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Figge, F. & Thorpe, A. (2023). Circular economy, operational eco-efficiency, and sufficiency: An integrated view. Ecological Economics, 204(Part B), Article ID 107692.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Circular economy, operational eco-efficiency, and sufficiency: An integrated view
2023 (English)In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 204, no Part B, article id 107692Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Researchers have proposed different approaches to reduce the use of natural resources to a sustainable level. Operational eco-efficiency, circular economy, and sufficiency are three prominent examples that follow their own specific logics. So far, these approaches have been almost exclusively discussed in isolation, with the assumption that they are independent of each other. This paper brings all three approaches together in one coherent model. Our model shows that individually each approach can reduce the use of natural resources to a sustainable level. Yet, our model also reveals how various effects arise as a direct result of combining approaches, i.e. one approach affects another when executed in tandem. Our model identifies operational eco-efficiency and circular economy as ‘no regret’ approaches, while sufficiency constitutes a ‘regret’ approach. By way of example, we show that increasing operational eco-efficiency increases the costs or ‘regret’ of sufficiency approaches, reducing their effectiveness. Sufficiency approaches and increasing operational eco-efficiency risk interfering with the careful balance that is required for optimal circularity. We find that these interactions must be carefully considered if the three approaches are to be effective in reducing resource consumption to a sustainable level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2023
Keywords
Sufficiency, Eco-efficiency, Circular Economy, Ecological Limits
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-201109 (URN)10.1016/j.ecolecon.2022.107692 (DOI)000895776700008 ()2-s2.0-85142681891 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-11-21 Created: 2022-11-21 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved
Figge, F., Thorpe, A. & Gutberlet, M. (2023). Definitions of the circular economy: Circularity matters. Ecological Economics, 208, Article ID 107823.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Definitions of the circular economy: Circularity matters
2023 (English)In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 208, article id 107823Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With more than 4,000 research articles in 2022 the Circular Economy is clearly a topic that meets academic interest. With resource use at an all-time, unsustainable peak it is also a topic that raises great expectations: We need the circular economy. The great hopes that we all have are further fueled by the definitions of the circular economy that we find in the literature. Put colloquially, many of these definitions depict the circular economy as a “jack of all trades”. Some definitions include waste management while others are even synonymous with sustainable development. Attempts to summarize existing definitions into one result in definitions that blur the lines between the circular economy and other concepts even further. To empower the circular use of resources we need to understand what the circular economy really is and how it relates to related concepts. The role of definitions is to draw rather than blur lines. This is where many definitions fail. In our short article “Definitions of the Circular Economy: Circularity Matters”, we develop some conditions that good definitions must meet. By way of example, we apply these conditions to a popular definition that we found in the literature and we identify some of the shortcomings of existing definitions. We develop four conditions that we believe good definitions of the circular economy must meet. Good definitions of the circular economy must (1) refer to closing resource loops, (2) mention optimizing rather than minimizing resource flows, (3) consider at least two levels, and (4) distinguish between the circular economy as a perfect ideal type and a realistic imperfect circular economy that delivers sustainability in combination with other approaches. In this short paper, we propose a definition that meets all four conditions. We see the definition we propose neither as the start nor as the end of the discussion on how to define the circular economy. We see it as a mid-way point and as an invitation to researchers to join a discussion that we believe is necessary to leverage the potential that the circular economy can have for the sustainable development of all.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2023
Keywords
Circular Economy
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
sustainability
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-205913 (URN)10.1016/j.ecolecon.2023.107823 (DOI)
Available from: 2023-03-23 Created: 2023-03-23 Last updated: 2023-04-24Bibliographically approved
Martinez, F., Figge, F., Castellano, S., Chakraborty, A. & Silva‐Gao, L. (2023). How did corporate responses to the Covid‐19 pandemic correspond with CSR?. Business Ethics, the Environment & Responsibility, 32(S3), 161-165
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How did corporate responses to the Covid‐19 pandemic correspond with CSR?
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2023 (English)In: Business Ethics, the Environment & Responsibility, ISSN 2694-6416, Vol. 32, no S3, p. 161-165Article in journal, Editorial material (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

This editorial of the special issue addresses the question of whether/how responses to the Covid-19 pandemic cor- responded with authentic CSR. The literature on CSR has tended to endorse a business-centric perspective and its inherent focus on the search for alignments between CSR activities and the economic/financial interests of the firm. The Covid-19 pandemic has put this perspective to the test, pushing many companies to engage in distinctively more genuine and authentic CSR and/or demonstrating the importance of prior CSR engagement in facilitating crisis management. The papers included in the special issue appear to converge on the idea that firms combin- ing evidence of both pre-crisis engagement in CSR and strong CSR performance during the crisis (demonstrated through the deployment of various CSR assets and re- sources, including certified reporting, social marketing, individual engagement, resilience, legitimacy, trust) have coped better. This provides interested researchers with an opportunity to appreciate the value of CSR during a crisis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2023
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
sustainability
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-215663 (URN)10.1111/beer.12536 (DOI)001075479100001 ()2-s2.0-85172191095 (Scopus ID)
Note

