we call for papers for this Special Issue on the circular economy, innovation, and quality infrastructure.

Selected literature

European Commission. Circular Economy. Available online: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/industry/sustainability/circular-economy_en

Ghisellini, P.; Cialani, C.; Ulgiati, S.2016. A review on circular economy: the expected transition to a balanced interplay on environmental and economic systems. J. Clean. Prod. 114: 11-32.

Kirchherr, J., Piscicelli, L.; Bour, R.; Kostense-Smit, E.; Muller, J.; Huibrechtse Truijens, A.; Hekkert, M. 2018. Barriers to the circular economy: evidence from the European Union (EU). Ecological Economics 150: 264-272.

Blind, K., and Kahin, B. 2017. Standards and the Global Economy. In J. Contreras (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Technical Standardization Law: Competition, Antitrust, and Patents (pp. 7-16). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Blind, K. 2012. The influence of regulations on innovation: A quantitative assessment for OECD countries. Res. Policy: 41, 391–400.

Bocken NMP, Pauw I de, Bakker C et al. 2016. Product design and business model strategies for a circular economy. Journal of Industrial and Production Engineering 33(5):

Camacho-Otero, J.; Boks, C.; Pettersen, I. 2018. Consumption in the Circular Economy: A Literature Review. Sustainability 10, 2758.

Luchs, M.G.; Kumar, M. 2017. Yes, but this Other One Looks Better/Works Better: How do Consumers Respond to Trade-offs Between Sustainability and Other Valued Attributes? J. Bus. Ethics: 140, 567–584.

Russo, I.; Confente, I.; Scarpi, D.; Hazen, B.T. 2019. From trash to treasure: The impact of consumer perception of bio-waste products in closed-loop supply chains. J. Clean. Prod.: 218, 966–974.

Tarne, P.; Traverso, M.; Finkbeiner, M. 2017. Review of Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment and Potential for Its Adoption at an Automotive Company. Sustainability: 9, 670.

Prof. Dr. Knut Blind
Dr. Simone Wurster
Prof. Dr. Rainer Walz
Dr. Katrin Ostertag
Prof. Dr. Henning Friege
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 papers will be 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 1800 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.


  • The role of standards, labels, certification, and regulation in the circular economy
  • Sustainability characteristics of circular economy products
  • User perspective, acceptance, and the role of crowds in the circular economy
  • Business models
  • Circular economy and entrepreneurship
  • Circular economy and the role of information technology, including blockchain
  • Circular economy in the automotive sector, including electromobility
  • Circular economy in the building sector
  • Circular economy and electronic products
  • Circular economy in the fields of fabrics and clothing
  • Bio-based products and the circular economy
  • Circular economy in the agricultural and food sector
  • Success factors for industrial symbioses

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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