Special Issue "Environmental Management and Ecolabels for a Climate-Neutral 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: 30 September 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Roberto Merli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Business Studies, Roma Tre University, 00145 Roma, Italy
Interests: environmental management systems; ecolabels; sustainability; corporate social responsibility; circular economy; sustainable tourism; business ethics
Dr. Alessia Acampora
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Business Studies, Roma Tre University, Via Silvio D’Amico, 77-00145 Rome, Italy
Interests: sustainability; circular economy; carbon neutrality; decarbonization; agri-food system; agriculture; sustainable tourism; ems; eco-label

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last few years, climate change and resource consumption have become a main global issue and are among the most challenging communication issues for marketers in the private and public sector. In recent times, the intensification of extreme climatic phenomena, the fires in the Amazon forest, the problem of plastic and resources consumption, and the youth movement of Greta Thunberg have raised unprecedented media attention on the phenomenon of climate change. This has led many citizens, especially young people, to urge governments to find effective and rapid solutions to global warming.

To respond to these increasing concerns, the European Union, in November of 2018, released its strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy by 2050 with the communication “A Clean Planet for all - A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy” (28/11/2018 - COM (2018) 773) (European Commission, 2018). With this communication, the European Union presented its vision for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a socially fair transition in a cost-efficient manner. The European vision for a climate neutral Europe is, however, strongly based also on the achievement of a circular economy as a key enabler to this sustainable transition (Directorate-General for Climate Action -European Commission, 2019).

Additionally, following the current news, one cannot help but notice that citizens are clamoring for substantial changes in the way our economy produces and consumes goods and services. Several scholars have found that consumers are increasingly concerned about their impacts on the environment and on the climate. One way for companies to demonstrate to consumers their commitment to go green and at the same time manage their environmental impacts is adopting voluntary environmental instruments. Indeed, more and more companies are implementing environmental certification programs to reduce their environmental impacts and earn recognition from customers. Environmental certifications help companies to assure customers about their genuine interest in environmental issues and their commitment to the sustainable management of companies’ activities.

These voluntary initiatives can be categorized in two different types: product-oriented and process-oriented. Product-oriented ones refer to eco-labels, which aim to promote products which are less harmful for the environment and to environmental product life cycle assessment. Process-oriented instruments, instead, guide firms in internalizing and orientating their processes toward a reduced environmental impact (Merli et al., 2018). Ecolabels, together with environmental management systems (EMS), have been proven to be the most effective in reducing companies’ negative impact on the environment and to communicate companies’ efforts toward sustainability (Marrucci et al., 2021).

In this sense, the academic literature is struggling to keep up in photographing and analyzing changes in companies’ behavior about these tools and their role in the transition towards a more climate-neutral circular economy. Moreover, the impact of environmental management and labels on consumers awareness and specific purchasing decisions is mixed, and evidence on consumer behavior is often inconclusive.

Through this Special Issue, we aim at collecting studies, both qualitative and quantitative, as well as best practices and experience descriptions which focus on the use of environmental management and ecolabels to achieve a climate-neutral circular economy, considering all its aspects.

Dr. Roberto Merli
Dr. Alessia Acampora
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 1900 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.


  • environmental management
  • environmental management systems (EMS)
  • ecolabels
  • ecolabelling
  • circular economy
  • climate neutrality
  • carbon neutrality
  • life cycle assessement (LCA)
  • EMAS
  • ISO14001
  • product environmental footprint (PEF)
  • carbon footprint (CF)
  • green public procurement (GPP)
  • sustainability indicators
  • environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG)
  • cleaner production
  • sustainable businesses
  • eco-innovation

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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