WP 2 – Understanding corporate engagement with the CE

Led by Graz with Utrecht and UTT,

Partners: IT company, waste management company, regional government body and overseas CE network

Companies are central to many ideas around the circular economy, as users of resources to produce goods for consumption and subsequently disposal.   Alongside the challenges of developing more sustainable product concepts, companies have also identified new business opportunities that emerge from interest in resource efficiency.   The objective of WP2 is to understand the engagement of companies with a CE in order to draw conclusions for CE policies intensifying corporate engagement for a CE and in order to develop a framework, which supports companies to develop and implement CE strategies.

Aim: to analyse the extent, nature and motivation of corporate CE practices, in order to provide recommendations for future policy and business models via the following objectives 1) to understand the current engagement of companies with CE activities 2) to develop a framework, which supports companies to develop and implement CE strategies especially IT-enabled product data and 3) to examine how eco-design can promote the incorporations of local resources into products.

WP2 includes three ESR posts, with individual projects as follows:

ESR 2.1 Business strategies and practises for a circular economy

First supervisor Baumgartner, Graz; co-supervisor Vermeulen, Utrecht

Based in Graz with secondments in Austria and the NL

This project identifies business strategies and practices in business to business (b2b) and business to consumer (b2c) industry segments in order to reveal patterns of strategic behaviour, and drivers and barriers for CE.  A focus in the analysis will be to explore how companies deal in practice with the management challenges of a CE and to consider the extent to which companies are able to devise a CE strategy, and whether this can confer a competitive advantage.  Both primary and secondary data as well as case studies will be used for the analysis.

  1. Identify business strategies and practices in business-to-business (b2b) and business-to-consumer (b2c) segments in order to reveal patterns of strategic behaviour, and drivers and barriers for CE
  2. Provide an holistic picture of strategies, business models and management instruments, including business to non-profit relationships shall be taken into account;Explore how companies deal in practice with the mentioned management challenges of a CE

ESR 2.2 Sustainable product lifecycle management in a circular economy

First supervisor Baumgartner, Graz; co-supervisor Reyes, UTT

Based in Graz with secondments in Germany and France

This project addresses product lifecycle management to enable CE and contributing to sustainability.   Sustainable product management combines the physical and the economic lifecycle, i.e. supply chain management with the responsibility for the use phase, the end-of-life phase and the product design phase. In order combine product lifecycles in this way, sustainability data must be collected that allows those working in sustainable product management to carry out activities such as product design, assessment, labelling and reporting, as well as reuse and recycling optimization.  This project will use a case study with a technology company to develop a data management concept for sustainable product management, including consideration of selection criteria between different CE practices.

  1. Understand the implications of CE for sustainable product management for high-quality supply chains /product lifecycles (i.e. automotive, electronics);
  2. Develop a data management concept for sustainable product management;
  3. Identify criteria for decision making regarding optimal CE (“R”) strategies based on key performance indicators of sustainable product management.

ESR 2.3 Integration of local resources into sustainable product design to support CE

First supervisor Reyes, UTT; co-supervisor Baumgartner, Graz

Based in Troyes with secondments in Graz and Taiwan

An approach is needed to aid companies to work with their local resource base in product design, whilst balancing potentially divergent pressures from an (up to) global supply chain.  This project will examine company approaches to integrating local resources in their product design process to develop a typology of integration scenarios.  This will be used to devise a generalised methodology with a design and decision support tool for a sustainable design strategy which would create value that is shared among all stakeholders along the product lifecycle.

  1. Help companies to integrate local resources into their sustainable design strategy in such way that they can create value that is shared among all stakeholders along the product life cycle;
  2. Develop typologies of potential integration scenarios of local resources in the PDP and in the life cycle of the product;
  3. Generalize and formalize the scenarios as a methodology of integration of local resources in the product design process;
  4. Develop a design and decision support tool for the use of local resources.