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Circularity in business: a framework for assessing the circularity potential of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and its relation to product lifetime extension

Agathou, Natalia; Constandinou, Andri

This study explored the potential outcomes of circular business activities, of small medium enterprises that are operating in London, United Kingdom and examined how they relate to product lifetime extension. The data sample consisted of 89 start-up companies, trading for 1–4 years and either at seed or growth stage. The analysis was based on the ‘Theory of Change’ framework and a logic model was created to illustrate the causal links between circular business activities, circular outputs and outcomes. The results of the study demonstrated that several outcomes can be attributed to circular business activities beyond product lifetime extension, including (i) material, (ii) space and (iii) packaging lifetime extension but also reduction and elimination of lifetimes. In addition, results suggested that predominantly those outcomes are linked to circular business strategies that tend to focus on resource recovery and resource efficiency, while there are fewer examples demonstrating business innovation through circular design, circular revenue models and clean resources strategies. The results also suggested that the main outputs of circular business activities are (a) prevention, (b) reusability and (c) recyclability.
Published in: PLATE – Product lifetimes and the environment : 3rd PLATE Conference, September 18–20, 2019 Berlin, Germany, Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin
Published by ISBN 978-3-7983-3125-9