Supply Chain Configurations in the Circular Economy: A Systematic Literature Review


As the circular economy (CE) gains traction in literature and practice, several academic communities are opening up spaces that move away from the CE as a pure engineering concept. This systematic literature review (n = 77) analyses and discusses the fragmented body of knowledge on the meso-level of supply chains (SCs): (a) to find common ground that underpins the current implementation of the CE on this level; and (b) to identify drivers, inhibitors, and enablers from which CE SC configurations emerge. The review finds that there remain differences in CE definitions that result from claimed antecedents and scopes, resulting in distinct research streams. On the meso-level, eco-industrial parks, environmental SCs, and closed-loop SCs each face significant challenges. The latter potentially offers the largest environmental benefits but engenders radical changes for business models and exposes SCs to more risk. We firstly argue for moving away from using a prescriptive set of practices as definitions for the CE towards a set of overarching goals to allow for the inclusion of future practices and techniques. Secondly, we highlight that research going beyond the meso-level to consider the wider social and institutional environment is needed to solve current challenges.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2024 07:19
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2018 13:14
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Related URLs: https://www.mdp ... 1-1050/9/9/1602 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2017-09-07
Accepted Date: 2017-09-02
Authors: Masi, Donato (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-4553-3244)
Day, Steven
Godsell, Janet



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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