Special issue: Corporate Social Responsibility throughout the COVID‐19 Crisis

Available from: 2023-10-24 Created: 2023-10-24 Last updated: 2023-10-24Bibliographically approved
Figge, F., Dimitrov, S., Schlosser, R. & Chenavaz, R. (2022). Does the circular economy fuel the throwaway society? The role of opportunity costs for products that lose value over time. Journal of Cleaner Production, 368, Article ID 133207.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Does the circular economy fuel the throwaway society? The role of opportunity costs for products that lose value over time
2022 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 368, article id 133207Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The efficient use of natural resources is considered a necessary condition for their sustainable use. Extending the lifetime of products and using resources circularly are two popular strategies to increase the efficiency of resource use. Both strategies are usually assumed to contribute to the eco-efficiency of resource use independently. We argue that a move to a circular economy creates opportunity costs for consumers holding on to their products, due to the resource embedded in the product. Assuming rational consumers, we develop a model that determines optimal replacement times for products subject to minimizing average costs over time. We find that in a perfectly circular economy, consumers are incentivized to discard their products more quickly than in a perfectly linear economy. A direct consequence of our finding is that extending product use is in direct conflict with closing resource loops in the circular economy. We identify the salvage value of discarded products and technical progress as two factors that determine the impact that closing resource loops has on the duration of product use. The article highlights the risk that closing resource loops and moving to a more circular economy incentivizes more unsustainable behavior.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2022
Keywords
Circular economy, Opportunity cost, Eco-efficiency, Obsolescence, Economic obsolescence
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
sustainability
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-198284 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.133207 (DOI)000835547700002 ()2-s2.0-85134882128 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-07-27 Created: 2022-07-27 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved
Figge, F., Thorpe, A. S., Manzhynski, S. & Gutberlet, M. (2022). The us in reUSe: Theorizing the how and why of the circular economy. Business Strategy and the Environment, 31(6), 2741-2753
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The us in reUSe: Theorizing the how and why of the circular economy
2022 (English)In: Business Strategy and the Environment, ISSN 0964-4733, E-ISSN 1099-0836, Vol. 31, no 6, p. 2741-2753Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite considerable interest into circular economy, it remains undertheorized and underdeveloped. In response, this article advances circular economy by drawing on two theories to explain how firms can increase the circularity of resource use and why they are incentivized to do so. We refer to Modern Portfolio Theory to link the resource use of individual companies to the resource use of a group of firms. In doing so, we show how—and under which conditions—resource use decreases when circulated at the group level. We then refer to principles from evolutionary biology to explain why it is beneficial to structure resource flows at the group level, even when the resource-reducing effect might not materialize for individual firms. In combining both perspectives we challenge entrenched ways of “doing” circular economy: We offer an integrated theoretical approach that helps inform managers' decision-making on circular resource use in practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2022
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
sustainability
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-191954 (URN)10.1002/bse.3003 (DOI)000747552400001 ()2-s2.0-85123735720 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-01-28 Created: 2022-01-28 Last updated: 2022-12-14Bibliographically approved
Figge, F., Thorpe, A. S. & Manzhynski, S. (2022). Value creation and the circular economy: a tale of three externalities. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 26(5), 1690-1700
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Value creation and the circular economy: a tale of three externalities
2022 (English)In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, E-ISSN 1530-9290, Vol. 26, no 5, p. 1690-1700Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

By using resources more efficiently, resource users help to overcome the inherent resource scarcity on “spaceship earth.” One strategy in this context is to close resource loops and to use resources circularly. With fewer resources wasted, a more circular use of resources should also increase the efficiency of resource use and create more value. However, when resource users aim for a greater degree of efficiency, inadvertently they might contribute to resources being used less rather than more circularly and, consequently, less instead of more efficiently. We show how to assess the value that is created by the efficient use of resources for the case of linear and circular resource use. This allows us to identify three distinct types of positive externalities related to the circular use of resources: (1) systemic static externalities; (2) idiosyncratic dynamic externalities; and (3) systemic dynamic externalities. We describe how the value created by these externalities can be assessed and argue that they need to be considered when evaluating environmental resource use.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Keywords
circular circular economy, eco-efficiency, externality, industrial ecology, resource use indicator, value creation
National Category
Economics Probability Theory and Statistics
Research subject
sustainability; sustainable development
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-198475 (URN)10.1111/jiec.13300 (DOI)000834760600001 ()2-s2.0-85135276039 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-08-05 Created: 2022-08-05 Last updated: 2022-12-19Bibliographically approved
Figge, F., Thorpe, A. S. & Manzhynski, S. (2021). Between you and I: A portfolio theory of the circular economy. Ecological Economics, 190, Article ID 107190.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Between you and I: A portfolio theory of the circular economy
2021 (English)In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 190, article id 107190Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

