The themes of climate change, over-consumption of resources and social inequality are some of the most important current issues that the society has to promptly tackle. In this context, the circular economy paradigm is attracting a great interest of the policy-makers, organizations and scholars as it is expected to contribute to reduce the environmental impact of human activities by prolonging the value of resources as well as better revalorising them. The application of Circular Economy model also entails circularity in the relations between the actors of the society, e.g. between organizations and its stakeholders for pursuing a more inclusive society. In this scenario, organizations play a critical role in addressing the environmental and social challenges as actors able to trigger deep and necessary changes through their strategic choices. In fact, at worldwide level there are numerous Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as innovative start-ups that are showing a high level of awareness about these challenges and are adopting new business models more aligned with the current sustainable vision of doing business in which the care of people, the environment and society assumes a key role. Moreover, circular start-up companies seem currently much suitable of adopting disruptive circular strategies and move away from the linear model of production and consumption of resources, while large incumbents tend to focus on consolidated circular strategies that do not imply a much stronger shift in the core business models. Despite it, the evaluation of circular strategies and circular business model innovation adopted by start-up companies received a lower attention in the international scientific literature compared to large incumbents. In order to tackle such issue, this paper investigates the business models of circular start-ups with the main goal of understanding how they contribute to achieve a more inclusive, humancentred and environmentally friendly society through a multiple case studies approach. The six case studies analysed show how circular start-ups focus on innovating waste management and treatment activities creating new forms of innovative entrepreneurships able to generate positive social impacts other than environmental and economic ones. Finally, results show that circular start-ups could play a critical role in the transition to circular business models in particular by facilitating the close of the loop as required by the circular economy paradigm, as well as by pushing large incumbents to develop circular business model innovations.

Exploring the role of circular start-ups in promoting a more sustainable and human entrepreneurship

P. Ghisellini
;
R. Passaro;I. Quinto;S. Ulgiati
2022-01-01

Abstract

The themes of climate change, over-consumption of resources and social inequality are some of the most important current issues that the society has to promptly tackle. In this context, the circular economy paradigm is attracting a great interest of the policy-makers, organizations and scholars as it is expected to contribute to reduce the environmental impact of human activities by prolonging the value of resources as well as better revalorising them. The application of Circular Economy model also entails circularity in the relations between the actors of the society, e.g. between organizations and its stakeholders for pursuing a more inclusive society. In this scenario, organizations play a critical role in addressing the environmental and social challenges as actors able to trigger deep and necessary changes through their strategic choices. In fact, at worldwide level there are numerous Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as innovative start-ups that are showing a high level of awareness about these challenges and are adopting new business models more aligned with the current sustainable vision of doing business in which the care of people, the environment and society assumes a key role. Moreover, circular start-up companies seem currently much suitable of adopting disruptive circular strategies and move away from the linear model of production and consumption of resources, while large incumbents tend to focus on consolidated circular strategies that do not imply a much stronger shift in the core business models. Despite it, the evaluation of circular strategies and circular business model innovation adopted by start-up companies received a lower attention in the international scientific literature compared to large incumbents. In order to tackle such issue, this paper investigates the business models of circular start-ups with the main goal of understanding how they contribute to achieve a more inclusive, humancentred and environmentally friendly society through a multiple case studies approach. The six case studies analysed show how circular start-ups focus on innovating waste management and treatment activities creating new forms of innovative entrepreneurships able to generate positive social impacts other than environmental and economic ones. Finally, results show that circular start-ups could play a critical role in the transition to circular business models in particular by facilitating the close of the loop as required by the circular economy paradigm, as well as by pushing large incumbents to develop circular business model innovations.
978-88-31205-06-1
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11367/111778
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