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Paper info: Mapping business catalysts that enable circular economy business within industrial networks


Mapping business catalysts that enable circular economy business within industrial networks


Leena Aarikka-Stenroos and Valtteri Ranta

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 35th IMP-conference in Paris, France in 2019.


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In industrial marketing, the relevance of sustainability and the circular economy (CE) has increased and is becoming crucial to competitive advantage. CE within industrial networks includes the use of recycled materials, reusing and sharing products, and offering maintenance and leasing services. The move towards CE necessitates new innovations to existing processes and practices across firms, business networks and value chains. However, sustainability and the CE creates not only many opportunities for industrial business, but also challenges as it requires a major shift from the current extractive linear economic model. The transition to CE and sustainable technologies is a crosscutting socio-technical transition impacting technology, business, societal and cultural layers concurrently. To find solutions for how CE technologies and innovation can be turned to business, this study addresses business catalysts that can be used to accelerate the emergence and development of CE innovation and technology business. By business catalysts, we refer to economic, business and value creation means and mechanisms that shape systemic socio-technological transition. They may involve the commercialization pathways for CE technologies, profitable business models that can compete with current linear models, and practices that mitigate buyer risk when investing in novel technology. The study employs multiple data sources and data gathering methods to ensure rich and detailed empirical data. The intended contribution here is to map the business catalysts that enable conducting CE and sustainable business in industrial networks and in B2B settings and thus to extend knowledge in the field of IMP and industrial marketing as well as sustainable business.