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Some research questions: What people want to know about circular economy

  • 1.  Some research questions: What people want to know about circular economy

    Posted 05-25-2023 08:49

    Dear colleagues,

    I pulled these questions from the Q&A of's Circular Economy Action Sessions webinar today, as a snapshot of what practitioners (I assume) think are the pressing questions around circular economy and transitioning companies to more circular operations and business models.

    1. Has anyone used the Doughnut Economics Action Lab toolkit in relation to circular economy? If so how has this worked in practice to translate the concept into the change process within businesses?

    2. How can we demonstrate the climate benefits of being circular when carbon accounting requires scope 3 measurement to include the whole lifecycle of a product (so a refurbished laptop would have a higher scope 3 impact than a new one)

    3. Given the radical change required may be quite scary to some business leaders, how do panelists tackle this at board level to remove any defensiveness, win them over, and help them feel comfortable with this change and get moving?

    4. Are there any template frameworks which companies can use to embark on this journey as an initial assessment?

    5. Can we have examples of actual costs savings? Very often we make statements about savings, but struggle to convince the Board through lack of concrete examples

    6. Do you think there is sufficient awareness of the need to verify, via Lifecycle Analysis, the full environmental impact of a new circular approach when compared to the business-as-usual? It would be great if a circular approach always has a lower impact, but given the variables to account for it's not always that simple.

    7. Following on from a previous question, how do you think business can influence the education sector within the circular economy?

    8. Some fantastic points and advice on partnering with your supply chain are being made. However, does anyone have any advice on how an SME further down the supply chain can promote circle economy solutions upstream when, as early adopters, getting products into the correct recycling stream often costs more?

    9. How would the panel recommend getting colleagues within the business engaged with circular economy and how to effectively communicate it with them so they get excited about it? Especially in businesses where sustainability concepts are not a priority currently

    10. For Matt - talking about an LCA for all products - are you thinking EPDs or something else (perhaps including information on 'circularity' (whatever that looks like))

    11. What policy gaps currently exist and which particular existing policy is key for driving the CE forwards?

    12. What are the biggest barriers the panelists are encountering when moving towards a circular economy?

    Nicholas Poggioli
    Assistant Professor of Management
    Appalachian State University Walker College of Business