How do stakeholders understand sustainable circular economy - consesus or contradictions?


This study investigates how CE and its linkage to sustainability are understood among key stakeholders involved in the promotion of circular economy in Finland. This study is a part of CICAT2025 Circular Economy Catalysts: From Innovation to Business Ecosystems -research project, funded by the Strategic Research Council, Academy of Finland. Totally 26 qualitative semi-structured interviews were made among professionals representing ministries, federations, research and development organizations, regional actors, cities and companies. A qualitative content analysis was used for analyzing the data.

Our findings demonstrate that there was a consensus among the studied stakeholders regarding the importance and urgency for CE. However, contradicting views existed among the stakeholders how broadly CE was understood and defined. In the narrowest sense, CE was mainly related recycling or waste management. Whereas, in the broadest definition, CE was considered a new economic model which encompass all levels at the society and requires active involvement and actions from all stakeholders. The diverse understandings regarding CE concept highlight the need for conceptual clarity in line with previous studies.

Authors: Hanna Salminen, Maili Marjamaa, Riikka Tapaninaho, Anna Heikkinen, Lara Gonzalez-Porras  &  Johanna Kujala / Tampere University

Published: IS4CE Conference (virtual) 6-7.7.2020 Exeter, Britain, conference paper.

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Johanna Kujala