Circular Economy to Enhance Sustainability of Small and Medium sized Enterprises


The circular economy (CE) represents a major paradigm shift of moving from the concepts of linear to circular supply chains across multiple industries. Although some aspects of CE adoption within industrial supply chains have been researched extensively (particularly addressing challenges of design, implementation, and operations), the research that relates CE practices with sustainability performance to reveal the current state of CE practices within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is scant. The aim of this research was to facilitate SMEs to achieve greater sustainability through CE implementation. This research addresses three research questions—How are CE fields of action related to sustainability performance? What are the issues, challenges, and opportunities of adopting CE in SMEs? And what key strategies, resources, and competences facilitate effective implementation of CE in SMEs? This study adopts a mixed method approach (qualitative and quantitative) using survey research, focus group, and case studies; 130 randomly selected SMEs within the Midlands of the United Kingdom have been surveyed, and the responses are analysed using statistical tools along with findings from focus groups and case studies. The study reveals that all CE fields of action (take, make, distribute, use, and recover) of SMEs are correlated to economic performance, but only make and use are related to environmental and social performance. The study further derives strategies, resources, and competences for achieving sustainability across all the CE field of actions. Additionally, this research reveals the issues and challenges, strategies, resources, and competences required for implementing CE in SMEs.

Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Work & Organisational Psychology
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Aston India Foundation for Applied Research
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Dey, PK, Malesios, C, De, D, Budhwar, P, Chowdhury, S, Cheffi, W. Circular economy to enhance sustainability of small and medium‐sized enterprises. Bus Strat Env. 2020; 1– 25, which has been published in final form at  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving. Funder: H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (GrantNumber(s): 788692); European Regional Development Fund. Grant Number: OC12R16P0367; United Arab Emirates University Grant. Grant Number: UPAR G00003292
Publication ISSN: 1099-0836
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2023 12:43
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2020 11:31
Full Text Link: 10.1002/bse.2492
Related URLs: https://onlinel ... 0.1002/bse.2492 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2020-09-01
Published Online Date: 2020-03-24
Accepted Date: 2020-02-23
Authors: Dey, Prasanta
Malesios, Chrysovalantis
De, Debashree
Budhwar, Pawan
Chowdhury, Soumyadeb
Cheffi, Walid



Version: Accepted Version

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