By using resources more circularly, individual resources users hope to contribute to a more eco-efficient and sustainable resource use. Whether resources are used sustainably is decided at the macro-level, raising the question if, as well as how, the efficient and circular use of resources at the micro-level adds up to their efficient and circular use on the macro-level. Currently, the link between the circular use of resources at micro- and macro-levels is under-theorized. The symbiotic relationship between individual resource users enables a reduction in the resource use at the macro-level. In this conceptual paper, we argue that an analogous link exists in finance where desirable investment return is linked to undesirable investment risk, and that via the generation of efficient portfolios, individual risks are at least partially diversified away. As our main contribution, we theorize the circular economy, both in its perfect and imperfect forms, using modern portfolio theory. Our theory identifies the drivers of circular resource use and shows under which conditions individual resource use contributes to the circular use of resources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2021
Keywords
Circular economy, Eco-efficiency, Portfolio theory
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
sustainability
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-186864 (URN)10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107190 (DOI)000696730300024 ()2-s2.0-85112810765 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-08-24 Created: 2021-08-24 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved
Figge, F. & Hahn, T. (2021). Business- and environment-related drivers of firms' return on natural resources: A configurational approach. Long range planning, 54(4), Article ID 102066.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Business- and environment-related drivers of firms' return on natural resources: A configurational approach
2021 (English)In: Long range planning, ISSN 0024-6301, E-ISSN 1873-1872, Vol. 54, no 4, article id 102066Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The sustainability challenges society faces call for firms to manage their use of natural resources wisely. Prior work on firm responses to sustainability challenges has largely focused on explaining and enhancing economic rather than environmental performance. We build on recent developments to extend resource dependence theory to include natural resources and seek to explain how business- and environment-related firm activities influence the use of natural resources. Using a configurational approach, we develop a conceptual model that explains the return on natural resources of firms based on four distinct sets of business- and environment-related comparative advantages. An illustrative application to the car-manufacturing sector demonstrates the practical applicability of our model and provides first insights into configurations we are likely to observe in practice. Our model and its application show that economic success is neither necessary nor sufficient to enhance a firm's return on natural resources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2021
Keywords
Strategy and Management, Finance, Geography, Planning and Development
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-189684 (URN)10.1016/j.lrp.2020.102066 (DOI)000680019500006 ()2-s2.0-85097212608 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-11-18 Created: 2021-11-18 Last updated: 2021-11-18Bibliographically approved
Figge, F., Stevenson Thorpe, A. & Good, J. (2021). Us before me: A group level approach to the circular economy. Ecological Economics, 179, Article ID 106838.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Us before me: A group level approach to the circular economy
2021 (English)In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 179, article id 106838Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A more efficient use of natural resources is considered a necessary condition for their sustainable use. When firms use resources circularly they aim to contribute to using resources more eco-efficiently, and thus in a more sustainable way than when adopting more linear systems. Eco-efficiency in linear systems can be determined by aggregating each individual instance of resource use. However, in circular systems this approach is problematic, as it cannot capture the dynamics of resource use that unfurl between firms that contribute to eco-efficiency. In other words, we argue that in circular systems, eco-efficiency overall is more than the sum of the eco-efficiencies of individual firms. Moreover, we counterintuitively suggest that within circular economy systems, selecting only highly eco-efficient firms can actually reduce rather than increase the degree of eco-efficiency overall. Using a lens of multi-level selection theory, we build our argument through a series of numerical examples, and in conclusion show how the assessment and management of resources must be moved from the individual to the group level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2021
Keywords
Economics and Econometrics, General Environmental Science, Circular Economy, Eco-Efficiency, Evolution, Cooperation
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-189731 (URN)10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106838 (DOI)000582804400019 ()2-s2.0-85090957524 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-11-19 Created: 2021-11-19 Last updated: 2021-11-23Bibliographically approved
Chenavaz, R. Y., Dimitrov, S. & Figge, F. (2021). When does eco-efficiency rebound or backfire? An analytical model. European Journal of Operational Research, 290(2), 687-700
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When does eco-efficiency rebound or backfire? An analytical model
2021 (English)In: European Journal of Operational Research, ISSN 0377-2217, E-ISSN 1872-6860, Vol. 290, no 2, p. 687-700Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is known that an eco-efficiency strategy, which saves resources in the production process, may be offset by a rebound effect; it may even backfire. Less known are the exact conditions under which eco-efficiency rebounds or backfires. This article fills the gap by providing an analytical model of the rebound and backfire effects. We propose an optimal control framework of dynamic pricing and eco-efficiency investment, for which eco-efficiency reduces the unit production cost and boosts the demand of environmentally concerned consumers. Results, which hold with a general demand formulation, examine the analytic conditions for the rebound and backfire effects. They also highlight the possibility of a reverse rebound effect. Such results pave the way to sounder sustainability strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2021
Keywords
Information Systems and Management, Management Science and Operations Research, Modelling and Simulation, General Computer Science, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Pricing, Rebound effect, Eco-efficiency, Sustainability, Optimal control
National Category
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-189730 (URN)10.1016/j.ejor.2020.08.039 (DOI)000602863200019 ()2-s2.0-85091199027 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-11-19 Created: 2021-11-19 Last updated: 2021-11-23Bibliographically approved
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