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Circular economy business models: Towards achieving sustainable development goals in the waste management sector—Empirical evidence and theoretical implications

Pina Puntillo

Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 2023, vol. 30, issue 2, 941-954

Abstract: This paper investigates how and whether circular economy (CE) business models affect the implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the waste management sector. A case study is used to determine the relationship between CE business models and SDGs. It shows that CE business models, potentially, can contribute directly to achieving a significant number of SDGs. The strongest relationships are between the CE business model and the targets of SDG4 (Quality education); SDG 5 (Gender equality); SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG 8 (Decent working and economic growth); SDG 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) SDG 12 (Responsible consumption and production). After a narrative literature review on the intersection between CE and SDGs, the paper performed a case study on Contarina SpA, a firm that developed a business model to recycle wastes into recyclable materials under a CE approach. The case findings could stimulate further research into how this and similar types of business models will help societies to change from the ‘use‐it‐once‐and‐throw‐it away’ mentality of linear business models to the integrated, holistic, CE model that seeks to emulate nature's cyclical systems, and achieve the implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Date: 2023
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