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Towards a Circular Economy in Sweden - Barriers for new business models and the need for policy intervention

Westblom, Caroline LU (2015) In IIIEE Master thesis IMEN41 20151
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
In order to halt current resource depletion and minimise environmental destruction, we need to reduce our dependency on virgin raw materials. There is a growing political consensus in the EU that we have to move away from our current linear economic system to one that is based on closing material loops, a circular economy. There is therefore a great need for new business models based on for example sharing, reusing and remanufacturing. A small portion of frontrunner companies are leading the way in Sweden and internationally, however the current political and societal trajectory impose numerous barriers for such businesses to scale up. New and revised policy intervention is therefore needed to pave the way for circular business models. In... (More)
In order to halt current resource depletion and minimise environmental destruction, we need to reduce our dependency on virgin raw materials. There is a growing political consensus in the EU that we have to move away from our current linear economic system to one that is based on closing material loops, a circular economy. There is therefore a great need for new business models based on for example sharing, reusing and remanufacturing. A small portion of frontrunner companies are leading the way in Sweden and internationally, however the current political and societal trajectory impose numerous barriers for such businesses to scale up. New and revised policy intervention is therefore needed to pave the way for circular business models. In Sweden, a lack of policies which promote such development is apparent, and the interrelations between barriers for certain business models and the need for policy intervention is highly unexplored. This study identifies barriers and the need for policy intervention to overcome them, based on input from representatives from companies currently practicing business models based on circular economy thinking. It further maps relevant environmental policies in Sweden, in order to understand how the current political landscape addresses elements related to circular economy and make suggestions for how to further support circular business models in Sweden via policy intervention. Findings show that barriers are first and foremost institutional and market based related to price signals and consumer behaviour. But they are also political in terms of lack of ambition and long-term thinking, technological in terms of product design, and organisational in terms of lack of funding and lack of integration of the concept into core business. Policy intervention therefore needs to be multi-dimensional. A mix of measures based on regulations, economic instruments, information spreading and demand stimulations need to be placed within an overall governance framework based on enabling infrastructure, national targets and broad, long-term agreements. (Less)
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author
Westblom, Caroline LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN41 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
transition, governance, public policy, business models, Circular economy, Sweden
publication/series
IIIEE Master thesis
report number
2015:18
ISSN
1401-9191
language
English
id
8170322
date added to LUP
2015-11-13 13:01:33
date last changed
2015-11-13 13:01:33
@misc{8170322,
  abstract     = {In order to halt current resource depletion and minimise environmental destruction, we need to reduce our dependency on virgin raw materials. There is a growing political consensus in the EU that we have to move away from our current linear economic system to one that is based on closing material loops, a circular economy. There is therefore a great need for new business models based on for example sharing, reusing and remanufacturing. A small portion of frontrunner companies are leading the way in Sweden and internationally, however the current political and societal trajectory impose numerous barriers for such businesses to scale up. New and revised policy intervention is therefore needed to pave the way for circular business models. In Sweden, a lack of policies which promote such development is apparent, and the interrelations between barriers for certain business models and the need for policy intervention is highly unexplored. This study identifies barriers and the need for policy intervention to overcome them, based on input from representatives from companies currently practicing business models based on circular economy thinking. It further maps relevant environmental policies in Sweden, in order to understand how the current political landscape addresses elements related to circular economy and make suggestions for how to further support circular business models in Sweden via policy intervention. Findings show that barriers are first and foremost institutional and market based related to price signals and consumer behaviour. But they are also political in terms of lack of ambition and long-term thinking, technological in terms of product design, and organisational in terms of lack of funding and lack of integration of the concept into core business. Policy intervention therefore needs to be multi-dimensional. A mix of measures based on regulations, economic instruments, information spreading and demand stimulations need to be placed within an overall governance framework based on enabling infrastructure, national targets and broad, long-term agreements.},
  author       = {Westblom, Caroline},
  issn         = {1401-9191},
  keyword      = {transition,governance,public policy,business models,Circular economy,Sweden},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {IIIEE Master thesis},
  title        = {Towards a Circular Economy in Sweden - Barriers for new business models and the need for policy intervention},
  year         = {2015},
}