The importance of Circular economy in supply chains and the role of start ups

February 01, 2023

Our recently published a paper titled "Designing circular supply chains in start-up companies: evidence from Italian fashion and construction start-ups" explores the concept of circular supply chains (CSCs) and their significance in various industries. We aim to address the lack of evidence regarding coordination and integration mechanisms, as well as the characteristics and emerging system properties of CSCs. By conducting a multiple case study analysis of five sustainable start-ups in the fashion and construction sectors in Italy, we delve into how these companies design and coordinate their CSCs, and the value these design choices create.
The findings of the study indicate that CSCs designed around open and closed-loop logic are motivated by the need to address negative sustainability impacts. Depending on the specific sustainability impact, the value is restored within the same supply chain, another supply chain, or within or outside the industry. The study also highlights the crucial role of start-ups in coordinating other actors within CSCs. Three leading roles emerge for start-ups: orchestrator, integrated orchestrator, and circular manufacturer. The coordination role of start-ups varies based on the level of vertical integration of manufacturing activities in each supply chain configuration.
These results  contribute to the existing supply chain management literature by providing empirical insights into the configuration and coordination of CSCs, thereby expanding the theoretical understanding of CSCs from a complex adaptive systems (CAS) perspective. 
Most importantly, we provide practical implications  for entrepreneurs and managers by offering guidance on how to translate circular and sustainable business model aspirations into CSC practices.
The significance of this topic for business and managers lies in the growing importance of sustainability and circularity in today's business landscape. Adopting a circular supply chain approach enables companies to minimize waste, reduce environmental impact, and enhance resource efficiency. By understanding the design and coordination of CSCs, managers can gain insights into effective strategies for integrating sustainability into their operations. This not only contributes to environmental and social benefits but also offers potential cost savings, increased customer loyalty, and improved brand reputation. Implementing CSC practices can be a key competitive advantage for start-ups and established companies alike, as consumers increasingly favor environmentally responsible businesses.

To access the full version of the paper, please visit the publication area of my website.
This paper was included in the IJLM special issue collection "Empirically grounded research in logistics and supply chain management for a circular economy"


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