COMING FULL CIRCLE: Why Social and Institutional Dimensions Matter for the Circular Economy

Introductory summary and selected excerpts from a key read by  Vincent Moreau, Marlyne Sahakian, Pascal van Griethuysen, and François Vuille, appearing in the Journal of Industrial Ecology dated 28 April 2017. We can strongly recommend the full contents of  the Special Issue of that date: “Exploring the Circular Economy”.

In light of the environmental consequences of linear production and consumption processes, the circular economy (CE) is gaining momentum as a concept and practice, promoting closed material cycles by focusing on multiple strategies from material recycling to product reuse, as well as rethinking production and consumption chains toward increased resource efficiency.

Yet, by considering mainly cost-effective opportunities within the realm of economic competitiveness, it stops short of grappling with the institutional and social predispositions necessary for societal transitions to a CE.

Although the entropy law remains intransigent, institutional conditions and societal values can be challenged and transformed through political processes, in order to usher in a more equitable and circular economy.

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Circular Economy: Symposium, Master Class and Peer Review

Circular Economy: The Future of Business

Symposium  of 23 June 2017 – https://goo.gl/af5oEU
École des Ponts Business School

Closing commentary, Eric Britton.
Professor. Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy.
Institut Supérieur de Gestion, Paris
eric.britton@ecoplan.org | Twitter @ericbritton | Skype newmobility

INTRODUCTION: I was invited by the Dean and faculty of the Ecole des Ponts Business School to participate in a full day Symposium on the Circular Economy at their campus on 23 June 2017,. The objective of the event was to introduce  and invite peer comments on  a new program of  graduate seminars and faculty research exploring the boundaries and potential of this relatively new, environmentally sensitive planning and process technique, which takes as its starting point to scrutinize and reorganize productive units to eradicate waste  systematically, throughout the life cycles and uses of products and their components. I was invited to provide a brief  closing summary of what I had observed and heard over the day, with a certain number of recommendations if that should prove useful. My closing remarks are summarized below.  For background on the program click to  https://lineupr.com/ecole-des-ponts-business-school/circular-economy.

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